Sense of Place: Winter Stillness

Think about this:

What activities or hobbies are you interested in pursuing during the winter months? Have these interests changed over the years? Why?

How can you incorporate a mindful practice into your daily winter routine? How does the stillness of winter support a meditation practice?

What types of skill sharing do you think happened in early New England during the winter months?  What pastimes or skills were passed down from generation to generation?

When was cursive handwriting first developed? Is it still taught in school?

How much was the first postage stamp in the United States? What is the origin and history behind the postage stamp?


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

 

New CCFC Guide to Help Early Educators Navigate Digital World

Facing the Screen Dilemma Separates Hype
From What Children Really Need

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood:

“Early childhood educators face increasing pressure to incorporate screens into their classrooms,” said CCFC’s director, Dr. Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe. “The sheer volume of screen technologies marketed as educational, and even essential, for young children is overwhelming. It’s crucial to separate the hype from what research tells us young children really need.”

Smart boards. Smartphones. Tablets. E-books, apps and more. The rapid influx of new screen devices and software poses a special challenge for the early childhood community. A unique offering from Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Alliance for Childhood, and Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) provides help and support for childhood educators grappling with how best to support young children’s growth, development and learning in a world radically changed by technology. Packed with relevant research and practical tips, Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young children, technology and early education is the first guide designed to help early educators make informed decisions about whether, why, how, and when to use screen technologies with young children.

Facing the Screen Dilemma arrives at a time of heightened concerns about the amount of time children spend with screen media. New technologies haven’t replaced older ones; kids use digital games and apps in addition to television and video, not instead of them. Time spent with screen media is at record highs for children of all ages. And excessive screen time is linked to childhood obesity, sleep disturbance, and poor school performance. Two brand new surveys from the Pew Internet and American Life Project and Common Sense Media highlight widespread concern among teachers that children’s constant use of digital technology hampers attention span and the ability to complete difficult tasks.

In addition to a much-needed overview of the research on young children and screen time, Facing the Screen Dilemma offers practical considerations and concrete advice for centers using screen technologies, as well as support for centers resisting pressure to abandon screen-free policies.

“Keeping an early childhood environment screen-free is a valid and pedagogically sound choice,” said the Alliance for Childhood’s Joan Almon. “Developing children thrive when they are talked to, read to, played with and given time for creative play, physically active play, and interactions with other children and adults. It’s really OK to say the iPad can wait.”

For all early childhood programs, Facing the Screen Dilemma recommends screen-free settings for children under 2. The guide encourages educators to work closely with parents around technology issues and to understand how children’s exposure to screens at home affects classroom performance and behaviors.

“Educators using screens with young children should be intentional about their choices and determine beforehand exactly how a given technology will expand or enhance classroom goals for children,” said Professor Diane Levin of TRUCE and Wheelock College. “It’s important to choose screen activities carefully, establish rules and routines for their use, and provide clear boundaries so that screen time doesn’t crowd out vital classroom activities.”

Facing the Screen Dilemma can be found at http://commercialfreechildhood.org/screendilemma.

Cyberbullying Toolkit for Teachers

Common Sense Media
Cyberbullying Toolkit for Educators

Common Sense Media has developed a Cyberbullying Toolkit for educators!  The curriculum is adaptable for all ages, elementary through high school, and can be used in any educational context to teach kids about identifying and standing up against cyberbullying.  Teaching kids how about this topic helps to foster positive learning environments and healthy social interactions.  Their website also offers resources specifically for kids and teens, too!  The curriculum and resources are available at www.commonsensemedia.org.

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