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How Stories Reach Kids and Facilitate Empathy

<a href="/articles/how-stories-reach-kids-and-facilitate-empathy">How Stories Reach Kids and Facilitate Empathy</a>

Families are a mix-master lot these days, with stepparents, grandparents, single mothers, blends of all sorts. Kids and families manage with fun and games, some wins, and some challenges. Relating to a story and being emotionally engaged with it can facilitate empathy, understanding, and open pathways to positive life choices. The I Am Jack stories permit readers to empathise with situations they may not have experienced; provide reassurance that other people experience the same problems; and open discussions with family. Read full article

The Government Seeks Your Definition of Quality Teachers

<a href="/blogs/2014/05/07/the-government-seeks-your-definition-of-quality-teachers">The Government Seeks Your Definition of Quality Teachers</a>

The Education Minister has asked us all to contribute to a public consultation on how to get quality teachers in front of our children. But what does ‘quality teacher’ mean? Can we quantify ‘quality’? Every year I ask my graduating preservice teachers why they came into teaching. It inevitably comes down to a teacher they remember - sometimes it’s a bad memory of a teacher who was cruel or thoughtless, and a determination to be the antidote to such teachers, but mostly it’s due to an inspirational teacher. Read full article

The Benefits of Free Play Backed by Science

<a href="/articles/the-benefits-of-free-play-backed-by-science">The Benefits of Free Play Backed by Science</a>

A study of primary school children during school break periods has found that not only is the break period a good opportunity to enhance children’s physical activity, but lunchtime activities need not be costly. Providing simple and cheap items such as buckets and tyre tubes during school break periods was found to significantly increase children’s enjoyment of, and participation in, physical activity – more so than using traditional fixed playground equipment. Read full article

Creating an Inclusive Education System in Australia

<a href="/blogs/2013/12/17/creating-an-inclusive-education-system-in-australia">Creating an Inclusive Education System in Australia</a>

"I was shocked when the local preschool teacher asked me when my son was coming to preschool… I had no idea he was even permitted to attend the local preschool." Those are not the words of a mother during Apartheid in South Africa or someone labelled 'untouchable' living under a caste system. They are the words of an Australian mother whose son has been labelled 'disabled'. This mother is participating in some of my current research. Read full article

An Anti-Bullying App for Children from Australian Education Authorities

<a href="/articles/an-anti-bullying-app-for-children-from-australian-education-authorities">An Anti-Bullying App for Children from Australian Education Authorities</a>

The Allen Adventure iPad™ app is developed by the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group—made up of all Australian education authorities – to help children 3-8 years of age develop social and emotional skills. Described as fun and positive, it is designed as an interactive story about a young visitor from another planet who is new to school and is learning how to get on with his Earthling classmates. Through discussion with parents and educators, children can learn how to manage a variety of social situations, like making friends, getting on with others and dealing with difficult behaviours from other children. Read full article

Radical Action is Needed to Stop the Bullying

<a href="/blogs/2013/11/12/radical-action-is-needed-to-stop-the-bullying">Radical Action is Needed to Stop the Bullying</a>

My friend has a problem. A heart-breaking problem. After rebuilding her life following a tough marriage breakup, her daughter is now being bullied at school. Her beautiful, smart, gentle, wise and talented daughter. Bullied so badly my friend feels she has no choice but to move her to another school. Now this friend of mine is a tough cookie. She has a strong and principled mind – the type of mind that can take on and deal with the toughest of challenges. But sadly, not this challenge. She's told me she can't win this fight. Read full article

I AM MALALA

<a href="/parenting-resources/inspiration/i-am-malala">I AM MALALA</a>

Book: I Am Malala by Christina Lamb In 2009 Malala Yousafzai began writing an anonymous blog for BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley as the Taliban gained control, at times banning girls from attending school. When her identity was discovered, Malala began to appear in Pakistani and international media, campaigning for education for all. On 9 October 2012, Malala was shot at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban on the way home from school. Remarkably, she survived. This is her continuing story as she campaign for every girl's right to an education, shining a light into the lives of those children who cannot attend school. Read full article

University Seeks Parents' Views on LGBT Education

<a href="/blogs/mihiriudabage/2013/11/05/university-seeks-parents-views-on-lgbt-education">University Seeks Parents&#039; Views on LGBT Education</a>

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney seek parents/guardians of school-aged children from the Northwest of Sydney to participate in a study examining their views about the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) education in schools. Parents of children from kindergarten to year 12 are invited to local focus group sessions to discuss views on LGBT and anti-homophobia education in school education. Read full article

US Boards of Education Issue Policy on Social and Emotional Learning

United States National Association of Boards of Education issue a policy document on the importance of social and emotional learning for students' wellbeing and academic success. Read the policy document. Includes an overview of SEL and research base. Read full article

Research and Evidence on School Starting Age

<a href="/articles/research-and-evidence-on-school-starting-age">Research and Evidence on School Starting Age</a>

Earlier this month the "Too Much, Too Soon" campaign made headlines with a letter calling for a change to the start age for formal learning in schools. Cambridge researcher David Whitebread, explains why children may need more time to develop before their formal education begins in earnest...There are several strands of evidence which all point towards the importance of play in young children’s development, and the value of an extended period of playful learning before the start of formal schooling. Read full article