Back-To-School with the PTA
On the brink of the new school year the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) held a “Back-To-School” media briefing encompassing the academic and emotional growth of children, internet safety, nutrition goals, and careers in the 21st century, with national president, Anna Marie Weselak, presiding as moderator.
Addressing 21st century concerns of parents in preparing their children for academic success was Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President of PBS KIDS who pointed out that “over 90 percent of parents are preparing children for success in school at very young ages and more than two out of three parents agreed that their children would not keep pace in school if they did not know how to use new media technologies.” PBS, as a result is launching a preschool learning destination on TV and the internet aimed at helping children to prepare for academic success, including the instruction of new media technologies to parents and children.
Psychologist and child development expert Dr. Michael Bradley shared his viewpoints on the overriding emphasis of parents—irrespective of economic background—on grades and test scores, and his enlightening perspective on raising healthy children. Bradley defined successful children not in terms of “grades and batting averages,” but as kids who are safe, not engaging in high risk behaviors; overall, as children who are happy. Parents should “not go to war pushing their children to get good grades; this can end up being counterproductive.” Engaging in unstructured activities, children can often have the opportunity for more gains as they can practice decision making, critical thinking skills, elimination of frustration, and development of identity. Building character, “putting values into action,” is high on Bradley’s list of priorities for parents and he urged parents to focus on being role models of good character.
Karen L. Mapp, Ed.D., Harvard Graduate School of Education, highlighted the importance of building school-family partnerships and the importance of family engagement, whether parent or other caretaker, in a child’s life across socio-economic, ethnic, and age levels. The importance of developing strong community ties to a child’s success was underscored by Warlene Gary, CEO of the PTA, Chicago, Illinois.
The PTA also addressed the hot topic of school nutrition with Vonda Fekete, Co-Chair of Pennsylvania Action for Healthy Kids—a partnership of over 50 private and public organizations dedicated to fostering the health of children—highlighting “the strong connection between physical activity and academic performance.” School districts are now required by federal law to follow wellness policies that address nutritional education and physical activity education.
A partnership between the PTA and Campbell’s Recess Rewards, will “help encourage and preserve physical activity in schools,” stated Anne Pizarro, Director of Campbell’s Labels for Education, a program awarding, for the past 30 years, over 100 million dollars in educational resources to tens of thousands of schools across the country.
Campbell’s is additionally teaming with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, providing them with resources for their visits to select schools across the country, to promote healthy, active lifestyles for children. Special appearances at the event were made by Eugene “Killer” Edgerson, known for his aggressive instincts on the court—although perfectly mild-mannered outside of it—and NASCAR race car driver, Carl Edwards, PTA ambassador for youth.#
For more information visit www.pta.org.