I was once asked during a presentation for a parent’s group what it is that preschoolers need most to prepare them academically.
As another year gets ready to close, I’ve been spending a little time reflecting. 2016 has had plenty of turbulence, but there’ve been some great things going on here at Not Just Cute and some exciting things to look forward to in the year to come. I’m so grateful to have some of the best readers to be found on the internet, and I’m thrilled to have you with me for the adventures up ahead. [Read more…]
A few years ago, the Gesell Institute, named for developmental pioneer Dr. Arnold Gesell, decided to test the premise that kids today develop more quickly than they used to. They took the developmental norms established by the work of Dr. Gesell in the 1940s and launched a three year study concluding in 2010 to gauge whether or not the same framework still holds up. What they found, of course, is that even over the span of decades, the developmental norms remain the same.
The idea of guiding a large group of children can send some adults into a cold-sweat panic. What they may have envisioned as an idyllic reading of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” or a thoughtful conversation about the life cycle of the butterfly begins to look more like a full-scale mutiny as serene children on the rug bounce around like popcorn kernels and contribute thoughts to the group discussion that range from what they did on Wednesday (“or maybe that one other day that wasn’t yesterday but wasn’t a long, long time ago…..”), to the dead frog discovered in their driveway, and on to an impromptu performance of a funny commercial they saw this morning.
I don’t remember what it was that set him off in the first place. But he had passed annoyed and had clearly moved on to angry.
“I left a baby gift for you on your doorstep. It’s the perfect thing for a mom with four boys.”
My friend mentioned this to me casually as we both worked in our neighbor’s kitchen, preparing refreshments for a wedding.
The “impulsive three-year old” section of my brain wanted to drop what I was doing and immediately run next door to tear open this gift. What could possibly be the perfect baby gift for a mom who had just had her fourth boy? It was even more intriguing to me because this friend is an amazing mom herself. She has seven children, and while I’m sure she has stories that would contradict my accounting, every one of them always seems so well-behaved, so kind, so creative, so smart, and so sweet. She certainly knows a thing or two about motherhood, and so I hoped that this gift was some secret of the trade. A talisman from my Jedi master.
The “responsible adult” section of my brain won out, and I helped out with food for a few more hours before making my way home to find a small wrapped box on my doorstep. I slid my fingers through the tape and pulled out the box.
And started laughing immediately.
Here’s a look at what I found inside:
That binky. I laughed because it was hilarious, but I also laughed at myself for thinking the gift would be so serious. [Read more…]
You know that famous scene in The Princess Bride, when the legendary Spanish swordsman, Inigo Montoya, says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, my brother’s room was a shrine to Michael Jordan. After I came home one day, devastated about missing out on a part for a children’s theater production, I was taken by my brother to his display. He pointed at one of his favorite posters.
The topic of “testing” gets a very passionate response from educators (and parents), and not usually a very good one. But ask them about assessments, and you’re likely to get a very different response. It may be a matter of semantics, but the underlying cause is not something to consider lightly.