Showing posts from April, 2012

Screen Time Limits Ensure Better Early Childhood Growth & Development

Our children are growing up in a technological world.  Everywhere we look there are screens – television, computers, video games, tablets, smart phones.  Most technology related businesses spend a great deal of time marketing educational activities to parents.  They claim that your children can learn a great deal from spending time in front of screens with educational programming, games and software.  They do not, however, inform you that research is increasingly proving that screen time is detrimental to early childhood development and growth.
Just as preschools try to lure people with technology, the State of New Jersey has proposed regulations for early childhood centers significantly limiting screen time – and well they should.  As far back as 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published recommendations regarding screen time.  The Academy recommends no screen time for infants and toddlers.  They recommend that preschool age children and older should have a maximum of tw…

Part 2: Burnout Among Young Learners – Early Childhood and Over-Scheduling

Note: This is the second installment of a two part series. Read the first part on this blog.
Enrollment isn’t a term used solely by schools anymore.  It seems like everyone wants to enroll young children in something – dance, music, swimming, drama, organized sports, art.  The list is endless.  The number of organized activities available for children as young as toddlers is startling.  They run from one place to another all day long with little or no downtime.    Children as young as toddlers have schedules that look more like adult calendars that that of 2 year olds.  It is no wonder that this over-scheduling is a contributing factor to the burn out that we are seeing in elementary school students. 
What happens to these over-scheduled preschool and elementary school students?  According to Alvin Rosenfeld, MD, former head of child psychiatry at Stanford University and author of The Over-Scheduled Child, “"By the time they reach high school, they are bored and burned out… thei…

Part 1 - Burnout Among Young Learners – Early Childhood and Academics

A friend recently emailed an article to me that he thought I would find interesting.  The article was about overachieving students and their rate of burnout.  I immediately thought of my college age son who is double concentrating within his major and, therefore, overloading on credits.  I also thought of my high school age son who is cringing at the thought of PSAT, SAT and college application time.  I began reading the article and discovered that it didn’t apply to either of my children.  It was, in fact, about overachieving elementary school students and their rate of burnout by the 5th grade. 
What are we doing to our children?  According a 2006 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Parents are receiving carefully marketed messages that good parents expose their children to every opportunity to excel ... and ensure their children participate in a wide variety of activities.”  The pressure to have children excel has only increased in the past 5 years.
As an early child…

Do Your Rules Make Sense?

Children live in a world in which they often have little control.  Rules abound.  Some rules are for their safety.  Some are to ensure good health.  Rules can be the only thing standing between us and utter chaos.  Sometimes, however, rules we impose on children have no real purpose and impede their creativity.  As the Director of Schools at Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, it is my job to determine which rules are important and which rules make no sense.  Think about what we impose on children when we say:
“Don’t mix the Play Doh.”  - Why?  Why can’t children mix the Play Doh?  For some reason, adults have decided that the Play Doh must stay segregated – one color per can.  After all, if we mix it how will we know which lid to put on the can?  Think about how much children learn when they mix the Play Doh.  They learn that when you combine colors, you get a different color.  They learn that the consistency won’t change even though the color does.  At The …