Encourage Exploration and Creativity
8 years ago
Montessori Methodology, Math, Language, Sensorial, Practical Life, Book Reviews, Homeschool...
...Studies dating to the 1940s indicate that blocks help children absorb basic math concepts. One published in 2001 tracked 37 preschoolers and found that those who had more sophisticated block play got better math grades and standardized test scores in high school. And a 2007 study by Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, found that those with block experience scored significantly better on language acquisition tests.
But perhaps the hottest pitch of late, particularly to high-stress, high-strung New York City parents, is that blocks can build the 21st-century skills essential to success in corporate America.
1. Children who eat more French fries than asparagus reverse letters while learning to read and mice fed trans fatty acids struggle through a maze with reversal learning disabilities.
2. Children who come to school eating breakfast “on the run” are full of added sugar while scientists have identified a child’s physiological response to sugar to be 10 times that of an adult.
3. Glow-in-the-dark confections line bakery shelves while studies indicate irritability and restlessness in children who eat tartrazine (yellow food dye #5) and laboratory mice fed red food
dye are spawning offspring with chromosomal damage.
4. Infants from all socioeconomic backgrounds are being born malnourished and scientists have identified fetal adipose tissue programmed for later “catch up” obesity, putting them at risk for
5. Babies are born deformed, with preventable mental disorders or low birth weight (with a high risk of brain damage), and researchers consistently identify maternal deficiencies of vital nutrients from whole unprocessed foods (born of the earth and sea).
6. Fetuses are growing from embryonic cells that will genetically predispose them to DNA damage while oncology researchers are discovering the protective effect that 12 servings of fruits and
vegetables a day (in utero and until the age of two) have against infant and childhood cancers.
Some little learners never make it to preschool. Others make it into preschool and turn into bigger learners who join the rising numbers of learning-disabled children embedded in special education
According to the 2003 Summary of Health Statistics for US children, learning disabilities are amassing diagnostic numbers close to 5 million annually. (Did I mention that reading failure plagues 80% of the learning disabled?) Autism is now reaching epidemic proportions.
"A nunatak on the edge of the polar plateau with a moraine of glacial sediment trailing down one side."
Credit: Jeff Vervoort
"Like most other insects, the honey bee (Apis mellifera) has compound eyes - hundreds of single eyes (called ommatidia) arranged next to each other, each with its own lens and each looking in a different direction. This does not mean, however, that the bee sees lots of little pictures, as each ommatidium sees only one intensity, contributing a 'pixel' to the overall image perceived by the compound eye, just like a single photoreceptor in the retina of our own eye."
As Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist, says: “We don’t really care about test scores. We care about adult outcomes.”
Early this year, Mr. Chetty and five other researchers set out to fill this void. They examined the life paths of almost 12,000 children who had been part of a well-known education experiment in Tennessee in the 1980s. The children are now about 30, well started on their adult lives.
Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.
All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too.
"Very early learners also wear what they have eaten or not eaten into their classroom or life's experience.
I have stumbled into this awareness after many years of observing uncharacteristic behavioral changes in some children from one day, sometimes one minute to the next!
Why did Wyatt who normally is well mannered at the lunch table suddenly become a loud, kick your neighbor kind of a child? And how could good natured, Maxie transform into a grumpy, aggressive bully twenty minutes after arriving to school?
The coup de grace unfolded one day when exceptionally focused, even-tempered Ellen came to school portraying an easily distractible, hysterical child who couldn't follow the simplest of directions. I began to ask myself, Are little children just naturally moody and unreasonable? Is their educability just a crapshoot dependent on the barometric pressure or the day of the week? Thoroughly confused and exhausted I decided to do a little investigating. Through lunchbox analysis, persistent cross examinations of parents, and consults with local nutritional gurus it became evident that diet could be playing a significant role in this inexplicable emotional drama playing out before my tired eyes and body. My grandmother was right. As trite as it seemed at the time, we truly are what we eat"
WHY DO LARGE THINGS RISE TO THE TOP? Shaking grains of different sizes in a container creates large-scale flow patterns which are responsible for separating the grains by size, new experiments have shown. An important problem in industry has been to determine why, when one shakes a pile of sand, mixed nuts, or other granular material in a container, the larger particles end up on top and the smaller ones wind up on the bottom. New experiments, performed by Sidney R. Nagel (312-702-7190) and his colleagues at the University of Chicago, uncover a previously unsuspected mechanism: the separation is caused by large-scale flow patterns, or "convection," in the grains. The researchers studied the rise of a single large glass bead through a vibrating cylinder filled with smaller beads. They found that the large bead, once it had reached the top of the pile, was unable to follow the convection cycle through a very narrow region of downward motion along the walls of the container. The researchers discovered that container boundaries play an important role in the convective process that leads to separation. (James B. Knight et al., Phys. Rev. Lett., 14 June 1993.)