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Michelle's Top Internet Finds

By Michelle Higgins - 27th November 2013

Welcome to my new weekly column where I present an eclectic mix of articles from around the globe on all things related to children and parenting.

Pregnancy and Childbirth – New Guidelines Defining Full-Term Pregnancy

Jane E. Brody, New York Times Personal Health blogger, reports on new guidelines  from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – on what constitutes a full-term pregnancy. The guidelines were developed in response to rising rates of scheduled inductions prior to 39-weeks gestation. These guidelines reflect research that reports 'during the last weeks of pregnancy, from week 37 to 40, a baby’s lungs and brain fully mature, and babies born full-term...by the new definition, have, on average, the best health outcomes.'
Read the full artilce on the NYT blog:http://nyti.ms/17pDkAa

Media Effects – Video Games and Movie Classifications

A new study has been widely reported as showing that video games are not harmful to young children. However, Will Oremus, writing for Fairfax Media, suggests we take a closer look at the actual survey findings which are not nearly as definitive as the video game industry would like us to believe.
Read the full article in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://bit.ly/17Hu2dr

American researchers have found that movies rated PG-13 (equivalent to the Australian ‘M’ classification) have far more gun violence than those deemed suitable for older audiences.
Read the full article on The Guardian: http://bit.ly/HTNRrd

Child Care – Putting Quality First

The Australian Government’s inquiry into child care has drawn criticism for failing to address the issue of the quality of care that children experience. Here, Lisa Bryant, convener for NSW Australian Community Children’s Services, argues that under the terms of reference for the inquiry, children “scarcely get a look in”.
Read her piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald: http://bit.ly/1aS5Ntg

Economist and feminist blogger, Andie Fox, speaks of her own frustrating experience in securing child care, and says that quality is the primary concern of parents in a system that is patchy at best.
Read her full blog on the Daily Life: http://bit.ly/17S03CI

Education – Benefits of Reading, Playing a Musical Instrument, and Play

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures, but often policy makers talk about it in purely pragmatic terms, focusing almost exclusively on the relationship between reading and test scores. This article makes the case that pleasure is not incidental to reading, but essential, and this has important implications for educators (and parents). 
Read the article on The Atlantic: http://bit.ly/1aA74Vv

The benefits of learning a musical instrument on academic performance are much commented upon. New research from a small study suggests that musical training in childhood helps adults process speech sounds faster, even forty years later.
Read the full article on the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1dissT0

An American mother reflects on her child’s very different experience of schooling during a 6-month stay in Norway. Her son falls back in love with learning, which his mother attributes to the shift from a focus on competition and testing to one of cooperation and greater opportunities for outdoor play.
Read the full commentary on StarTribune: http://strib.mn/1cZP4aT

Stay tuned for next week's top internet finds!

You can follow Michelle Higgins on twitter @mamabook and read her blog Crooked Fences.

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

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