Category Archives: Elementary School Age

Coffee and Cookies

I’m currently sitting a bagel shop drinking my second coffee of the day and reading a new report called Healthy Food Healthy Communities: Promising Strategies to Improve Access to Fresh, Healthy Food and Transform Communities. This report by PolicyLink discusses in considerable depth the issues of obesity, for both adults and children, and the relationship between obesity and lack of adequate healthy food options in low-income neighborhoods.

Some background:  Obesity in the US (and worldwide) is reaching epidemic proportions.  One in three adults is obese and approximately 17% of children and teens are obese (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The two images copied below show the percent of adults in each state that are obese (BMI > 30).  The first image is from 1990. All states were either blue or light blue which means that 10-14% of the adult population in each state was obese (white indicating no data).  If you look at the second image (2010), you see that nearly the entire country is red, orange, or yellow- meaning that in every state in the US, more than 20% of the Adults are obese and in many states, more than 30% of the adult population is obese.  Click this link to see all other years obesity rates per state.

While the adult obesity epidemic is troubling the childhood rate is heartbreaking.  Look at the equivalent charts of childhood obesity in the US.  Here the light blue states have rates between 10-15% and the dark blue states have obesity rates between 15-20%.  Click this link for larger image.

The Healthy Food Healthy Communities: Promising Strategies to Improve Access to Fresh, Healthy Food and Transform Communities report focuses on the communities in our country that are particularly susceptible to obesity and other related health issues.  The graphs above demonstrate that obesity is a nationwide issue but low-income communities are particularly vulnerable to obesity.  A recent concern for low-income communities is the lack of  healthy food options in their neighborhoods: there are fewer supermarkets and places to buy healthier foods in low-income communities than in wealthier ones , this is also the case for Latino and African-American areas compared to predominately white areas.

The report offers solutions that will lead to increasing access for healthy food for populations who currently have limited access. Some of the recommendations and solutions that are already in place in some communities include: The Fresh Food Financing Initiative, an initiative that provides loans and grants to encourage food retailers to locate in underserved low-income communities and provide fresh food to customers, improve small stores, increase grocery store access in low-income neighborhoods, and increase access to farmers markets.

Teaching young children to select “better for you foods” is one way to decrease the obesity rates in this country, but if youth do not have the opportunities to purchase more fresh, healthy, and “good for you foods” the educational benefit of learning to eat healthy will be wasted.  This report provides crucial information  for policy makers, business owners, and the general public about the issues related to lack of health food choices in America.

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Launch Education Guest Blog

I was given the wonderful opportunity to guest blog for Launch Education– a great tutoring company located in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington,DC.  The full blog post is below but can also be found on their website if you click Here.

The Crucial Role of Parents in Education

by Alexis Lauricella

It’s pretty clear that the education system as a whole in the United States is struggling to provide youth with an adequate, let alone quality, education.  For decades, the US government has enacted policies and programs with the goal of “fixing” our education system by creating new rules and procedures for schools and teachers. Only recently, after decades of continuingly failing schools, a new bill was introduced to the House of Representatives that recognizes the crucial role that families, and particularly parents, have on children’s academic achievement.  The goal of the Family Engagement in Education Act of 2011 is to provide incentives for schools and districts to engage parents in children’s education with the hopes of closing the achievement gap.  This bill is clearly only in its infancy, but the message is clear: parents and families are crucial factors in the academic success of children.

The teachers and school systems clearly can’t do it all on their own. Government funding and regulation are attempting to “not leave any children behind”, but unfortunately, kids are getting left behind and no one is coming to pick them up.  Recent reports from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (Fiester & Smith, 2010) indicate that 67% of all 4th grade students are not proficient readers and these numbers are even higher for African American and Hispanic children.   Literacy isn’t the only issue.  Students are also performing poorly in Science and Math, especially compared to children in other countries (Fleischman, Hopstock, Pelczar, & Shelley, 2010).

The US school system undoubtedly needs considerable work and there is no quick-fix answer to the problem.  But, parents can help, and even when children in are highly competitive, wonderful academic institutions, parents have a responsibility to be involved and help their children academically.   No one expects that parental involvement will fix the achievement gap or the failures of our education system as a whole, but their involvement is crucial!

Research demonstrates that parent involvement does help- significantly! When parents are involved in their children’s education, their children perform better academically and socially (Henderson, 1987; Jenyes, 2003).  This doesn’t mean that parents have to volunteer at every school function or become the president of the PTA in order for their child to reap the benefits of education.  There are thousands of fun, creative, and easy ways to get involved in your children’s educational success. Here are just a few:

  • Parent-teach Conferences.  Parents can take the lead and work directly with their children’s schoolteachers to determine ways that they can enhance their child’s education at home. Parents can take advantage of the one-on-one time that is provided during parent-teacher conferences to determine what concepts will be taught in class that year and how to can expand upon these concepts at home.
  • Get Creative. The technological advances of the past decade have provided many new ways for children to learn.  Take advantage of quality websites that offer educational worksheets or activities related to a particular topic your child is studying at school.  Search for videos (either online or at your local library) related to the concepts your child is learning in school; maybe having the information presented in a new way will help your child learn. Take learning outside the classroom by bringing your child to the library to find related books on topics covered in class, to a museum to see a related exhibit, or even to a park where you can find real world examples of the science concepts being taught in class.
  • Combine subject areas and interests.  If your child is learning multiplication tables in school but really loves to write, work with your child to write a story about multiplication problems.  Similarly, if your child loves baseball encourage her to keep scores and calculate batting averages while you watch a game or ask her to write a newspaper article about the game you watched together using some of the new vocabulary words from class.

Teachers will educate and work with children at school, but parents need you to help; to expand upon the learning that is occurring in school and help your children prosper and succeed both academically and socially. It would be ideal if teachers and school administrators facilitated and encourage parent involvement with or without incentives provided by the potential Family Involvement in Education of 2011 bill. However, until this bill passes or other action is taken to encourage schools to include and incorporate parents, parents should take the lead and find ways to get involved!

References:

Fiester, L. & Smith, R.  (2010).  Early warning!  Why reading by the end of third grad matters.  A KIDS COUNT Special Report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Baltimore, MD.

Fleischman, H.L., Hopstock, P.J., Pelczar, M.P., & Shelley, B.E. (2010). Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-YearOld Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context (NCES 2011-004). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Handerson, A. T. (1987). The evidence continues to grow: Parent involvement improves student achievement. Columbia, MD: National Committee for Citizens in Education.

Jeynes, W. H. (2003).  A meta-analysis: The effects of parental involvement on minority children’s academic achievement.  Education and Urban Society, 35, 202-218.

The Family Engagement in Education Act of 2011. Parent Teacher Association.  Retrieved from http://www.pta.org/FEE_Act_Summary.pdf on July 11, 2011

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Just a fun kid day

This post is not child development or research focused.  Just a cute kid story. I hope no one is opposed.

I was on the Purple line train home from work tonight and at one stop a mom and her two daughters got on the train.  It was just after 5pm and the girls (ages 6 and 8 ) were all wound up.  The train was relatively full so the mom and the 6-year-old sat across the aisle from me (not next to each other, but with the little girl in the seat ahead of the mom) and the 8-year-old sat down next to me.

From the moment they got on the train the mother was visibly annoyed with the kids, especially the overly excited 6-year-old who kept reaching behind her to swat at her mothers hands.  As soon as the 8- year-old sat down next to me she opened up her backpack and started playing with a light up wand inside of her bag so only she and I could see it.  She looked up at me a few times, clearly excited about her new toy and wanting me to comment on it.  So I did.  And our conversation/friendship began.

We talked about her new toy , the book I was reading (she read the title out loud to show me she could read), and what she learned at school today (adding and subtracting).   Then we spent the rest of the ride doing math problems with her sister.  Switching off between her telling me what she knew how to do (e.g., 10-4=6)  and me asking her other problems (e.g., 100-5).

With someone talking and paying attention to them, they both had calmed down and were actually enjoying their ride on the train.  It was clear that they both had spent a long day at school and then at after-school and just wanted someone to talk to them and for whatever reason their mother wasn’t willing to engage them at that point. Luckily, I had just finished my book and was more than willing to chat.

When it was time for me to get off the train the 8-year-old said, “Will you be on the purple train again tomorrow at this time?”  I told her I usually am on this train.  Hopefully,  I do run into those little girls again.  They definitely made my commute home more exciting and hopefully I made their ride less boring.

 

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Wii for the Wee Ones

by Dr. Amanda E. Staiano

Hi parents!  Did you know Wii can get your family moving and in shape? Believe it or not, I research how video games can promote weight loss and activity in kids – we call them “exergames” because you have to EXERCISE to play the video game! Think Kinect, Move, Wii, Dance Dance Revolution.

It surprises people that exergames are considered “physical activity.” After all, we’re facing a huge obesity problem in this country – one of five preschoolers is overweight or obese, and that number is even higher for Hispanic and Black preschoolers. Two-thirds of adults and one-third of children/adolescents are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for bad heart health, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and even certain cancers. Video games are usually blamed for obesity and sedentary lifestyles, so how can they possibly be a “good” and “healthy” choice?

By requiring movement, exergames get players to burn calories and increase heart rate to levels of moderate intensity activity (Biddiss 2010; Graves 2008), which goes towards the 1 hour/day physical activity recommendation for kids age 6 and up (Siegel 2010). And for the wee ones, these games can contribute to the regular active play that is recommended for kids under 6. This physical activity can translate to weight loss for overweight/obese kids and weight maintenance for healthy weight kids – in fact, my dissertation showed that overweight/obese high school students lost about 5 pounds when they played the Wii Active game in a lunch-time and after-school program during the school year.

The best exergames for physical activity are those that use both the arms and the legs – that’s what will burn the most calories and get your kids moving the most (Graves 2008). And the best part is that the FUN of the game can distract your child from the “exercise” part! Even better news — when given a choice, kids choose physically active games over the sedentary versions (Sit 2010).

And the benefits don’t stop at physical health – exergames are an “equalizer” that allows family members at different ages and abilities to play a game together (Bryant 2010). Cooperation and group bonding can promote self-esteem, which motivates kids to become more physically active (Suhonen 2008). There’s even evidence that exergames can have cognitive benefits, like increased attention, visual-spatial skills, cognitive flexibility, and motor speed (Staiano, in press). For instance, playing an exergame can help preschoolers learn how to multi-task and begin to understand other people’s perspectives (Bryant 2010).

The fact is kids play video games – kids under the age of 5 already spend on average 1 hour each day playing console or hand-held video games (Vandewater 2007), and kids use media more and more as they get older (Rideout 2010). Video games are fun, challenging, and can help develop important skills like how to follow rules, how to track objects on a screen, and how to quickly respond to visual and auditory stimuli (Staiano 2011, in press). Adding physical activity to the game creates an even better package!

So consider adding some exergaming to your family’s schedule. Look for games designed just for preschoolers – like the Zippity Learning System designed by LeapFrog and Disney – or find games available on common platforms like Microsoft Kinect, Nintendo Wii, and Sony Move that your preschooler will enjoy. Make sure the games you pick are developmentally appropriate. And, just like with any physical activity, supervise your wee ones to make sure they use the equipment properly and don’t hurt themselves or others.

Special Instructions for Preschool Exergamers:

  • If the exergame uses a sensor bar, place it low enough (like under the TV) to read the preschoolers’ movements. This is especially important if the preschooler plays with taller siblings or parents.
  • If the exergame uses a handheld remote, make sure your preschooler’s hands and fingers are large enough to reach the buttons (such as pressing “A” and “B” buttons on the WiiMote). If your child doesn’t yet have the coordination to work the remote, use this as a teaching opportunity to develop motor skills!
  • Remember that the complex, multi-step procedures that come easy to an adult is not so easy for a preschooler (think of all the steps involved in Wii bowling). So be patient in teaching your child how to create the motions needed for game play. And you may want to try out Kinect which doesn’t require a remote at all, or stick with some simpler games like Wii Tennis, Baseball, and Boxing that don’t require as many button presses or simultaneous actions.

Some physical activity tips from the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines:

Why exercise? Physical activity helps you maintain a healthy weight and prevent excess weight gain. This protects you (and your child) from developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, liver disease, sleep apnea, asthma, reproductive health complications, and many other serious health consequences (CDC 2010).

Why limit screen time? Screen time, especially watching tv, is linked to overweight risk in preschoolers (Dennison 2002, Spear 2007). This doesn’t mean that if little Johnny or Suzie watches TV or plays video games they will automatically be overweight. But… if your child is sitting on the couch for hours on end instead of being physically active… and if your child has unlimited access to potato chips and candy bars or other unhealthy foods while watching screen media… then you’ve created an “obesogenic,” or obesity-promoting, environment that will make it harder and harder for your child to have a healthy weight.

So… how much screen time should kids get? It’s recommended kids and adolescents spend no more than 1-2 hours each day watching tv, playing video games, or using the computer.

Does it matter if the parent is active or overweight/obese?

Yes!  You are your child’s number one role model. If you’re not physically active, you’re missing a great opportunity to demonstrate to your child the importance of having an active lifestyle. Also, statistics show that if a kid has an overweight or obese parent, they are 80% likely to be overweight or obese themselves. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. That’s just 2 ½ hours spread out over 7 days – totally achievable!

How much exercise should kids get?

Ages 2-5: Several bouts of active play each day

Over 6:  60 minutes or more of physical activity each day

Also — children should do muscle-strengthening activities (like climbing) at least 3 days a week and bone-strengthening activities (like jumping) at least 3 days a week.

It doesn’t have to happen all at once – physical activity can be broken down into shorter blocks of time, as long as kids get enough exercise to make them sweat. The activity should be FUN, developmentally appropriate, and offer variety – not just the same activities over and over again.

Where can I get more info on how to play exergames with my kids?

Wii Mommies is an online discussion forum started by Jenn Hethcoat, mommy blogger who shares her weekly healthy family recipes on her own site Super Jenn. Wii Mommies gets moms throughout the country to share their stories of how to use Wii games and other exergames to get their family up and moving.

What can I do in my community to promote physical activity?

  • Be a voice for physical activity in your child’s PTA, and talk to your child’s teachers, childcare providers, and P.E. coaches about how to make sure the P.E. and recess offered at school includes active play.
  • Chart your child’s weight and body mass index with his/her pediatrician. Some schools also provide regular monitoring of your child’s weight.
  • Support children’s programs that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity throughout the year, including during the summer.

Help!  My preschooler is overweight!  What do I do? The best advice is to talk to your child’s pediatrician to see if your child is overweight and the best steps to take. There is also plenty of valuable info and resources online (click here for one example).

About the Author:

Dr. Amanda E. Staiano is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Physical Activity and Obesity Epidemiology Lab at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She had the pleasure of working with Dr. Alexis Lauricella in the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University, where Amanda earned her Ph.D. of psychology and master of public policy. Amanda researches how exergames affect children and adolescents’ physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive health. More recently, she studies how physical activity reduces the risk for premature mortality in adults, and how waist circumference can be an important indicator of health risks in children and adolescents. She received her B.S. in psychology at Louisiana State University.

Email Amanda at amandastaiano@gmail.com.

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Help! Quality Media?

When I was growing up media consisted of the Television- a total of 5 channels (cable was around, but we didn’t have it), a VCR, a Nintendo (the result of a particularly traumatizing dentist appointment that my Dad had taken me to), eventually a GameBoy, a computer (that my mother “borrowed” from the school she taught at), a record/tape/radio combination stereo, and books.

I don’t even know where to begin with what is considered “media” today! There are ipods playing songs from YoGabbaGabba, DVD players in minivans playing the Princess and the Frog, laptop computers with A Bug’s Life CD-Rom software (although that seems to be nearly extinct), ipads with Sesame Street apps, smartphones & iphones with apps that translate your child’s voice into a cute squeaky guinea pig voice , regular old Television programs like SuperWhy (that you can  now get in High Definition on cable, satellite, or online on demand), new motion sensored video games like theNintendo Wii, handheld video game players like PSP, and online interactive storybooks of the 3 Little Pigs… I could go on forever, but instead I will provide you with a Sesame Street clip called “There’s an App for That”.

Given all of these technologies and all of the content that is now “out there”.  How do parents decide what programs/games/books/music/content to show/play/interact/use with their kids? In a world of instant replies via email and blog posts about everything, are parents supposed to rely on “word of mouth” (which now exists via telephone, Facebook, email, etc) or base their purchases/downloads on reviews and product descriptions and their own best guess?

Should there be some sort of Children’s Quality Media Guru?  A resource that offers advice on what apps to buy for your 2-year-old versus your 8-year-old?  A guide that can tell you what is required to play the newest top app Bubble Ball (created by a 14-year-old boy)?  A checklist of questions parents might want to ask before purchasing media for their child?  Do parents want/need help with these questions?

Earlier this week the Fred Rogers Center held a roundtable discussion at Erikson Institute with 30 impressive people in the fields of child development and media production/creation to discuss just this issue.  Given all of the technology out there, how do we help creators and parents decide what “quality” media is for young children?  Lisa Guernsey at the New America Foundation wrote an excellent blog about the event.

But my question is really to parents… what questions are you asking before downloading new material for your young children? Who are you asking for advice? How do you decide what IS and what is NOT quality media for your children?  Help!  How do you decide what is quality media for your young children?


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K/1 Classrooms

Recently a friend  asked me a great question about Kindergarten/1st grade classrooms (known as K/1’s).  His daughter is in Kindergarten and her school is implementing K/1 classrooms next year- this just means that the classroom is half kindergarteners and half 1st graders.  Apparently some of the parents are worked up about this and he wanted to know what I thought about K/1 classrooms in general.

I should first say that I am extremely passionate about education.  I think our education system generally needs a lot of work and that young children are not getting the opportunities to learn and grow the way they deserve.  I also think that as a society we are starting to overcompensate and push little kids into unnatural learning environments before they are developmentally ready.  I believe play is crucial to learning and I am concerned that American children are being pushed into structured learning classrooms where kids are required to sit at desks for large portions of the day before they are ready and when other learning opportunities can be equally, if not more, effective.

Also,  I should note that I was in a K/1 classroom for both Kindergarten and 1st grade.  I actually had the same teacher for both years, Mrs. Comeau (undoubtably one of the best teachers I ever had) and shockingly enough I remember my K/1 experience extremely well. I remember being in Kindergarten with 1st graders and really loving it.  I remember wanting to be like the “big kids” which pushed me academically to learn to read.   I actually vividly remember when I was in 1st grade there was a Kindergartener (I still remember her name but won’t include it here) who already knew how to read and that made me really competitive to be better than her and to learn to read more than she could.  (For those of you that know me, this could have been the spark that started my competitiveness!)

So with that said, here are my thoughts on K/1 classrooms:

If they are going to split classes, K/1 is the time to do it.  Academically and developmentally putting 5 and 6 year olds together makes sense -especially in co-ed classrooms where girls tend to develop faster than boys.  Both Kindergarten and 1st grade should be years when children are getting used to school and new social situations (even though 60% of children under 6 are in some sort of childcare).  K/1 classrooms can be good for the kindergarteners in that they may push them a little bit more academically. It can also be really good for the 1st graders if it’s a better fit developmentally or if you are feeling like your child still just needs more time to play and be a kid (obviously it’s not dramatically different in terms of this or they wouldn’t do it, but it likely will be slightly less push, push, push academically).

I think there are three things you need to think about when deciding whether a K/1 classroom is the right fit for your child.  Consider where your child is in regard to these three factors  (1) academically, (2) socially, and (3) age/developmentally:

If your child is going to be a 1st grader in a K/1 classroom:
1. Academically.  If she is super smart, already reads easily, and you are truly concerned she might be bored or slowed down by slightly younger kids learning to read etc, you may want to reconsider a K/1. If not, there is a nice benefit of being a “big kid” academically because you can help teach the little ones (or at least think that you are helping) and that can boost academic confidence and as we all know teaching something can actually help you learn it.

2. Socially. Just think about how she is with younger kids in general and how she interacts with her fellow classmates. Kindergarten is a great place to learn social/emotional skills and to develop things like sharing and playing together. Also understanding other people’s perspectives and how other people feel and act. A second year of experience practicing these skills never hurts anyone! In terms of social stuff, if she is sort of a bully or takes advantage when she has the opportunity then you may want to reconsider a K/1 as being a “bigger” kid can lead to opportunities where she can have the upper hand.

3. Age/Developmentally. Is she already young or old for her class? (For example, I was born in January so I was on the older end of my class).  If she is younger, again I think it’s a benefit to do the K/1, if she is already older, you may want to reconsider. And of course, don’t just think about age- if she developmentally (or even physically-if she is bigger) seems older than the other kids or younger, consider that. If she has already mastered things like sharing, sitting still, listening to directions, respecting others feelings and needs and thoughts, then she might be better off in a full 1st grade.

If your child is going to be a Kindergartener in a K/1 classroom:
1. Academically.  If he already knows the alphabet and counting and is comfortable and eager to learn new things, K/1 might be a good choice as it might push him along a little faster.  Also, if he actively enjoys learning and wants to be able to read on his own and doesn’t mind practicing with other kids or on his own, K/1 might be a good option.  If your child is intimidated by other children or practicing and making mistakes in front of other kids, especially “big kids” then K/1 might not be a great option.  If he is getting bored in pre-school and needs to be a little more challenged a K/1 might be a good choice.

2. Socially. Again, think about how he interacts and plays with his classmates and children that are older.  If he is timid or shy and needs more time to warm up or to interact with a group, more time in a more play focused environment might give him more experience with social interaction and social settings.   Kindergarten is a great place to learn social/emotional skills and to develop things like sharing and playing together. Also understanding other people’s perspectives and how other people feel and act. If your child needs more practice with these skills, then a K/1 environment might not be ideal. But if these play and social skills have already been  mastered, learning to share with a bigger child or interacting with a 1st grader might provide a Kindergartener with increased opportunity to learn language and other social skills earlier.

3. Age/Developmentally. Again, is he already young or old for his class?  If he is younger in terms of age, you may want to stay in a full Kindergarten class so the children are closer to his age, size, and developmental level.  if he is already older, you may want to go for a K/1 where he can have the opportunity to play with kids closer to his age. If developmentally he seems younger than the other kids, consider that. Or if he has already mastered things like sharing, sitting still, listening to directions, respecting others feelings and needs and thoughts, then developmentally he may be ready for the K/1 classroom.

In general, I think K/1 classrooms can be extremely beneficial to children in both Kindergarten and 1st grade if it is a good fit.  Like any classroom decision it is important to make sure the teacher is a good fit (both for the child and for the K/1 environment).  Make sure the teacher understands the needs both academically and developmentally of  both kindergarteners and 1st graders.  Finally, really make sure you are making the right decision for your child, not for you.  In general, you want children’s early experiences in school to be positive so that they like going and learn to love learning.  If you push them into something that is not a good fit, your child’s early experiences with school will not be happy and it will make for a very long 13 years of education to get through high school!

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Parenting Ed

In Massachusetts, and many other states,  you have to complete a Driver’s Education Course to get your License (See DMV website). As part of the course you have to attend  30 hours of classroom instruction, 12 hours behind the wheel, and 6 hours of observation from the backseat while another student driver takes your life in their hands.  In addition, you have to spend 40 hours practicing with your parent.  All of this to drive a motor vehicle from  your home to the grocery store.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of Driver’s Ed  You are operating a motor vehicle out on the streets where there are other people in cars, pedestrians, and young children running after soccer balls into the streets.  It’s not just your life that is in danger when you are driving, it’s the lives of your friends, family, and people you have never met and their friends and families.   I don’t question Driver’s Ed, but what I wonder is how can we be so concerned about properly operating motor vehicles and not have the same preemptive sense to require something similar of parents before they have a child? Why isn’t there a “Parenting Ed” requirement?  I mean, as a parent it’s not just you out there “on the road”.  As a parent you are impacting the life of your child and the lives of the other children and people that your child interacts with.  Shouldn’t parents be at least as informed about basic health and child development objectives when they bring a child into this world as they are about using arm signals to make a right hand turn when they decide to drive their Honda to the mall?

I started this website because I wanted to help parents and kids.  I believe that everyone can be a good parent and everyone should be a good parent, but I don’t believe that everyone is naturally born ready to parent well. I believe that no one learns to drive a car in the classroom of Driver’s Ed, but having that background information before you get thrown into a high-stress potentially dangerous situation can be life saving.  Understanding background information about child development and parenting practices is important to help parents react when the realities and challenges of parenthood come at full force.   So, I’m using this website  as an opportunity to reach out to parents who may want to learn more about child development.  I’m starting my own online Parenting Ed: Child Development Basics.  Hope you enjoy!

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