Get Lucky and Build Your Brain

LuckyDid you know that physical activity helps children not only expend energy but also sends that energy to their brains? Here are some examples:

  • Rocking a baby does more than provide emotional comfort; it stimulates the vestibular region of the inner ear. This region is responsible for language development.
  • In a large-scale study of almost 12,000 Nebraska schoolchildren published in August in The Journal of Pediatrics, aerobic fitness was a significant predictor of academic performance; weight status was not.
  • A representative study, presented in May at the American College of Sports Medicine, found that fourth- and fifth-grade students who ran around and otherwise exercised vigorously for at least 10 minutes before a math test scored higher than children who had sat quietly before the exam.

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Brain Building and Hugging

bethbbipbuttonMaybe you saw our signs last week asking, “Are you a brain builder?” or maybe you saw the little yellow feet that tracked a path from PlaySpace into Peep into Countdown to Kindergarten? Or maybe, a Boston Children’s Museum staffer handed you a button to wear after they observed you having a meaningful moment with your child.

Last week was officially the Week of the Young Child and we planned a Brain Building in Progress campaign to help raise awareness of the importance of the first few years of a child’s development to their future success – and our region’s future workforce and prosperity. And then some bombs went off. We spent the week providing a safe haven for young children and their families as our Boston community dealt with the anxiety and fear that hung over our city.  Brain building didn’t really matter. Hugging mattered. Continue reading

The Power of Garbage Trucks and Toy Soldiers

MichaelToday my family remembers the 20th anniversary of my little brother’s death. He was 34 years old when he died as a soldier stationed in Ft. Bragg, NC.  I remember that as a child, he loved garbage trucks. Why? Because we grew up living next door to our town’s local garbage collector. The neighbor parked his two humongous, smelly trucks in the yard next our house every day for many years. They were a magnet for little boys who loved trucks. I remember shaking my head as the older, sophisticated sister, plugging my nose and making faces at the little kids who couldn’t keep their hands off those stinking trucks. Continue reading