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What’s Hot in Child Development? 2 nd Children Matter Conference 3 April 2009/Mount Royal College Calgary, Alberta Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. Yale University.

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Presentation on theme: "What’s Hot in Child Development? 2 nd Children Matter Conference 3 April 2009/Mount Royal College Calgary, Alberta Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. Yale University."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s Hot in Child Development? 2 nd Children Matter Conference 3 April 2009/Mount Royal College Calgary, Alberta Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. Yale University School of Medicine

2 Your neighborhoods  Today’s family profile 33% kids with breadwinner dads/stay home moms…40% marriages end in divorce…single mom households up by 300%...60% moms with preschoolers working…63% kids under 5 in care Media  TV, Radio, Print, DVD/VHS, Computers, Video Games, DVRs, Handhelds…  Sesame is about parent/child interactions, discovery, whole child curriculum & Electric Company is back!  PTA, PBS Roper poll 2006

3 More surprises…  Moms spend as much time with their kids as 40 yrs ago…how?  Dad time in child/house care sharply up (56%) why this matters so much to child outcomes  The 43% work/stay home dilemma for moms  Rise of co-parenting  So parents are changing; older, more vigilant, over-worked multi-taskers with fewer kids…more competent? And what’s up with dads?  Russell Sage Foundation 2006

4 Evidence that Men Respond to Children  physical response to colicky infant  touch and smell recognition  spontaneous speech patterns  hormones and fatherhood: - testosterone: drops 33% for 1 mo. at birth - estrogen: inc. 1 mo. prior/ 3 mos. post birth - prolactin: inc. 20% for 3 wks. post birth

5 Evidence that Children Respond to Men  differential response to mother/father at 6 weeks -Yogman  increased clarity of behavioral cues to father  by toddlerhood, use more advanced speech with fathers

6 Distinguishing Maternal/Paternal Behaviors  Preference for activation/stimulation vs. soothing  Unpredictable vs. predictable/regulating style  Preparation for place in the world vs. relationships  Discipline: ‘real world’ vs. relational  Frustration tolerance vs. facilitating  Respect vs. gatekeeping

7 “Show Your Love”  Sam Kauffmann Boston College, School of Film

8 Child Outcomes of Involved ‘ Fathering ’ Behavioral  Reduced contact with juvenile justice  Delay in initial sexual activity, reduced teen pregnancy  Reduced rate of subsequent divorce  Less reliance on aggressive conflict resolution Educational  Higher grade completion and income  Math competence in girls  Verbal strength in boys and girls (literacy) Emotional  Greater problem-solving competence, and stress tolerance  Greater empathy, moral sensitivity and reduced gender stereotyping Pruett, KD Fatherneed (2001)

9 Parents/Teachers/Kids: Quality of Relationships (NICHD/Pianta)  Quality means sensitivity, not cognitive stimulation  Children hang around a lot; 5:1 pre-K, 9:1 by third grade  So, quality matters, especially in promoting relationships and cognition – but quality of what?

10 How kids learn - really  Canadian/American Academy of Pediatrics: Play is “the thing”!  In USA/NCLB: Play is a “four letter word”  Kind of play? Sociodramatic play: largely child- directed make-believe that involves roles, objects, events with language, feeling and social interaction

11 ‘ But aren’t academics/skill drills more important for learning than play?’  No credible science for earlier/faster/better The opposite is true, according to Rebecca Marcon’s Toddlers Meanwhile, 71% teachers see over-testing vs. 17% parents…cheating on the rise UK backing out after 7 yrs of high-stakes testing Germany has abandoned ‘kindergarten reform’

12 …who said it?  “Imagination is more important than knowledge itself”

13 Albert Einstein

14 Academics vs. learning for Life  Loss of free time, harried lifestyles predispose to burnout, not competence - stress, depression, anxiety on rise  So… about those C&AAP guidelines: “True toy” revival, undirected play Balance extracurricular (esp. for other parents’ kids!)* Read together/parallel (Scholastic) Social/emotional enrichment protects the brain * Yale study proves benefits to grades, peer relationships, confidence -J. Mahoney, SRCD

15 Should we worry?  Last two decades, children have lost 8 hours unstructured/spontaneous play/wk  30,000 schools have replaced recess/arts/music with academics (why? -parents and US/NCLB)  C&AAP ‘deeply concerned (2007) about the reduction in time for socio-dramatic play in preschools and kindergartens’ 34% KGs have no recess ‘02, 38% ‘08

16 academics vs. play Which provides more readiness- building opportunities?

17 Literacy’s best chance -Marcon, U. of N. Florida  6 yr follow-up of 183 urban pre-K children in 3 different preschool models 1)academic/curriculum driven 2)child-initiated/developmentally driven learning 3)mixed

18 Outcome: after third grade - no difference; after fourth… academic/curriculum driven group had lower grades than child-initiated/developmental play group

19 Kathy Hirsch-Pasek (Temple University)…  Builds on Marcon’s toddlers’, but focus is on overall readiness  Academic preschools vs. developmental/play oriented preschools  And by 4 th grade...

20 Outcomes… Zero advantage in math and reading Higher levels of test anxiety Reduced creativity More negatively disposed to school

21 …and that academic push?  There is a predominantly negative correlation between skill pushing and academic performance  …and a strong positive correlation between social/emotional play emphasis and academic competence from late elementary grades on  “global warming is to the environment as the erosion of play in childhood is to human imagination/creativity” - Alliance for Childhood

22 Media and “educare”  87% parents feel media usage will help kids succeed in school (Job #1)  83% under 6rs use screen media…61% babies watch 90 mins…90% 4-6rs watch 125 mins.  1/3 under 6rs TV in bedrm, another 1/3-24/7  83% under 6rs have computer at home, most with internet (more DVD, video usage) not so fast…

23 New era media advantages for quality learning?  Parents are big fans (84%) of I.T. teaching, but there are limits to its usefulness…  U. W. study of DVD time and vocabulary growth For every hour 8-16 month olds watched ‘Baby Einstein’ or ‘Brainy Baby’, they understood 8 fewer words Reading/ telling stories to same age infants, inc vocabulary by 3 words  Journal of Pediatrics, Zimmerman, Aug 2007

24 Tube changes for better/worse  66% say kids imitate positive behaviors, 45% aggressive behaviors, esp. older boys  Age compression, branding of childhood, movie rating slippage  Young brain makes no distinction between real and televised violence  Kaiser Family Foundation Media Family Poll 2006

25 Long Scientific Trail  Piaget proved that ‘all knowledge comes from action’; esp. interaction with the physical environment-not flash cards  Vygotsky: play is primary/essential context for cognitive development Child learns from playing others Use of objects in play sets stage for abstract thinking (banana as phone), reading and writing

26 Einstein and What’s Hot… Not everything that can be studied matters, nor can everything that matters be studied…

27 Resources     

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