Elementary School

The 5 Stages of Childhood Friendships

When your child is younger, you as a parent have a lot of control over his social life, selecting whom he should interact with, the length of the interaction and where the interaction takes place. That changes when your child reaches school age. Suddenly, these decisions about friendships— with whom to be friends, how much time to spend with a friend and how to spend that time together — are made largely on his own…

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These 6 Books Help Kids Learn About Economics

What is economics? An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations? The task of managing a household? The study of man in the ordinary business of life? When theorists and philosophers through the ages have offered very different definitions, how are parents meant to define economics for kids when they ask? Your children might well be wondering about the economy, right now. The current cost of living crisis means the state…

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Teaching About Black History Month

When it comes to teaching elementary school during Black History Month, there’s a lot that teachers do right. Then again, there are a lot of things that go wrong — we’ve all seen the news reports over the years of schools advertising problematic Black History Month meals or inappropriate assignments handed out to students. So how do you strike just the right tone with activities that aren’t just appropriate, but also truly meaningful and reflective…

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Pandemic Learning Impacts Are Going Nowhere

Kids around the country are still suffering academically from the pandemic, but more than three years after schools shut down, it’s hard to understand exactly how much ground students have lost and which children now need the most attention. Some new reports offer some insights. All three were produced by for-profit companies that sell assessments to schools. Unlike annual state tests, these interim assessments are administered at least twice a year and help track student…

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Social-Emotional Learning Activities

Knowledge is indeed power, but academic achievement is only one aspect of a successful education. Children must also learn social-emotional skills to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, set goals, express empathy, build relationships, and make decisions. Teaching and practicing these techniques is called “social-emotional learning” (SEL). SEL has many benefits for students, ranging from improved school performance to healthier friendships. Plus, down the road, those with strong social and emotional competence are more likely to…

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Elementary School Friendships and Psychology

When it comes to early childhood development, many parents focus on things like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stimulating activities. Elementary school friendships are easily overlooked as something that has an influence on a child’s development, but they are more important than you may realize. Paul Schwartz, a professor of psychology and a child behavior expert, suggests that friendship contributes significantly to the development of a child’s social skills. Through friendships, children learn to…

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Sleep Tips for Overtired Young Ones

Most days, Jen Lamott would describe her daughter, Katie, as cheerful and kind. Lately, though, the 7-year-old has been acting moody and sometimes grunting instead of talking. “It’s like we have a teenager suddenly,” Lamott said. But while teenagers’ attitudes are usually chalked up to puberty, Lamott knows that something else is at play in her house: exhaustion. Katie has been having trouble falling asleep, expressing greater sleep anxiety and starting to take naps to…

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How Outdoor Learning Brings Students Together

In a year full of challenges, figuring out how to implement outdoor learning may feel like a tall task for teachers. It’s too hot in Arizona. Too muggy in Mississippi. Too snowy in Maine. And in cities everywhere, “too dangerous.” Kass Minor has heard many of those objections in recent months. It’s a similar response that comes with “anything that’s outside people’s experience,” she said, but like her husband, Minor took her students outside regularly…

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How Children Learn Right From Wrong

As parents, our short-term goal is to get our children to listen to us and follow the rules and limits we set for our family, and how children learn morality plays a huge part in this. The long-term goal is to raise children who truly understand why we have created these rules and limits and develop an internal motivation to be kind and do the “right” thing. In other words, we want them to follow…

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Supporting Students’ Multifaceted Reading Lives

When teachers familiarize themselves with students’ reading lives and histories, they may uncover reading trauma — moments when students had a negative experience with a peer, teacher or librarian that turned them off of reading. Students with reading trauma associate reading with painful feelings of shame or stress and doubt their reading abilities, said Boston-based educator Kimberly Parker in a recent webinar organized by the Texas A&M Collaborative for Teacher Education. Take reading logs, for…

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