Ray Hardman

There are many studies out there touting the benefits of yoga, from increasing flexibility and strength, to helping with more debilitating conditions like chronic headaches and pain. More and more children are practicing yoga, and researchers are just beginning to understand how kids can benefit from the ancient discipline. 

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Two members of Connecticut's congressional delegation have launched a bill that would ban companies from marketing e-cigarettes to children.

But they ran into some vocal opposition during a press conference to launch the legislation.

Federal inspectors found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in the Metro-North Railroad over the last decade, but records show regulators launched an investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year. In an open records request by Hearst Media, federal inspection reports between 2003 and 2013 show inspectors last year found broken joint bars and loose or missing rail braces that hold tracks to the ties in Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Haven and Stamford.

Sizing Up Your Children Is A Tricky Business

Apr 7, 2014

When I had a second baby earlier this year, my three-year-old suddenly seemed enormous. "Check out the size of those feet!" I marveled. She seemed so heavy, so tall, so substantial.

She even seemed more capable, more robust. Images of airborne cookware and toppling bookshelves faded. The staircase didn't seem quite so treacherous. Instead, I trusted in her basic competence to scale the kitchen stools without incident and to keep (most) sharp-and-pointy things beyond the envelope of her person.

It wasn't just me: my husband reported the same experience.

Doctors say children shouldn't log more than two hours a day of screen time, though what with phones, computers and TV most children put in much more.

But it may be that not all screens are equally evil.

Researchers from the University of Michigan found that sixth-graders who watched a lot of TV were more likely to eat junk food and drink soda than their peers who spent the same amount of time on the computer or playing video games, researchers from the University of Michigan say.

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.

The Small Things

A Connecticut-based non-profit has received a major grant to start construction on a village for orphaned children in Tanzania. The Small Things, based in East Haven and Africa, partners with the Nkoaranga Orphanage, which cares for youngsters from birth to five years old.

When they age out of the orphanage, some kids are able to move in with family members or live in foster homes, but most are sent away to boarding schools.

Chion Wolf/WNPR

There's growing tension in Connecticut between parents and guardian ad litem lawyers or GALs, who are appointed to represent minor children in child custody cases.

AndreyPopov/iStock / Thinkstock

Earlier this month, The Connecticut Law Tribune reported that a number of the state’s guardian ad litem lawyers had withdrawn from their child custody cases. Their actions came in response to growing tension within the family courts, where parents and advocates have criticized the system -- and the lawyers in it -- for high fees and lack of oversight.

Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor's office, a study finds.

The children in the study had behavior problems, and many also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or anxiety. They were 8 years old, on average, and two-thirds were boys.

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. 

Flickr Creative Commons / jetsandzeppelins

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. 

rob.wall / Creative Commons

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.

Flickr Creative Commons / Katelyn Kenderdine

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.

Ira Gelb / Creative Commons

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.


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.