Archive for ‘play’

June 5, 2014

Summertime Can Be Easy, and Happily Productive Too!

girl with carrotsSome parents look toward summer with happy anticipation, building a packed schedule of family activities and outdoor fun. Others wonder how on earth they’re going to keep their kids occupied over the long slow weeks ahead. No matter which camp you’re in–or if you’re somewhere in between and hope to balance times of activity and relaxation–there are ideas and attitudes that can make the summertime happily productive. For everyone! 

The Basics

  1. Make plans with your kids. Ask them how they’d like to spend their summer. (This gets them thinking about the summer months, and helps them take some ownership over how they spend their time.) Do what you can, within reason, to accommodate at least a few of their suggestions.
  2. Focus on imagination and free unstructured play.  Especially for kids whose school year schedule is packed with serious stuff, summer should nurture a sense of freedom and enable them to exercise their creativity.

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November 5, 2013

How Parents Can Help Kids Build Their Intelligence

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Build Their IntelligenceChildren don’t start off smart. They become that way over time, with the right kinds of supports and learning opportunities at the right times in their lives. Here are four ways parents can actively participate in their child building a foundation for his or her intelligence:

  1. 1.      Appreciate your child’s unique profile of abilities:
  • Recognize that children’s abilities vary by domain—math, music, language, social, etc.—and that each child has a unique profile of intelligences. A child who’s highly capable in one area may have learning challenges in another area.
  • Pay attention to your child’s changing abilities, goals, attitudes, and interests.
  • Use different kinds of information sources, including school grades, and your own and others’ observations of your child’s interests, concerns, persistence, and motivation.
  • By appreciating individual developmental differences, you increase your child’s engagement in learning and intrinsic motivation, which leads to better learning outcomes, greater self-efficacy, and stronger likelihood of happy productivity across her life span.
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September 1, 2013

Seeing Beyond the Distraction of IQ

rsz a_boy_a_girl_and_a_bookIn our work with families and schools, we’ve noticed that people sometimes confuse encouraging the development of children’s real-world intelligence—that is, raising smarter kids—and raising their IQs. It’s a distinction worth noting. Here’s why.

Intelligence is so much more than a score on a test. Secrets for raising smarter kids include keeping the emphasis on thinking, learning, challenging, creating, finding balance, playing, working hard, collaborating, persevering, and becoming wise. Boosting a child’s real-world intelligence may boost his intelligence test score, but not necessarily. And vice versa.

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September 1, 2013

Music and Intelligence: Nothing Activates More of the Brain than Music

boy playing pianoAlthough wild claims about ‘The Mozart Effect’ have been debunked, it’s true that music education—when it’s done right—can foster the development of intelligence. 

Scientists and intelligent consumers are justifiably sceptical of claims that music increases children’s intelligence. ‘The Mozart Effect’—claims that listening to certain kinds of music, such as Mozart’s sonatas, made children smarter— became wildly successful several years ago, and then was roundly refuted. Listening to Mozart’s sonatas was shown to have very short-term effects (15 minutes) on one form of intelligence (spatial reasoning), and not to improve children’s intelligence in any useful or practical way.

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