In this blog we hope to offer you content that will enrich and expand your perception, knowledge, and skills -as a parent, teacher and, well actually, as a human being.

Some of our favorite topics are: brain development, studies on human perception, the practices that keep us healthy and happy, emotional awareness, social learning, mindfulness, development of human capacities, how we actually learn,  worldwide examples of successful educational programs, among others…

We wish you happy reading!

Essential Kids Team

Let’s use video to reinvent education

Khan Academy is a nonprofit with a mission of providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. They propose a new way of approaching teaching and learning, where students’ progress is actually measured and everyone can learn at their own pace without being left behind. Check out Salman Khan’s TED talk …

Negative attention from teachers can lead to more negative student behaviors

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have developed a new method for observing and measuring teacher interaction with every child in a classroom. As a result of testing this method within K-3 classrooms, they found that students who receive more negative attention from teachers experience increases in problems with emotional regulation, concentration and disruptive behaviors. … Continue reading Negative attention from teachers can lead to more negative student behaviors

Just Breathe

The film, by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films), is entirely unscripted – what the kids say is based purely on their own neuro-scientific understanding of difficult emotions, and how they cope through breathing and meditation. They, in turn, are teaching us all… Click to watch the video…

Why Emotions Are Integral to Learning

“Scientific understanding of the influence of emotions on thinking and learning has undergone a major transformation in recent years. In particular, a revolution in neuroscience over the past two decades has overturned early notions that emotions interfere with learning, revealing instead that emotion and cognition are supported by interdependent neural processes.”… To read full article go to… Excerpt … Continue reading Why Emotions Are Integral to Learning

How We Learn

In his new book, “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth about When, Where, and Why It Happens,” author Benedict Carey informs us that “most of our instincts about learning are misplaced, incomplete, or flat wrong” and “rooted more in superstition than in science.” That’s a disconcerting message, and hard to believe at first. But it’s … Continue reading How We Learn

Brilliant Hospital Gowns Help Teen Patients Feel Like Themselves

“You’re Unique. Why should your gown be any different?” – Ward+Robes Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada came up with the simple but brilliant idea to create hospital gowns that teens would actually want to wear. The recently launched WARD + ROBES program allows each teen to pick out a gown that suits them, allowing them to feel less like a patient and more … Continue reading Brilliant Hospital Gowns Help Teen Patients Feel Like Themselves

The Teen Brain Still Under Construction

One of the ways that scientists have searched for the causes of mental illness is by studying the development of the brain from birth to adulthood. Powerful new technologies have enabled them to track the growth of the brain and to investigate the connections between brain function, development, and behavior. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) shares interesting research findings … Continue reading The Teen Brain Still Under Construction

8 digital life skills all children need – and a plan for teaching them

Project DQ identifies 8 digital life skills all children need – and proposes a plan for teaching them. Similar to IQ or EQ, an individual’s facility and command of digital media is a competence that can be measured. This is known as DQ: digital intelligence, which is a highly adaptive intelligence. They define Digital intelligence or “DQ” as a “the sum of social, emotional … Continue reading 8 digital life skills all children need – and a plan for teaching them

Teaching Stories

Teaching stories is a term used to describe narratives that have been deliberately created as vehicles for the transmission of wisdom. Our favorite Teaching Stories are those written by Idries Shah. We have found that children (and adults alike) truly love and enjoy these timeless stories and at the same time as we read, tell … Continue reading Teaching Stories

Resiliency training program helps teens deal with today’s stresses

Date: June 22, 2015 Source: Massachusetts General Hospital Summary: Amid reports that rank today’s teens as the most stressed generation in the country, a new study offers hope for helping them effectively manage stress and build long-term resiliency. A pilot study describes how a stress-reduction/resiliency-building curriculum helped a group of Boston-area high school students significantly … Continue reading Resiliency training program helps teens deal with today’s stresses

Dr. Amen’s 7 Types of ADHD

By Eve Kessler, Esq. ADD, like many other conditions, is not just a single and simple disorder; therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. AT A GLANCE Research by Dr. Daniel Amen shows that ADHD is not a single or simple condition • There are seven distinct types of ADHD, each one requiring a particular … Continue reading Dr. Amen’s 7 Types of ADHD


Why Does Child Well-being Matter? A central aim of any society should be that its children enjoy their lives and acquire the skills necessary to become happy, functioning adults. For this, they need to develop emotional buoyancy, coping skills, resilience and the ability to form constructive social relationships. Social and emotional capacity is a built-in … Continue reading WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT 2015

Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves

Larry Ferlazzo, English & Social Studies teacher, posted a review on the research of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation on, focusing on providing the conditions for growth and student motivation. He described the four qualities that have been identified as critical to helping students motivate themselves: autonomy, competence, relatedness, and relevance. In this post, he … Continue reading Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves