The first time I went to a playground in Berlin, I freaked. All the German parents were huddled together, drinking coffee, not paying attention to their children who were hanging off a wooden dragon 20 feet above a sand pit. Where were the piles of soft padded foam? The liability notices? The personal injury lawyers?
“Achtung! Nein!” I cried in my bad German. Both kids and parents ignored me.
Contrary to stereotypes, most German parents I’ve met are the opposite of strict. They place a high value on independence and responsibility. Those parents at the park weren’t ignoring their children; they were trusting them. Berlin doesn’t need a “free range parenting” movement because free range is the norm.
Here are a few surprising things Berlin parents do:
Don’t push reading. Berlin’s kindergartens or “kitas” don’t emphasize academics. In fact, teachers and other parents discouraged me from teaching my…
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They Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadgets. But is that good or bad news?
‘Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they “totally get” apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.
‘Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that 4- and 5-year-olds are smarter than college students when it comes to figuring out how toys and gadgets work.
‘So they recruited over 100 preschoolers — 4- and 5-year-old boys and girls — and brought them into the lab. The kids had to figure out how to turn on a music box that could be activated by placing clay shapes either individually or in combination on top of the box. After being shown a whole series of different shapes and…
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In a few weeks, the halls of a school in Nanuet, N.Y., will teem with mini race cars. The vehicles will sport custom-designed wheels, each set carefully tuned in diameter and thickness to achieve maximum speed.
But the cars’ makers aren’t college-level engineers; they’re middle-school students attempting to learn about physics and technology by using a device that combines both–the school’s 3-D printer. “It’s rewriting what’s possible” in education, says Vinny Garrison, the teacher who organizes the races.
It’s not the only innovation doing so. Nearly three-fourths of U.S. teachers use technology to motivate students to learn, according to a survey by PBS LearningMedia. And that tech is getting smarter: students can now virtually tour ancient worlds to learn history, take quizzes via smartphone and more.
Most of the changes are designed to better prepare U.S. students for careers in fast-growing fields like science and engineering. But they can come…
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This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.
1. Puncture Your Own Ego
Years ago, a journalist went undercover at several restaurants—one of them mine (Union Square Cafe)—with the aim of bribing the maître d’s to score a table. In his article, he wrote that my host had taken the cash. I was mortified and wanted to repair the damage. When I knew the writer would be at an upcoming industry function, I prepared myself. When we saw each other, I walked over and slipped him a $50 bill. He joked that he was keeping it, and then we had a great conversation, which ultimately led to a friendship. Getting defensive gets you nowhere with people. Instead, be willing to show humility and, above all, humor.
Danny Meyer is the owner of six restaurants in New York City and the author of Setting the Table.
2. Don’t Be…
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On March of 2014, The Huffington Post posted the article “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12”.
It has been proven that handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013), as I’ve already posted on my blog (Preschoolers More Digital-Smart than College Students), but there are also side-effects and negative points on the matter, some of which you can explore on these posts:
Is your Smartphone a Social Friend…or Foe?
Delayed Social Development Cost of Texting?
1. Rapid brain growth
2. Delayed Development
3. Epidemic Obesity
4. Sleep Deprivation
5. Mental Illness
7. Digital dementia
9. Radiation emission
10. Unsustainable future
Megan Egbert – a librarian, blogger and mom – answered the article with “10 Reasons Why I Will Continue Giving My Children Handheld Devices, and all other forms of technology as well“.
1. Because banning things never, ever, ever works
2. Problem solving
3. Technology skills
4. Expectations in school
6. Because I care about their brains
8. Balanced life
My personal opinion is that we need to be smart and have a critical posture about how (future) kids use technology, gadgets, social media and connect to the World Wide Web in general, since it was and has been continuously scientifically and psychologically proven that the new technology paradigm is affecting some manual, social and language skills.
Recent reports and studies show that nowadays young children and teens have less and less hobbies and extracurricular activities, preferring instead to “stay online”, consequently not getting enough exercise, outside activities, etc., some are even using tech to bully, exploit themselves, post horrible things anonymously, etc., a new kind of social interaction and social/digital (inter)relation on digital communities/groups that require further analysis and practical investigations. Nevertheless, parents and care takers need to stay vigilant about how their kids and young children use tech, new gadgets and get connected to the World Wide Web.