Small Talks, No. 39
December 10, 2021
Dear Small Talker,
Welcome to the thirty-ninth edition of Small Talks. Every Friday, I highlight 6 areas of weekly joys and reflections in early childhood and the whole family. Small Talks leverages my experience at the intersection of education, philanthropy, and impact investing. Enjoy!
What I’m celebrating -
Great piece by David Kirp on early childhood as “the best kept secret” to break the intergenerational poverty curse.
Senate hearings, with advocates making the case for greater investments in the early years.
I had the chance to spend the past week in Qatar at the WISE Summit that gathers education leaders from all over the world, and visit local preschools.
Theme of the conference was to “unmute the youth” – with great energy around student voice/student agency.
Inspiring to see the global convergence on well-being/social-emotional learning, as well as various efforts for refugee children & climate change.
Also, some cutting-edge research being done in epigenetics on how nurturing environments can support intergenerational resilience.
Good discussions on early learning, although it is still a small topic relative to its importance.
What I’m listening to -
In this TEDx video, educator Mia Nacamulli describes the lifelong benefits of a bilingual brain, including brain health.
What I’m reading -
What I’m watching -
The Speedcubers is a Netflix documentary showing the rivalry and friendship between two of the fastest speedcubers in the world. Fascinating passion, mesmerizing to watch the speed (and deeply relatable for all of us who spent many hours solving Rubik’s cubes).
What I’m learning and exploring more deeply -
I had the honor to discuss on a panel the findings of this balanced Economist Impact report on the future of personalized learning. Personalized learning has still long ways to go to fulfill its equity promise. One of the most interesting pieces of data is that teachers/administrators embrace personalized learning, while learners do not.
Excellent piece “The pandemic is fueling a crisis of connections” by Rick Weissbourd, Making Caring Common faculty director, Niobe Way, founder of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity, and Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
“Empathy on the table” summarizes one of the key arguments of greater attention to the early years: building empathy in our little ones.
“The more salient argument is that early childhood educational programs build empathy.”
“Research shows that infants recognize distress in other babies and preferentially associate with prosocial peers rather than anti-social ones. And with the right supportive relationship and nurturing environment, many children gravitate towards empathy.”
Quote I am pondering -
“We are the the music makers,
and we are the dreamers,
— Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Feedback is a gift. Which part above is your favorite? What did I miss? What do you want more or less of? Other recommendations? Please kindly let me know. Thank to all all of you who are sending me amazing suggestions.
If you enjoy this newsletter, please help spread the word by sharing with your friends, colleagues, and networks.
Have a wonderful week. Please stay safe and care for each other.