For years I have extolled the value of empty cardboard boxes—the ones in which your big appliances arrive—in the lives of children. You see cardboard box to be recycled; your child sees secret cave, fire station, beauty parlor, club house. But Caine Monroy has broadened even my wildest dreams. He built Caine’s Arcade (http://vimeo.com/40000072). Caine’s dad George claims that he is no special parent. He says he simply knew his son, didn’t force him to do what he didn’t want, and allowed him … [Read more...] about Loose Parts
They’re getting younger and younger! Now there’s Junior Kumon, a program to teach your two year old academics. Seriously! In a recent New York Times article, Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/fashion/with-kumon-fast-tracking-to-kindergarten.html?_r=1&emc=eta1 author Kate Zernike highlights the proliferation of the new Kumon (and other) tutoring programs designed to jumpstart toddlers’ academic career. Are they kidding? Sadly, they are not. And more and … [Read more...] about Toddler Tutoring?
“What are we going to do today?” pleads the child as he climbs into the car after a full day of school. What is that about? Is it that the child has come to expect that every day brings a new form of parent-organized, post school entertainment – music lessons, sports lessons, art classes, dance classes, “enrichment” classes, and playdates? And I wonder if maybe, in our mission to make sure our children don’t miss one minute of mind and body improvement, we are forgetting the importance of … [Read more...] about The Importance of Doing Nothing
I heard a radio advertisement this week for a DVD , Your Baby Can Read, or some name like that. Needless to say, it grabbed my attention. This program promises to teach your toddler, even infant, to read. A mother of a three year old claimed that she had been using it for a year, and now her child was reading on a third grade level. Please save me from being sick! It took everything in my body not to drive off the road…as I seethed. Why on earth does anyone want her toddler (or infant) … [Read more...] about Should Baby Read?
The topic for my first blog on my new website had been on my mind when I paid a visit to my cousin Sarah and her boys, ages 5 and 7. After spending the afternoon with them, I knew I had found my topic. Sarah lives in a TV free house. (Okay, her husband, also a professor like Sarah, wrote a book about the effects of television viewing on children and how to make it work for your family.) But here's the thing of it, those little boys don't miss it, and they don't ask for it. What was more … [Read more...] about Cousin Sarah’s kids