Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You Get What You Pay For!

The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers

Published: July 27, 2010
A new study found students with better teachers learned more in kindergarten — and earned more as young adults.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rocks are Dangerous!

Students Aren't Allowed To Touch Real Rocks
Lenore Skenazy,
How the Consumer Product Safety Commission drives parents--and everyone else--crazy.

Michael Warring, president of American Educational Products in Fort Collins, Colo., had his shipment all ready: A school's worth of small bags, each one filled with an igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Then the school canceled its order. Says Warring, "They apparently decided rocks could be harmful to children."
>Read the Article

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why do Finland's schools get the best results?

Finnish Schools

Children in Finland only start main school at age seven. The idea is that before then they learn best when they're playing and by the time they finally get to school they are keen to start learning.

They don't start until they're 7? Shocking!

Cycle Saturdays at the Golden Apple

We just celebrated 10 years in our current location. Not by coincidence, it is also 10 years since I gave up driving and switched to bike-riding for all my transportation (with help from the BART train). I'm a convert, and I have the zealotry of converts of all stripes; I can't believe I was ever addicted to driving, and I can't believe that others don't stop driving as soon as possible!
I'm aware that non-stop preaching is tedious, so I mostly keep my bike life-style to myself, or I try to, but it just pops out because, well, don't get me started...
I do believe that once people try getting around by bike, they will find they like it. I also believe that as more people try it, every day bike riding will gain momentum, and the streets will get friendlier for everyone. I have been quietly slipping bike things into the Golden Apple - Balance Bikes, books about bikes, and anything more we can do to encourage kids to start down the alternative transportation path.
This summer, we're adding Cycle Saturdays. Ride your bike to the Golden Apple and do your shopping and we'll take 10% off your total. It's a fun way to get around, and if you have a good basket, you can load up on toys and save! This little step isn't going to turn Pleasanton into Copenhagen, but every evangelist knows conversion starts with small steps!
So pedal in soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Zoobies are cute!

I'm getting better at cute. I'm pretty good at toys like the Faux Bow, or Mindware Contraptions, they're toys I would have loved, and I love to show them off. When the cute Carolle dolls come in, or Calico Critters, I admire them, but I don't always understand the attraction. Zoobies are cute. They are cute when they're in stuffed animal form, and they're cute when they are spread out like a blanket. I love toys I understand!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creativity Crisis

Newsweek has a great article about declining creativity in the US. One interesting point:

"In early childhood, distinct types of free play are associated with high creativity. Preschoolers who spend more time in role-play (acting out characters) have higher measures of creativity: voicing someone else’s point of view helps develop their ability to analyze situations from different perspectives. When playing alone, highly creative first graders may act out strong negative emotions: they’ll be angry, hostile, anguished. The hypothesis is that play is a safe harbor to work through forbidden thoughts and emotions."

Now how do test for this?

This Blog is not Abandoned

Ok, so the posting has been light this month! Here come the excuse:
We had our 10th anniversary in the Gateway Square on July 8th. This was an occasion for celebration, prizes and most importantly, a new lease! We're staying put, most likely. Moving isn't fun, and we have loyal customers that like where we are just fine. Changing things around though is part of the process - so that's where all the work has gone: how can we make the Golden Apple better?
Don't be surprised if you see a few Under Construction signs posted around parts of the Golden Apple over the next few months. We aren't giving away any surprises yet, but wait and see!