Inspiring Hope Through Growing Trees

The New School in Canterbury partnering with the Earth Restoration Service



Click here to watch the inspiring little film.

In February, New School Canterbury will be working in partnership with the Earth Restoration Service to inspire schools across Kent and Waldorf schools across the UK to become Tree Nursaries.

Each school that takes part will care for 100 saplings until they are big and strong enough to be planted localy - creating community orachards and woodlands.


 


Earth Restoration Service

Our goal is to plant 50,000 trees and enough flowers to attract 20 million insects across 1,000 sites by World Earth Day in 2020.

Ecological restoration is widely used to reverse the environmental degradation caused by human activities such as deforestation, pollution and land use techniques that cause soil erosion, although different kinds of ecosystems recover at different rates.  ERS works in three major areas: creating new woodlands, river restoration, and the rehabilitation of wildflower meadows.

ERS’ approach is one of proactive collaboration with schools, community groups, other charities, businesses and government agencies to create a global alliance to address the challenge of regenerating the earth. 

Since they began, the ERS has served over 750 schools across the UK & further afield, planting over 60,000 new trees, and engaging 50,000 children & their local communities.

ERS offers free programs for schools in the UK.

Want to know more? Just click here.



 

Meadowbrook Waldorf School

In the early morning hours of Sunday, July 29, 2018, fire broke out at Meadowbrook Waldorf School in Richmond, Rhode Island. It is believed that the fire was caused by a lightning strike that also destroyed the electrical and telephone systems needed to activate the alarm and emergency response. Despite the efforts of 250 fire fighters from 22 towns, the building was a total loss.



Fast forward to January 2020 and things are on track for Meadowbrook students and teachers to be in their beautiful new building this spring.






Happy builders!


 


Want to Raise Successful Boys? Science Says Do This (but Their Schools Probably Won't)

Students--and especially boys--need hours of physical activity every day. They don't get enough because their schools won't let them.

By Bill Murphy Jr.



This is a story about successful kids (especially boys), common sense, and research.

Most of us spend hours each day sitting at work. Science says it's killing us, and we have developed all kinds of fads to combat it--from standing desks to smartphone alerts to get us up and moving.

Armed with that knowledge, however, what do we force our kids to do each day at school? Sit still, for six or eight hours.

Now researchers say that mistake leads us into a three-pronged, perfect storm of problems:

1. We overprotect kids, trying to keep them safe from all physical dangers--which ultimately increases their likelihood of real health issues.

2. We inhibit children's academic growth (especially among boys), because the lack of physical activity makes it harder for them to concentrate.

3. When they fail to conform quietly to this low-energy paradigm, we over-diagnose or even punish kids for reacting the way they're naturally built to react.

Start with the boys.

News flash: Most boys are rambunctious. Often they seem like they're in a constant state of motion: running, jumping, fighting, playing, getting hurt--maybe getting upset--and getting right back into the physical action.

Except at school, where they're required to sit still for long periods of time. (And when they fail to stay still, how are they punished? Often by being forced to skip recess--and thus they sit still longer.)

It's not just an American issue. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland recently tried to document whether boys actually achieve less in school when they're restricted from running around and being physically active.

They studied 153 kids, aged 6 to 8, and tracked how much physical activity and sedentary time they had during the day. Sure enough, according to a report by Belinda Luscombe in Time, the less "moderate to vigorous physical activity" the boys had each day, the harder it was for them to develop good reading skills:

The more time kids ... spent sitting and the less time they spent being physically active, the fewer gains they made in reading in the two following years. [It] also had a negative impact on their ability to do math.

The results didn't apply to girls. I know that sounds sexist; the researchers offered a few possible explanations. Maybe there simply are physiological differences--or maybe the girls were just as eager to move around as the boys, but they were better able to set aside that disappointment and concentrate.

And for that reason, other researchers say, girls are rewarded more than boys in the classroom.

"Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools," says psychologist Michael Thompson. "Boys are treated like defective girls."

A dystopian, scaredy-cat world.

It's not just about less academic achievement, however. Many observers and researchers now say limited physical activity leads to real physical and mental harm in kids--even in the short term, before they've grown up.

Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, interviewed young kids to ask them what recess and play are like in the second decade of the 21st century. Their descriptions sound like a dystopian vision of a scaredy-cat future:

"We have monkey bars, but we aren't allowed to go upside down on them. They think we are going to hurt ourselves. I think I'm old enough to try going upside down."

"We have woods, but can't go anywhere near them. It's too dangerous."

"When it snows, we can't touch it with our foot, or we have to stand by the teacher for the rest of recess."

Restricting kids' movement like this leads them to increased anger and frustration, less ability to regulate emotions, and higher aggressiveness during the limited times they are allowed to play, Hanscom writes. "Elementary children need at least three hours of active free play a day to maintain good health and wellness. Currently, they are only getting a fraction."

Expanding the definition.

You probably know that ADHD diagnoses in kids are more likely now than they were in years past, but you might not realize that the number of diagnoses is still rising--and at an alarming rate.

In 2003, for example, it was diagnosed in about 7.8 percent of kids, but that rose to 9.5 percent in 2007 and 11 percent in 2011. That's a 40 percent increase in eight years.

Why? For one thing, we've changed the definition of ADHD to make it more expansive. Many critics argue it's also because of the pharmaceutical industry, since the leading treatment for ADHD is use of the prescription drug Ritalin.

And Hanscom, in a separate article, says it's also because we're forcing kids to sit still longer--and they're simply reacting as nature intended.

"Recess times have shortened due to increasing educational demands, and children rarely play outdoors," she writes. "Lets face it: Children are not nearly moving enough, and it is really starting to become a problem."

Misaligned incentives.

Of course, these are complicated issues. Nobody wants kids to fail or develop health problems. But given the trends in science and research, why won't more schools at least experiment with including more recess and physical activity in their schedule?

The most commonly cited explanations are both simple and frustrating. Last year, for example, the New Jersey state legislature passed a law requiring public schools to include at least 20 minutes of recess each day--but the governor vetoed it, calling it a "stupid" idea.

Another big adversary is standardized testing, because the time required to prepare for and take tests has to come from somewhere. ("When we have standardized testing, we don't get recess," said one of the students Hansom interviewed. "The teachers give us chewing gum to help us concentrate on those days.")

There is also simple inertia. It's much easier to control a classroom in which the kids have to sit quietly than one where you allow for a little bit of managed chaos. Nobody judges teachers by whether they gave kids enough recess during the day.

And as long as we have overly protective helicopter parents, there will always be fear of liability issues. My free e-book, How to Raise Successful Kids, has more insights and advice on parenting.

Play around a bit.

There are a few signs of hope. An elementary school in Texas began working four recess periods per day for each child into its schedule, for example. That was a big enough story to make the national news.

Result? Students are "less fidgety and more focused," one teacher said. They "listen more attentively, follow directions, and try to solve problems on their own instead of coming to the teacher to fix everything."

But this approach is the exception to the rule. Until schools figure out how to incorporate lots of movement and play into their schedules, it will be up to parents to compensate.

So set a good example with your own physical activity, and maybe side with your son (or daughter) if he or she gets in trouble for moving too much at school.

Hanscom reminds us of the stakes: "In order for children to learn, they need to be able to pay attention. In order for them to pay attention, we need to let them move."

from inc.com




























 

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The Most Powerful Family Ritual?
The Bedtime 
Story


By Mike Morrison

There is simply nothing more powerful than the bedtime story—especially in this age of continuous screen time. As we go deeper into the discussion, we start to see how the bedtime story is the perfect ending to the day. So let’s rethink and reclaim this special decompression time for both parent and child.

It is not just something we are doing for our kids—the benefits accrue to us as well. We don’t just read to our kids, we read with our kids. Here are five reasons why the bedtime story is the most powerful family ritual:

End-of-day closure

The bedtime story can symbolically represent a closure point in our continuous, always-on, and endless days. Even our kids, as they enter grade school, are starting to feel pressures of a 24/7 world. Together we can start to wind down, letting go of the anxieties that can fill a day.

For our kids, bathing, teeth brushing, and pajamas starts the slow-down process. For us parents, it is also important that we fully shift our attention and presence to this special time—treating it as uninterrupted, sacred space (leaving our device outside the room!).

Feeling safe & secure

There is probably no safer or secure feeling than to be snuggled with a parent—listening to their comforting voice. Bonding is magnified as a special story transports us to a world of possibility. Also, stress levels start to lower for both parent and child as a softer energy starts to surround us. To have this loving ritual repeated night after night promotes an unconditional love that protects our little ones from the inevitable feelings of vulnerability that define the human experience.

Healthy sleeping & better dreaming

Sleep specialists reveal how bedtime stories can help both child and parent get a good night sleep. It makes total sense. The loving voice tones of the parent can also create strong associations with sleep—slowing the brain down—and helping the child to let go of the day. As our young ones enter deeper sleep after storytelling, the brain continues to “play with” this new information—imprinting the feelings, images and story patterns that have been heard.

In other words, the powerful subconscious continues to do its magic as the child sleeps, setting the foundation to positively enter the next day.

Engaging the imagination

Bedtime stories are one of the best ways to stimulate a child’s imagination. Research reveals that reading a story is completely different than watching a TV show or movie. Listening to a story requires a more active participation as they use their mind to visualize what is happening and to think about what choices they would make if they were the character. These new ideas inspire our kids to imagine new realities and identities for themselves. Their favorite stories start to positively shape their own life story.

Connecting & empathizing

Just as stories help our kids create their sense of self, they also help them to empathize with others. Our young ones can find comfort in relating to a character in a story who is going through a similar challenge—whether it is a best friend moving away or the loss of a pet. Not surprisingly, stories can help our kids find the courage (and scripting) to deal with things that seemed too far out of their experience.

For children in uncertain circumstances (like divorce or loss of a family member), a bedtime story can help them to start shaping a new reality. Still, the most precious forms of connection that bedtime stories facilitate is that between parent and child—one of the most powerful predictors of success and happiness in life for our kids.

Sweet dreams to your little one!

From redtri.com

 
 

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