Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:
- Peanut allergy linked to children’s asthma: According to a new study, some children suffering from asthma may also have peanut allergies without knowing it. As the study author Dr. Robert Cohn of Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio explained: “I think if a child with asthma is having difficulty controlling their symptoms — wheezing and coughing — that their parents may want to think about getting them tested for peanuts and other sensitivities, just to see if that may be contributing to why [their asthma] can’t be controlled.” According to a previous study published in 2010 in the Journal of Pediatrics the rate of hospitalization of children with asthma and peanut allergies was twice as high as the rate among children with asthma who did not have peanut allergies. “It’s possible that having a peanut sensitivity may actually make kids’ asthma symptoms worse. And another reason why children with asthma should be tested for peanut allergies is that certain asthma medications should be avoided in kids with peanut allergies,” Cohn added.
- Should children learn through play? Compared to other countries, especially in Europe, formal education in many American schools now starts already at age of 4 or 5. The idea is that starting sooner means learning more. However, a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement. Actually it might even have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn. On contrary, countries such as Finland and Estonia, don’t start compulsory education until the age of 7. According to the most recent comparison of national educational levels (the Program for International Student Assessment) both countries ranked significantly higher than the United States on math, science and reading. Some research indicates that early instruction in reading and other areas may help certain students, however the benefit appears to be only temporary. A 2009 study by Sebastian P. Suggate, an education researcher at Alanus University in Germany, evaluated about 400,000 students age 15 from more than 50 countries and found that early school entry provided zero advantage. His other study published in 2012 found that children who started at age 5 had lower reading comprehension than those who began learning later. There is other research that indicates that early didactic instruction might actually worsen academic performance.