Small Talks, No. 59
May 13, 2022
Dear Small Talker,
Welcome to the fifty 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 -
This letter from Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, is a must read - “Child Care is Core to Economic Growth: We Must Commit”. Great to see business leaders rally for children and families.
“Pre-K is powerful if done right. Here’s how” by David Kirp, professor at the University of Berkeley, outlines important findings. The life-long benefits of pre-K are only accrued when it is quality learning. Just providing access is not quality.
I joined the board of EDC (Education Development Center), a 60-year old nonprofit working on education and health globally, at the onset of the pandemic. We met in person with the board and the global team for the first time this past week. Inspired by colleagues working in Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Honduras, Mali, Niger, U.S., and more.
For instance, in Mali, a country sadly in war since 2012, EDC is working to provide education to ALL children: one-classroom schools, mobile schools to reach children in nomadic and migrating communities, classes supplementing Koranic school religious programs, accelerated learning programs, intensive remediation classes, special programs for children with physical disabilities.
For inspiration, check out this beautiful Sunflower campaign by Inner Explorer - a mindfulness program for children - to “plant seeds” for children’s education in Ukraine and beyond. Pens and seeds (instead of an eraser) - as symbols of future education and growth.
What I’m listening to -
This great podcast featuring Tom Hobson (aka Teacher Tom) on the future of play
“Play is as essential to life as respiration."
What I’m reading -
“The Parent Trap: How to stop overloading parents and fix our inequality crisis” by Nate Hilger articulates the needs for better supports for parents- what he elegantly refers as “Familycare”, similar to Medicare. Only 10% of chidhood is spent is school.
What I’m watching -
Terrific event hosted by The Lourie Center for Children’s Social & Emotional Wellness on Children’s National Mental Health Awareness Day last week, with renowned experts in child mental health - Dr. Tami Benton (Children’s hospital of Philadelphia) and Dr. Maryland Pao (National Institute of Health).
1 in 4 (22%) children meet criteria for a mental disorder with severe impairment across their lifespan.
What I’m learning and exploring more deeply -
Excellent piece by Jackie Mader: “Is recess a right or a privilege?” I am tempted to suggest a question reframing to "how to make recess a right, and not a privilege?”
Suspensions and expulsions in early education are ineffective, developmentally inappropriate, and biased. Important new report by New America on how two states (Colorado & Illinois) support educators to eliminate exclusionary discipline practices.
Terrific analysis by Theresa Anderson at the Urban Institute on the benefits of college education for mothers and for their children. The upshot is that education and employment outcomes are good for families when mothers continue their education. But outcomes are even better when mothers complete degrees. Children were 38% more likely to finish college.
40% of baby formula is out of supply: another crisis for parents of young children. More than 75% families use some formula after 6 months.
I enjoyed this piece on how diminishing the phrase "mom brain" is to the huge cognitive load moms carry in a society that doesn't adequately support parents.
Quote I’m pondering -
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
— Robert Fulghum (author of All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten)
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 of you who are sending me amazing suggestions.
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Have a wonderful week. Please stay safe and care for each other.