Articles of Interest

Put a Little Science in Your Life

A COUPLE of years ago I received a letter from an American soldier in Iraq. The letter began by saying that, as we’ve all become painfully aware, serving on the front lines is physically exhausting and emotionally debilitating. But the reason for his writing was to tell me that in that hostile and lonely environment, ...

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Last Child in the Woods” is a must-read for all parents and educators

Richard Louv’s 2008 book shows how direct exposure to nature is essential for children’s development and wellbeing. If only the educational system would reflect that. “Here is this vast, savage, howling mother of ours, Nature, lying all around, with such beauty, and such affection for her children, as the leopard; and yet we are so ...

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No More “Nature-Deficit Disorder” The “No Child Left Inside” movement.

Some say the future isn’t what it used to be. Here’s a different view. The future is going to be better than it used to be — at least when it comes to the human connection to nature. In “Last Child in the Woods,” I described what I called “nature-deficit disorder.” I hesitated (briefly) to ...

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Healthy Play Outdoors Means Healthy Kids

“Guidelines for natural playscapes?” What is this? It sounded like an oxymoron to me when I first heard about this initiative. Who in the world would think you need guidelines for kids to play in the woods? Well, I learned there is a lot more to this initiative than meets the eye, and the subject ...

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Video: How to change your brain

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Why some kids try harder and some kids give up

My toddler struggled to buckle the straps on her high chair. “Almost,” she muttered as she tried again and again. “Almost,” I agreed, trying not to hover. When she got it, I exclaimed, “You did it! It was hard, but you kept trying, and you did it. I’m so proud of you.” The way I ...

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Ready to learn? The Key Is Listening With Intention

Listening and observing can be passive activities—in one ear and out the other, as our mothers used to say. Or they can be rich, active, intense experiences that lead to serious learning. The difference lies in our intention: the purpose and awareness with which we approach the occasion. Here’s how to make sure your intentions ...

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What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?

As you read this, wiggle your toes. Feel the way they push against your shoes, and the weight of your feet on the floor. Really think about what your feet feel like right now – their heaviness. If you’ve never heard of mindfulness meditation, congratulations, you’ve just done a few moments of it. More people than ...

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Executive Function Skills Predict Children’s Success in Life and in School

This blog continues my series to share the research of child development researchers and neuroscientists who have genuinely inspired me in my 11-year journey to create “Mind in the Making.” Their work is truly “research to live by.” I am sharing the story Adele Diamond of the University of British Columbia because she has been ...

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Hands-on Learning Boosts Success in the Classroom and Beyond

As we watch our children go back to school this time of year, we have great hopes — but also some fear — for their future. Unemployment in the United States is at 8.1 percent and the economy continues to struggle. We worry about whether our children will be able to find a job, much ...

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Learning with Meaning

Drawing a bluebird smack in the middle of an empty page leaves questions in need of answers, as Genoa came to realize. The bluebird needs a place in which to breathe, to eat, to see and hear and sing, to fly. “I’ll give it a branch to sit on!” “I’ll give him blue skies and ...

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Top 10 skills children learn from the arts

You don’t find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering (STEM), but here’s a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a reminder that the arts — while important to ...

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The Importance of Art in Child Development

In recent years, school curricula in the United States have shifted heavily toward common core subjects of reading and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be ...

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