Tagged “Early Childhood Education”

Healthy School Communities

Health and Learning News and Updates


From Zero-Tolerance Policies to Positive Behavior Support Director of Healthy School Communities Sean Slade blogs about the need to reevaluate zero-tolerance policies and emphasize counseling for students exhibiting behavior problems in school. (www.washingtonpost.com, 6/15)

School Is Over, but Meals Continue In Michigan, one of many states operating the Summer Food Service Program, low-income children continue to have access to free, well-balanced meals in the areas where they live throughout the summer. The Michigan state program has served, on average, over 2 million children for the past few years. (www.hollandsentinel.com, 6/26)

School Lunches up for Debate in Congress Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH) are both seeking support from their congressional colleagues to support their stance on the new USDA nutritional regulations that affect meals served in schools. Rep. Woolsey supports a review of the bill to include language that supports improved nutritional guidelines, while Rep. Schmidt says that regulating the nutritional quality of school meals to an improved standard would increase states' financial burden. (www.thehill.com, 6/15)


Healthy Steps for Healthy Lives The National Education Association (a Whole Child Partner) Health Information Network (NEA HIN) has released new health education lesson plans for K–3 educators. Healthy Steps for Healthy Lives, developed by NEA HIN and the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Program, teaches fundamental nutrition and physical activity concepts. Contact Rita Henderson at Nestlé USA for free printed materials.

New Curricular Assessment Tool Available The Center for Relationship Education is offering a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved curriculum analysis tool, called the SMARTool (Systematic Method for Assessing Risk-avoidance curricula Tool), to assess school programs for subjects such as sexual or reproductive health, risk reduction, risk avoidance, or comprehensive life skills. The tool will assess how closely aligned programs are to data on protective factors against adolescent involvement in early sexual activity. Please contact the Joneen Mackenzie for more information. (Comprehensive Health Education Network (CHEN) Listserv, 6/23)

Take Action

Partnerships to Expand Protective Factors for Children in Child Welfare The Department of Health and Human Services will give awards of up to $250,000 to support collaborative initiatives between child welfare and early childhood systems to maximize enrollment and supports of young children in foster care into early care and education programs. Applicants are expected to address barriers to permanency and implement multidisciplinary interventions to improve the socioemotional and behavioral well-being of children and their families. Eligible entities include all levels of government, independent school districts, public and state controlled institutions of higher education, American Indian tribal organizations, and nonprofit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status. Deadline: July 25, 2011. (www.healthinschools.org)

Healthy School Communities is a worldwide ASCD effort to promote the integration of health and learning and the benefits of school-community collaboration. It is part of a large, multiyear plan to shift public dialogue about education from a narrow, curriculum-centric and accountability system focus to a whole child approach that encompasses all factors required for successful student outcomes. Visit the Healthy School Communities group on ASCD EDge and share everything from ideas and solutions to common concerns.

ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Extreme Homeroom Makeover

Post submitted by SmartBrief education editor Amy Dominello

Little things mean a lot when it comes to designing school spaces that can enhance student learning.

There are lots of little touches that can be done at little cost to improve learning environments, said Beth Hebert, the now-retired principal of Crow Island School in Winnetka, Ill. But it's also about making sure that classroom spaces are designed for little people, she said.

Hebert, who served as principal of the elementary school for 21 years, led an ASCD Annual Conference session on how school and classroom design can energize, support, and inspire learning. Architects frequently visited her school—a National Historic Landmark built in 1940—because of its unique design, which incorporated work rooms and access to outdoor spaces in the classrooms.

The interest in the school piqued her interest in the connections between the use of space and how well-designed spaces can improve learning for children. She stressed that doing so doesn't always cost money or require major renovations, citing the calming effect of softer lighting as one example.

Before embarking on a makeover, Hebert recommends understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your current space and getting multiple perspectives, including those of students and parents.

She also advocates that educators think about classroom design from the student's perspective: painting doors different colors so young students who can't read yet know where to go; making sure seats are the right size for the youngest students; and having wide hallways so students aren't bumping into one another.

Hebert also urged educators to look at the wide variety of resources available to make a case for change, including DesignShare, the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, and the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.


ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Play model stresses executive functions, self-regulation

NPR reports on the importance of play in early childhood education, stressing its role in social-emotional learning and cognitive development. In a related story, researchers Adele Diamond and Deborah Leong answer questions about "The Best Kind of Play for Kids."

How have you used creative play in your classroom?

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