WHPS Professional Development & Brain Rules

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

WHPS is committed to ensuring that our teachers, directors and support staff receive the highest level of training available in early childhood education. You may have noticed a couple weeks ago that a number of preschool teachers - and even the campus directors - were off site for professional development at the California Association for the Education of Young Children (CAAEYC) Conference. We spent three days immersed in a wide variety of workshops, ranging from teaching science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) to social-emotional learning (SEL) to Kindergarten readiness, and much more. Our school administration also attended the CAAEYC Leadership Summit at which we studied emerging trends and issues in early childhood education and participated in site visits to other leading preschools, including: Pacific Oaks Children’s School, Glendale Community College Lab School, and the Outdoor Classroom Project at the Child Education Center.

One of the keynote speakers at CAAEYC was John Medina, a molecular biologist and bestselling author, who has applied “a robust scientific filter” to parenting research. Medina is the director of The Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University.

Medina discussed his seminal research while working on Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five in which he addresses common parenting questions and debunks some myths:

  • Does telling your child they are smart actually help boost their confidence?
  • What’s the best way to get your kid into Harvard?
  • Will playing Mozart to the womb make your baby smarter?
  • Will listening to language DVDs boost your toddler’s vocabulary?
  • Do toys that promise to exercise your baby’s brain actually work?
  • And, more importantly, how do you raise a happy child?

One of Medina’s key points that is widely accepted among early childhood researchers and educators is that Executive Functioning is far more predictive than IQ when it comes to a young child’s future success. “A child’s brain can be trained to enhance self-control and other aspects of executive function,” according to Medina, and building Executive Function is one way to help that baby get to Harvard. Says Medina: “Executive Function is actually a better predictor of academic success than IQ.”

If you are curious about Medina’s research and some of the parenting questions and myths he addresses or debunks, I recommend trying out his 20 question quiz: Are you a Brain Rules parent? How did you do? Consider taking it with your spouse/partner or co-parent.
Hint: a clue for question 1 can be found in the above paragraph.

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