March 23, 2022 by admin 0 Comments

Growing Big Hearts with Noggin’s Big Heart Beats Album

Noggin’s Big Heart Beats Album is a lineup of catchy songs  — all available on the Big Heart World website — that are intended to help children (and grown-ups) grow big hearts. The songs, which deal with themes like identity, friendship, and helping others, can be played for fun or built into social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculums. 

“When we considered how best to introduce SEL concepts and themes to kids, we immediately gravitated toward music,” said Sean Farrell, who leads Noggin’s original content development. “We wanted to create music and songs that families would happily roll down the windows of their car and turn up their speakers or play in the family room and dance together.”

The Link Between Music and SEL

Music — singing and making music and moving to music — with children naturally supports the development of important social and emotional skills, including self-confidence; self-regulation; and interpersonal/social skills like sharing, turn taking, cooperating with others and solving problems together.

  • Newborns are able to identify rhythms and melodies heard in the womb
  • Music creates social connections between grown-ups and children
  • Children as young as 3 can notice emotions in songs. They can notice feelings in clips that are just 0.5 seconds long!
  • Music instruction has been shown to increase self-regulation skills

“There is powerful research from leading scholars on the value of music in creating a healthier and more flexible brain, and in laying the foundation for learning,” said Michael Levine, director of Learning and Impact at Noggin. “The use of music both recreationally and in educational settings helps create cognitive flexibility and enhances other multi-sensory literacies that are critical to help children compete and cooperate in a global community.”

Using Big Heart Beats Album to Grow Big Hearts

Julia Levy, the producer of the Big Heart World social and emotional learning initiative, joined with the team at Noggin on March 23, 2022 at the AFT / Share My Lesson virtual conference to share tips on how to use the Big Heart Beats Album and music and movement generally to support social and emotional learning.

“Music is a powerful tool that educators can use to engage children’s minds and bodies in new ways, introducing and reinforcing important ideas and growing kids’ big hearts,” Levy said.

Big Heart World released a learning guide that educators and parents can use to explore the Big Heart Beats album and use the songs to support children’s social and emotional learning.

Learn From the Artists: Music Grows SEL Skills
Artists behind Noggin’s Big Heart Beats Album — Chris Sernel (Oh, Hush!), Alex Geringas, and Wil Fuller — shared how music helps grown-ups and children develop social emotional skills. You can listen to their songs here.
“Music can absolutely help kids to process, comprehend, and feel their emotions,” said Sernel. Watch the whole interview here!
Learn from the Artists: What Does Growing Big Hearts Mean?

Alex Geringas and Wil Fuller; Flor de Toloache; and Chris Sernel (Oh, Hush!) discuss what growing “big hearts” means to them. Listen to their songs here.

Learn from the Artists: Creating "Real" Music With Toys
Chris Sernel (Oh, Hush!) explains how his 3- and 5-year-old daughters inspired him to create “How You Feel,” one of the songs in Noggin’s Big Heart Beats Album. He created the song using his children’s toy instruments! Hear him talk about his inspiration and demonstrate using toys to create something amazing.
Big Heart Beats Album Learning Guide
The Big Heart World team created a learning guide to help educators and parents learn from the songs and find some ways to incorporate them into playful social and emotional learning lessons. 

March 8, 2022 by admin 0 Comments

You’re Invited to an #SELday Dance Party!

SEL Day — March 11, 2022 — is a day dedicated to celebrating social and emotional education, a topic near and dear to our heart here at Big Heart World! We’re partnering with our friends at SEL4Us to give our friends a chance to show their support for growing big hearts through dance. 

Music and movement supports children’s social and emotional development and this is a great moment for all of us to show our support for growing big hearted kids!
 
We hope that you — and the families you work with — will dance your way into this special day with us with a social media dance party. This is a party where everyone is invited. No special dance moves necessary. In fact, it’s best if you DO dance to your own beat! 
Dance With Us!
  1. Play “I Love Myself” from Noggin’s Big Heart Beats Album. (Here it is on Spotify or on the Big Heart World site.)
  2. Dance and record!
  3. Share a short video on your favorite social media site between now and 3/11/22 and tag #SELday and #BigHeartWorld.

If you need help making your video, just reach out and we’ll help you put it together!

 

We can’t wait to dance with you this week!

Do you want to learn more about social and emotional learning? We encourage you to check out our new SEL infographic

January 31, 2022 by admin 0 Comments

Learning Through Holidays

It's the Year of the Tiger!
Lunar New Year

More than 1 billion people across the world are saying “bye bye” to the Ox and “welcome!” to the Tiger this Lunar New Year, which begins on Feb. 1, 2022.

It’s a time of celebration in parts of Asia and around the world as families gather, eat, and celebrate the new year.

Even if YOUR family doesn’t celebrate Lunar New Year, this is a wonderful time for all families to learn about their own identities and explore the other people and cultures, similarities and differences that surround us.

Teachers and parents can help by: 

  1. Reading stories about the holiday
  2. Being inspired by art & food
  3. Noticing similarities and differences
What is Lunar New Year?

“Lunar” means “moon” and the “Lunar New Year” celebrates the beginning of the lunar calendar, which is based on the 12 phases of the moon. 

In the same way that many families celebrate the New Year on January 1, the Lunar New Year is an opportunity to look forward and create goals for the coming year.

Each lunar year is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals. Each animal is associated with different traits. For example, this year is “Tiger,” which is known for its bravery and strength. Children born this year are thought to have some of the tiger’s traits! 

Families and communities have different ways of celebrating the holiday, including: 

  • Festivals and parades
  • Wearing red, which is considered a good luck color
  • Lights and fireworks
  • Family gatherings and special meals
Lunar New Year Stories

There are lots of wonderful picture books that you and your child can read to learn about the Lunar New Year. Here are a few great options to get you started: 

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale 

by Ying Chang Compestine and Illustrated by Sebasita Serra

How to Catch a Dragon 

By Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas 

By Natasha Yim and Illustrated by Grace Zong

Art and Food

The foods that families eat on the Lunar New Year aren’t just food! They represent good luck, prosperity, and togetherness. Here are some examples: Long noodles represent long lives; dumplings and steamed fish stand for wealth and abundance; sticky rice balls stand for togetherness. 

The art and decorations of the holiday also hold meaning. For example, many families decorate with lucky colors red and gold. 

You can learn more about Lunar New Year by exploring the tastes and colors of the holiday. Be sure to talk to friends and neighbors who celebrate to learn more! Here are some ideas for kid-friendly projects you can try to explore the art and food of the holiday: 

Noticing Similarities and Differences

Each of us has an identity — it’s related to who WE are, which is related to our thoughts and beliefs and the traditions of our families and communities. Each of us is different, but we also have a lot in common with other people around the world. 

Parents and educators can help prepare children to thrive in our diverse world by helping them learn about their own identities AND by helping them to observe other people and notice the many similarities and differences that surround us. 

When various holidays are celebrated around the world, we have an opportunity to think about and explore identity, similarities, and differences with the children in our lives. For the Lunar New Year, try asking:

  • How do we celebrate the new year? 
  • Why do we celebrate the new year? 
  • What are our wishes for the year ahead? 
  • What was the animal in the lunar calendar the year YOU were born? (Here’s a page on National Geographic Kids where you can look up your animal.)
  • What are some things that are similar and different between the new year’s celebration on January 1 and the Lunar New Year? 
tiger

March 16, 2021 by admin 0 Comments

Covid’s Impact on Children

Sources:

Sixty-one percent of American parents are concerned about their children’s social development during Covid-19. This is approximately the same as the percentage of parents who are worried that their children’s education will be negatively affected (62%). (Source: National Parents Union and American Enterprise Institute, June 2020)

“We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.” (Source: American Psychological Association, Oct. 2020)

Nearly 93% of Households With School-Age Children Report Some Form of Distance Learning During COVID-19 (Source: Census)

61% of U.S. households with children report facing serious financial problems during COVID-19. (Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, September 2020)

Nearly half of parents (48%) said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic. More than 3 in 5 parents with children who are still home for remote learning (62%) said the same. (Source: American Psychological Association: Stress in America: One Year Later, a New Wave of Pandemic Health Concerns, March 2021)

The Economic Impacts of Learning Losses by Eric A Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann (Source: Economic Impacts of Covid-19, OECD, November 2020)

“Children and adolescents are more likely to experience high rates of depression and most likely anxiety during and after enforced isolation ends.” (Source: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2020)

February 23, 2021 by admin 0 Comments

11 Ways to Raise Kind Kids

An expert in cultivating kindness shares practical tips with Noggin parents.

Dr. Thomas Lickona wrote the book on raising kind kids: How to Raise Kind Kids. Now he’s sharing some winning strategies that Noggin families can try to power up kindness in their own homes.

“You can coach kindness just like you would coach a sport,” he said. “You have to do it patiently. You have to demonstrate it, and then you give your child a chance to imitate what you’ve just demonstrated. Then you have to practice it, give positive, encouraging feedback, and then gradually back off and watch them do it with less help.”

Here are 11 specific ideas that Dr. Lickona (very kindly!) shared with Noggin:

1. Talk the Talk!

Research shows that when parents tell kids they are “kind” and “generous” people (rather than praising a behavior as kind), kids start to think of themselves as kind people. Dr. Lickona explains, “They take pride in being that sort of person, the kind of person who shares, the sort of person who is generous.” Try saying: “You are such a kind big brother to help your sister find her teddy bear” or “You are a generous person! That’s why you shared your cookie.”

2.  Give Kids Real Responsibilities 

Consider giving your kids one chore for each year of age to help them learn to take pride in being helpful. Dr. Lickona notes that being helpful is at the core of kindness: “It means being aware of others’ needs, noticing them, helping without being asked.” He said kids are capable of a lot more than parents might realize at home: they can help care for siblings, clear the table, make beds, sweep…

3.  Set a Good Example

Be kind to your family members, your friends, and other people you interact with. Ask others how they are, listen, and offer to help. Kids are watching and will learn from your example.

4.  Make Sure Your Kids Pay Attention to Your Good Example

Your kids are watching you…but make sure they understand what you’re doing and why. For example, if you donate to a local library, you could tell your child, “I love books because they help us learn and imagine, and I love our local library because it helps all kids find books they’ll love. When I can, I give money to the library to help more kids read great books!”

5.  Create a Peace Table at Home

Create a “talk it out space” or “peace table” where family members can go to go to solve problems. When two people arrive at the table, they should take two deep breaths. Each should talk about what he or she wants. Then each person should talk together about what’s fair, and compromise. This will help your kids learn that it’s OK to have conflicts … and then work them out with kindness and respect.

6.  Share Real-Life Examples of Kind Kids

Dr. Lickona said sharing stories of kind things other kids have done can inspire your kids to think creatively about how they can help. For example, he shared the story of a 4-year-old neuroblastoma patient, Alex Scott, who raised $2,000 with a lemonade stand in her front yard to help doctors find cures for kids battling cancer. That lemonade stand has turned into a non-profit cancer research organization that has funded nearly 1,000 research projects at 135 institutions.

7. Read/Watch Kindness Focused Stories

It’s important to model kindness for your kids — but it’s also important to expose them to stories and characters (from books, TV, or movies) that show kids the goodness in the world. “When you see all those different examples, you then start to have a conversation: ‘Well, what can we do? What can we do in our neighborhood? What can we do in our community?’”

8. Be a Family on a Mission

Dr. Lickona said creating a family mission statement highlighting kindness helps families create a higher sense of purpose. “It becomes your reference point as a family, something that guides you is everyday family life. You really develop a sense of who you are as a family, a shared sense of purpose, a shared identity: this is who we are as a family, we care about these things.”

9. Clean Up Your Neighborhood 

When Dr. Lickona takes his grandkids for walks, he tells them there are three kinds of citizens: the kind who litters, the kind who never litters, and the kind who picks up litter to make the community clean and beautiful for everybody. “That becomes part of their identity,” he said. “You can do this kind of thing at a very early age. And the wonderful thing is that kids will take pleasure in it.”

10. Volunteer Together

Find local causes — from helping at a soup kitchen to cleaning up a local park — that matter to your family and volunteer together. Kids will remember the experience, and it will help them learn how to empathize with others.

11. Support a Cause You Care About

Dr. Lickona recommends designating three family jars for coins: spending, saving, and giving. Your child can help to pick a charity where they can donate the “giving” coins once the jar is full.

Are there any other ways YOUR family likes to teach your kids kindness? Share your tricks on Noggin’s Facebook!