Raising Decent, Secure, and Happy Kids

Kim John Payne
Kim John Payne
Rafe Esquith
Rafe Esquith

Celebrated elementary school teacher Rafe Esquith talks about his book, Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up World. And we talk with educator and therapist Kim John Payne about Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids.

Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up World

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At a time when charter schools are taking over public schools, and public schools in poor communities sink ever deeper into crisis, there’s at least one classroom in one school in central Los Angeles that’s bucking the tide.

The school is Hobart Elementary and the classroom belongs to teacher Rafe Esquith. His kids come from homes where English is not the native language; where parents struggle to put food on the table and pay the rent. But his students excel against the odds, not only on standardized tests, but also in their dedication to hard work and learning. And some great literature. Some of you may have seen the PBS documentary about Esquith and his school project, The Hobart Shakespeareans. But his work with kids goes far beyond putting on great plays. He uses music, literature, and sports to teach his kids the basics: not just reading and math, but character and decency.

Rafe Esquith is the author of several books, including the best sellers written for teachers, [amazon-product text=”TEACH LIKE YOUR HAIRS ON FIRE” type=”text”]0670038156[/amazon-product] and [amazon-product text=”THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS” type=”text”]1400030838[/amazon-product]. His new book for parents is LIGHTING THEIR FIRES. Rafe Esquith is the only teacher ever awarded the National Medal of the Arts.

The Hobart Shakespeareans in Shakespeare’s A Merchant of Venice.

Simplicity Parenting

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Kim John Payne says kids are being traumatized by what he calls the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, information, too many choices, and lives that are moving too fast. He says every kid has their quirks, but if you add constant and cumulative stress to a child’s life, their quirks become disorders. Disorders like ADHD or obsessive compulsive disorder. His book, [amazon-product text=”SIMPLICITY PARENTING: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids” type=”text”]0345507975[/amazon-product], shows how parents can bring their kids back to a more balanced, less disordered way of being that honors their individual personalities.

Kim John Payne has been counseling teachers, parents and children for 24 years about behavior at home and school. He’s the Director of the Waldorf Collaborative Counseling program at Antioch University New England. www.antiochne.edu He’s also a founding member of the Alliance for Childhood.

Web-only extra: Listen to the full interview with Kim John Payne.

Kim John Payne on information overload:

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About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.

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