Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recess getting some respect!

Colombia, Mud
The opening line from Tara Parker-Pope's article says it all: "The best way to improve children’s performance in the classroom may be to take them out of it."

Not only can kids perform better with more breaks (unstructured time outdoors), but they learn while playing.

If I had only kept track of all the parents, teachers and administrators that have given me excuses as to why there isn't more recess.....read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/health/24well.html

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Al Gore and Global Warming

Colombia, Mud
Last night, in Chicago, Al Gore gave another one of his slide shows. This time it was to an enormous crowd of scientists (and at least one person who struggled with high school chemistry). The pictures and graphs painted a gloomy scenario—unless we change our ways and change them fast. Al did ask each and every member of the audience to get involved in policy, but didn't take questions....

Despite a small percentage of fringe "scientists" who still sow doubts in the media, the debate is over—the climate is changing. The "scientists" in doubt are of the same lineage of scientists who in the 16th century clung to the idea the earth was flat and the sun revolved around us.

We're all busy, and to make matters worse the economy is in a tailspin. Do we have to become 'sustainable' too? There is already to much on my to-do list? Can we put off making another sacrifice?

Our solution lies in NATURE. GDP may take a hit in the short-term, but we can improve quality of life in the near-term and over the long-haul.

1.We adults need time away from the grind. Take a break and get outside with the kids.

2.Children need unstructured outdoor activity for healthy childhood development. Just like they need food and water, they need time to wander, wonder and explore with the world they're connected with. It's in our genes and part of who we are. Plenty of research says it also leads to happier and smarter kids.

A fantastic resource: http://www.naturehour.org

3.Nature will show us a better way. I'm not talking about going back to nature, but, rather, the end of the industrial revolution into a smarter way to live. Waste and pollution may have been OK 200 years ago when we were short labor and long natural resource, but if we want innovation and job growth we'll cut taxes on labor and put a price on pollution. Our consumption economy faces a dead-end future unless we redesign what we consume. Imagine a world without landfills and as the children of the world redesign this future, save money by becoming more efficient

Over and Out,
Green Sugar :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Making the world a better place, and having fun doing it.

Colombia, Mud
A beautiful poem and worth thinking about
when living your life— or influencing children.
And chances are, you're influencing children
more than you realize.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dirt is good for you!

Colombia, Mud
After becoming mildly depressed reading of continued corporate welfare in the Wall Street Journal, I checked the NY Times for something good. I hit gold in the Personal Health section with an article on dirt! While it stops short of advocating adding dirt to the dinner table, the author points out there are as many negatives associated with being too clean as there are with being too dirty. In sum: letting kids explore is necessary for healthy childhood development!

HEALTH | January 27, 2009
Personal Health: Babies Know: A Little Dirt Is Good for You

Since all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage or they would not have been retained for millions of years, chances are that this one too has helped us survive as a species. And, indeed, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you.