As the new school year begins, let us connect children to the wonders of earth. Join me in broadening and strengthening their understanding of nature with these fun activities. Subscriptions are free, and the effects are priceless.
Introducing Lessons to Grow By!
Lessons to Grow By is a FREE four-month program of weekly garden-themed lessons and activities for caregivers teaching at home, or for educators instructing via distance learning. These fun, engaging adventures will be grouped around a monthly theme, featuring three hands-on activities for kids each week with supplemental suggested reading, videos, and more. Lessons to Grow By is aimed at learners in grades 3-5, but the activities can easily be adapted for younger or older audiences.
Lessons to Grow By launches August 31 and is only available by subscription. Subscribe to Lessons to Grow ByWant a sneak peek of what’s to come? Our educators have carefully chosen the following monthly themes:
September:Pollinators Explore the intricate relationship between pollinators and flowering plants and the important role they play in our world.
October:Plant Parts Take an in depth look at plant parts as we explore these amazing green organisms.
November:Ecosystems Learn about the complex web of life above and below ground and how we all come together to live in our ecosystem.
December:Sensory Exploration End the year on a fun note by using our senses to explore plants in the garden and in the kitchen. Subscribe today!Have a friend or colleague who might be interested? Share here!Copyright © 2020 Kidsgardening.org, All rights reserved.
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As all things American, the use of Intelligent Quotient (IQ) testing during the early part of the 20th century was used to categorize individuals based on their intelligence, or more specifically, on the scores revealed by such testing. In the advent, IQ scores were used in the military for the purpose of identifying individuals and their particular competences in job placement with in the varied roles at the time. In later years, the IQ tests were used to leverage the position of the Eugenics movement, which held the idea society and prosperity could only rise for particular “stocks” otherwise known as race. The use of the IQ test during this period gave rise to the assumption that persons challenged with socio economic status and race, particularly of African descent could not be educated because of some biological trait only found within these populations. As erroneous and embarrassing as these theories are, they provided a gateway for the inception of court ordered sterilization of persons deemed by society as being developmentally disabled, feebleminded, and incapable of intellect (Bouche & Rivard, 2014).
Fortunately for us, America has moved away from such practices, some which have been deemed unconstitutional, such as administering an IQ test to imprisoned persons burdened with intellectual disabilities, and of course forced sterilization. Current uses of the IQ tests perform well to identify that may need additional services for learning, but the test itself may not be particularly relevant in identifying domains where learning and healthy development may not occur. Additionally, the Flynn Effect has evidenced that IQ test scores change over time and through generations, suggesting increased literacy, technological advances for education enable a broader audience to score higher than that of previous eras (Berger, 2016). To further evaluate the efficacy and utility of intelligence testing within the Flynn effect, we need to account for the increased availability of educational resources, knowledge of nutrition and the increase in services that provide for the underserved populations, as well as other environmental services that promote more abstract thinking in problem resolution.
When thinking of the child as the product of all of its parts, then we can surely understand that the ability to score well in testing is also a product of the society that rears him. With these inclusions we are more equipped to understand Sternberg’ (1985, 2011) inscription of three general intelligences; analytic, creative, and practical (Berger, 2016, Chapter 11). Brain scans have the ability to further measure aptitude in providing real time activity in the brain, however; scans only reveal activity at the time of the scan and cannot determine or correlate with IQ test scores. Brain scans identify localized hubs which suggest that the different areas have specific utility for developing intelligence through different experiences.
In essence, IQ testing or intelligence assessment tools inform us within the boundaries of the questions and reactions to the particular inclusions of the assessment. They cannot fully generate a prognosis for future intelligence nor can they accurately gauge how experiences are processed within each individual child, emotion, self perception, and time of day notwithstanding. Many of the developed nations use IQ assessment tools in order to collect information about the community’s performance and most importantly for the opportunity to express the needs of particular areas. The following chart allows us to see where intelligence assessment tools are used, however; it is more specific a representation in respect to the Flynn Effect, as where intelligence based on IQ scores, continues to improve over time and dependent on the time the testing were initiated in the particular region (Nagby, n.d.). The different dates of initiation also give to the understanding that many countries may have had less availability for technology and literacy.
To reiterate, these measures are indicative of available data provided through research and do not measure the entire population, nor does it imply that the same assessment or score values were used. Additionally, assessments for children are different than for adults, however, each may cover different areas such as aptitude, which does not render an accurate view of the examined (Nagby,n.d.) . If nothing else, the data that comes out of assessments a sure indicators that the world is moving in the right direction towards making the health of our children a product of the competencies within their societies.
Berger, K., S. (2016). The Developing Childhood. (7th Ed). Worth Publisher.
Bouche, T., & Rivard, L. (2014). Genetics Generation: America’s Hidden History. https://www.nature.com/scitable/forums/genetics-generation/america-s-hidden-history-the-eugenics-movement-123919444/
Nagby, M. (n.d.). Intelligence. https://ourworldindata.org/intelligence
Stress is one of those double edged swords. It is a great evolutionary response that triggers the fight or flight mechanism in the brain. It keeps us in tune for dangers in unfamiliar settings and situations. It exaggerates happy emotions of surprise, and of the nervous anticipation of things to come. Unfortunately, stress in large doses is toxic. Gestational women can flood their unborn babies with high levels of stress hormones, that can often lead to premature deliveries and sadly, miscarriages. Infants experiencing long term stress are prone to maladaptive brain functions, cognitive, social and emotional issues, some which may prevail well into adulthood, and others that cause permanent damage. We must shield ourselves from the influence of stress with protective factors, and coping skills that will help to manage difficult situations, even those that are out of our control.
Gardening is my relaxation therapy (no surprise there). But no matter where I am, or what I am doing, I take the time to immerse myself in the language of nature. Laying on the lawn and just staring at the sky gives my brain just enough of a break to recenter. At home, I use a kiddie pool, tropical plants, a beach chair and an umbrella to unwind while sipping on a fruit smoothie and collect my thoughts. Find your favorite relaxation music and allow yourself a break. I like walking near water, and I often take a moment to feel the currents on my toes. Whether you are a garden enthusiast or just enjoy the organized chaos in the wild, take time to breath and what better place than to be surrounded by the thing that produces an unadulterated abundance of oxygen.
There is no need for me to lecture anyone or bring up statistics about the effects of malnutrition. It is a sad, painful and pervasive reality for too many families right here in the land of riches and opportunities. Many organizations and generous contributors do what they can to provide food and monetary donations to help less fortunate individuals and families. However; despite all the efforts, many children and families are malnourished. Taking an initiative to plant a vegetable garden at a community playground is a wonderful opportunity to inform curious bystanders of what you are doing and invite them to join. So imagine my excitement when I came across an organization that was doing this very thing at a national level. I came across KidsGardening.org , an organization that promotes wellness through gardening. Resources in this site are free to use, and subscribing gains you free activities to try with young children. Not only is gardening a fun way for children to interact, but it also promotes social skills, patience, positive self esteem, interest in our environment and gives them the power to grow foods for consumption. Rather than bogging you down with my biased opinions, I prefer to let you make your own determination of this program and hope you will explore the contents offered. What I will say is that organizations partnering with kidsgardening.org report an increase in student nutritional attitudes among other important statistics. Giving children the power to change or even brighten their world view from the garden will have a long lasting effect for positive growth and positive industry.
My pregnancy experiences were well within the context of western laboring practices of birthing in a medical setting, with competent teams to render aid and monitor wellness. Though my idea was to have vaginal birth, my first child was birthed through emergency C-section, due to the length of dry labor and its impact on the unborn child. Further, I must add that my frame was far too small to push the almost 10 pound baby out into the world. Four years later, the second child provided another opportunity to experience the beautiful natural birthing process, however; complications from medical issues and infections prompted a medical decision for a scheduled C-section. A year later, yet another opportunity presented itself. This time, with added care from a multidisciplinary team, I was finally able to experience the complexities and joys from a natural birth. Yes birthing is painful, but since pain holds no memory, the only experience is the overwhelming feeling of joy and awe to be able to bring a life into the world.
Three births; three different birthing methods. The only commonality was the level of attention placed in the different developmental stages of fetal growth. Proper nutrition and exercise, continual medical prenatal care and self care allowed me to carry my pregnancies to term.
My previous educational accomplishment lent to the understanding of early childhood in terms of the stages and critical points at which physical and emotional development occurs and of pervasive issues that compromise wellness. Keeping my focus in the heart, I address family as the central point from which children evolve and grow. The ideals and principles presented in the Division of Early Childhood (2000) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (2005) align with my sentiments for a family oriented method of educating and promoting overall wellness. The field of Early Childhood is community that engages the laden issues that befall our children and all families, one child and one family at a time. In psychological terms, this equates to the Rogerian Person Centered Approach I learned through a serendipitous engagement in case management (McLeod, 2019). Being person centered changes the dynamics of engagement and inclusion, which launches us to use current strengths, knowledge and resources that can effectively and positively allow for growth. Being person centered, or family centered, allows us the opportunity to be learners. It provides for real focus, and real issues, that may get clouded with a universal blanket. These principles and ideals help us make better choices, and keep us focused on the collective goal. I have put myself at the chopping block many times in the desire to communicate researched and evidence based initiatives that can be applied to the everyday, if we just took the time to listen. Children are the most valuable source of information because we learn to see the world from their limited perspective. Included in Gremi’s Garden blog (http://blogging-for-good.com), the following ideals and principles are words to live by.
From The Division for Early Childhood. (2000). . http://www.dec-sped.org
Enhancement of Children’s and Families’ Quality of Lives Section III #3
“We shall recognize and respect the dignity, diversity, and autonomy of the families and children we serve.”
Responsive Family Centered Practices Section III #1
“We shall demonstrate our respect and appreciation for all families’ beliefs, values, customs, languages, and culture relative to their nurturance and support of their children toward achieving meaningful and relevant priorities and outcomes families’ desire for themselves and their children.”
From NAEYC (2005). https://www.naeyc.org/resources/position-statements/ethical- conduct
Section I Ethical responsibility to children.
I-1.1—To be familiar with the knowledge base of early childhood care and education and to stay informed through continuing education and training.
I-1.3—To recognize and respect the unique qualities, abilities, and potential of each child.
Section II Ethical Responsibility to families
I-2.4—To listen to families, acknowledge and build upon their strengths and competencies, and learn from families as we support them in their task of nurturing children.
“Early Childhood” is more than just a developmental stage or part of a job title. It is a leap of faith: that we are making a difference in the lives of young children when many of the results of our hard work may not become apparent until long after we may be forgotten. “Early Childhood,” […]Zen and the Art of Early Childhood Education