Small Talks, No. 40
December 17, 2021
Dear Small Talker,
Welcome to the fortieth edition of Small Talks - the last one of 2021. 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 -
Psychologist Alison Gopnik writes on “what children lose when their brains develop too fast”, a notable reflection on the significance of celebrating childhood.
“Why child’s play is serious business in early education?” is a great piece by Karen D’Souza at EdSource summarizing the benefits of play.
“When did play become a dirty word? What counts as success? Maybe success is more than a test score. Especially when the tests are not formative. They don’t help you learn. They create trepidation. We need a new mindset that builds on what we know about how children learn.” — Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University.
Below a terrific thread on edtech trends by Joe Connor, edtech founder. Really appreciated spotlights on social learning, reading (e.g., Early Bird Education), childcare/preschool (e.g., Wonderschool, Tinkergarten, Tinycare) and parent communication.
Dreaming BIG for holiday presents? Maybe not big enough…Check out the most designed / expensive Kindergarten classroom in China, including an indoor swimming pool. I moved from thinking it is extravagant excess to considering it may be a demonstration that our children’s future is priceless.
What I’m listening to -
Interesting dialogue between education thought leader Michael Horn and Summit Public Schools’ Diane Tavenner on their three big wishes for 2022 1) Personalization 2) Grace 3) Renewing and refreshing ESSA.
What I’m reading -
There is no current book more controversial than The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones on history, education and race. As a result, I believe it is essential for everyone to read it and form an opinion. My personal take is that it is a critical framing on U.S. history from a Black perspective- one that needs to be understood and taught. I simply wished there were companion history projects from other races and ethnicities’ perspectives - especially Native Americans.
What I’m watching -
This 3-min tribute to kindness and leadership from a 4-year old hero. Our future is in good hands with this aspiring 2052 President.
This inspiring TED Talk on 3 ways to lower the barriers to higher education by brilliant advisor and friend Adrian Haugabrook: time, place and how we learn.
What I’m learning and exploring more deeply -
Great reporting by Emily Tate at EdSurge, who highlights the trend of edtech companies expanding into early learning - Kahoot, Byju, Khan Academy and more -, and asks if this is good for children. Includes a few words from me.
Good piece on another trend - family tech - to better supports parents. Features innovators like Brightwheel, Otter, Winnie, Wonderschool.
Generations United produced this new report on the state of grand-families, with many interesting findings. One caught my attention: 25% of Black children live in grand-families.
New evidence by Dr. Bassok & colleagues about the impact of raising pay for ECE teachers: $1,500 incentive pay reduced turnover in half from 30% to 15%! Higher pay promotes more stable child-caregiver relationships, thus quality.
Quote I am pondering -
“I entered the classroom with the conviction that it was crucial for me and every other student to be an active participant, not a passive consumer…education as the practice of freedom…education that connects the will we know with the will to become. Learning is a place where paradise can be created.”
bell hooks (1952-2021. RIP).
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.
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Have a wonderful end of 2021 and best wishes for 2022. Please stay safe and care for each other.