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October 24, 2016

This week’s family-re­­lated news coverage included a look at the importance of experiential learning for school age children, a visit to a Washington, DC not-for-profit that provides much more than dinner to teens, research exploring the disparate views regarding what makes child care high quality, a look at the first custody case heard after New York State expanded the definition of a parent, one parent’s quest to create a “playborhood,” and finally confirmation that non-humans — specifically chimpanzees — teach their offspring.

Why Isn’t Science Class More Like Learning to Play Baseball? Mindshift, KQED News, October, 12, 2016 Ms. Gobnik looks at the benefits of “doing” as a part of learning. School-age children observe and imitate like younger children. But they learn especially well when they interact with particularly skilled adults in a distinctive cycle of trial and error. (Excerpted from The Gardener and The Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children, by Alison Gopnik.

The Power of a Dinner Table David Brooks, The New York Times, October 18, 2016 Kathy Fletcher and David Simpson have set up a charitable organization called AOK, for All Our Kids, to help kids come into his or her own fullness. When you go to dinner at Kathy and David’s house on Thursday night there might be 15 to 20 teenagers crammed around the table, and later there will be groups of them crashing in the basement or in the few small bedrooms upstairs; everyone gets so much more than dinner.

What Makes for Quality Child Care? It Depends Whom You Ask Alison Kojak, NPR, October 18, 2016 There is a big disconnect between how parents rate their child care providers and a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health shows that the overwhelming majority of parents who use child care are happy with it. A 2006 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development showed that only 9 percent of child care arrangements in the U.S. were considered very high quality. The disconnect between parents and researchers may be because the quality benchmarks measured aren’t always the same as what parents are looking for, says Mary Beth Testa, a child care policy consultant to the National Association for Family Child Care, the organization the accredits home-based child care centers.

A Complex Case Tests New York State’s Expanded Definition of Parenthood Sharon Ottoman, The New York Times, October 18, 2016 In State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the first custody case is underway to test a newly expanded definition of parentage, as handed down by the state’s highest court in August. Parents without adoptive or biological ties can now sue for the right to see children after couples break up, hopefully protecting them from the trauma of forced separation from a parent. The judge must decide, in this highly complicated case, whether or not both women are the parents of a 6-year-old boy.

The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play Melanie Thernstrom, New York TImes, October 19, 2016 A Silicon Valley dad decided to test his theories about parenting by turning his yard into a playground where children can take physical risks without supervision. Not all of his neighbors are thrilled.

Camera Traps Catch Chimpanzee Moms Teaching Their Children Barbara J. King, NPR October 20, 2016 Chimpanzee adults were “caught in the act” of transferring brush-tipped termite-fishing probes they had fashioned out of herb stems to apprentice learners who were eager for a protein snack. This, the authors argue, is teaching, because all three things required in order to claim teaching in non-human animals are present.

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