Best of the Web: Vale Eric Carle, who gave us The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and more…

Watch Eric Carle read his much-loved children's book, how Pop It fidget toys are helping kids stay calm, and fewer kids attending kindergarten linked to falls in literacy and maths skills.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Vale Eric Carle: creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a story of hope ... and holes

(Kate Cantrell and Rhiannan Johnson, The Conversation)

The recent death of children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle prompted tributes from around the world – and across the generations – for the huge impact his work has on countless children, and their parents.

Carle created The Very Hungry Caterpillar, regarded as one of the best picture books of all time. In just 224 words, accompanied by vibrant illustrations, it charts the progress of a small caterpillar that eats its way to become a beautiful butterfly.

The article notes that since being published in 1969, the book has sold roughly a copy a minute. Asked in 2014 about the book’s success, Carle offered: ‘I haven’t come up with an answer, but I think it’s a book of hope’.

You can watch Eric Carle read the book in the video below.

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Australian toy manufacturers ramp up production of TikTok sensation Pop It

(Tim Swanston, ABC Online)

Toy shop owner Bradley Merrell had just received his order of the latest craze to sweep toydom – Pop Its. He used a blackboard to tell kids who had been asking that they had finally arrived.

He likens what happened next to how he felt at Spain’s running of the bulls. ‘All I could hear was feet, then all I could see was legs, shoes in my shop. We sold 92 Pop Its in 10 minutes.’

For the uninitiated, Pop Its look and feel like colorful, reusable bubble wrap. For some kids, they are just a toy, but for others they are tools to help them remain calm and focus. ‘A fidget toy can really help a child through their sense of touch and their use of that toy to help them regulate themselves,’ notes one expert.

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Reading and maths skills drop as kindergarten attendance rates slide

(Adam Carey, The Age)

There’s been a decline in kindergarten attendance rates in Australia, setting children back in their literacy and numeracy skills.

This article reports on the analysis of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), a long-running international test of students’ maths and science skills in years 4 and 8.

As part of the TIMSS, more than 570 Australian principals were surveyed about how many students began prep with basic literacy and numeracy skills. ‘In almost half of schools, less than 25 per cent of students had these skills. This compared unfavourably to other countries that, where the average figures was 80 per cent.’

Across Australia, kindergarten in the year before school has declined every year since 2016, from 92.4 per cent to 85 per cent.

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