COVID-19: 6 Articles

Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home or in School with Evidence-based Curriculum

Magination Press authors created a new social-emotional curriculum to help kids dream and set goals during these challenging times. As the new school year gets started in these different and unusual times, parents, caregivers, and teachers are faced with the challenge of supporting children’s social-emotional health and development, a facet of education that is more important now than ever. With many schools conducting classes virtually, teachers are looking for creative educational tools and parents are preparing to facilitate learning at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for children, including disruptions to their schooling, activities, and routines, and isolation from friends, teachers, and extended family members, resulting in the creation of many new stressors. Resources to support social-emotional learning (SEL)—activities to help children understand emotions, achieve goals, and work through challenges—are in high demand.  About the book and research study Magination Press’s book, Dream It! A Playbook to Spark Your Awesomeness, by Sara E. Williams, PhD and Scott Stoll, is an evidence-based workbook that can be used as a curriculum to teach kids how to dream, set goals, and turn their passion into action.  A recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal, Child & Youth Care Forum, validates that Dream It! is scientifically proven to increase optimistic thinking, hope, grit, and a growth mindset.1 Most importantly, teachers and kids find the games, lessons, and activities in the workbook to be fun, easy, and effective. It’s useful for anyone who wants to learn how to dream and set goals, including adults and, especially kids ages 8-12. Dr. Sara E Williams is a co-author of this research study and a co-author of Dream It!, the focus of this research. About the SEL curriculum Dream It! is perfect for kids working in a classroom, virtually, or in home-learning environments as a supplemental SEL activity, and the message is particularly relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a very challenging time for everyone and it may not seem like our lives will go back to normal any time soon. It may be difficult for children, in particular, to understand what is happening. Using the foundation of Dream It! we can teach children that the dream is to stay healthy and protect the ones we love. So, the goal that was set by our society—and the whole world—is to temporarily ask everyone to stay at home to achieve this dream. From this starting point, we can inspire children to dream about what the world can look like after COVID-19, too! The full-color, 80-page workbook has games, quizzes, and activities that teach students how to dream (set goals) and start making their dream a reality one step at a time. A free facilitator’s guide and SEL curriculum supports in-school or at-home implementation, and the Dream It! website provides additional supplemental resources. Helping Kids See the Future At a time when the future is wildly uncertain and present-day routines have been upended, helping kids learn to think optimistically and envision better days is a priority. Dream

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Increase Optimistic Thinking at Home or in School with Evidence-based Curriculum 2020-09-02T12:16:44-04:00

Hidden Joys in a Pandemic: When Readers Took to YouTube to Share My Book, The Hugging Tree

One of the great joys of a children’s book is that it lives on for a very long time. Children renew the world for us all, and as each fresh year arrives there is another throng of children snuggled in a parent’s lap or their own bed, or listening intently to a librarian or schoolteacher turning the pages of a picture or chapter book and reading aloud. Right now, a child somewhere is meeting, for the first time, The Cat in the Hat or Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And as a children’s author, nothing is more inspiring than contemplating kids around the world newly enjoying a book I wrote, especially one brought to life by lovely illustrations. As an author, most of the time, I don’t get to participate in the joy of children experiencing my book. That remains a mystery. So it was a huge surprise and thrill when I discovered in late May, that the COVID-19 pandemic, with its global school closures and sheltering at home, had inspired librarians, principals, ministers and schoolteachers to take to YouTube offering read-alouds of their favorite books, including mine. My most recent picture book for Magination Press, The Hugging Tree, was published in 2016, but from March to May of this year, it was read aloud here and abroad online by two dozen individuals—schoolteachers, principals, even a Unitarian minister. All ages chimed in, from schoolchildren reading together to a cheerful pastor with a bushy white beard. Some read by the ocean, others read with their favorite companion pet, such as a guinea pig named Mocha. I do not personally know any of the people who chose to share my book. But I know why they chose it: the book is a story about resilience, about bouncing back from adversity. The story follows a tree that begins as a seed blown onto a rocky cliff, where it tries to grow with very little soil and no greenery. The tree befriends the ocean, moon, sun and birds, surviving loneliness, harsh storms and a freezing winter. With its boughs broken, and its future uncertain, the tree is saved by a boy who visits it each day, bringing soil and flowers and water. The tree grows broad and green and tall and can shelter all the people who come each day to visit. The message: you’ll make it through tough times, if you reach out to others for help, and if you let the helpers reach out to you. It’s a message that seems to be resonating this year. Each reader had their own special take on the book. Nicole Reardon, a classroom teacher in Queensland, Australia, and mother of two young children, read beautifully with an almost theatrical cadence, and whoever filmed her reading at home in her living room offered close-ups of the memorable art by noted illustrator Nicole Wong. Nicole’s video aired on May 1 and she concluded, “Right now in our own lives it might feel

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Hidden Joys in a Pandemic: When Readers Took to YouTube to Share My Book, The Hugging Tree 2020-06-15T21:23:25-04:00

Magination Press Learning at Home: All Is Not Lost! Help Your Child Learn Important Life Skills During Quarantine

As parents work to support their children's learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, Drs. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, share insights and guidance to foster crucial life skill development. Their book, Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, published by the American Psychological Association, identifies the 6C's. As a parent, coping with the learning and childcare implications of the COVID-19 pandemic presents a big challenge. Even though schools and summer camps may be closed, children keep on growing and learning. It’s hard to imagine a silver lining, but there may be a time when you look back fondly on this brutal lockdown, remembering how much your children learned.  When traditional, although online, schooling ends, some of that learning may not be obvious to parents. Being at home with you, and possibly siblings, creates a unique learning opportunity for your child to develop important life skills. They’ll need these skills, called the 6Cs, to succeed in school, but more importantly, in life.  The 6Cs are: Collaboration Communication Content Critical thinking Creative innovation, and Confidence. These skills change the definition of what it means to be successful. Instead of thinking “if only my kid can get straight A’s’ his or her future will be assured,” the 6Cs incorporate skills needed to be happy, healthy, thinking, caring, and socially adept children who become collaborative, creative, competent and responsible citizens of tomorrow. The crucible for the development of the 6Cs is playful learning—lots which is going on right now at home. It will happen sometimes when you least expect it, like when your 7-year-old helps her 4-year-old brother to do a puzzle without taking it over. This is the kind of collaboration that will serve her well in the world, as she takes her brother’s perspective into consideration and makes suggestions rather than just leaping in to do it herself. Look for times like these when you can encourage your child to collaborate, like when you are clearing the table. You show the importance of teamwork with what you ask of your child.  The world depends on collaboration—at home and even across international boundaries.  In fact, international boundaries are melting away. That has never been more evident than now, as the virus spreads without regard to country of origin. Communication across international lines begins within family lines. For example, when your 11-year-old reads to your 5-year-old and actually explains words he thinks the 5-year-old may not understand, he is communicating effectively. Content is advanced, too.  Children need the 3R’s and more to become competent adults. Your 5-year-old learns new words that increase his vocabulary and your 11-year-old learns too, when he explains the meanings of the words in a way a 5-year-old can understand. Content and communication can also grow when you bake a cake or cook a meal with your child and talk about ingredients, measurements, and temperature. Science was never so delicious!  Content also includes those all important “learning to learn” skills like impulse control, or planning and

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Magination Press Learning at Home: All Is Not Lost! Help Your Child Learn Important Life Skills During Quarantine 2020-05-27T10:45:05-04:00