Postings for January 2013

Less lying! Less cheating!

In the “we must be doing something right” department: A survey of 23,000 high school students, which was conducted by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, reports that for the first time in a decade, students are cheating, lying and stealing less than in previous years.

According to the report, in 2010, 59 percent of students admitted they had cheated on an exam in the past year; in 2012, that rate dropped to 51 percent. Students who said they lied to a teacher in the past year about something significant dropped from 61 percent in 2010 to 55 percent in 2012, and in 2010, 27 percent of the students said they had stolen something from a store in the past year. In 2012, that number dropped to 20 percent.

And yet … the study also found that boys are more likely to engage in dishonest conduct than girls. More boys than girls who admitted to stealing from a store, feel “it’s not cheating if everyone is doing it,” and believe that “a person has to lie and cheat at least occasionally in order to succeed.”

New neonatal unit

Experts from Seattle Children’s Hospital are staffing Overlake Medical Center’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The facility, which opened last November, allows doctors to treat babies born at just 26 weeks and can accommodate 18 infants at a time. Designed to keep families as close to their children as possible, it features private rooms that are 50 percent larger than those in the former NICU.

Each year, more than 4,000 babies are born at Overlake, and, on average, more than 400 babies are treated in the NICU, a number that is likely to increase due to the brand-new, expanded facility. For more information visit Overlake.

ParentMap’s super series

Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting co-author’s Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn kick off ParentMap’s 2013 lecture series Jan. 24, 7–9 p.m. at Town Hall in Seattle. Tickets are $20. The series also features Laura Kastner, Ph.D., who talks about tweens and teens (Feb. 12); Denise Pope, Ph.D., who will speak about the resilient student (March 14); Susan Cain, on quiet kids (April 10); Adele Diamond, Ph.D., about early learning (April 30); and John Gottman, Ph.D., who will discuss making marriage work (May 7). For more information and tickets go here.

Stories, crafts for your young critters

The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma offers a series of programs for young kids ages 3–4 called “Critter Club.” These programs, which are held on scheduled Thursdays and Fridays, feature a story, hands-on animal biofacts, crafts and a special animal surprise. Call 253-591-5333 to register. Programs begin at 11 a.m. Go to PDZA for more information.

We Day on the way

Free The Children’s first American We Day will be in Seattle at Key Arena on March 27. Over 15,000 middle and high school students from across Washington will gather with influential leaders and performers to learn about local and global issues and to celebrate the power of young people to change the world. Past guests include Richard Branson, Jennifer Hudson, Magic Johnson, the Dalai Lama, Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.
Students can’t buy a ticket to We Day, but instead earn it through service. Participating schools are provided a free year-long program, We Act, to turn inspiration into action. School registration is open, go here to learn more.

Tipsy TVs

Make sure your televisions are securely anchored to a table, stand or a wall unit. According to a recent report, a record number of children have been getting injured by falling TVs in their homes.

“We know that low-cost anchoring devices are effective in preventing tip-over incidents,” says a spokesperson from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the organization that conducted the study. “I urge parents to anchor their TVs, furniture and appliances and protect their children. It takes just a few minutes to do and it can save lives.”

CPSC estimates that more than 43,000 consumers are injured each year in tip-over incidents. More than 25,000 of those injuries are to children under age 18. Falling furniture accounts for more than half of the injuries. But tipping televisions are more deadly — they are associated with more than half of the reported fatalities.
— Linda Morgan


Count on this program

As we wrote in our September 2012 article “Multiple methods for teaching math,”: “In a nimble society of innovation and research, expect to see an ever-increasing divergence of teaching styles and methodologies” in math education. Here’s one program that’s taking a divergent approach to teaching math: Abacus West, based in Sammamish, Wash.

The program offers classes for children ages 5–12 (with a special program for 3- and 4-year-olds), and uses auditory, visual and kinesthetic teaching techniques to provide a multisensory learning environment. Vinaya Kulkarni, a Sammamish mother of two, started the program, which has grown steadily, with classrooms in Seattle, Redmond and Sammamish. Visit Abacus West for more information.

Parent-teacher relationships

Collaborative relationships between families and educators are an important component of student development and learning, according to the Washington State Office of the Education Ombudsman (OEO). While parent-teacher conferences are typically a time when families and educators talk about a student, questions about a student’s performance are appropriate any time of the year for students at all grade levels.

These questions, compiled by the OEO, can help parents guide conversations they have with educators:
•    Is my student learning at the appropriate level?
•    What are the strengths of my student?  What does he/she struggle with?
•    What can I do to help my student do better in school?
•    What are the student learning goals for this school year?
•    How can my family support your work?

These teens are making music

Twenty-nine Mercer Island High School students were chosen to be in the All-Northwest Band and Orchestra Groups representing Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Alaska. They will represent their school at a performance at the National Association for Music Education’s Northwest Division Conference in Portland, Ore., in February.

Measure targets SPS improvements

The Seattle Public Schools (SPS) board approved a $694.9 million capital levy ballot measure last November. The measure will go before Seattle voters on the Feb. 12 ballot.

SPS predicts there will be an additional 7,000 students enrolling during the next 10 years. The measure would help address overcrowded schools and classrooms, according to district reports. The levy also addresses earthquake safety issues, building conditions, infrastructure and technological improvements.


Camp Goodtimes

Camp Goodtimes, held each year at Camp Burton on Vashon Island, provides a free, medically supervised program for children with cancer, and a sibling. The camp, for kids ages 7–17, gives children an opportunity to make friends, feel good about themselves, be a member of a group, learn new skills and have adventures. Kids learn archery, do arts and crafts, go canoeing and engage in normal camp experiences. For information, go to Camp Goodtimes.

We’re pleased to feature Camp Goodtimes as our January Giving Together partner. And you can help as well: For every ParentMap Honey purchase made, 5 percent of the profits will be donated directly to support Camp Goodtimes’ mission of providing a free program for kids with cancer. Visit each week to find an outstanding deal that is specifically tailored to families.


Teeth tips    

According to Dr. Eve Rutherford, a Snohomish dentist, kids should have their teeth checked by the time they’re 1 year old. Teething usually starts around 6 months of age, and dental decay can begin soon after teeth emerge, she reports.
Here are some oral health tips from Rutherford:
•    Wipe your baby’s gums with a washcloth or piece of gauze after feeding.
•    As soon as you see baby’s first tooth, start brushing it with a soft “baby” toothbrush. Use a small amount (size of a rice grain) of fluoridated toothpaste.
•    Limit how often your child has juice and sweet drinks or snacks.
•    Ask your child’s dentist or physician about fluoride varnish, which is painted on the teeth to prevent or heal early decay.  
•    If you put your baby to bed with a bottle, fill it with water.

Docs should talk to teens    

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) would like fewer teens to get pregnant — and it wants pediatricians to talk to teenagers about emergency contraception options such as Plan B and Next Choice. “Use of emergency contraception can reduce the risk of pregnancy if used up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure and is most effective if used in the first 24 hours,” the AAP reports in a statement.

Adolescents are more likely to use emergency contraception if it has been prescribed before they need it, according to the AAP. Right now, girls younger than 17 are banned from buying morning-after pills over the counter. The AAP says nearly 80 percent of teen pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.

Air pollution can affect fetus

According to a new study, exposure to low levels of air pollutants can have an effect on fetal growth. The study, by Sheela Sathyanarayana, M.D., M.P.H., of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, is the first in the United States to examine low-level, traffic-derived air pollutants in relation to small-for-gestational-age birth. The report says researchers found associations in the Puget Sound area between increased levels of nitrogen dioxide exposures and an increased risk of small-for-gestational-age birth. (Small-for-gestational-age babies are smaller in size than normal for the baby’s sex and for the number of weeks of pregnancy.)

Researchers also found associations between living within 50–150 meters of freeways and highways and an increased risk of small-for-gestational-age birth. For more information, go to  Seattle Children's.

Beware the bouncy house

We know that trampolines can be dangerous for kids. But now … inflatable bouncy houses? Turns out these popular playthings — often a staple at amusement parks and fairs — can cause plenty of injuries, according to a recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that from 1990 to 2010, more than 64,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for inflatable-bouncer-related injuries, and from 2008 to 2010, the number of pediatric inflatable-bouncer-related injuries more than doubled to an average of 31 children injured per day. Fractures and strains or sprains of the arms or legs were the most common types of injury.
How can you prevent such injuries? Here are some questions to consider:

•    Is the bouncy castle securely anchored?
•    Is there at least one person supervising the children on the bouncy castle?
•    Does the bouncy castle seem overcrowded?
•    Are children of different ages/sizes mixed? If the demand is great, the attendant should operate a rotation to avoid larger children crushing smaller ones.
•    Are children instructed to remove sharp articles of clothing, such as shoes, buckles and jewelry?
Source: Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents


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