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Philosophy as the Missing Link in Our School’s Curriculum

A read­er and writer sent us over the week­end the arti­cle below as “an OpEd sub­mis­sion”. We are not a news­pa­per, and don’t have a for­mal OpEd sec­tion, but are delight­ed to pub­lish thought­ful, research-based pieces on top­ics relat­ed to life­long cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment and health.

Here you are:

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Phi­los­o­phy as the Miss­ing Link An Eye-Open­ing Audit of Our School’s Cur­ricu­lum
By: Kim­ber­ly Wick­ham

The ques­tion might be asked, “Why would any­one want to teach phi­los­o­phy to pre-ado­les­cent chil­dren?” but there are very good rea­sons why one might want to take on such a lofty task. I am not sug­gest­ing that the his­to­ry of phi­los­o­phy would be par­tic­u­lar­ly per­ti­nent for a young child to learn, but there is sub­stan­tial evi­dence to sup­port the devel­op­ment of an already nat­ur­al ten­den­cy towards philo­soph­i­cal thought. Some may think that the pre-ado­les­cents haven’t got the cog­ni­tive devel­op­men­tal abil­i­ty to wrap their minds around such an elu­sive and sub­jec­tive study as phi­los­o­phy. How­ev­er, devel­op­ing this skill has shown long term pos­i­tive effects. These effects range from devel­op­ing crit­i­cal think­ing skills and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to rais­ing emo­tion­al matu­ri­ty and encour­ag­ing the child’s sense of secu­ri­ty with­in his or her world.

For years there has been an empha­sis on cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal aspects of chil­drens devel­op­ment, but recent­ly more atten­tion is being placed on both the social and emo­tion­al aspects of a child’s devel­op­ment. It is becom­ing rec­og­nized that a child’s emo­tion­al matu­ri­ty has a big impact on their abil­i­ty to learn and process infor­ma­tion. While that, at first blush, may seem Read the rest of this entry »

10 Brain Fitness New Year’s Resolutions

Brain Fitness New Year's ResolutionsYou have sur­vived the 2007 shop­ping and eat­ing sea­son. Con­grat­u­la­tions! Now it’s time to shift gears and focus on 2008…whether you write down some New Year res­o­lu­tions or con­tem­plate some things that you want to let go of from last year and set inten­tions and goals for this year — as is a friend’s tra­di­tion on the win­ter sol­stice.

To sum­ma­rize the key find­ings of the last 20 years of neu­ro­science research on how to “exer­cise our brains”, there are three things that we can strive for: nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge. If we do these three things, we will build new con­nec­tions in our brains, be mind­ful and pay atten­tion to our envi­ron­ment, improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties such as pat­tern-recog­ni­tion, and in gen­er­al con­tribute to our life­long brain health.

With these three prin­ci­ples of brain health in mind — nov­el­ty, vari­ety and chal­lenge — let me sug­gest a few poten­tial New Years res­o­lu­tions, per­haps some unex­pect­ed, that will help you make 2008 a year of Brain Fit­ness: Read the rest of this entry »

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