children

Alan Yu / WNPR

A corner of a Hartford's Elizabeth Park became a construction site last weekend, but this wasn't just any ordinary project.

Even on a chilly day in March, hundreds of people came to watch. The organizers hope the community will continue to feel a strong connection to the playground that was built.

A group called the Sandy Ground Project is building 26 playgrounds as living memorials to the children who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. 

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Connecticut lawmakers are once again eyeing restrictions on pesticides. A new proposal would ban their use at public parks and town greens.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. He said the makers of the devices may be trying to hook smokers while they're young. 

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After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, something changed at many schools in Connecticut. Armed guards started appearing in places they hadn’t before: in elementary and middle schools. Districts have struggled with the questions of whether this kind of increased security is worth the cost, and whether it provides the kind of school environment they want.

Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut discussed his priorities for rail safety today in Hartford, in his first hearing as chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Surface Transportation in Washington. Blumenthal stressed the importance of renewed investment in rail infrastructure and strong federal oversight.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Why do teachers want to teach? In the era of education reform, teacher evaluations, and standardized testing, it's a question that some teachers are asking themselves.

Last week, WNPR's Where We Live hosted an evening panel discussion with teachers from across the state in order to accommodate their schedules which don't line up with a live morning call-in show. 

We invited educators to join us in the audience, and there was a general sentiment of openness to new evaluation methods, and ways of measuring performance. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our teacher panel welcomed educators from across the state. We broadcasted live from the CPBN Learning Lab, the home of the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet High School Satellite Campus and the Institute for Advanced Media.

Are you a teacher? Why did you decide to enter this profession and what keeps you going back to school every day? Find our tweets from the discussion at #WhereWeTeach, and watch our video of the event below.

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A proposal that went before the Public Health Committee could allow adopted children access to their birth certificate if they are age 21 or older.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Each year, 1.4 million of the nation’s eleven- to 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system. Of these boys and girls, some 71,000 are sent to incarceration facilities, where they may remain for several months in seclusion from the outside world. 

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, the Executive Director of Connecticut's Office of Early Childhood, appeared on WNPRs Where We Live to discuss plans for universal pre-K. Just over 1,000 seats would be added next school year for children from low-income families. Jones-Taylor said a quality pre-K program sets children up for future success. The first phase of the program would cost $13.8 million, which has been built into Malloy’s budget proposal.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Malloy’s latest early childhood education proposal centers on universal access to pre-kindergarten. The phase-in plan would offer seats to 1,000 three- and four-year-olds for fiscal year 2015, and would expand to serve 4,000 additional children by 2019. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's agenda includes universal access to pre-kindergarten. But in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing universal pre-kindergarten.

What's the difference?

This hour, we ask the executive director of the Office of Early Childhood, who is working on this issue.

Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn.

Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level.

Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous.

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The FBI and dozens of law enforcement agencies rescued 16 juveniles in four states, including Connecticut, during an operation that targeted forced prostitution around the Super Bowl. 

Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.

"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."

Jack Everett sat on his living room couch wearing a back brace, eyes glued to a massive TV set playing his favorite video game, NHL 2013.

"I'm the Boston Bruins," the 10-year-old said as he deftly worked the video controls. "The guy that just shot was Milan Lucic. He's a really good guy on our team."

Whether at home or during recess at his elementary school in suburban Los Angeles, Jack's young life now is about sitting still.

"Well, I can eat lunch with friends, and I play cards," Jack says. But his classmates are out running and jumping outside.

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A state task force is recommending reforms to child custody cases in state courts, including capping court-appointed child guardians' fees that many parents say are wiping out their finances. The task force met in Hartford today to finalize recommendations it plans to submit to state lawmakers on Friday. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Over 30 percent of women deliver their babies by Caesarean section in the United States, a significant increase over the five percent of women undergoing the surgical procedure in 1970, and a change that, overall, has not improved the health of newborns.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families held a full-day forum on Wednesday about domestic minor sex trafficking. The aim was to raise awareness of the issue and to strengthen partnerships across the state to combat the victimization of children. Keynote speaker Audrey Morrissey shared her experience as a survivor of the commercial sex industry, and discussed her work teaching young girls how to avoid her fate.

Spotmatik/iStock / Thinkstock

Firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death among children in the U.S., but there has been scarce information available about the number of young people nationwide who are hospitalized because of gun injuries. 

Now Yale researchers have analyzed hospital data, and their study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. 

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Connecticut Voices for Children held a forum on Thursday called, "Raising the Grade: Improving Educational Opportunities for Youth in State Care." State lawmakers, child advocates, and community leaders gathered at the capitol to hear sometimes emotional testimony from members of the DCF Youth advisory panel, teenagers who have been in the care of the state for most of their lives.

American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.

Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.

Bravo Waterbury!

Two years ago, we reported on plans to launch after-school music education programs for low-income children in several Connecticut cities. The programs are inspired by El Sistema, a music phenomenon in Venezuela that’s touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, and captured the attention of the world. WNPR’s Diane Orson now reports on Bravo Waterbury!, an initiative of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The state of Connecticut will begin developing a plan to meet the behavioral health needs of all the children in the state. The plan is required under legislation passed last year by the General Assembly in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Tony Bacewicz

On its website, the Tumble Bugs Day School in Norwalk boasts a “highly experienced, nurturing” staff who serve infants and toddlers in a “stimulating setting.”

But a review of state Department of Public Health records shows the child care center has had numerous complaints and citations in recent years for lapses in supervision that have injured and traumatized young children.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

In a press conference at the legislative office building in Hartford on Monday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal called on energy drink companies to stop marketing their product to children through toys bearing the energy drink's logo.

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Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and author who may be best known for his writings on emotional intelligence, an idea that challenges the old concept of IQ as the most important measure of one’s abilities. He joined Where We Live to talk about his new book FOCUS: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

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