One Kid Can Make a Difference: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

Our curated list of kid-related news for February 25, 2016.

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By
Dana Villamagna, Toca Magazine Writer
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  • Isiah-Britt-GoFundMe1. Kid gives Flint, Michigan, kids a (very clean) helping hand. A 7-year-old from Virginia started a fund drive that’s now provided enough hand sanitizer for kids in all 12 Flint elementary schools. When Isiah Britt heard that the tainted water in Flint left kids wondering whether they could safely wash their hands in school, he wanted to help. With the help of his parents and a GoFundMe campaign, “in just over two weeks, people have donated more than $10,000,” reported The Good News Network. (Flint Students No Longer Fear Washing Hands Thanks to This 7-year-old)
  •  2. Jump 2×4 times! Kids who move around purposefully during lessons — especially those that require memorization such as math — may learn more, according to research conducted at 12 elementary schools in the Netherlands. Fox News reported this week that after the two-year study, children who had physically active lessons “had significantly higher scores in math and spelling than their peers who didn’t exercise during class.” (Can Kids Learn More When They Exercise During Lessons?)
  • 3. No fear here. “Chuck the insidious language of fear (Be careful! That’s too scary!)” when talking to girls, warned one of the first women firefighters for the San Francisco Fire Department in Sunday’s New York Times. Instead, said firefighter Caroline Paul, offer the same words and ideals to girls that commonly encourage boys to risk, such as bravery. Paul said fear ideas implanted in childhood manifest in women as “deference and timidity.” Instead, speak words that encourage girls to play in ways that promote working through fear and finding boldness and mastery of fear. Then it will be achievable in the adult working world – even when fighting fires. (It’s Not Cute To Be Scared)
  • 4. Kids love telecommuting. One New Jersey high school experimented with a Virtual School Day this month, and teens loved it. Indeed, 98 percent of Park Ridge High students showed up for the online school day. “The students’ biggest request for the next Virtual Day was that the school take one step further into the world of telecommuting, by posting all the assignments at the beginning of the day and allowing students to truly go at their own pace — ‘showing up’ only for the occasional real-time discussion,” according to an NPR report about the day. While an obvious success with teens, the report acknowledged such telecommuting days can only work well in school districts with highly connected homes (99 percent of kids in this district have high speed Internet at home), and could create problems for students who need in-person, one-on-one support. (Study In Your PJs: What a high school work from home day looks like)
  • 5. Kids learn more when their imaginations soar. Play that’s based in imagination and fantasy may helps kids learn more, according to a study cited in the latest edition of Scientific American Mind. While established theories claim kids’ play should mirror reality for best learning, some new studies conducted with very young children suggest that “fantastical elements” in stories and play (such as superheroes and magical concepts that are not based on the real world) can also be useful to learning because they capture kids’ attention and may prompt creative thoughts and solutions. (Imagine that, fantasy may help kids learn)

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