Among the many lessons during the historic year, this year’s annual Condition of Education report from the Rennie Center, a research and policy think tank, highlighted just how much communities rely on their education systems. In addition to basic learning, public schools fill a variety of needs for children like food security, technology access and mental health services.
One of the beautiful parts of childhood is the fact that kids don’t have conditioned reactions to differences in people. How many videos have you watched on social media where children of different races, cultures and abilities are playing together without conflict? I tack those up with my favorites like the animal videos of the mouse and cat becoming friends.
Written By: Michele Carlson, Esko Community Education |
Children are like plants: they don’t stop growing as long as we feed them with water and nourishment. They, unlike plants, do not stop learning, either. They learn from the constant stimulation that surrounds them in whatever environment they exist. They learn from us even when we think they are not watching or listening.
In light of the pandemic, some people are worried that children are not learning in their remote situations. That’s not possible. Children learn every day no matter where they are. It might not be measurable on tests or in a grading system, but there is lifelong learning occurring every day. Some of it might be helpful. Some of it might be harmful.
We came across this great column with ideas for activities you can do with your child to build their fine motor skills. Especially apt at this time, but also timeless!
Written By: Shannon Matzdorf, Esko Community Education | Dec 3rd 2020 – 12pm.
Fine motor skills involve the use of hands, fingers, wrist, feet and toes.
Fine motor skills also include daily tasks of zipping up zippers, tying shoes or pulling Velcro and buttoning buttons. Preschool aged children should be exposed to the use of pencils, crayons, markers, glue, paint brushes and scissors.
Giving your preschooler the opportunity to handle these challenges on their own is key to fine motor growth and independence. It is important to offer support along the way, but let them do as much as they are able to independently.
Although markers are fun to use and give a nice bright color when working on projects, it is also important to have preschoolers practice writing with other writing tools. Crayons and pencils are important for teaching a tighter grasp. This will encourage the child to use a bit more hand pressure to leave a mark on the page and help them build up hand strength.
Scissors are also a great tool to teach fine motor strength by building up hand muscles when opening and closing while cutting. Scissors also help develop eye-hand coordination, teach how to cross the midline of the body and build attention skills. Children need to focus on where they are cutting while completing a cutting project.
Called “the perfect fit for OLLI,” OLLI member Diane Senerth has revived an 18th century conversation club and brought it to the 21st century for lifelong learning.
Last fall, the University of Delaware’s Wilmington-based Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) became the first OLLI program in the country to start a Ben Franklin Circle discussion group, modeled after Benjamin Franklin’s 18th century conversation club focused on civility and mutual self-improvement.
The 21st-century version was founded at New York City’s 92nd Street Y, and now boasts over 300 chapters across the U.S.
OLLI member Diane Senerth read about Ben Franklin Circles in a New Yorker article and immediately thought of her fellow lifelong learners. The Ben Franklin Circle Discussion Group at OLLI began meeting as an extracurricular activity in 2019 and continued in 2020 on its path of exploration and discussion of Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues of temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, chastity, tranquility and humility.
Mental health has always been an exceptionally important issue for people of all ages, one that is highlighted during the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Does the health care system in America deal adequately with issues of mental health and emotional well-being? When do we reach out for help, to whom can we turn for assistance? How do different societies and cultures deal with these issues? This conversation is intended to address these and other related questions in a way that is engaging and empowering for all.