Posted by: Roseann Murphy | August 16, 2016

The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

We continue to read the damage being done – yet we continue to move forward despite the research. Excellent article.

Americas Education Watch

nclbOne of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis more apparent, and more damaging, than in kindergarten.

A new University of Virginia study found that kindergarten changed in disturbing ways from 1999-2006. There was a marked decline in exposure to social studies, science, music, art and physical education and an increased emphasis on reading instruction. Teachers reported spending as much time on reading as all other subjects combined.

The time spent in child-selected activity dropped by more than one-third. Direct instruction and testing increased. Moreover, more teachers reported holding all children to the same standard.

How can teachers hold all children to the same standards when they are not all the same? They learn differently, mature at different stages – they just are not all the same especially at the…

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Posted by: Roseann Murphy | February 19, 2015

Raffi: Parents, Just say ‘no’ to your kids

For those of us in the Child Care Field hearing Raff’s songs bring back lovely memories of his wonderful songs. Taken from Raffi’s website: “Millions know Raffi for his work as a children’s entertainer whose string of gold and platinum-selling recordings in North America includes his classic “Baby Beluga” song with its beloved melody and lyrics. But a very interesting piece of Raffi’s story is not as well known: Raffi’s pioneering commitment to honouring his young fans changed the way we came to view music made for children. Founding his own record label, Troubadour, then folk musician Raffi set out on a path that rescued children’s recordings from bargain bin pricing and sub-par production values.”

Little River School Online

Raffi: Parents, just say ‘no’ to your kids

 The entertainer has a new book on the perils of overexposure of young children to ‘infotech’



Children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian with his new book Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Before It Re-Forms Us.

Photograph by: . , Vancouver Sun

Parents should take the iPads out of their young sons and daughters’ hands and get them playing with bananaphones and baby belugas, according to famed children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian. In recent years, the troubadour has become a vocal opponent of letting young kids use the latest “shiny” tech gadgets and set up online identities in the anarchic world of social media.

He talked with The Sun about his new ‘F-word’ and options for parents grappling with their children’s use of technology as he launches his new book Lightweb Darkweb: Three…

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Posted by: Roseann Murphy | July 22, 2014

Grief and Miscarriage

Simply beautiful blog. So sensitive and respectful. I wanted to share with you in case you had not see it before. Thank you to friend and colleague for posting this blog.

Whisper of Change

I recently learned of a friend who experienced a miscarriage and it brought to mind the ways grief effects men and women differently and how invisible they can feel both to each other and to the world. So many partners do not talk about their feelings to each other or anyone else. Sometimes those feelings can cause problems in their relationship and they never understand )why all of a sudden they no longer feel the closeness they once had. This is true of couples who felt they were not ready for a child and can not understand why they have the feelings that they do.
I would like to share 13 things that all couples should be aware of and I hope it brings some peace and comfort to those who going through the heartache and pain of this type of grief

Photo (139)

1. Some women who lose babies through miscarriage…

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 underwatchMagdalena Palencia’s  most recent article addresses a most delicate aspect of communication between a parent and a child.  A parent may not realize their trepidation when leaving their child in the care of a in-home primary teacher, a center or a classroom.  For a child to feel confident and secure in their environment when the parent is not present it is “imperative  the parent communicate to their children through  their words and demeanor the respect, confidence and value they have for teacher or caregiver.  This will help their child to feel secure under their watch.”

This  important communication allows the child  to relax and breathe easy in the environment.  Without the proper communication the child always seem to be “waiting”.   When observing a child in this situation we  may not link it to the “message” a parent inadvertently passes to their child  when they themselves are not secure in their decision.

Magdalena’s insight into the importance of communication is enlightening.

A genuine approach to communication: Building trust and avoiding mixed messages.

genapproachCommunication between an adult and a child is a two way street. Responding to a child’s smile or when they are expressing their discomfort with a cry is one of the many ways adults recognize the communication tools of a child. Studies confirm how talking to a child from the very first day benefits them as they learn reading, writing and problem solving. Though adults are accustomed to using verbal language to communicate, children grow first up using body language and non-verbal communication. It is essential for adults to maintain consistency in their verbal and non-verbal communication to avoid confusions that might end up affecting a child.

A common way in which a child may be getting mixed messages is when adults change their voice to talk to a child. Adults may use baby talk to communicate with children because of tradition, cultural environments or simply out of emotion. Understanding what messages a child is receiving from such changes in an adult’s voice will be more apparent in the motivation behind doing so. Most commonly adults change their voice as a means of being warm and caring towards a child. A child will be able to read that they are being approached in this way so long as the love and affection is not expressed in an exaggerated or overwhelming way…

Post by: Roseann Murphy

images“I saw this video in college, and I immediately changed my major. The payoff at the end is brilliant and a perfect metaphor for what we deal with and face every day in our society. Like “Catcher in the Rye” is to high school students, this is part of your Upworthy required reading.

1:30: This teacher begins a study that will be talked about for 40 years.
3:00: She re-creates segregation and racism in her classroom.
7:45: Mrs. Elliott flips the entire class on their heads.
10:00 Jane Elliot makes the most profound discovery about us all
11:43: The students learn something that the world is still struggling to.
There are too many great moments to point out. Just watch.” – Rafael Casal from
Posted by: Roseann Murphy | June 25, 2013

Raffi: Parents, Just say ‘no’ to your kids

Raffi: Parents, just say ‘no’ to your kids

 The entertainer has a new book on the perils of overexposure of young children to ‘infotech’



Children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian with his new book Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Before It Re-Forms Us.

Photograph by: . , Vancouver Sun

Parents should take the iPads out of their young sons and daughters’ hands and get them playing with bananaphones and baby belugas, according to famed children’s entertainer Raffi Cavoukian. In recent years, the troubadour has become a vocal opponent of letting young kids use the latest “shiny” tech gadgets and set up online identities in the anarchic world of social media.

He talked with The Sun about his new ‘F-word’ and options for parents grappling with their children’s use of technology as he launches his new book Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Before It Re-Forms Us. Here is an edited version of the interview:

Q. What do you think when you see parents give their kids an iPad or smartphone at a restaurant to keep them occupied?

A. Shiny tech should not be used as a babysitter, ever. The fact that it is doesn’t make it right.

There’s a logical fallacy in the assumption that you have to have your kids be Internet savvy early so they don’t get left behind. Left behind what? Think about this for a moment: this stuff is so easy to use you can master an iPhone … in 10 minutes. And you know the technology is going to change every six months, right? So what is it exactly that we’re supposed to giving our kids a head start in?

Child development people will tell you — people like David Elkind who wrote a book called The Hurried Child – it’s the unhurried children who are grounded in reality, who are grounded in emotional intelligence, in relational play. It’s those kids who (are) learning through the arts, learning through their imaginal capacities, they’re going to do well in life.

You’re exercising a faith in life itself when you raise children unhurriedly. So, all the more reason to make childhood the years that childhood is about: trial and error, playing in the real elements, learning in the real world, imagining your place in the real world. All of that is the work of childhood.

And I say to parents ‘infotech can wait.’ Kids have the whole rest of their lives for infotech, but they only have the first few years of childhood. That’ll only come once. What you don’t want is for the virtual world to interfere into it.

Q. That’s easy to say, but how can a childless person such as yourself know how hard it is to refuse their plaintive cry for more screen time?

A. I would say I do know how hard it is actually, because I talk to parents all the time. Admittedly I’m not a parent, but I interviewed a number of parents in the writing of this book, for one thing, but even without that I see how it is with parents.

I’ll tell you one thing, psychotherapists that are friends of mine, tell me they’re astonished at the number of parents these days who won’t say no.

I have compassion for parents as well as for their kids: those who won’t let their kids play video games for hours, those who restrict their kids’ social media time. Sometimes a child who’s experiencing the restraint of her parents will feel ostracized in her group if everybody else in the group has this stuff and they don’t.

That’s why it’s important in those cases for the parent to find one other parent in that social group who is maybe of like mind.

In which case then the child has one person to hang out with and doesn’t feel totally like ‘oh God, they’re all doing this and I’m not allowed to.’

I’m not saying restraint is easy on the parent or the child. But if you know, developmentally speaking, that there are important reasons why you should be exercising screen-time restraint, well then it’s your duty to put that into practice. When something is popular it doesn’t mean that it’s right. It’s a very simple concept. There are billion-dollar tech companies racing to shape the future for everybody and I’m not taking that lying down. They’re making billions off of convincing boards of education that everyone needs a tablet. That’s nonsense.

Q. Why should people listen to you?

A. That’s a good question. I have a fairly good understanding of children and child development. It’s something that I’ve been working with for a long time.

The three reasons for reforming social media are safety and intelligence — both societal intelligence and the intelligence our primary learners carry. The creative abilities of children are astounding, in the real world, with people, in their formative time. There’s my new ‘F-word’ for society: formative.

I want every family to understand the meaning of that word. I want everybody to talk about ‘Raffi’s F-word.’

Then you kind of go, ‘oh gee, that’s interesting. What’s forming?’ A sense of one’s self.

‘Oh. What else is forming?’ A sense of the world. What it feels like to be human.

That’s why those early years are so critical to the development of emotional intelligence, lifelong learning and play as a way of being. If people find the concept of lightweb darkweb interesting they should read this book. And they should also read the book because it presents an argument that they won’t find elsewhere. Which is again: that only by acting quickly to reform social media can we have, in good conscience, an optimal use of the lightweb in which users are safe, they use the Internet and social media with discernment and that it can be a sustainable and sustaining venture.

Q. Does it anger you when you see the smartphones go up in the audience when you perform?

A. No, because at the beginning of the show someone comes up and says ‘Out of respect to Raffi, please put away your phones and your tablets and just enjoy the show because he needs you to sing along.’

And they all do. They all respect me and we have a great time.

Q. Has technology changed your audience?

A. We’ve had concerns about kids in front of screens for a long time. By that we meant the TV screen. This is a further complication of the same issue. Because as you know … children do well when they play actively in the real world, using their imaginations as they play. That’s their innate intelligence. That imaginary theatre – that’s their gift. They make up play worlds that feel real to them, they don’t need virtual reality. They’re in that magical space children are.

Along comes television with its pre-fab images and if little kids watch too much TV or too soon well that’s an intrusion in their processes.

What I call ‘shiny tech’ goes even further. Why? Look at this thing (holds up his iPhone). It’s so cute! You just touch it and stuff happens! Well, yeah, but that’s a problem for kids.

Q. You dedicated your book to Amanda Todd. Why did her story affect you so deeply?

A. I’d heard of similar troubles that teens were having online. The normal bullying of childhood gets amplified online and there’s no escape from it. You can’t have your home as a safe haven. It follows you — it’s 24/7. The bullying, when it persists and other people pile on it becomes tormenting and then in this case a sexual predator.

The story just saddened me, shocked me, upset me tremendously, and I thought ‘I gotta do something.’

Q. You have a large presence on Twitter, but recently went on a “fast” from the micro-blogging platform, why?

A. That was great because suddenly I noticed it’s subtle the differences, you know?

When you’re online and you’re engaged, you’re always kind of thinking about it like ‘I wonder who’s tweeting me? It’s been an hour since I checked.’ For two days that wasn’t there and I was like ‘Ah, this feels nice, I remember this.’

I would recommend it for anybody. Have a social media fast for a weekend or one day a week.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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Posted by: Roseann Murphy | June 23, 2013

Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

I wanted to bring this article to your attention once again. Although we posted it some time ago, I continue to see photos of children propped in this seat. “The Research of Dr. Emmi Pikler shows that even the youngest babies change position an average of once a minute. So if they are strapped into a seat or a swing they cannot do what they would do naturally if free. Avoid contraptions that confine infants.”(1)
“But the Bumbo Baby seat position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.”
Additional information regarding Bumbo seat:

Essence of Child Caring

Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats

Chairs inhibit movement, which is what babies need, experts say

March 15, 2012|By Julie Deardorff, Chicago Tribune reporter

Erin Papuga feeds her 7-month-old daughter, Caroline, in the Bumbo at their home in Chicago. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune)950

Like other gadgets that confine babies, including walkers, exercise saucers and bouncy seats, the Bumbo Baby Seat is not popular among physical therapists.

Bumbo’s website says its product — which props up an infant in a sitting position before he may be physically ready to do it on his own — has developmental benefits and enhances posture.

But the position actually teaches babies incorrect postural alignment, with a rounded back and the head leaning forward, said Mary Weck, clinical coordinator of physical therapy at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Rather than using a chair, parents looking for developmental benefits should play with their baby and…

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Posted by: Roseann Murphy | May 22, 2013

Magda Gerber’s RIE: Very First Conference

A repost of an article from “Educaring Resources for Infant Educarers.” Vol 1 Number 1 Winter 1979 by Rhonda Garcia. The very first Conference presented by Magda Gerber and Emmi Pikler at the University of California, Los Angeles Campus thirty-four years ago. If the conference were held today, the words would hold the same importance today as it did then. Hope you enjoy revisiting the past…

Little River School Online

 Today, November 1st is Magda Gerber’s Birthday.  Magda’s impact on the child care community continues today and  will  continue long past my lifetime.  Thirty-seven years ago I was fortunate to participate in the child caring panel at the conference.   My dear friend and colleague, Norma Friend was also a member of the panel representing family child care.  We had the opportunity to share with the conference goers the significance of  Magda Gerber’s teachings  on  children and parents in our programs.  After all these years, I think of Magda daily.  There are many of us who experienced the passion of her work first-hand. I particularly love Rhonda Garcia’s insight into Magda’s presentation at the conference…she sums up Magda and her work……”Magda left us with the feeling that she understood our dilemmas,”  ….breast-feed, bottle-feed; wean abruptly, wean gradually; start solids at birth, breast feed for years; feed according to the clock, feed…

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Posted by: Roseann Murphy | November 3, 2012

How is everyone doing with the time change?

Daylight Savings Time officially begins at 2 AM Sunday, March 9, 2014.  For the majority of us, that means we lose an extra hour of sleep before starting the day.  In addition to the loss of sleep time, the loss of time often comes with a price.  I am always a little off kilter after the time change – my body is trying to adjust to the change  while rejoicing the addition of daylight.  If it affects me in this way, how does the time change affect our children?

Children generally do not use watches, but they can tell when there is a change in the behavior of the family and at the child care center.  Children thrive on schedules, which is why their behavior is linked to our schedules. When those schedules are disrupted, it can cause changes in  behavior.

Keep a close eye on your child for any changes in their behavior after the time change. If children seem to be more anxious try keeping your schedule as if the time change did not happen.  Lunch at 12 noon will really be lunch at 1:00 …so a little earlier for snack and mealtimes might take the edge off.

For parents and early childhood educators, it is important to explain to older children that the clock says one thing while our body’s clock says something else, and that it will take awhile for the brain and body to get in sync with the new time.

 At Little River School, we accommodated the change by serving meals at the old time rather than what the clock says..  Naps are scheduled at the old time and we carefully integrate the new time slowly over the course of the week.

Most importantly, is the issue of drop off and pick up time.   Most children will now be waking up when it is dark outside, while just days before they woke when it was light.  The most worrisome challenge at the child care center is around pick-up time because children are now going home an hour later than their internal time clocks are telling them.  Children are accustomed to returning home in the dark, having dinner and going to bed.  Now there might be time for a trip to the park.  Parents might have to adjust the dinner schedule as well.  Bedtimes might be adjusted as well, the body clocks will say it is 9:00 p.m. while the computer clock says 10:00 p.m.

Anxious behavior may occur during this time.  The area where you live will impact behavior as well.

An excellent resource is the Science Daily article:

Daylight Saving Time Disrupts Humans’ Natural Circadian Rhythm, “When we implement small changes into a biological system which by themselves seem trivial, their effects, when viewed in a broader context, may have a much larger impact than we had thought,”

Daylight Saving Time Disrupts Humans’ Natural Circadian Rhythm

Science Daily — When people living in many parts of the world move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight saving time (DST), their bodies’ internal, daily rhythms don’t adjust with them, reports a new study.* The finding suggests that this regular time change–practiced by a quarter of the human population–represents a significant seasonal disruption, raising the possibility that DST may have unintended effects on other aspects of human physiology, according to the researchers.

Another interesting article regarding time change:  both for Fall Back and Spring ahead.

Post by: Roseann Murphy

I posted this article some time ago. Since that time a few changes have been made when it comes to photos of children. Facebook has taken a stand on photos of children being breastfed. Many people are not happy about the change. I support breastfeeding, I also support children’s privacy when involved in intimate/private family moments. I continue to see photos of toilet training and statements on FB updating the world on a child’s toileting accomplishments. I am an advocate of privacy, especially for those in our family who have no voice in what is posted about them in most intimate moments. If a site is closed to only family members, I suppose posting developmental updates is acceptable, but for the world to see…not so much! So I chose to repost this article. “Months ago I came upon this article in The Huffington Post and after reading it I was convinced to complete the post  that I have been holding on to for so long.”

“My article is short, to the point and as “clear as water” for those who want to see.  For some unknown reason parents and caregivers continue to post the most private and intimate of photos of their children.  The one mentioned below brought many comments of distaste and disdain for the gentleman (I use the word lightly) for posting the picture of his nearly naked daughter. Not surprising, the number of posts in favor of the picture far outnumber the comments wishing he had not posted the picture.  The father sees nothing wrong with posting this photo of his innocent daughter.  He mentions the fact is “his daughter” and sees nothing wrong with sharing this moment with the world.

I ask myself if that means all stops are pulled.  We have children and we have carte blanche permission to post whatever we want?  It is our “right” to talk about the intimate details of their toilet training fetes?  It is our “right” to show them on the toilet half clothed and tell all the intimate details of the words they use, where they pooped last…how they urinated on the floor and were made to “help” clean it up?

I am all for helpful information on the web.  I have spoken with and counseled parents for over thirty years.  I never did nor will I ever cross over the line of dignified and respectful conversation regarding the child that has no say in the conversation.  Over the years we had many moments that could have been construed as cute or funny, but if it had to do with private and intimate moments we did not share them with anyone but the parents.

I would like to start a movement, one that asks for a moratorium on posting pictures of children on the toilet, nursing, and standing naked for one reason or another. These are family moments that are intimate and private. These types of photos are not cute.  They lack the dignity and respect we all wish for ourselves.  The pictures are posted in the name of “sweet and darling”.  And we wonder why our adolescents are posting sex texts and who find nothing wrong with exposing themselves to their peers.  These children are arrested, banned from schools and put in rehab…How come?…they are just doing what their folks showed them.  Maybe we can trace back and see their parents posted them naked on the toilet or breastfeeding and thought nothing of it. “Clear as water” in my opinion.  Parenting has to include dignity and respect.”

Post by: Roseann Murphy

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