Kindergarten Readiness: Parent Strategy for Best Results.

A very reliable way of assessing children’s readiness for kindergarten is to bring twelve four-and-a-half-year-olds together for a one-hour mock kindergarten class. A teacher greets parent and child at the door, and the parent says good-bye. Most of the time the children leave their parents happily and launch off into what for them is a super play-date. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Thoughtfulness 2: How to Evaluate Teachers

Last week I told the story of how Helen, age 3, resolved a fight in the sandbox one Saturday afternoon. Her diplomatic skills were dramatically evident leaving one wondering how to get her on some Middle East peacemaking team—or simply how to turn over the job to her. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Thoughtfulness: Engaging Empathy to Build Strong Brains

Helen was playing in the sandbox in the park, when a brawl between a brother and sister broke out near her. Helen looked up from her work to see them arguing over a shovel, knocking each other to the ground. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Get Him Tested? No. Design a Research Project

Half way into her first year in high school Clair came to her mother and said, “I think I need a tutor in math.”

Her mother was delighted and a little surprised at the request: delighted because Clair asked for help, and surprised because she didn’t know her daughter cared that much about her academic success. She immediately set to the task and in short order found a math tutor with an excellent reputation.

Several months later the tutor told Clair’s mother (Jill) that he thought Clair should get tested to see if “there were some organic reason” she was having such a hard time Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Can Teachers Make Mistakes?

“Tell me about how it is okay for teachers to make mistakes,” Michelle said. “I am both a teacher and a parent,” she went on. “As a parent, when you make a mistake, you can acknowledge it, change your mind, make a better decision, and move on. But when you are responsible for other people’s children, you can’t make mistakes. What’s a professional to do?”

In a talk I gave last month at a school in the Midwest, I had made the twin statements: “Mistakes are learning opportunities; Fear of Making Mistakes is a learning disability.” The idea hit a nerve. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Want Cooperative Children? Treat Them As If They Are

 Man walks into a room with a clothesline across it, takes a handful of clothespins out of a basket and starts pinning up clothes. A mother and her 18-month-old son are sitting on the floor watching. After pinning several items, the man accidentally drops a pin on the floor. He then pretends to reach over the clothesline to try to pick up the dropped pin, but his arms just aren’t long enough. The 18-month-old watches the man struggle for few seconds, then leaves his mother, goes over to the clothespin, picks it off the floor and holds it up to the man, who takes it and says thank you. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Parents and Teachers Building Empathy in Children

 “Hey, would you help me…”

Say this to children, and you will usually get an enthusiastic, “Sure.”

If you get a negative reaction, I can think of several possible causes off the top of my head: Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

The Invincible Thirty-Something and the Three Joys of Parenting a Difficult Child

“You were a difficult child,” my mother said to me in one of the last few conversations we had before she died.

“I know,” I replied, and we held hands. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

The Speech that got the Longest Standing Ovation at the NAIS Conference of Educators

Just in case you missed the longest standing ovation of any speaker at NAIS in the last thirty-years, or perhaps you just wish you could see it again.

Thank you to the educators of the National Association of Independent Schools for a great conference in Seattle last week.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share

Kids get Smarter Faster when they Make a Difference

Learning Mathematics in Real Life

How to behave in public is something the students at St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, California, practice daily on their two-block walk to the park for lunch, recess and physical education. Continue reading

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share