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Listen to Me - I'm down here!


I recently found out that a 13 year old girl, Nora Keegan from Calgary, Canada, had conducted a piece of research to test whether the volume of electric hand dryers were detrimental to children’s hearing.

She’d noticed that her own ears would start ringing after using certain dryers, and decided to test her hypothesis. She visited over 40 public washrooms and used a professional decibel meter to measure sound levels of hand dryers from various heights and distances.

Now I don't know about you, but there are occasions when I find the noise from those things almost unbearable, but what I hadn’t taken into account was that I’m a grown woman, not hugely tall I’ll grant you, but my ears are a lot further away from the source of discomfort than children’s are.

I’d never thought of it. I spend a great deal of my life trying to put myself in the child’s position, physically and emotionally, to try and better understand how we can improve inter-generational communication and relations, and there are still day to day things I miss. I know I’m not alone, it’s difficult to keep remembering that our children are experiencing things in a completely different way to us.

Nora found that Xlerator and two types of Dyson Airblade dryers both exceed 100 decibels. Health Canada does not allow toys for children to be sold over 100 decibels, but the loudest dryer she recorded was 121 decibels.

Nora’s findings have been published in the Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, so hopefully they will spur on companies to do something about this.

As for us, we should be ever vigilant. Sadly not every child is as resourceful, capable and confident in their abilities as Nora, so it falls to us to get down and see, hear, feel, experience things from the child’s perspective - both actually and metaphorically - rather than guessing or just not bothering.

In this case Nora’s work may have an impact on whether or not children will be able to hear us in the future - and that’s a very strong metaphor indeed.

Mrs Do-As-You-Would-Be-Done-By


People-watching sure can teach you a lot. When I'm on a trip, I spend a fair amount of time observing how other guests treat the hotel staff. Some are polite, but removed, others clearly see beyond the role to the human doing the job, and some are just downright rude. I find myself wondering if there is a parallel here with how they treat children and young people.

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Teach EYFS Article - Trivialising Feelings


Here is the latest in my series of articles based on conversations with children, first published in Teach Early Years magazine. In each piece, I focus on one prominent theme. For this one, it’s TRIVIALISING FEELINGS. My thanks to editor Jacob Stow for allowing reproduction, and if you want to know more, details of this and their other magazines and resources are available at:

* What annoys you about how adults speak to you?
* When I'm crying and they say, 'You're just tired.’  
      (G - female)

During this little girl’s short interview, she mentioned this issue twice in slightly different ways. No doubt something had happened recently that made this perceived injustice so fresh and raw, but what lies underneath is a common source of upset.

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You Can Run and You Can Hide


There's every chance you are on Facebook. How old are you and those you connect with most often? We periodically hear about the rise in the average age of Facebook users and the projected exodus of millions of under-25s in the future.

Reading interviews with young people who are now turning to alternative platforms, I was reminded of a past experience whilst working in Scotland many years ago.

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Snow Joke


So here in the UK we say goodbye to one of the warmest and most clement Februarys on record - in stark contrast to the harsh conditions of last winter, when snow disruption occurred well into March.

Extreme weather is always notable. As such, it has the power to call to mind all the previous times in our lives when unusual climate or weather events have happened. It’s easier for us to access our own childhoods through these less than common events, than through the day to day occurrences.

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