Microsoft Unveils Minecraft for Schools: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

Our curated list of kid-related news for June 10, 2016.

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Dana Villamagna, Toca Magazine Writer
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  • 1. Minecraft: Coming soon to a school near you. On Thursday, Microsoft unveiled Minecraft: Education Edition, for which schools will be able to buy annual licenses starting in September. According to an article on Fast Company, New Jersey students have been testing this new edition, which includes “Minecraft lesson resources and a variety of starter worlds.” The Education Edition will include a camera, chalkboards and “non-player characters who can offer guidance and narration,” plus teacher help and curriculum-inspiring ideas. Minecraft: Education Edition will cost $1 to $5 per student, according to the article. (It’s not just a game: Minecraft is coming to the classroom)
  • 2. Walking Dead photo shoot … with kids? The outcry on Facebook among people who opposed staged photos of kids portraying scenes from the popular AMC show The Walking Dead caused Facebook to take down the photos. But Facebook reversed the decision and apologized to professional photographer Alana Hubbard, who took the photos. In an article on the Today show’s website about the controversial photos, Hubbard said, “I don’t see it as a problem. I can’t fathom how people rationalize what’s acceptable and not acceptable. Apparently people can’t wrap their brain around kids playing modern-day cops and robbers.” Alana’s kids also took part in the photo shoot with more than 20 kids ages 3 to 7. (Mom defends Walking Dead photo shoot with kids)
mother_hubbard_walking_deadMother Hubbard Photography
 
  • 3. Down Under nature playground wins top award. A playground designed to encourage interaction with nature and positive physical risk-taking has won Australia’s Best Playground award, according to an article by Clay Lucas posted this week on the Children & Nature Network. Melbourne’s Nature Play playground, located in a park near a children’s hospital, includes many options – such as traditional slides and swings – to make it accessible for kids of a variety of physical abilities, while its unique elements also encourage kids to explore “through rocky outcropped terraces and lofty climbing ropes.” (A Melbourne natural playground named Australia’s Best Playground)

  • 4. “Gnarly in Pink” a must-see. A list of teen-approved, gender-themed movies posted on the New York Times Learning Network this week, and it includes the documentary Gnarly in Pink, about ‘The Pink Helmet Posse,’ three 6-year-old skateboarding girls. The short film was selected by teens who participated in selecting The Learning Network’s Film Club. As one of the dads in the film says about The Posse: “What I’m learning is there’s no limits to what they can do.” (Film Club: Six Must-Watch Gender-Related Documentaries for Teens)
  • 5. Early puberty increases depression risk. Many girls’ bodies are changing at younger ages, and studies suggest that those girls are at higher risk of developing depression. According to an article on The New York Times’ Well blog this week, Perri Klass, M.D., wrote: “Children who start puberty early – say, 8 instead of 12 — are faced with handling those physical changes while they are more childlike in their knowledge and their cognitive development, and in their emotional understanding of what goes on around them.” Klass noted that parents can help by making sure protective factors — such as good parent-child relationships — are in place to help kids navigate any bumps in adolescence, including early puberty, and that parents should keep lines of communication open about body issues. (Early puberty in girls raises the risk of depression)

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