May 31, 2007

Unborn Babies feel mothers’ anxiety at only 4 months

…. Stress levels in foetuses only four months old — about the time the pregnancy starts to show — rise and fall in line with those of their mothers’.

The findings prompted calls for employers, family and friends to be aware of the risks and offer more help to moth-ers-to-be.

“For the first time, there’s solid evidence to show that an unborn child may be exposed to maternal stress as early as 17 weeks in development,” said Claire Friars, a midwife for Tommy’s, the baby charity.

Full story: Babies in womb feel mothers’ anxiety at only four months

May 25, 2007

Babies can tell between languages

At four months, babies may be too young to speak or crawl, but they can certainly tell when a speaker has switched to a different language – with only visual cues.

Researcher Whitney Weikum from the University of British Columbia found that infants are able to discern when a different language is spoken by watching the shapes and rhythm of the speaker’s mouth and face movements.

The findings suggest that babies growing up in a bilingual environment advantageously maintain the discrimination abilities needed for separating and learning multiple languages.

Full story: Babies can tell between languages

May 21, 2007

Montessori turns 100 – what the heck is it by the way?

It took the free spirit of the 1960s to revive Montessori education in the United States. Montessori herself had died a decade earlier, but her emphasis on children’s “absorbent minds” and their capacity to teach themselves aligned with the era’s rebellion against school’s traditional strictures.

Montessori classrooms, with their silver candlesticks (for polishing), beautiful toylike cubes, and child-size shelves and bins, seemed like the perfect romantic alternative to boring workbooks and rows of desks. They still do.

Mothering Magazine, my own barometer of granola parenting gone too far, calls them “magical” and filled with a “sense of wonder.” On the 100th anniversary of the 1907 opening of Montessori’s first school—in the slums of Rome—5,000 schools devoted to her method dot the United States, with another 17,000 worldwide. Many are preschools, but some are for older kids as well.

Full story: The Cult of the Pink Tower – Montessori turns 100—what the hell is it?

To Cut Crib Deaths, Separate Beds Are Urged for Babies

To minimize the risk of crib death, the nation’s largest organization of pediatricians is recommending that babies be put to sleep with pacifiers and in their own beds, despite intense opposition from advocates of breast-feeding and the “family bed.”

Full story: To Cut Crib Deaths, Separate Beds Are Urged for Babies

April 12, 2007

Where Do Kids Learn From?

Here’s a news item that just shocked me in more ways than one.

1. Where does a little child learn to throw a tantrum so violent?

2. In any other country, this child would’ve gotten a big beating either by her teacher, or her parents, or both. Is arresting this child a better way to “teach a lesson” to a 6 year old? By sending her to jail and by her having a police record for the rest of her life? Or would the child have been better off just getting a spanking? Sometimes I wonder what this world’s coming to, when I see terrorists and rapists and criminals going scott-free, and the police charging a 6-yr old who was scared of the intimidating police officers and hid under a table, with “attempt to resist arrest”!

Here’s the full story: Kindergartner Charged With Felony Tantrum