Jul 04 / Simcha

Another Reason Why Play is Good for Children (Gopnik)

Getty Images; Smithsonian Magazine, July/August 2012

Alison Gopnik, a leading researcher in the field of cognitive development, writes in the latest edition of the Smithsonian Magazine, that when children pretend, they’re not just being silly — they’re doing science.

Walk into any preschool and you’ll find toddling superheroes battling imaginary monsters. We take it for granted that young children play and, especially, pretend. Why do they spend so much time in fantasy worlds?

Read more

Sep 23 / Simcha

Learning Without Grades or Standardized Tests

Kirkkojarvi Comprehensive School. Photo: Stuart Conway, Smithsonian Magazine, Sept. 2011

Finland’s educational system began a process of transformation some 40 years ago that has turned it into one of the most successful in the world.  According to a recent article in Smithsonian Magazine (Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? by Conway & Hancock), this  became evident in 2000, from the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues.

Read more