Give Kids the World

Many people walked by and did not stop to help when a young child was in distress. The little girl was in potential danger all by herself in this big world and campus. K.T. was walking on campus at our university when she noticed the child. The little girl was separated from her Mom when K.T. stopped to ask if she needed help. The little girl said her Mom parked her car in the garage that goes “round and round.” They searched parking garages together. They tried to call home, but no answer. After looking for what might have felt like an eternity, the child and her mother were reunited.

How many times do we look the other way when we might be able to be helpful to someone? It is good that people like K.T.  are willing stop and help. How can we help children?

·       We can give kids the world when we take time to become aware of their needs.

·       We can give kids the world when we show we care about them.

·       We can give kids the world when we help them when they are in danger.

The way she responded is inspirational. Let’s follow K.T.’s model and Give Kids the World.

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Communities of Play Innovation

Cities that promote play are at an economic advantage because people want to live, work, spend time and money in positive play environments. A sense of community can be established when families and children are able to play in public locations (Ehrenhalt, 2014). Play deserts occur in places where children have limited play opportunities. Crime, community facilities, and obesity are some of the factors leading to play deserts (Sharaievska, 2014). Location may also hinder opportunities for play. At least four things are needed to create communities of play.

#1) Safety. The basic ingredient for play is that it must be safe. Communities of play are environments where great care has been taken to ensure children are protected from harm. Safe play communities have low or no crime.

#2) Clean and welcoming facilities. Families seeking play communities for their children want clean spaces that are attractive and welcoming. The well-being of children is maximized when there are facilities conducive to play. Clean water, playgrounds, spaces, equipment, toys, and more are needed to attract children and families (Juster & Leichter-Saxby, 2014). 

#3) Access. Play environments must be accessible to people with diverse abilities. In my community, we recently renovated our community playground so that it could be more accessible to children with motor delays and people who use wheelchairs. The results have been more inclusive play for all our children. Such a valuable investment.

Access to play communities that are close to home and work are necessary to making play a priority for families. Schedules are busy and there are many things to do each day which may push opportunities for play to the bottom of the to-do list. Families do not need an extra errand to transport children far away to play.Community planning is necessary for the development and maintenance of play communities. 

#4) Supervision. Children require adult supervision. Parents, grandparents, family members, teachers, parks and rec staff, city employees paid to supervise community activities, and other adults designated to ensure the safety and well-being of children are necessary to play communities. Public spaces for play should be managed by qualified adults trained to properly supervise children.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 31 that children have the right to: “rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.” Children benefit when they are able to play in safe, clean, accessible, and supervised environments. Childhood is enhanced where there are nurturing and caring communities of play.

"I Spy with My Little Eye" playground.

"I Spy with My Little Eye" playground.

 

Sources:

Ehrenhalt, A. a. (2014). Cities, families and places to play. Governing, 27(7), 14-16

Juster, A. H., & Leichter-Saxby, M. (2014). Citizens at play: Children's participation through community-based opportunities for child-directed play. Global Studies Of Childhood, 4(2), 77

Sharaievska, I. (2014). Family leisure and the play desert. Parks & Recreation, 49(8), 36-37.

First Day Jitters

Young children may have a variety of feelings about starting school. Books are a way for children to make meaning out of their emotions, talk with a caregiver about how they feel, and enjoy the benefits of children’s literature. If you have children who are dealing with going back to school jitters, here are picture books you could read with them.  

Ash, B., & Gee, K. (2016).  The class.  New York: Beach Lane Books.

Ash, B., & Gee, K. (2016). The class. New York: Beach Lane Books.

Brown, Marc Tolon. (2015).  Monkey: not ready for kindergarten . New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Brown, Marc Tolon. (2015). Monkey: not ready for kindergarten. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Carlstrom, N. W., & Moore, M. (2009).  It's your first day of school, Annie Claire . New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.  

Carlstrom, N. W., & Moore, M. (2009). It's your first day of school, Annie Claire. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.  

Child, L. (2004).  I am too absolutely small for school.  Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick.

Child, L. (2004). I am too absolutely small for school. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick.

Cohen, M., & Himler, R. (2009).  Will I have a friend?  Long Island City, NY: Star Bright Books.

Cohen, M., & Himler, R. (2009). Will I have a friend? Long Island City, NY: Star Bright Books.

Cuyler, M., & Terry, W. (2017).  Bonaparte falls apart.  New York: Crown Books.

Cuyler, M., & Terry, W. (2017). Bonaparte falls apart. New York: Crown Books.

Danneberg, J., & Love, J. (2006).  Qué nervios! El primer día de escuela.  Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Danneberg, J., & Love, J. (2006). Qué nervios! El primer día de escuela. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Dewdney, A. (2009).  Llama llama misses mama . New York: Scholastic.

Dewdney, A. (2009). Llama llama misses mama. New York: Scholastic.

Goldfinger, J. P. (2016).  Hello, my name is Toby Tiger . New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Goldfinger, J. P. (2016). Hello, my name is Toby Tiger. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Grandits, J., & Austin, M. A. (2011).  Ten rules you absolutely must not break if you want to survive the school bus.  New Yo

Grandits, J., & Austin, M. A. (2011). Ten rules you absolutely must not break if you want to survive the school bus. New Yo

Harris, R. H., & Ormerod, J. (2003).  I am not going to school today . New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Harris, R. H., & Ormerod, J. (2003). I am not going to school today. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Hennessy, B.G., & Meisel, P. (2006).  Mr. Ouchy's first day . New York : Putnam's Sons.  

Hennessy, B.G., & Meisel, P. (2006). Mr. Ouchy's first day. New York : Putnam's Sons.  

Kleve, E. (2007).  The apple doll.  New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

Kleve, E. (2007). The apple doll. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.

London, J., & Remkiewicz, F. (1996).  Froggy goes to school.  New York: Viking.

London, J., & Remkiewicz, F. (1996). Froggy goes to school. New York: Viking.

Marshall, J. (1975).  Eugene.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Marshall, J. (1975). Eugene. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

McCarthy, J., & Palacios, S. (2016).  Lola knows a lot.  New York: Balzer + Bray.

McCarthy, J., & Palacios, S. (2016). Lola knows a lot. New York: Balzer + Bray.

McGhee, A., & Bliss, H. (2004).  Mrs. Watson wants your teeth.  Orlando: Harcourt.

McGhee, A., & Bliss, H. (2004). Mrs. Watson wants your teeth. Orlando: Harcourt.

Rankin, J. (2002).  First day.  New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Rankin, J. (2002). First day. New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Rex, A. & Robinson, C. (2016).  School's first day of school.  New York: Roaring Brook Press.

Rex, A. & Robinson, C. (2016). School's first day of school. New York: Roaring Brook Press.

Robbins, B., & Stuart, J. (2001).  Tom's first day at school . New York : Dorling Kindersley Pub.

Robbins, B., & Stuart, J. (2001). Tom's first day at school. New York : Dorling Kindersley Pub.

Sadu, I., & Delinous, A. (2017).  Greetings, Leroy.  Toronto; Berkeley: Groundwoood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Sadu, I., & Delinous, A. (2017). Greetings, Leroy. Toronto; Berkeley: Groundwoood Books/House of Anansi Press.

Scotton, R. (2008).  Splat the cat.  New York: Harper Collins.

Scotton, R. (2008). Splat the cat. New York: Harper Collins.

Thaler, M., & Lee, J. (1989).  The teacher from the black lagoon.  New York: Scholastic.

Thaler, M., & Lee, J. (1989). The teacher from the black lagoon. New York: Scholastic.

Wing, N., & Wummer, A. (2011).  The night before preschool.  New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Wing, N., & Wummer, A. (2011). The night before preschool. New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Wing, N., & Durrell, J. (2001).  The night before kindergarten.  New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Wing, N., & Durrell, J. (2001). The night before kindergarten. New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Wing, N., & Zemke, D. (2005).  The night before first grade.  New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Wing, N., & Zemke, D. (2005). The night before first grade. New York: Grossett & Dunlap.

Thank you to Emma, my librarian, for helping me find these books.

Childhood Crisis

This past week there was a 6.2 earthquake in the Italian town of Amatrice near Rome. Over 200 people were killed and many injured. Several families and children have lost their homes. South of Amatrice, my Mom lived through the 1962 earthquake in Campania, Italia.   

Mom was working in the tobacco fields on the family farm at 12:44pm on August 21st when the 5.4 magnitude earthquake destroyed the family home. Their house collapsed and all that was left was rubble. The family lived in tents with no indoor plumbing for two years while they slowly rebuilt their lives and house. 

L.toR.    Lorenzo Vacca, Gelarda Vacca Giangregorio, Sofia Vacca Morella, Amalia Cutugno Vacca, Elisabetta Vacca Galliano, Vincenzo Vacca, and Antonio “Tony” Vacca

L.toR. Lorenzo Vacca, Gelarda Vacca Giangregorio, Sofia Vacca Morella, Amalia Cutugno Vacca, Elisabetta Vacca Galliano, Vincenzo Vacca, and Antonio “Tony” Vacca

Everyday children experience crises like these that are completely out of anyone’s control. Natural disasters cause great damage. The American School Counselor Association recommends the following ways to help children during a crisis: (a) try to maintain routines to offer predictability, (b) limit exposure to news, (c) provide honest information that is developmentally appropriate, and (d) listen and be responsive to children’s concerns and fears. We can help children and families in crisis. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all,” ~Emily Dickinson. Sending my love and prayers for children and families experiencing crises.