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Stories by Bari Walsh

By Bari Walsh, Leah Shafer 03/15/2017 11:13 AM EDT
Growth Mindset and Children’s Health
For at least the last decade, educators have understood the powerful connection between mindset and achievement — that when students believe they can learn a given subject, even a hard one, they stick with it longer, and do better, than if they believe they can’t learn or are “just bad at it.” But the role of mindset could be just as important in children’s overall health and development, according to a new commentary in the journal JAMA Pediatrics by pediatricians Claudia Mueller and Barry Zuckerman and educational psychologist Meredith Rowe. Medicine already recognizes the persuasive power...
By Bari Walsh, Iman Rastegari 02/04/2017 8:39 AM EST
Multigenerational family with grandmother, infant, and mother
What do you learn as a parent? When we think of the answers to that question, we mostly think in terms of our children's early years — of qualities like patience and selflessness, or of all that we don't know. As our children age into adolescence, the narrative shifts, and relationships evolve in ways that aren't always comfortable. But in her new book, sociologist and educator Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot reimagines adolescence as a period when deeper learning can begin, learning that can extend through the rest of our lives, as our now-adult children can transform us, emotionally and even...
By Bari Walsh, Iman Rastegari 01/30/2017 12:47 PM EST
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
Among the many passages that life offers as we age, there is one we navigate almost unthinkingly: the passage of our children from "our children" to fully realized adults. There's a certain script society offers — one rooted in stereotypes about difficult adolescences, the difficulty of letting go, or even sitcom versions of meddling in-laws. But Professor Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, eminent sociologist and educator, urges us to look with fresh eyes at what that passage may present: unique opportunities for learning, growth, and reconciliation, which can enrich our middle and later years in...
By Bari Walsh 01/17/2017 9:26 AM EST
Home daycare teacher reading to two infants
A new study from Harvard University could substantially transform our understanding of what works in early childhood education in the United States, creating clearer avenues to bring effective practices and policies to scale. The Early Learning Study at Harvard — which kicks off this spring and is set to last at least four and a half years, with plans for extension — will follow a demographically representative sample of three-year-olds from across Massachusetts, capturing their experiences in the actual settings in which they spend their time. Such a large-scale, population-based study would...
By Matthew Weber, Bari Walsh 12/08/2016 12:40 PM EST
watercolor illustration of US flag, with paint blurring into paper
Four weeks post-election, many parents are still feeling bewildered about how to make sense of it for their kids. How do we manage our own feelings of dismay — or fears about the vitriolic campaign and the great chasms in our country — so we can model tolerance, a sense of hope, or a renewed spirit of activism? In a wide-ranging conversation recorded for the Harvard EdCast, we asked psychologists and parenting experts Nancy Hill and Richard Weissbourd to share advice for parents on how to navigate this current moment of transition, where many long-held assumptions about our government...
By Bari Walsh, Matthew Weber, Leah Shafer 11/09/2016 12:31 PM EST
Second Lady Jill Biden recording an EdCast
There are more than 2 million children in US classrooms whose parents are active-duty military service members, National Guard or reservists, or military veterans. Contending with frequent moves, new schools, and the echoes of deployments and separations, these military-connected kids carry a unique weight — often invisible, often unacknowledged.  One of the legacies of the Obama Administration is an initiative to spotlight the constellation of needs and strengths these kids have — to build better support at school and in policy arenas, and to spur more research into their social-...
By Bari Walsh 08/24/2016 9:45 AM EDT
Undocumented and Educated
In the four years since the Obama Administration launched the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, young, undocumented immigrants have gained visibility, opportunity, and some measure of stability. But their immigration status, and that of their parents, still inflicts a corrosive burden, says Roberto Gonzales, who has chronicled their experiences before and after the DACA protections. For educators who work with immigrant students, the weight of that burden requires new support services and a distinctive kind of outreach, particularly as young people move through high...
By Mary Tamer, Bari Walsh 07/08/2016 12:23 PM EDT
young green plant growing out of cracked pavement
Updated and adapted from a previously published story. How do you talk to your child — in a way that both reassures and acknowledges fears — in the wake of trauma and community violence?   Today's 24/7 news culture — now fed by livestreamed video chronicling trauma as it happens — provides an ever-open window to events that both children and adults grapple to understand. When bad things happen on the world’s stage, it is very natural and healthy for children to bring up questions at home or in the classroom, says psychologist Richard Weissbourd, co-director of the Making Caring Common...
By Bari Walsh 07/05/2016 11:16 AM EDT
A laughing mother looking down at her smiling baby
What do babies need in order to learn and thrive? One thing they need is conversation — responsive, back-and-forth communication with their parents and caregivers. This interactive engagement is like food for their developing brains, nurturing language acquisition, early literacy, school readiness, and social and emotional well-being. A dispiriting number of children don’t get that kind of brain-fueling communication, research suggests. In early childhood policy (and in the wider media), much attention has been paid to the so-called word gap — findings that show that low-income children hear...
By Bari Walsh 06/20/2016 4:53 PM EDT
Finding Your Summer Balance
Adapted and updated from a previously published article. For educators, summer is a time to relax — and to prepare, and to develop new skills, and to finish overdue household projects. How to find the balance between unwinding and achieving? Harvard Graduate School of Education lecturer Metta McGarvey — an expert in mindful leadership — offers strategies for making the most of the summer. Finding Balance “In my house,” says McGarvey, “my daughter claims I have the GTD gene — for Getting Things Done — because I typically buzz around doing things, sometimes at the expense of quality time and...

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