Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why American Kids Have Farther to Go

Behold the blocks of death! Yesterday at the Golden Apple, I helped a young couple find early learning toys for their two year old. One item the couple wanted was a set of good old-fashioned blocks. Unit blocks they are called, and have been a preschool staple forever. I always push unit blocks at parents, as they are the simplest, most primary toy that every child should have. They ought to be standard-issue to all babies - forget about the trendy Mozart CDs. So I led them over to where we have a lovely 60 piece Melissa and Doug set (pictured), in its beautiful wooden case. The mom pointed out to me that the package says 3+. I looked and sure enough, Ages 3+. "Ignore that" I said. They looked at me like I was selling broken glass. "These are Unit Blocks, they are a standard size, there is nothing in this box that could possibly harm any child". They started backing away. I was appalled myself. Why would someone put a warning sticker on unpainted blocks of wood? Children all over America are being kept away from the most basic learning toy available, worth more than all the infant flashcards and Baby Einstein dvds ever produced, because some risk-o-phobic team of lawyers decided it was safer for them to bump the age. We are doomed.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

E-News is Out

The October edition of the Golden Apple E-news is out - and since it is technically the September edition, and it was finished before November, it was right on time! Between the blogging and the e-news I am slowly learning to complete assignments on time, which I seem to remember was one of those familiar check boxes on my report cards every quarter. It's a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Onward to the November issue!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Do You Have an Eco Cop in Your House?

More news from the NYT:
Pint-Size Eco-Police, Making Parents Proud and Sometimes Crazy
"Sometimes, Jennifer Ross feels she cannot make a move at home without inviting the scorn of her daughters, 10-year-old Grace and 7-year-old Eliza. The Acura MDX she drives? A flagrant polluter. The bath at night to help her relax? A wasteful indulgence. The reusable shopping bags she forgot, again? Tsk, tsk."
We see these junior Al Gores more and more at our store, and I love it! There are several new books coming along on this topic - Nancy Elizabeth Wallace is the author of "Recycle Everyday" pictured above - because of course you want to encourage this sort of thing!

Math Skills Suffer in US

From the NYT:
The United States is failing to develop the math skills of both girls and boys, especially among those who could excel at the highest levels, a new study asserts, and girls who do succeed in the field are almost all immigrants or the daughters of immigrants from countries where mathematics is more highly valued.