Best of the Web

Let kids learn through play, Four Corners on 'digi kids', Big Bird interview as Sesame Street turns 50, and more

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


Children learn through play – it shouldn’t stop at preschool

(Kate Noble, The Conversation)

Preparations are in full swing for children making the big step from preschool to prep, with transition programs involving them spending some time in their new school, and getting to know their teacher and classmates. Starting school also marks moving away from play-based learning to a more formal instruction. But are we abandoning play too early? The author makes the case for more play-based learning – not less – in the early years of school, as a way to better support a child’s transition and learning.


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The first generations of 'digi kids' are struggling with literacy as experts warn against screen time

(Louise Milligan and Lesley Robinson, Four Corners)

The respected current affairs program Four Corners took an indepth look at the contentious issue of the impact of screen time on young people. The findings were consistent with many of the reports we feature on The Parents’ Website – see our Screenagers post, for instance. The program reported that experts are worried that excessive screen time is harming children’s reading, writing and ability to concentrate in school. It’s producing a generation of skim readers with poor literacy, who may struggle to find jobs.

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'Extremely worrying': One in four Aussie teenagers get sunburnt every weekend

(Ariane Beetson, Essential Kids)

As the mercury rises, there’s worrying news about the prevalence of sunburn among teenagers. The Cancer Council’s National Sun Protection Survey has found that more than half a million teens are getting sunburnt on an average summer weekend – increasing their risk of getting skin cancer. Teenagers are being encouraged to ‘own your tone’ in a bid to make them more sun aware, and avoid problems down the track.

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As Sesame Street turns 50, Big Bird is still making friends everywhere he goes

(Lily Rothman, TIME)

The much loved and celebrated children’s educational program Sesame Street is turning, yet one character who was there at the beginning is still only 6½ . Big Bird, the 2.5 metre yellow canary, has been forever young, connecting with children over the generations. Despite the world changing rapidly, one thing remains constant: ‘I think all the kids I’ve met, they’ve always just been friendly and kind,’ says Big Bird. ‘They’re looking for a friend, for somebody to play with. I think kids have been like that for all the time I’ve known them, for all my 6½ years.’

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