Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire. - By Alison Gopnik - Slate Magazine

Dear TCS Friends:
I first read this article as a shared post from our beloved Teacher Cinda. It so speaks to what our staff at The Children's School tries everyday to foster in our young students that I wanted to share it with as many friends of our program as I could possibly reach. Please take a moment to click on the link below and read this research.
Thank you.

Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire. - By Alison Gopnik - Slate Magazine


Children Discuss Emergencies around the World

Art Linkletter, a CBS television personality when I was a kid, used to say "Kids say the darndest things!" And if you listen closely to our friends here at The Children's School, some of the "things" you might hear them say these days sound something like this:

An Earthquake Report by Gavin and Caleb in our Pre-K Class while sitting at the 911 Emergency Station in their classroom -
Gavin: We picked up an earthquake in Japan...
Caleb: An earthquake in Egypt and Japan!
Gavin: A really BIG one. If you look, you see hot lava coming up everywhere!
Caleb: Underwater volcanoes are exploding!
Gavin: It's really DANGEROUS! Cover your head.
Caleb: Hide somewhere so volcanic rock can't fall on you. Hide under your desk!

Our classrooms have phone stations accessible to the children all year round. These include a variety of phones, as well as keyboards. They can be used to call friends, or as 911 stations to pass on really important information to their community at large.

In a different area of the room, where children were looking at a globe of their world, our teachers were challenged to answer these questions from our students:
"Where is Seattle?" and then "Where is Japan?"
"What are the arrows for?" (they children were looking at currents denoted on the globe)
"What is the big word?" (It was Australia!)
"What happened in an earthquake?"
"What is the blue?" (looking at a line on the globe) "Is it light rail?"
"Why are there blue lines?"

And while looking at some of the other resources on earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes at this same resource table, these questions came up:
"What are the little dots on the volcanic rock?" (Rm. 341has actual volcanic rocks for the children to look at, hold and observe.)
"Why are there lines on the rock?"
"Where does the lava come from on Mt. Vesuvius?"
"Tell me about the trees in the tsunami water."

All of our teachers practice actively listening to your children as they make sense of their world through experiences such as these. It is a privilege to be present with your children as they explore and even explain what is around them.


Being Prepared at TCS

The Children's School revisits Emergency Preparedness regularly
throughout the year, and most recently at the March Teacher's Meeting. But with the recent events in Japan this past weekend, we thought we could remind ourselves what resources are at our disposal to do our own due diligence when it comes to "Being Prepared."

At the beginning of the school year, families receive a pink booklet entitled "The Children's School - Emergency Preparedness and
Safety Handbook." This booklet has several useful articles, checklists, and pointers for preparing your home, and your family for the unexpected.

One of the links here on our blog's front page is taken from that booklet: Your Role in The Children's School Emergency Preparedness Plan. This document contains a table that you can cut out. It is designed to cut in two, so that 2 household members can have easy access to information such as the school address, child's teacher's name and cell, etc. This is the kind of information that can go out of one's head when an emergency arises.

Another great resource is the website from King County on preparedness 3Days3Ways.

In order to truly be prepared, we must update records, update forms, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE our procedures.

With our media filled with images of earthquake and tsunami, we have extended this "practice" to include language. In the older classrooms only (M-F, MWF and Pre-K) there are now books, games and maps available to our children who are curious about some of language they may be hearing or images they may be seeing.
NOT ALL CHILDREN are interested in these resources. They are there for those who need/want to know more. These classroom resources include: "Tsunamis" by Luke Thompson; "Tsunami for Chile, Hawaii and Japan" - a USGS book; the "Ring of Fire" map; the globe; "Earthquakes" by David Newton; a map of Northern Japan from the 3/12/11 NY Times; the "EMERCENCY" take away game; and the TCS-created board game about fire and earthquake drills and emergencies. There is renewed interest and practice for the children at their "communication stations" where they send out emails, and dial "911" reporting emergencies and sending out for help.

We want to remind families that, as with all of our materials in the classrooms, the use of these materials in child-interest driven.