Dad Dudes

Father’s Day is long gone, but Millennial Dads are redefining fatherhood.

This has been a growing theme for several years, and it is not slowing down. Signs continue to pop up:

Baby showers have become a Man Shower or Dadchelor Parties.

“Mom influencer” sites no longer have sole online domain. Consider DadaRocks and LunchboxDad.

Dads are manning up, whether or not they are among the growing number of stay-at-home-dads or dads who balance part-time work with childcare.

Who’s taking the “first day of school” photo at your house?

Tech infused play

Watching kids use tech outdoors has been one of the most exciting elements of this summer.

Although researchers say play patterns haven’t changed – kids still chase around, bike and swim – tech has added a different element…just ask a child wearing an activity tracker, an indicator of how online and offline play have morphed. It hints at what we’ll see as we move toward the holiday toy buying season.

PTA fundraisers

As a former PTA president, I tend to be defensive about the hard-working volunteers who give so much of themselves to improve schools…but when it comes to PTA fundraisers, well, that’s another story.

At our elementary school, we always searched for options that would give us more than the 40% most fundraising organizations offer schools: if a student sold $10 worth of wrapping paper or peanuts, our school earned $4.

I’ve often thought if parents contribute $10 or $20 that would actually go to the school, kids wouldn’t need to beg neighbors, friends and family to buy magazines and nuts. But since back-to-school costs have skyrocketed, and parents are already stocking classrooms with kleenex and pencils, adding another donation doesn’t seem like an answer, either.

de Blasio’s unbanning

One of the most watched statistics this fall will be the impact of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s end to the cell phone ban for students.

Researchers in the UK indicate that academic performance increases when phones are banned, especially for students at the bottom of the class.

That makes sense: high performers are better at blocking out distractions.

We’ll watch what happens…

Books in print

They might be the first generation of digital natives to become parents, but even though moms and dads (age 35 and under) love phones and tablets, they still prefer a print book to an e-book.

This research reflects that perhaps we’re too quick to assume parents are “only” and “always” online.

The big SS reveal

Elmo has walked along the familiar sidewalks on Sesame Street for 45 seasons, but the lovable monster is getting ready for big changes when the show kicks off the fall season: the iconic neighborhood has been remodeled.

Big Bird has a new nest, Cookie Monster lives above Hooper’s renovated store, and Oscar has handy recycling bins and composting receptacles.

In this nod to the real world, I wonder if Cookie Monster will only chomp baked goods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, sweeteners and flavors?

Sprechen Sie Deutsch oder code?

“Do you speak German or code?”

That question, above, is not science fiction. This fall, more states will consider allowing students to fill foreign language requirements with coding.

Critics say US students are already behind the rest of the world, which has been multilingual for years. Proponents say that soon, our students won’t only be behind in spoken languages, but also the language of the tech world.

Coding was one of the most popular subjects at STEM-driven camps and workshops during the past couple months; we’ll see what happens in schools this fall.