The way you can measure a society's soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 32- 7th February 2007

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.  Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list.  Thank you.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

My PD/Conference Updates

ECCPA (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) Genazzano FCJ College, Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne 16th and 17th June 2007.  My presentation will be on multicultural music and movement.

ASME (Australian Society for Music Education) 40th Anniversary Conference. Perth (Western Australia) Convention Centre 6-10 July 2007.  I will be presenting two workshop sessions -
Movement and Dance in the Early Childhood Classroom
Multicultural Music and Movement.

CAYPAKS (Children And Young People Are Key Stakeholders) Conference Perth Western Australia 23-25 July 2007.  I will be conducting a Skills and Activity Based Workshop titled "Using Music and Movement to Empower Children at Risk".

Crunch and Sip

In Western Australia The Cancer Council and Diabetes WA have introduced a program of healthy eating in schools. The theme for 2006 was 'Crunch and Sip', meaning children snack on only raw fruit and vegetables during morning and afternoon breaks, and drink water only. Despite the program for 2006 producing fantastic results (go to www.crunchandsip.com.au for details), it was only for one week in the year, coinciding with Fruit 'n' Veg Week.

If the idea is to promote healthy eating, surely as educators we want children to understand that health is about what you do on a regular basis, that is, at least five out of seven days a week. There will obviously be exceptions like parties, celebrations and the like. These diversions make life interesting.  There's nothing wrong with having home-made cakes and treats for the children to eat occasionally, but shop bought invariably indicates too much fat, sugar and certainly artificial colouring, flavouring and preservatives. These chemicals are serious no-nos for developing brains while the added fat and sugar just make kids fat. (For more information on Fat Kids click on www.kidzfizbiz.com/kfbmail/index.html and open newsletter no. 17.)

Children need appropriate role modeling. If schools adopt a 'healthy eating week', it indicates that healthy eating is simply another option, that it is an occasional thing we do for some particular purpose, such as to lose weight or to help train for a sporting event, or to look good (toned, with glowing skin, hair and eyes) for a special occasion. This is nonsense and makes a mockery out of healthy living. It makes adopting a healthy lifestyle seem like a strange thing to do instead of modeling that this is how we all should live all of the time. So, instead of having 'healthy eating week' why not have it as policy in your school that your canteen only sells healthy snacks and healthy lunches, or the nursery centre only serves healthy foods, and that children are to bring only 'crunch and sip' items to school for their snacks. If your canteen is there as a fundraiser, find more innovative ways to raise funds (and NOT via lamington drives or chocolate drives etc.). I was teaching at a school where a colleague had a 'healthy breakfast' for her pre-primaries in which the children came to school (most in their pyjamas) to have breakfast. A fantastic idea which parents and children loved and would have been perfect had it been simply promoted as 'Breakfast at School' instead of a pretense of it being ideal. The healthy breakfast? Fruit drink (ie 35% fruit juice ' cordial contains as much fruit ' with way too much sugar), highly processed cereals (the cardboard packaging arguably contained as much nutrition as the contents of the pack), fried eggs, sausages (not 100% beef chipolatas) and hash browns (all full of fat). A great idea that lost a lot in the translation.

How many children in your school or nursery centre regularly eat fast food for breakfast from the drive-through on the way to school. Also, how many children regularly bring soft drink to school? How many children regularly have crisps and other foods of dubious quality in their lunch boxes? When children recognize the difference between how they feel when they drink lots of water and eat healthy foods regularly, as opposed to how they feel when they don't, that's when you'll know you've effected some change. You will also notice an enormous difference in their behaviour and in their academic results.  It's a win-win. Jamie Oliver (and many others) has said that this generation of children will die before their parents. Sad but true. Do we want to sit back and let this happen without making some attempt to do something about it? This could be a worthwhile challenge for your school, nursery or home for 2007.

Remember that a few minor changes implemented on a daily basis can have dramatic results over time, and isn't that the ultimate outcome?

Quotes of the Week

"Don't be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That's only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself."  Olga Korbut, Gymnast - Four Time Olympic Gold Medalist

Why not go out on a limb?  Isn't that where the fruit is?  -  Frank Scully

Entertainment

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch.  At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.  The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: 'Take only ONE. God is watching.' Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.  A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples.'

Feedback

It was a wonderful day!  I feel thoroughly inspired and relaxed too!  Looking forward to starting activities with more confidence and competence.  Alison Lutter, London UK
About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her 'Kidz-Fiz-Biz' program.
Kidz-Fiz-Biz
57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time - continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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