Going to Bed

Girl Wearing Pajamas Watching TV in her Room

I wrote an article recently about why I don’t believe schools should be bending to the demands of those who suggest that Secondary School start times should be made later, to accommodate the tiredness of pupils. One of my main reasons was my belief that any academic gains or benefits would be only temporary, until the students simply adjusted to a new normal, their bed times shifted later and they would now be operating according to an even later sleep cycle (hence back to sleep deprived when getting up to go to school).

So, I was very interested to see the following article that outlines the findings of a paper and research on sleep procrastination – the process of delaying going to bed (and hence going to sleep), however tired one might be or however stressful one’s day might have been.

British Psychological Society Digest – Why Some People Find it Harder to Drag Themselves to Bed at Night
(Click on the link above to read the article in a separate tab or window)

The first finding that was striking was that for the worst of the sleep procrastinators, they could easily be delaying going to bed by a very significant 40 – 50 minutes each night. I have some reservations that, like so much psychological research, the test subjects were college and school-going students, but nevertheless the findings are interesting and point to a need for further research.

The key conclusion of the research was that people’s perceptions of themselves in relation to willpower played a significant part in determining whether or not they had sleep procrastination tendencies. Participants were categorised as either having a limited theory of willpower (believing it’s a finite resource that, once used up is gone until you can sleep or take other action to replenish it) or non-limited ( you can have as much willpower as you like available to you at any time, subject only to your level of self-control to draw on it.)

The conclusion was that the latter group are far less likely to procrastinate sleeping and going to bed than the former group. However, no causal link was established, so they’re still very much at the level of conjecture as to why this happens. More research is clearly needed, because greater understanding of why will offer scope to learn/ teach the skills necessary to address the issue.

At this point, i need to come clean and enter the confessional. I have had, for many years, a tendency to procrastinate sleep and going to bed. The severity of it varies over time, but i’ve never been quite sure what makes it worse. Ironically, it can, at times, seem to become worse when i put  more focus and attention on it, become frustrated or try to engineer strategies to get better. In my case, all too often, it’s about productivity. I can remember times in the past, years ago, when it might be occasions of mindlessly watching TV, continually telling myself that it’s time to switch off and go to bed, but failing to actually do it (and thinking less and less of myself for my failure to act). These day,s I watch very little TV and it’s much more commonly about an urge to get just a few more things done from whatever ‘to do’ list I had set myself for the day/ week etc. This seems to coincide with a rush of newfound energy, even though there is a voice in the back of my head reminding me that I had committed to myself to go to bed earlier (and that whatever task I’m engaged on can perfectly well be picked up on in the morning). Worse, and even more irrationally, I’ve often realised the next day that if I’d held the task over and got my rest, I probably would have done it quicker and to a much better standard.

To me, it’s further evidence that changing school start times is only likely to deliver short term benefits, that are quickly lost as the students adjust to new norms. We need alternative strategies, backed by scientific understanding about why it’s happening (not just who it’s happening to), that enable us and young people to take control of the situation and do what is in their/ our own long term best interest.

Sleep and School Start times

School Bus

In a small village somewhere on a great plain, the village elders sit in a circle around a smokey fire. They slowly pass a large pipe around the circle and sip from small cups of a rough liquor made from some local roots. This is a tribe of hunter gatherers whose lives have changed little over many generations.

After a period of silence one of the younger members of the circle clears his throat and explains, “The young adolescent members of the tribe have a request and have asked me to bring it to this forum.@

“Speak,” said the village chief.

“Well, it’s like this. They’re not feeling very comfortable about getting up as early as they are currently made to. They feel sleepy and groggy and a bit weak – especially with all the running and spear throwing they’re expected to do. So, they request that the hunt start an hour later to give them the chance to get an extra hour of sleep in the morning that their adolescent brains require.”

The elders around the circle shook their heads slowly, before falling in to fits of laughter.

“Please go back and tell our young men to go to bed earlier, to stop staying up late doing whatever it is they do. Then, maybe they’ll be ready to play their role properly in the village society. If we delay the hunt start time, we will catch no animals and the tribe will be doomed”

Over the last few years, with increasing volume, ‘experts’ have been regaling us with the information that adolescents are sleep deprived and that, as a result, secondary schools should start later in the day, to accommodate their needs – so that they will be able to fulfill their academic potential. There have been many schools that have done it. Now, for the first time an entire State in America has mandated that all Secondary schools are to shift their morning start times later. One of the arguments that has been used to sway the debate is that evidence has been found that adolescent brains show evidence of a later ‘natural clock’.

NBC News – California Pushing Back School Start Times

What I don’t think I’ve ever seen in all the evidence of neurological difference in teenage brains is which came first – the chicken or the egg. Which came first – adolescents’ deferred sleep clocks or the various media temptations that cause them to resist going to sleep at night because of FOMO or other addictive tendencies cleverly and consciously built in to those media.

When I was a child I was the oldest of three. We had staggered set bed times (a bit later at weekends) and as is the tendency of eldest children I lauded it over my sisters when this meant I got to stay up to watch something on the TV that they also wanted to see. However, even my later bed time couldn’t insulate me from the sickening dread of having to walk away from something on the TV that was holding my attention. In fact, at times I’d go to almost any lengths to distract my mother from the time, to beg or cajole extra time to ‘just see to the end’ of some programme. Issues of whether I was tired or not didn’t come in to the picture. Worse, both at home and when away at boarding school it wasn’t unheard of for me to put an earpiece in and tune a radio to spend some illicit time listening to Radio Caroline (an illegal station that used to broadcast from a ship).

Today’s children are growing up in a world where the media temptations are on a completely different scale to those that used to snag me, tempt me to deprive myself of sleep and do myself harm.  This is made far worse, in my view, by the fact that we don’t teach children about how their brains work, how their brains are being hijacked by media or strategies and tools to keep control over these things, so that they can keep themselves healthy.

Years ago, parents were advised to keep digital tools out of children’s bedrooms and have them only using or accessing them in ‘public’ parts of the home. I knew some parents who policed this with laptops, yet still put TVs in the children’s bedrooms (usually to stop arguments preventing them from watching what they intended to watch). So, as children got used to consuming TV in their own rooms, as more and more of them got smart phones, those lived in the bedroom and parents had little to no control over what was happening on the phone, or the hours it was being used. At this point, most parents had relinquished their control over the timing o when their children went to bed (or at least when they go to sleep). Even those who are not actively using social networking etc. in the night hours, are still having their sleep disturbed by pings and notifications.

I’ve lost count of the numbers of conversations I’ve had with parents who are aware that their teenager is chatting online at times in the night when they should be sleeping. Further, if they attempt to curtail these habits, their child’s reaction can be almost as extreme as a drug addict deprived of their regular fix.

Against this backdrop I ask one key question – when scientists have tested the brains of adolescents and declared them to have different ‘ time clocks’/ circadian rhythms to adults – do they KNOW whether they are looking at cause or effect. In other words,  could the teenagers’ brains have changed because of them succumbing to the temptations and lack of self control at nights caused by excessive smart phone use?

There have been some schools that have made their start times later and have shown data that suggests academic performances of their students improved. However, as far as I can see, none of those experiments have gone on long enough to show that the academic gains are sustained. If the sleep deprivation was caused by smart phone use, then I fear that teens will adjust to a new norm, continue to use their phones later in to the night and the benefits will disappear (or there will be calls for even later start times!)

The ubiquitous smart phone has come crashing in to all of our lives at a pace that has been impossible to adapt to immediately. As a result, we all know adults who have uneasy relationships bordering on addiction (or even over the line) making them distracted through the day and unable to disconnect at night. This is affecting people’s work quality, their interpersonal relationships, as well as their productivity and focus at critical times. The teens, naively, often believe that, because they’ve grown up with these tools as an extension on one hand, they are more than able to cope, are not controlled or manipulated, are fully able to multitask effectively and are fine as they are.

The answer with our young people is that we need to share more of the science with them. There was a time when youngsters would say to themselves – “I can smoke without getting addicted. It’s no big deal.” however, as awareness has developed, more of them know and understand how addiction works and the implications. However, even there, more can be done. We’re not doing nearly enough to teach young people how their brains work. This is for another day and another post, but here I do believe that it could play a significant part in beginning to develop their skills to deal with the potentially disruptive impact of smart phones and other devices (on this, believe we should be making a lot more use of work by people like Nir Eyal, Stamford University Psychology professor – I’ll be sharing more about him in a later post).

I fear that these young people who have sought and gained later start times will struggle to adapt as they get older, move on to colleges and in to the world of work where they will frequently have expectations on them that make it essential to be available early in the day

Even if all this wasn’t enough reason to question these decisions to move school start times later, I believe there are some very practical reasons why it doesn’t work’

a) In major cities there has been a tendency for the schools related traffic to be on the roads before the heaviest of the work related traffic. Moving the school start times later is likely to exacerbate congestion issues at the peak traffic times in the morning (and possibly in the afternoons as well)
Not only is this bad news for all, bad news for pollution in cities, but also probably means that much of the sleep benefit will be lost. Most of us living in cities have had the experience that leaving home ten minutes later can add five minutes to total journey time. If the children’s journey time to school gets longer, then a start 40 minutes later might only lead to them leaving their home 20 minutes later. So, only 20 minutes extra in bed is available.

b) Many family routines dictate that the family would all still be rising at around the same time, even if the Secondary student member of the family had a later start.

c) A later departure from home can be highly disruptive for parents’ departure time from the home for their work. If the child takes a school bus, the parent will generally want to see the child on to the bus before they prepare for their own departure. Thus, parents may be forced to delay their departure. Leaving for work later is likely to lead to them returning home later.

d) The later start time leads to a later finish time. This can erode the time available for after school activities – especially physical activities that require daylight. Thus, later school start times could lead to further loss on top of losses that are already worrying in children’s levels of physical activity. There is ample evidence that this can be detrimental to their mental wellbeing and learning, as well as their physical wellbeing and issues such as obesity.

e) Different start (and finish) times for Secondary students can lead to a mismatch between their timings and those of siblings in elementary education. This can create family burdens on child care and, in the worst scenarios could limit the engagement of mothers in the work environment.

Finally, I return to my earlier point. Rather than changing the school day to respond to children’s changed habits around sleep, motivated by the addictive and habit forming temptations of media I believe we need to be preparing these young people for adulthood by addressing the issues of their relationships with the media. Too often in the past this has been driven by parental dictat, sticks and carrots and control-driven methods. Instead, we need to do a much better job of teaching children how their minds work, the inter-relationship between body and mind and how to manage their habits. In this way, we can prepare them to be adults with healthy relationships with IT and media.

In time, i believe we’re going to see that changing school start times wasn’t the right way forward. In the meantime, we need to do more work on those ways to teach children, in age appropriate ways to understand their minds and become commanders over their habits.

 

All Learning is Social and Emotional

SEL

A lot of people have enjoyed the ASCD webinar I shared a couple of weeks ago. So, here’s another one.

This comes from Nancy Frey, a Professor of Education Leadership at San Diego University. She’s written many books on education and in this webinar drew on material from her latest.

Quite rightly, many educators have been recognising the importance of children developing their social and emotional skills – not only so that they can function effectively in the classroom and school, but also because these are vital skills for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, in some places the temptation for teachers has been to believe that the solution is an SEL syllabus or curriculum – that SEL is somehow something to be treated separately. I believe quite rightly Frey emphasises the desirability of integrating the concepts of SEL in to everyday life in the school, the classroom and lessons generally.

The webinar does a very good job of summarising where SEL concepts have developed from and how far they have reached. This idea of weaving the SEL learning in to the general day to day learning can be daunting for some teachers. The website does a good job of giving pointers for how to embark on such a journey as a teacher. The content is delivered at a very accessible level.

ASCD Webinar Log In – Nancy Frey – All Learning is Social and Emotional

Some may find the content of this webinar excellent for running teacher training and CPD sessions, discussions and dialogues, or even within professional learning community small groups where teachers see SEL as an important area on which to focus.

 

Teaching For Deeper Learning

Deeper learning

ASCD is the largest organisation in the US for teacher and educator professional development (formerly known as the Association of Superintendents and Curriculum Developers). They are a great source for new books and an extensive back catalogue on all aspects of teaching. There’s a very good newsletter geared for school leaders. There are regular webinars (some public, some for members only) There are a variety of email newsletters – one US oriented and one Worldwide that provide links to the significant stories of what’s happening that’s education related.

Some of these things are available to all free of charge, others are subject to membership fees. An electronic (online) membership fee isn’t so expensive, especially as it includes a few new ebooks each year from those newly published by ASCD.

Today, I watched the recording (about 1 hour) of a very interesting webinar that was first broadcast a few days ago. The two presenters discuss material from their new book. Jay McTighe has been writer of many books, including the highly influential “Instruction by Design”. his co-writer, Harvey Silver is also a highly reputed educator responsible for writing a number of books focusing on teaching methodologies that support effective learning.

ASCD – Link for Webinar – Teaching for Deeper learning

They start with dealing with the issue that lately it seems like every education expert is talking about deep learning, but the reality is there are many different definitions. They get clear about their own definition that makes sense. They move on to the issues of why children aren’t learning deeply often enough and what can be done about it. Their focus is on knowledge acquired that is transferable, building on learning for understanding – that can be applied in other contexts from those in which it’s initially introduced.

I had one issue. They emphasise the issues about the speed and rate at which knowledge in the world is increasing and the temptation of curriculum developers to attempt to pack in more and more content – leading to syllabus that is a mile wide, but only an inch deep, with which i fully concur. However, driven by the overriding drive of standardised testing, their solutions are all still predicated on ideas of all the students learning all the same content. As a result, they don’t touch on the critical issues of student motivation.

I agree that there are some aspects of curriculum that are critical for all to learn, because they are applicable and relevant across many areas of learning and are foundational. However, beyond that, I believe that there are some areas of learning where some students will only be interested to dip in superficially, whilst their motivation is high to take their new-found skills and apply them to going very deep in other areas where they have high levels of interest. In my view, this tapping in to motivation is key to high quality deep learning, but it requires an acceptance in education that we don’t need to have every child learning all of the same ‘stuff’ to the same depth – just so that we can measure them against each other with standardised testing later.

It’s a good webinar, well worth watching, and thought-provoking. Finally, I am all in favour of their ideas about overtly setting out to develop children’s thinking skills. Not only do these support the children to understand their learning in school, but are the critical skills that will support them to go on as lifelong learners after school.

 

Politicians and Historians – Leave Those Kids Alone !!

As our children grow up in an ever-faster changing world, there are those who suggest that for employment reasons emphasis has to shift to STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in terms of focus, attention and time allocation in school learning. There are even those who favour elimination, or at least considerable scaling back of humanities subjects such as history.

However, in any country where politicians or those politically connected advocate for reducing the significance of history in schools we need to be very suspicious of their motives. When politicians aren’t trying to reduce the amount of history being learned by their citizens (so that it’s easier to feed them a version of history that suits their future political agenda) we find them alarmingly ready to pressure academics, or reward biased academics, to ‘rewrite history, so that children and young people are taught history with distorted slants.

This is alarming as children and young people tend to blindly accept and believe whatever they are taught in schools, especially what is found in text books and other academic and education material. Sadly, there is ample evidence that academics can’t always be trusted to give our young a balanced, open and fair interpretation of the past, or to encourage them to explore different perspectives on that past to come to their own conclusions about what is most likely to be the reality.

Some might suspect that this is a ‘developing world’ issue and that it only goes on in those countries where their academic systems are less ’embedded’, less established in the longer term. It is true that it’s a bigger issue when combined with extensive banning of books in those countries, as this denies people the right to access alternative viewpoints from those being spoon-fed through the education system. This has, for example, been an issue in India where we have seen this combination of distortion of history with specific ideological and political slants combined with extensive banning of books that put forward alternative perspectives.

However, nobody should be complacent in any country.. The temptations to distort, blow up or play down the significance of particular past events or actions exist in every country. I would suggest in any place where the history suggests a past that was a continuous and virtuous stream of appropriate, wise and prescient decisions is a history that has been rewritten, glossed and beautified (and should be doubted for veracity).

Some of the reasons for distorting history are quite simple to understand. National pride and hindsight can leave many countries’ historians and politicians tempted to gloss over or reduce the significance of acts in the past that are embarrassing or humiliating in the national psyche. However, even here, there can be unhealthier motives than simple hubris or pride.

We can question the over importance of national pride as a form of xenophobia and a base for the kind of nationalism that manifests in negativity towatd outsiders and ‘the other’, rather than inclinations to acknowledge equality and the essential humanity of all. None of us should ever allow the artificial man-made construct of ‘a country’ to become so significant that it leads us to justify distorting the truth of history. Countries are strange, artificial artifacts of history themselves.  One only needs to look at continents like Africa, or the Arab nations. In the latter case the UAE provides an interesting example. Throughout its past it was an area of nomadic tribes for whom the Western construct of a nation was alien. In Africa, we see vast swathes of land bisected by razor sharp boundaries that were laid down by Western settlers to agree between themselves the carving up of different plots of land to satisfy their colonial and acquisitive nature of that time. Frequently, these artificial borders cut through the lands of existing local leaders, tribes and peoples without thought, without their involvement or agreement. To fail to understand this history is to fail to understand the struggles of most of those places today to take on the expected characteristics of statehood or nationhood when their country has peoples whose origins lie in tribes that may have had hundreds of years of animosity and rivalry, whilst their own populations have been split by these artificial borders. We see an example in the Middle East with the problems associated with the Kurdish people. They have no country of there own, but are spread across the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

When I studied History in the UK, I think by and large, it was quite honest and open about aspects of the past in a lot of ways. There had been a movement in the 1960’s and 70’s to be more open, transparent and honest about things like the British role and complicity in the slave trade. However, it’s probably true that the history related to colonialisation tended to be heavily slanted towards the contribution of Britian to the countries colonised and how they benefited. There was, from my memory, for example, no mention of British mismanagement in Bengal causing famine that killed large numbers of people. In the teaching of the histories of USA and Australia there was little acknowledgement of the persecution and suffering of the indigenous populations. Some of the issues and heat generated by debate are highlighted in this recent article:

The Conversation – British history is Still Being Whitewashed By the School Curriculum

Here’s another article with further perspective on UK historical distortion:

The Telegraph – History Being Distorted by Politicians

When I moved to India, one of the first realisations I had on this subject was how certain aspects of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal life were completely erased from the history being taught to students. I nearly found myself in an embarrassing situation when I naively started discussing aspects that i was aware of from international writers on Gandhi. Seeing the blank and shocked looks on their faces I backed away quickly and retreated to safer ground.

In subsequent years it’s been intriguing for me to see the ways in which significant aspects of the country’s history are particularly rewritten to suit am agenda preferred by those committed to the doctrine of Hindutva. They tend to play down or deride the impact of the moguls and adjust other aspects related to the past (even denying evidence from archeologists). Initially, this was done in certain states that were controlled by these parties, but as they have gained more power at the centre, so they seek to promulgate these versions of history across the whole country. Today, even the interpretations and conclusions drawn about the assassination of Gandhi are fiercely fought over.

The following article from 2018 highlights that when we look at how this process happens in different countries, one thing is clear – the greater the quality of the country’s education system, the greater the extent to which people are willing, able and ready to challenge and question what they’re being told. As a result, some of the rewriting in India is blatant, unsubtle and pays little heed to the howls of horror from the learned and intellectuals – in fact, it becomes a good opportunity to portray such people as being against the nation and to undermine the respect for learning and knowledge;

Outlook India – Rewriting India’s History, Hindutva Forces Meddling With India’s Present and Future

I was motivated to write this by an article this week highlighting that the increasingly polarised and belligerent politics in the US is now manifesting in the same kinds of historical distortions for political ends, even in what is being taught to children living in different states.

New York Times – Two States, Eight Textbooks, Two American Stories

Many questions arise? Does all this really matter so very much? After all, it’s only the past and history. I believe it matters a great deal. History, as a store of knowledge should be there to guide societies in to the future and hopefully even enable them to learn from their errors, make better, wiser decisions and progress better for the good of all. Regrettably, too often, when history is being distorted it’s being done to favour one group of people over another.

There are issues in education where it’s hard for politicians to interfere, because the combined voices of educators and parents limit their misbehaviour. Regrettably, this isn’t one of those issues. Too often, we find that there are large proportions of the parents whose own political ideas, beliefs that they’ve bought in to cause them to seek and encourage those things that endorse and justify their stance. Thus, they can be the politicians’ biggest allies. It would be nice to believe that educators would raise their voices for what’s right – fair and critical exploration of history (warts and all), that enable children and young people to develop their skills of reasoning, questioning, analytical and critical thinking. Sadly, whilst some educators stand firmly on the high moral ground, we see too many who are not able to see past the fact that they are citizens in a polarised society first, educators second!

It’s a sad fact that when most of the loudest and most strident voices are leading towards extremism, including reshaping of history to create justifications, anyone who dares to speak out for moderation or balance is liable to find themselves labeled extremist, reactionary and divisive. The lemming that refuses to go with the flow over the cliff doesn’t make itself popular with its fellow lemmings.

Ultimately, what’s right goes to the very heart of what school, learning and education are for. If we believe that they are not to pander to the agenda and manipulations of politicians, then instead we must de-empasise the importance of the curriculum content that may come and go, but rather focus on the skills and competencies to develop in our students. Those who develop their skills of critical and evaluative thinking will draw their own conclusions and practice healthy skepticism about history that doesn’t seem consistent, congruent or on which different commentators have put forward different perspectives. They will also have developed the character, personal strength and resolve to be questioning of all orthodoxies, even those to which they may personally be most drawn.

 

Sleeping For Exam Success

Sleep for exams

Particularly in India, I know that with the festive season and New Year over, for many students their thoughts have turned to exams in March. Some will believe that through super-human and inhumane scheduling they will squeeze out phenomenal marks in order to secure the college or higher secondary stream of their choice (and because they and their parents are going to wrap a considerable amount of their own identity and societal status on the height of those marks and especially beating their peers).

Whilst it’s laudable to set goals and put maximum effort in to achieving them, so every student has to acknowledge they were not born with the ability to do the impossible. Their relative success will actually be most down to how smart they plan and execute their preparation. Smart, intelligent planning, execution and consistency will always trump random, unplanned or unscientific effort.

Probably nowhere is this more important than in relation to sleep. There’s a certain irony that students spend much of their time these days bemoaning their special needs for sleep, only to ignore all their needs and the science when exams loom on the horizon. I can admit that when i was young I made a lot of mistakes in these areas – mistakes that undoubtedly cost me and prevented me from fulfilling my full potential. However, today’s youngsters have access to so much more information, science  and really should find it much easier to do what is in their best interest.

The following article is fascinating. Some of the conclusions are pretty obvious, but there are also some surprises;

Science News for Students – Surprise

a) Lack of sleep WILL impair performance in exams,
b) Good sleep habits before exams doesn’t just have a small impact on performance – it may be one of the biggest influences,
c) Losing sleep for one or more nights can’t be made up by sleeping longer on another night. (This isn’t just important for exam preparation – there is now copious evidence that old habits common when I was young, to incur a sleep deficit during the week and make it up at weekends doesn’t work!)

Maybe the biggest surprise – the biggest impact doesn’t come from the overall quantity of the sleep, the quality, the amount of restlessness, but the consistency AND this doesn’t need to be consistent just for a few days, but ideally for weeks or even months.

I don’t have any exams coming up, but have set as a health goal for 2020 to be more consistent on bed and rising times.

Students, that consistency needs to start now as a habit and then be maintained right through to your exams. Here’s to your success!!

 

Parenting Online Conference

Happily Family Conference

Educators work with a variety of key stakeholder groups. However, there are none more important than children and parents. We live in an age where, rightly or wrongly, people believe that parenting is harder than ever. I don’t actually believe that it’s overall harder, but there are certainly new challenges and issues for parents to deal with that were not there in the past.

For many parents change, challenges and new issues can leave them like rabbits caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. I also believe that too many parents dissipate all their mental bandwidth on other issues leaving little or nothing left over for their parenting. I’ve often marveled that apparently highly educated and intelligent people too often apply more thought, care and diligence to decisions they make in their professional lives than in the raising of their children. In the distant past this wasn’t considered to have mattered – the world changed very slowly and people lived in multi-generational family units. Family elders were seemed to have all the knowledge and experience to guide their children as they in turn raise their own children. Today, parents are dealing with such different issues to earlier generations that the elders have little to offer that’s really valuable (and they often live a long way away).

As educators we find parents often seeking guidance or suggestions. Also, strong educators are continually engaged in dialogue with parents to dovetail what’s happening in the school and the home aligned for the benefit and development of the child. Both need to be working in ways that are positive in the child’s growth, development and to be and become the best possible version of themselves.

The reality is that there are great resources and opportunities for parents who want to tap in to knowledge, experience and ideas. These are also of great use for the tribe of educators. For me, I think this will be the fourth year that I’ve signed up for the ‘Happily Family’ online virtual parenting conference.  This is organised and compered by husband and wife team Cecilia and Jason Hilkey. They are former early years educators who saw a need to meet for parents to access the best possible advice and ideas for how to enhance their parenting skills.

The sign up is a quick 1 minute through the following link:

Happily Family – Online Conference Sign Up

The way it works is very simple. Each day around 5 interviews are put up live online. They can be accessed free for around 48 hours (if I remember correctly). Within that time you are free to watch as many as you like. Another 5 come online each day. If you want full, long term access to all the videos, for example for use with parent workshops or teacher CPD,  they offer a simple arrangement to buy that access.

Enjoy!!

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