Are all screens equal?

As my peers continue to study the use of screens in the early years, the topic has become part of the national conversation.

I anticipate that years from now, when we have long-term data, we’ll see that the amount of screen time is only one element that makes a difference. I believe that content, in addition to an adult presence, will also make a big difference in how a child is affected by a screen.

Smart play

Kits and ideas for “Smart play” in engineering, math and science were all over the Toy Fair exhibit hall last week in New York City.

My favorite was an experiment with DNA – I actually carried home a vial with my own DNA. So cool. Kids (or even adults!) can actually work with their DNA. STEM becomes real!

http://www.bio-rad.com/en-us/product/genes-bottle-kit?tab=Description

“Nowstalgic”

We finally have an umbrella word for all the old-fashioned toys that keep popping up in spring store displays – the yo yos, marbles, giant bubble wands, pick-up sticks, jump ropes, etc.

The word: nowstalgic.

At least that was the headline on the Toy Fair convention bag I carried around last week in New York City.

Too bad the snow and frigid temps don’t allow anyone to enjoy those
nowstalgic toys outside. This “winter of discontent” is getting ridiculous.

Follow the females

The female leads in both Frozen and The Hunger Games paved the way for what is expected to be similar characters in Lego Movie 2.

Don’t hold your breath, though: the movie doesn’t release until 2018.

Digital childhood

Is childhood disappearing?

Recent research says that two-thirds of adults believe children aren’t given enough time to be kids.

And a full 50% of adults feel parents share too much about their kids on social media. I guess it’s not surprising that 92% of children have a digital footprint by the age of two.

Is digital technology ruining or improving childhood? It’s a legitimate question.

Threatening situations

School administrators are facing an increasing number of threats which arrive through digital media.

Should officials initiate a lockdown or dismiss school when an online threat arrives during a weekday?

Cancel school or increase security when bombings, shootings or other violence is threatened?

How do you keep “safety first” while providing enough time for students to learn?

The tough questions keep coming…

Midwinter break

This holiday weekend begins the annual exodus of southbound students.

Not limited to college students, countless families take kindergarten and primary grade students out of school for mid-winter travel.

As a teacher, I was always sad to see this. Although I appreciated the great enrichment activities some parents plan for the school days missed, I regretted the other message communicated:
school in the early years isn’t very important.