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Showing posts from April, 2018

More on Serve and Return

There's another great article from the Harvard Graduate School of Education about how adult responses to children’s gestures and verbal expressions (a.k.a. serve and return interactions) support healthy brain development by building the neural connections needed for strong communication and social skills. The article offers five simple ways to practice serve and return interactions:

1. Notice what grabs your child’s attention. Follow her eyeline, look where she is pointing, or focus on her sounds or facial expression to understand what interests her.
2. Respond with support. Use words, a gesture, or a facial expression to return your child’s “serve” and let him know that you’re interested in his thoughts or feelings.
3. Name it. Use words to name what your child is seeing, doing, or feeling. This helps even pre-verbal children build the foundation of language skills.
4. Keep it going, take turns. Give your child a chance to respond to your “return” and keep the back-and-forth going f…

Playground Risk

Last month the New York Times ran a feature about how educators and regulators in several European countries have begun to recognize the benefits of moderated risk in children's play. Both Britain and Australia have recently revised their playground safety standards with language that discusses the benefits of risky play. It's a complex legal topic and I recommend reading the full article for a better understanding, but ultimately these educators have recognized that the path through school to steady, lifelong employment is not as straightforward as it used to be. Children need risky play to develop creativity, resilience, and a confident self-image, and those are the skills that will make them successful in an unpredictable future job market and society.

Sarah has written before about how we allow children to experience risk in their play environments at MVS, and this is something that we all believe in. We create learning environments that are challenging and interesting fo…