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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

March 26, 2015
Tear out a few pages...

Mindfulness and Compassion in Education

Annie: Your Brain on Fiction
Christine: Water Insecurity
Spring & Summer Camps
This Week
27th Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai Show
continued - Mindfulness and Compassion in Education
Continued... Your Brain on Fiction
Click to view our Business Directory
  Tear out a few pages...

(ABC_Feb 2015) BonsaiSceneSucculent.jpgChildren love miniatures.  The Santa Cruz Bonsai show this weekend promises to enchant us all!

It's wonderful to me how brain science is now proving what wise parents and teachers and old cultures have known and practiced all along.

Read Annie Murphy Paul's entire article and you will see why I claim that time spent reading quality fiction is good for us all.   

Do you know an adult or young adult non-reader?  Suggest this challenge with old paperbacks: "Tear out a few pages, stuff them into your pocket, read them during a break from work.  Do this every day and you may change a non-reader into a reader, because inevitably you will be left hanging with "What happens next?"

The Weekend   ~ Parenting Support  ~  Parks  Museums

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter and for sending many new families our way. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend

Have a great weekend with family and friends, Parmalee

 

(ABC_Feb 2015) ArtFactory_SpringBreakAF2015.jpg

  Mindfulness and Compassion in Education

Pam Cayton, Tara Redwood School 

(ABC_Feb 2015) Tara_Mindfulness.jpgIn every moment we share the common wish for happiness.  The societies in which we are raised inform our thinking of where happiness can be found. In particular, media is extraordinarily pervasive and seductive in selling the idea that obtaining "more" equates with happiness and yet the more we crave, the less satisfied we are because there is always more to acquire.

Recent research reveals that happiness and contentment can be found through developing inner knowledge, which is the understanding our mind and emotions, and a focus on the well-being of others.  Mindfulness practice and the development of empathy and compassion can positively affect immune and neuro-endocrine systems, help modulate stress, balance emotions, sharpen focus and improve relationships. A more altruistic, empathetic attitude actually increases the "feel good' chemicals such as serotonin and the bonding chemical, oxytocin.  This sense of connection with others enables positive interpersonal skills and pro-social behaviors while at the same time the feedback loop delivers happiness to oneself. So, it is a "win" for others and a "win" for ourselves.
Click to continue>>>>>

After 10 years teaching and developing curriculum in Nepal, Pam moved to Soquel where she founded Tara Preschool in 1989 which expanded into Tara Redwood School in 1996. In 2008 Pam founded Creating Compassionate Cultures (CCC) a non profit that provides training and resources both locally and globally, to nurture more kindness, wisdom and ethics in homes, schools and the workplace.

 

(ABC_Feb 2015) SBDCSquare.jpg

Free Help for Childcare Providers,

new or established

For more information or to request services:

CentralCoastSBDC.org 479-6136  Ask for Janine!

  Annie: Your Brain on Fiction

Annie Murphy Paul

AMID the squawks and pings of our digital devices, the old-fashioned virtues of reading novels can seem faded, even futile. But new support for the value of fiction is arriving from an unexpected quarter: neuroscience.

(ABC_Feb 2015) BrainonFiction.jpgBrain scans are revealing what happens in our heads when we read a detailed description, an evocative metaphor or an emotional exchange between characters. Stories, this research is showing, stimulate the brain and even change how we act in life.

Researchers have long known that the "classical" language regions, like Broca's area and Wernicke's area, are involved in how the brain interprets written words. What scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like "lavender," "cinnamon" and "soap," for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells. You must read more, you must!>>>>>

Annie Murphy Paul is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. Her latest book, How to Be Brilliant, is forthcoming from Crown.

  Christine: Water Insecurity

(ABC_Feb 2015) ChristineWater-Libya_5391_Ubari_Lakes_Luca_Galuzzi_2007.jpgWater is required for human life on our world. There is a wonderful (and depressing) map that shows who has water and who doesn't. Quite a lot of the world is on the have-not side. About 80% to be factual. Although I live in the US, I am in the have-nots as I live in drought-stricken California. I am dependent on a well and watch my usage carefully.

The paper talks about natural water and what happens when water is managed. Check this BBC site for an easy click between maps to see the changes. Now many areas are less risky. However this will only last for a while before the water that is moved around goes away. The paper also links biodiversity risk to water shortages.

Take a look at the maps and see your risk. How much water will you still have in 10 or 20 years? What about your kids?  Read more>>>>>>

Chistine is a local mom and scientist who makes science easy to understand.  You can find her blog here

  Spring & Summer Camps
(ABC_Feb 2015) SantaCruzSoccer_2015_ad_spring.jpg (AA Camp 2015) IDTech_Camp2015_180.jpg  (AA Camp 2015) OSE_Fun_2015.jpg
  This Week

(ABC_Feb 2015) MarchWinnietheOooh.jpg

March

in the Parks

 

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Calendar.jpg
 

(Graphics) SchoolOpenHouse.jpg

School Corner

Tara Redwood Pre - 6, Elementary School Morning Tour 4/7

 

Santa Cruz High School, Cardinal Club Calamari Dinner 4/10

 

Mount Madonna PreK-12, Campus Tour Day 4/15

 

Soquel High School, About Engineering 4/16


Santa Cruz Waldorf PreK-8, Mornings in the Kindergarten 4/18

 

Santa Cruz Waldorf PreK-8, Waldorf Alive! A Walk Through the Grades 4/22-29

 

Central, SV & Aptos Libraries Grades 5-8, Hands on Build Your Future 3/5 - 5/20

 

Santa Cruz Montessori Pre-8, Open Visits M-F

(ABC_Feb 2015) MOD_SpringBreak2.jpg


(ABC_Feb 2015) SBDC_Logo_NC.jpg
Assistance for Pre-Schools


The Central Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC), at
Cabrillo College, offers services for present and potential small business owners.

 

Janine Canada is a Business Adviser specifically for people starting either a home-based childcare program or center based program. Existing programs which may be experiencing new challenges or want to expand can also request services.

 

Janine has owned both a center and a home based program and has served as a Director of a non-profit center.


All counseling services are free of charge and confidential. This is a great program for all small businesses.

For more information
or to request services:
CentralCoastSBDC.org
479-6136

Ask for Janine!

 

Ideas for

April Fools Pranks

 

 

FREE

ACTIVITIES

 

(ABC_Feb 2015) Dogs_Lots.jpg

 27th Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai Show

Santa Cruz Bonsai
Come join us for bonsai demos
Date: Every day (Mar 28-Mar 29) from 10:00am to 5:00pm

March 28 & 29, 10am - 5pm  Attend the 27th Annual Santa Cruz Bonsai show at the Museum of Art & History.

The Santa Cruz Bonsai Kai Annual Show is $5.00 for entrance to bonsai show and the Museum of Art & History (Santa Cruz).

We are proud to announce this year's demonstrator is the Bay Area's own Mike Pistello. Demos are both days at 2 pm immediately followed by the raffle of the demo tree along with many other great prizes. Door prize tickets will be handed out during the demo for a chance to win a free prize. Vendor sales will be open both days with bonsai, pre-bonsai, pots, tools, soil and more. Coffee, tea and cookies will be provided as well as complimentary lunch to any visiting club member. Come join us for an inspiring weekend of Art in Bonsai.


Location: MAH, 705 Front St, Santa Cruz Map
website Santa Cruz

Spring Detox, Naturally!
click to view website
  Spring Detox, Naturally!
Pleasure Point Apothecary
Date: 03/26/2015 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Ages: adult
Details: Start on Your Path to Optimal Health Today!
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 316-5086 view all details >>
     
Father/Child Weekend- Friday 4:00PM to Sunday 12:00PM
click to view website
  Father/Child Weekend- Friday 4:00PM to Sunday 12:00PM
YMCA Camp Campbell
Date: Every day (Mar 27-Mar 29) from 4:00pm to 12:00pm
Ages: No Age Restriction
Details: Strengthen family connections
City: Boulder Creek Phone: (831) 338-2128 view all details >>
     
Miniatures Enchant!
click to view website
  Miniatures Enchant!
Date:
view all details >>
     
 3 Easy Tips for Helping your Teen Prepare for College Admission
click to view website
  3 Easy Tips for Helping your Teen Prepare for College Admission
Merit Educational Consultants
Date: 03/26/2015 from 12:00pm to 12:30pm
Details: Improve your teen's chance of getting into dream school
view all details >>
     
Miniatures Enchant!
click to view website
  Miniatures Enchant!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Miniatures Enchant!
click to view website
  Miniatures Enchant!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Miniatures Enchant!
click to view website
  Miniatures Enchant!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Hands On! Build Your Future
click to view website
  Hands On! Build Your Future
Library Central, SV or Aptos
Date: Every Wed and Th from 3:15pm to 5:00pm
Details: Kids grades 5-8: Learn about careers -carpentry & construction, electrical, and mechanical design- that don't require a universi
Phone: 831-427-7717 view all details >>
     
Family Game Night
click to view website
  Family Game Night
Discovery Learning Center
Date: Every Th at 6:30pm
Details: Family Game Night We're going to host a 6 week trial of Family Game
City: santa cruz Phone: (831) 531-7352 view all details >>
     
Miniatures Enchant!
click to view website
  Miniatures Enchant!
Date:
view all details >>
     
Sunday Seaside Crafts
click to view website
  Sunday Seaside Crafts
Seymour Marine Discovery Center (at Long Marine Lab)
Date: Every Su from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Ages: Kids and up
Details: Join us with your small fry every Sunday for hands-on fun!
Special Instructions: We are located at the end of Delaware Avenue.
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 459-3800 view all details >>
     
     
  continued - Mindfulness and Compassion in Education

(ABC_Feb 2015) Tara_Mindfulness.jpgThere is also a great deal of focus amongst educators and psychologists on the importance for children to develop the strength of emotional self-regulation and resilience.  We now have a growing body of evidence to show how educating children with some simple, practical skills can offer them a healthy foundation for a less stressful, happier life. 

Here is a suggestion of an integrated program that focuses on the development of knowledge, strength and compassion in order to provide an education that offers the best possible foundation for children to live a happy, successful and meaningful life:

1.     Knowledge: gaining insight into our psychology of thoughts and feelings as well as knowledge of our vast interconnected world.  Understanding the interconnected nature of all things gradually eliminates destructive patterns of thought and behavior and allows us to relate to our inner and outer environment in a life-affirming and ecologically sound way.

2.     Strength: involves developing a healthy sense of confidence as capable beings with the ability to bring about positive change. Understanding that that the world we view is created by our perceptions, we can choose to impact our lives in an empowered and positive way.

3.     Compassion: encourages us to open our heart and develop empathy and loving kindness for others. Compassion enables us to reduce self-centeredness that cherishes our individual welfare above that of others and instead inspires an altruistic attitude and more ethical behavior.

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. -Albert Einstein

Indeed our very survival depends on our interconnection with others and our environment. When our education systems teach children about this interconnection, and how the source of true happiness is internal rather than external, then children become more content and compassionate. By providing children and youth with opportunities to discover their inner knowledge, they will develop the wish and strength needed to become compassionate change makers.  In this way we will empower them with the resources needed to create a more positive and just world.

"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be." Abraham Lincoln

After 10 years teaching and developing curriculum in Nepal, Pam moved to Soquel where she founded Tara Preschool in 1989 which expanded into Tara Redwood School in 1996. In 2008 Pam founded Creating Compassionate Cultures (CCC) a non profit that provides training and resources both locally and globally, to nurture more kindness, wisdom and ethics in homes, schools and the workplace.

  Continued... Your Brain on Fiction

In a 2006 study published in the journal NeuroImage, researchers in Spain asked participants to read words with strong odor associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. When subjects looked at the Spanish words for "perfume" and "coffee," their primary olfactory cortex lit up; when they saw the words that mean "chair" and "key," this region remained dark. The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like "a rough day" are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like "The singer had a velvet voice" and "He had leathery hands" roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like "The singer had a pleasing voice" and "He had strong hands," did not.

Researchers have discovered that words describing motion also stimulate regions of the brain distinct from language-processing areas. In a study led by the cognitive scientist Véronique Boulenger, of the Laboratory of Language Dynamics in France, the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like "John grasped the object" and "Pablo kicked the ball." The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body's movements. What's more, this activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement described was arm-related and in another part when the movement concerned the leg.

The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that "runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers." Fiction - with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions - offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people's thoughts and feelings.

The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.

Raymond Mar, a psychologist at York University in Canada, performed an analysis of 86 fMRI studies, published last year in the Annual Review of Psychology, and concluded that there was substantial overlap in the brain networks used to understand stories and the networks used to navigate interactions with other individuals - in particular, interactions in which we're trying to figure out the thoughts and feelings of others. Scientists call this capacity of the brain to construct a map of other people's intentions "theory of mind." Narratives offer a unique opportunity to engage this capacity, as we identify with characters' longings and frustrations, guess at their hidden motives and track their encounters with friends and enemies, neighbors and lovers.

It is an exercise that hones our real-life social skills, another body of research suggests. Dr. Oatley and Dr. Mar, in collaboration with several other scientists, reported in two studies, published in 2006 and 2009, that individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be better able to understand other people, empathize with them and see the world from their perspective. This relationship persisted even after the researchers accounted for the possibility that more empathetic individuals might prefer reading novels. A 2010 study by Dr. Mar found a similar result in preschool-age children: the more stories they had read to them, the keener their theory of mind - an effect that was also produced by watching movies but, curiously, not by watching television. (Dr. Mar has conjectured that because children often watch TV alone, but go to the movies with their parents, they may experience more "parent-children conversations about mental states" when it comes to films.)

Fiction, Dr. Oatley notes, "is a particularly useful simulation because negotiating the social world effectively is extremely tricky, requiring us to weigh up myriad interacting instances of cause and effect. Just as computer simulations can help us get to grips with complex problems such as flying a plane or forecasting the weather, so novels, stories and dramas can help us understand the complexities of social life."

These findings will affirm the experience of readers who have felt illuminated and instructed by a novel, who have found themselves comparing a plucky young woman to Elizabeth Bennet or a tiresome pedant to Edward Casaubon. Reading great literature, it has long been averred, enlarges and improves us as human beings. Brain science shows this claim is truer than we imagined.

Annie Murphy Paul is a book author, magazine journalist, consultant and speaker who helps people understand how we learn and how we can do it better. Her latest book, How to Be Brilliant, is forthcoming from Crown.

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