Discover more from Small Talks
Small Talks, No. 87
December 2, 2022
Welcome to the eighty seventh 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 -
In homage of the World Cup, this newsletter is dedicated to playing and learning outside, and the impact of climate on learning.
Researchers studied the effects of a 20-minute walk on the cognitive performance of young children. The results are fascinating: Reading comprehension performance was significantly better after exercise. Spelling and arithmetic performance were better, though the results were not statistically significant.
Important new study shows the major impact of air pollutants on child development.
“While there are other issues that can affect school preparedness for early-age children, the study found that exposure to air pollutants, when isolated, accounted for a third of the impact when compared with other concerns [related to growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods].”
"Our results also point toward a potential role for small-scale public health interventions during a period of early life vulnerability. For example, disseminating technologies, such as indoor air filters, to childcare centers and households in poor communities or making targeted investments in housing repair (e.g., replacing damaged windows, doors, and weather-stripping) could potentially prevent early cognitive impairments that would otherwise reverberate throughout the later life course."
Conversely, a comprehensive Stanford review of 66 studies shows meaningful benefits of early childhood environmental education, including increased learning in a range of areas such as mathematics, science, language, literacy, enhanced social & emotional skills, and improved physical development.
For inspiration, three models innovating on outdoor education:
Tinkergarten offers parent-child outdoor play-based classes in nearly every state in the U.S.
What I’m listening to -
Inspiring keynote by Jessica Sager, CEO/founder of All Our Kin, on caring in caregivers.
What I’m reading -
Tale of Two Planets by John Freeman is a powerful collection collection of stories from around the world showing that climate change is not just a problem for developing nations. After reading 36 stories around the world, I was left with this clear picture that there isn’t a clear split that divides the planet into two as the name of the book may suggest. Instead, we have devastating manifestation of climate change appearing everywhere.
What I’m watching-
Play Is The Way documents the benefits of play across the globe
What I’m learning more deeply -
In this oped, Stanford Assistant Professor Nicole Ardoin asks provokingly if outdoor immersive education may be the only bipartisan solution to the youth mental heath crisis.
Early childhood expert Joan Lombardi calls for urgency at the intersection of climate and young children.
Think of the Children: The Young and Future Generations Drive U.S. Climate Concern by This is Planet Ed and Capita surveys Americans on climate change and children.
3 in 4 Americans feel they have a moral obligation to address climate change.
3 in 10 respondents with children said their children have told them that they worry about climate change.
The good news is that even the least-concerned Americans do “think of the children.”
Early childhood and climate change are connected in more ways than you think is a great interview between Emily Tate at EdSurge and Elliot Haspel at Capita.
Did you know that an average child will have accumulated nearly 250 toys by age 10? Read more in this piece in The Guardian.
A quote I’m pondering -
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.
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.