Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dear HBO & Sesame Street Producers: Did you really fire Bob, Gordon & Luis?

Dear HBO & “Sesame Street Producers:

Is it true?  Did you really fire long-time beloved people – Bob, Gordon & Luis – from the cast?  I read the article “Sesame Street Axes One, Two, Three Favorite Human Characters” on nydailynews.com and I still can’t believe it.   I am hoping that it is somehow wrong. 

Your educational experts must know that today more than ever, children need to be learning from people.  Children need to be experiencing the verbal and non-verbal communication that only people can provide.  It is fun to watch non-human characters on television and other screens but only humans can teach young children about human interaction.  I have read research about the impact of screen time on the speech development and non-verbal communication skills of young children.  Take the people out of “Sesame Street” and you take an important learning tool from children.  The interaction of people on your show was one of its best features.

Children also need to learn that people older than them have value.  Older people can impart wisdom, can answer their questions and can be relatable.  I provide professional development for early childhood educators and I conduct parenting learning sessions.  In my experience, there is a universal feeling that children today do not respect adults and authority as they did in the past.  It is true that the past wasn’t perfect.  I do not agree with many of the discipline techniques of generations who didn’t know better.  I know that we are living in a better time because children are more than seen but not heard.  I do recognize however, that though children are treated more kindly today, families are spread further apart and children often do not get as much time with their elders to learn that they are important and should be honored.  The characters of Bob, Gordon and Luis on “Sesame Street” were fine examples of the value of experienced adults.

Yes, technology is a part of their world.  I know that it is wrong to fight the progress and adults must accept the role that technology will play in their lives now and always.  I have even written blog articles and provided interview information in an effort to get people to stop bemoaning the role of technology in their world and learn to work with it.  People, young and old, should be on their television shows modeling the responsible use of technology.  Surely, Bob, Gordon and Luis could model technological moderation, use of technology for research and other benefits. 

Please tell me that it isn’t true – or at least provide those of us who value developmentally appropriate practice WITH human, multi-generational interaction with a good reason for firing these people who have devoted their careers to our children.

Sincerely,
Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
Early Education Consultant, Speaker & Author
Certified Youth, Parent, Family Coach

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You can learn so much more from me online!  “Helping Preschools Achieve with Cynthia Terebush” – An Online Learning and Support Community for Early Childhood Professionals.  Now with individual memberships and staff bundles.  Check out my informational video HERE and go to Helping Preschools Achieve for more details. 

And in person….Go to my full website for information about webinars, presentations and individual consulting for parents and educators -Helping Kids Achieve.

Copyright 2016 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Are Children REALLY Growing Up Faster Today? Or Has the Emphasis Just Changed?

Display at the Lackawanna Coal Mine
I love doing touristy things and I enjoy re-doing them now that my children are grown.  I loved taking my boys to learn about different places and now, without two young children in tow, my husband and I have discovered that we never really heard the tour guides.  We must have been busy making sure our boys were listening, not touching what wasn’t allowed, seeking out restrooms…. Now we tour and are struck by what we weren’t paying attention to in the past or what had less relevance in our lives at that time.

This year, we relaxed in the mountains of western Pennsylvania and decided to revisit a coal mine tour that we had taken years ago.  I remembered how deep underground the tour took place.  I remembered the conditions being dark, dangerous and unhealthy for the people who had mined there for so many years.  This time, however, I was dumbstruck by the information about the role of children in the mines.

Young children, as young as 6 years old had to work at the mine to help support their families.  The youngest spent 12 hours per day sorting rocks and coal.   When they were “promoted,” they were sent hundreds of feet beneath the earth’s surface to run back and forth in the dark amid dynamite explosions.  They opened doors for the wagons of coal and led donkeys – none of whom were friendly – through dangerous passageways.  These young children, who should have been out in the field and the sunshine playing, had to work.  For some, the work supplemented their parent’s income.  For others, it replaced the income of a parent who died in the mines.  That was their compensation for death – the mine owners might allow your young child to have a job to make up some of the lost income.

I often write about letting children have a childhood.  I have an entire keynote speech on the rights of children to a childhood.  Since this tour, I cannot stop thinking about the multi-generational struggle for childhood.  Are our children – our technology using, standardized tested, aware of so much children – really growing up faster than in the past? Are we really depriving them of a childhood more than in past generations or just differently?  

If they weren’t in the coal mines, they were likely in a sweatshop or farming or peddling.  We have come so far from those days before child labor laws.  There was a period during my childhood when there actually were less demands on children and the world seemed safer (though statistics would tell you that it actually safer today).  We freely roamed neighborhoods. We spent lazy days sitting in the grass watching the ants.  We flew on the swings and came home when the street lights came on.  We didn’t have adult-like schedules with lessons to go to, elite teams to perform for or endless tests to take.  We were, comparatively speaking, the free generation.  And then the pendulum swung….

Today, particularly in 1st world countries, our children may not be in the dark in the mines or spending endless hours in sweat shops but they are strained and stressed and showing the signs of it.  Just because a child isn’t doing manual labor, doesn’t mean that they aren’t being forced to grow up too soon.  So I ask it again – Are children REALLY growing up faster today?  Has the emphasis merely changed from the physical to the emotional and are we still expecting too much?

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You can learn so much more from me online!  “Helping Preschools Achieve with Cynthia Terebush” – An Online Learning and Support Community for Early Childhood Professionals.  Now with individual memberships and staff bundles.  Check out my informational video HERE and go to Helping Preschools Achieve for more details.
 
And in person….Go to my full website for information about webinars, presentations and individual consulting for parents and educators -Helping Kids Achieve.

Copyright 2016 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The New Pokemon Go Craze: Is It All Bad?

“Augmented Reality” – there’s a phrase I certainly didn’t grow up knowing.  In fact, if I would have heard it before this week, I would have assumed it was caused by alcohol or drugs.  Apparently, it is merely caused by a free download to a smartphone.  From what seems like out of nowhere, Pokemon Go is everywhere – filling my social media newsfeeds, in mainstream media, taking over conversations and causing people everywhere to be even more endlessly staring at their smartphones.  The role of GPS has taken on a whole new dimension as players find area appropriate Pokemon on technology instead of collecting Pokemon cards.

My social media feeds are also filled with polarizing opinions - people are harshly criticizing this new craze while others urge people to download the app and start playing.  It seems to be a “you love it” or “you hate it” situation.  Either the new technology will be destroying children and families or it will be saving them.  Could it really be so terrible or so great? 

I have been interviewed by newspapers and magazines in the past about my opinion of technology so I figured that I’d better start forming an opinion.  Just as I began to lean toward the negative, I saw my friend Krista’s Facebook post.  She wrote, “My husband and 3 children are on a walk looking for Pokemon!”

I decided to continue on down my newsfeed and found another status which began with “I just sent my son and his friend outside to walk to town and find Pokemon…”

So…
  • Families are looking for Pokemon together.
  • People are outside walking and exploring.
  • Peers are working together.

This is certainly better than…
  • Everyone is in a separate room or silently staring at separate devices.
  • Young people never go outside anymore.
  • No one is getting exercise.  And..
  • Young people are individually on technology.

I remember when my youngest son was a teen.  He was on a headset alone in his room playing a video game with friends who weren’t in our home.  He also played with strangers sometimes.  He was indoors, interacting with I didn’t know whom and this did not make me happy. I was glad when he mostly outgrew it.

I remember being a teen and young adult spending lots of time on the arcade games in the college student center.  I was determined to beat my last high score on Centipede or that Atari Snake game.  It was the modern technology of its time and we were definitely hooked.

Every generation has their craze – an activity that seems to consume them.  I always hesitate to just denounce technologically based activities. Times change.  In order to lift people up, we have to meet them where they are and bring them forward.  They are on technology.  It is who this generation is and it is the basis of their world.  I cannot change that. I cannot bring back a time before them.  But I can point out one problem with it all….

There seems to be no boundaries in this technology addiction.  Parents are on cell phones as their children desperately try to get their attention.  I have seen people check for text messages during religious services, during movies & shows in darkened theaters and even at funerals.  They can’t seem to stop themselves.  Now, the hunt for Pokemon is leading to injury and mayhem because people aren’t looking up in the middle of traffic and in other dangerous situations.

The addictive nature of technology isn’t unique to Pokemon.  Our competitive nature that it seems to draw out isn’t unique to this craze either.  Perhaps it isn’t the game itself that needs to stop but it is our lack of boundaries and self-awareness that must be addressed.  When adults cannot put down their smartphones but then complain about students or other young people, it is hypocritical.  The majority of us are in it.  Own it.  We are constantly checking email, texting, playing one technologically based game or another.  In this era, we have to know how to do this in order to stay relevant in the workplace, with our children or with our students.  

The goal needs to become the same goal that we grew up with but related to different activities – moderation.  You can go outside (please do!), explore places (yay!) and spend time with family and friends (even if it is discussing characters with funny names)… but you can’t do it instead of meeting your responsibilities and you cannot risk your health or safety and there will be timeframes and boundaries for this activity just like all others.  


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You can learn so much more from me online!  “Helping Preschools Achieve with Cynthia Terebush” – An Online Learning and Support Community for Early Childhood Professionals.  Now with individual memberships and staff bundles.  Check out my informational video HERE and go to Helping Preschools Achieve for more details. 

And in person….Go to my full website for information about webinars, presentations and individual consulting for parents and educators -Helping Kids Achieve.

Copyright 2016 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.