Happy Fall From the LiiNK Team!
Tips From the Top
I have a book coming out in the next few weeks called “Wrong Turns, Right Moves in Education.” It’s a collection of reflections on my visit to Finland schools and how the Finns have capitalized on our wrong turns and their right moves to be one of the top countries in the world regarding education. One of the motivating factors for children to learn, recess or unstructured play, has slowly been removed over the past 20-30 years in American schools. This is due in large part to the academic pressures placed on children to perform on all types of assessments starting as early as kindergarten. When did a child’s development become so much more focused on a test score or cognitive development rather than the blending of social-emotional, physical, and cognitive development of the child? This book presents many thought provoking ideas for how the U.S. can get back on track.
Parents: Think about your childhood. Do all of your early year memories relate to the classroom or do you remember quite a bit about your play experiences? This is the fundamental responsibility of children for learning to take place. Children learn how to learn through unstructured play. The LiiNK results so far are showing significantly happier, less anxious, more focused children. Children should have all kinds of experiences: play, music, art, crafts, listening to a story, reading a story, searching for fossils in the dirt, watching insects, playing with coins.
We need to slow down and allow our kids to be kids. Developmentally, most children will catch up with one another by the time they reach 6th grade to have great confidence in all aspects of individual learning and group tasks. Try not to feel like you need to have them in every sport when they are young. Allow them to play without rules and experience creative exploration. I hope you all will learn to play again also. A playful heart is a healthy heart.
- Dr. Rhea
Seguin, Round Rock, Little Elm, and Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Added New Schools to the LiiNK Project This Year!
Rain or Shine, We Play!
Connecting the Dots!
Ask your students what they've learned about self-concept, as well as thoughts, actions, and feelings. Which characters helped them learn about these ideas this week? What was their favorite story they heard about self-concept?
Week 1) Positive Action: To do or cause good things to happen
Week 2) Self-Concept: How you think and feel about yourself
Week 3) Valuable: Precious or great worth
Week 4) Happiness and Success: To feel good about who you are, what you are doing, and how you treat others
Week 5) Unique: To be one of a kind
Week 6) Success: To feel good about who you are, what you are doing, and how you treat others
Week 7) Healthy: To be well or have good health
Week 8) Wellness: To be totally healthy in body, mind, and feelings
Week 9) Creative: To be able to make something new
Week 10) Challenge: A task that calls for special effort
Too Scared to Let Go? Let Grow!
Childhood anxiety is giving ME anxiety. Nearly a third of American adolescents meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Even among younger kids, anxiety is on the rise. But as Let Grow co-founder Boston College Psychology Prof. Peter Gray notes, crime rates are at a 50-year low, so it’s not because the world has been getting scarier.
It’s because WE have been getting more scared. The media make us believe there’s a predator behind every pine tree. And so we keep our kids closer than ever, meaning they rarely have the kind of free, unstructured, unsupervised time that serves as a pressure valve. If we could only give kids back a smidgen of that freedom, would they feel less anxious – happier?
The solution is so simple you’re going to laugh, but it’s this: Have your kids do ONE THING on their own that you did at their age that you haven’t allowed them to do till now. Maybe let them ride their bikes to a friend’s house, or play outside in the neighborhood, or get themselves to school.
Our own survey of kids K-6 who did a “Let Grow” activity found that more than 50% felt happier afterward – and the parents experienced their own drop in anxiety.
Why? Because when fear meets reality, reality wins. All the worries swirling around in our heads get shoved aside by pride and joy when our blossoming child bursts through the door, excited and elated.
It feels great to be the wind beneath their wings, instead of weighing them down. That weight IS anxiety.
So how can you get started? Easy:
1 – Find a friend who is willing to do this seemingly radical, actually totally developmentally normal, activity with you. (If you’d like to find other Let Grow families in your neighborhood, join Let Grow – it’s free – and use our Zip Code-enabled friend finder, also free.)
2 – Ask the kids what they’d like their activity to be. If they don’t have an idea, here's a list.
3 – Set a deadline to do it by one week from today.
4 – Do it! Meet up with your friend, pour a cup of coffee, and send the kids out together.
You and your friend give each other moral support, and it’s more fun for the kids, too. One reason kids DON’T run around outside is because when they look out the window, they don’t see anyone to play with.
Then, with your heart gladdened, do us a favor. Tell us your story! Go to the Facebook page, No More Helicopter Parenting – Let Grow Support Group and share your experience. Please share it on your own pages, too, with the tags @letgroworg and #letgrow. That will inspire more people to try it too.