Sunday, September 27, 2015

Harvard psychologists have been studying what it takes to raise 'good' kids.

A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

But beneath the madness of modernity, the basics of raising a moral child haven't really changed.

Parents want their kids to achieve their goals and find happiness, but Harvard researchers believe that doesn't have to come at the expense of kindness and empathy. They say a few tried-and-true strategies remain the best ways to mold your kids into the morally upstanding and goals-oriented humans you want them to be. Here are six practical tips:

1) Hang out with your kids.

This is, like, the foundation of it all. Spend regular time with your kids, ask them open-ended questions about themselves, about the world and how they see it, and actively listen to their responses. Not only will you learn all sorts of things that make your child unique, you'll also be demonstrating to them how to show care and concern for another person.

2) If it matters, say it out loud.

According to the researchers, "Even though most parents and caretakers say that their children being caring is a top priority, often children aren't hearing that message." So be sure to say it with them. And so they know it's something they need to keep up with, check in with teachers, coaches, and others who work with your kids on how they're doing with teamwork, collaboration, and being a generally nice person.

3) Show your child how to "work it out."

Image by susieq3c/Flickr.
Walk them through decision-making processes that take into consideration people who could be affected. For example, if your child wants to quit a sport or other activity, encourage them to identify the source of the problem and consider their commitment to the team. Then help them figure out if quitting does, in fact, fix the problem.

4) Make helpfulness and gratitude routine.

Image by David D/Flickr.
The researchers write, "Studies show that people who engage in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving — and they're also more likely to be happy and healthy." So it's good for parents to hold the line on chores, asking kids to help their siblings, and giving thanks throughout the day. And when it comes to rewarding "good" behavior, the researchers recommend that parents "only praise uncommon acts of kindness."

5) Check your child's destructive emotions.

"The ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings," say the researchers. Helping kids name and process those emotions, then guiding them toward safe conflict resolution, will go a long way toward keeping them focused on being a caring individual. It's also important to set clear and reasonable boundaries that they'll understand are out of love and concern for their safety.

6) Show your kids the bigger picture.

"Almost all children empathize with and care about a small circle of families and friends," say the researchers. The trick is getting them to care about people who are socially, culturally, and even geographically outside their circles. You can do this by coaching them to be good listeners, by encouraging them to put themselves in other people's shoes, and by practicing empathy using teachable moments in news and entertainment.

"Raising a caring, respectful, ethical child is and always has been hard work. But it's something all of us can do. And no work is more important or ultimately more rewarding."


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 ways the circular economy is changing the way businesses think

by Stephen Kennett

To mark the world’s premier circular awards program, The Circulars, opening up entries for 2016, we take a look at the impact that a circular economy approach is already having on businesses.
Two studies in recent weeks have put some hard figures to the economic benefits that a shift to the circular economy could bring.

First up was an independent report commissioned by resource management business Veolia and produced by Imperial College London. It found that a combination of closing the loop on resource use and moving to a service rather than product based economy has the potential to add £29 billion to UK Gross Domestic Product over the next decade.

Hot on the heels of this was the Growth Within report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It claims a pan-European shift to a circular economy could create a net benefit of €1.8 trillion for European economies by 2030.

These are compelling and timely figures, as the European Commission considers its circular economy strategy with the promise of presenting a new, more ambitious plan by the end of the year. But there is already a huge up-swell in ground-level innovation in this field being driven by large corporations, and small and medium enterprises alike. Here’s a round-up of 10 ways the approach is impacting on what they are doing.

1. Encouraging collaboration to drive innovation

Closed-loop thinking and sustainable packaging are two targets that computer manufacturer Dell has committed to and it is using collaboration to drive innovation in both these areas. Dell has joined forces with bio-tech start-up, Newlight Technologies to pilot the use of carbon-negative product packaging and worked with original equipment manufacturer partner Wistron GreenTech to reuse plastic from its consumer and business-to-business recycling program and feed it back into its new IT products.

2. Thinking counter-intuitively

Clothing company Patagonia has made long-running efforts to counter over consumption and its Worn Wear California-to-Boston road show that took place earlier this year perfectly sums up this approach by building consumer knowledge about the value of fixing broken goods. GreenBiz author Lauren Hepler gives a first-hand account of Patagonia's vision for elevating the approach beyond the apparel sector.

3. Reverse logistics

Logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL is actively exploring new ways it can capitalise on reverse logistics, one of the most important enablers in the transition to a circular economy. With its global network reach, DHL is undoubtedly sensing an opportunity to develop new models that can push forward more circular flows of goods and materials.

4. Think users not consumers

Are we moving back to people behaving more like users rather than consumers? This is one of the trends emerging in the automobile and IT sectors. In this interview with Kirstie McIntyre, director of social and environmental responsibility at HP, explains how the company is seeing service models for users becoming more frequent and how that translates to product design.

5. Handing the creative process back to the consumer

Sustainable footwear is a hotbed of innovation for many apparel and lifestyle brands. But one enterprising start-up is looking to take this to the next level. Lyf Shoes is looking to capture a slice of the market by handing the creative process back to the consumer and is working up a customized 3D-printing service for shoemaking.

6. An incentive for transforming workplaces

The launch of the world’s first guide to creating an office using circular principles promises to minimize waste and maximize the life of all materials. The guide, which has been produced by a cross-industry collaboration of nine organizations, launched in July and the authors are now looking for a New Zealand office in need of refurbishment to become the world’s first Circular Economy Model Office. They claim it is the first step in revolutionising the office refurbishment industry.

7. Using it for brand building

Elvis and Kresse is an emerging brand in the luxury fashion market, selling belts, wallets, handbags and rugs. It uses 15 different wastes, including leather and old tea sacks to make its products and it’s an approach that underscores its entire brand ethos - what's more it’s got plans to build on this creativity.

8. Delivering social good

From a Mother to Another aims to extend the lifespan of baby and children clothing by redistributing high quality clothing that has been outgrown to vulnerable families in the UK. Research by Hubbub UK discovered that over £3,500 worth of children’s clothing goes to landfill per child growing up. From a Mother to Another aimed to create a new circular economy initiative based on such findings. The campaign is delivered by a partnership of the retailer JoJo Maman Bebe, the charity Barnardo’s and Hubbub UK.

9. A catalyst for disruptive innovation

In 2012 B&Q offered nine young people the opportunity to win a year’s placement on a Youth Board. Following a nationwide competition, the nine who secured a place were each appointed a B&Q Retail Board mentor and set a specific challenge — to apply circular economy and closed loop thinking to re-imagine B&Q’s future business model.

10. And finally… there’s more than one approach

Research by Accenture has identified five different business models companies are adopting – alone or in combination — when embracing the circular economy: circular suppliesresource recoveryproduct life extensionsharing platforms, and product as a service.
Source: 2degrees

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ananda Marga Gurukula - Global Education Network for People and Planet


Ánanda Márga Gurukula is an international educational network of schools and institutes engaged in teaching, research and service. It spans over fifty countries with over 1,000 kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and children’s homes that have been established over the past 50 years. It is based on the holistic philosophy of Neohumanism which stands for ”the practice of love for all creation including plants, animals and the inanimate world” as propounded by philosopher-seer Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar. The education imparted in Ánanda Márga Gurukula affiliated schools and institutions is known as Neohumanist Education.

The Sanskrit word “Gurukula”  has the following etymology: Gu: darkness; ru: dispeller; kula: an institution. Gurukula is an institution which helps students dispel the darkness of the mind and leads to total emancipation of the individual and society at large.

The Gurukula system of education is the oldest on our planet, tracing its roots back 10,000 years to the time of ancient civilisation and dedicated to the highest ideals of all-round human development: physical, mental and spiritual.

Today, Ánanda Márga Gurukula is a revival of that ancient tradition, offering a blending of occidental analytical approach and oriental synthetic knowledge. Gurukula is dedicated to innovative research and human resource development for the betterment of people and the planet.

At Gurukula affiliated schools and institutes, all aspects of one’s personality are developed utilising an integrated curriculum that empowers the student to know oneself and develop the confidence and empathy to utilise knowledge for serving the society. Intellectual cognitive abilities are extended to include the development of intuition, aesthetics and a futuristic and ecological perspective based on universal outlook.

For further reading:
Gurukula Education

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Steiner Education

A Serious Need for Free Play
A Creative Approach to Foreign Language for Waldorf Teachers
Alphabet letters, Waldorf style
Basic Elements of Daily Living with Children
Can We Play
Concepts and Practices of the Pikler Approach
Consciousness, child development and the misuse of words
Deeper relationship between Pikler and Steiner
Discover Waldorf education – Beyond Cognition
Drawing with hand, head and heart
Earth who gives to us…
Five reasons to stop sayings Good Job
From Beauty to Truth in Mathematics
From Playing to Thinking
Importance of Play
Laws of childhood
Learning through Imitation
Learning Through Play
On the seeing the child as cute
Parenting a young child
Self-directed play is disappering in kindergartens
The meaning of illness
The value of Grimm’s fairy tales
The Vital Role of Play in Childhood
Too much too early
Truth about sight reading
What is Child-led Play


A Morden Art of Education
Adventures in Parenting
A Warm and Gentle Welcome – Nurturing Children from Birth to Three
Childhood under threat
Human values in education
Meeting the Needs of the Child today
Morality and Ethics in Education
No Fear – Growing up in a risk averse society
Overview of Waldorf Kindergarten
Painting in Waldorf Education
The Child’s changing Consciousness
The Education of the Child
The genius of language
The Roots of Education
The spiritual ground of education
Understanding young children
Working with anxious, nervous and depressed children