Sandra Clifton

Spotlight on Learning: The Grand Central Station Of Your Mind

While we tend to give a lot of focus to the higher functions of the cerebrum, we can often underestimate the other sections that are pretty important too — like the brain stem, which connects to the spinal cord. It is the lowest, most primitive area of the human brain — but without it, we would be lost. The brain stem has many basic functions, including regulation of heart rate, breathing, sleeping and eating. It also plays a key role in conduction, the processing of signals sent from nerves across the body to produce sensation. All information relayed from...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: “Tiny Touches”

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. This week, I want to acknowledge the very real, intensely anxious, and overwhelmed underbelly present in the lives of our youth.   I have been known to say “It’s never been harder to be a kid,” and now I’ve been adding another side to that coin: “It’s never been more challenging to be a parent.” In fact, I think it’s the hardest job on the planet. Today’s issues are complex, but whether it’s a situation of addressing test anxiety, prescribing medication for ADHD, or preventing a panic attack, our society tends to default...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: Mattering

This week on “Spotlight on Learning,” I will highlight an article by Sheryl Sandberg on the loss of her husband. It was published last week in the New York Times, titled “How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss.” Sandberg says that she learned everything she could to help her son and daughter recover their footing after the loss of their dad, and her lessons are poignant. One of them is that children need to feel a sense of belonging. Sandberg reflects:  “… extreme harm and deprivation can impede a child’s intellectual, social, emotional and academic progress. As...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: The Buddy Bench

“Kindness begins with me.” In what ways can we teach our children to reach out to others when they might feel isolated themselves?  Do you know about The Buddy Bench? It was first started by Christian Bucks in 2013, who was preparing to move across the ocean to a new school in Germany, but nervous he’d get left out. That’s not an anomaly, even when kids are on home turf. Did you know that 80% of kids interviewed in a study admitted to feeling alienated at some point in their school journey?  Christian was nervous about being “the new...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: Jackie Robinson Day!

Well, sports fans — it’s a big time!  Last week, the UNC Tar Heels became NCAA Champions with their Redemption in the Desert, and all the hearts here in Chapel Hill beat Carolina blue together. This week, we look towards a very special occasion on Saturday, April 15th, 2017:  the 70th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first game and historic breaking of the “color barrier” in baseball.  As a former Brooklynite, this story is near and dear to my heart. It epitomizes the values of equality and diversity that brought me to that borough so long ago. But in addition...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: World Health Day Campaign

As we begin a new month, April is abuzz with activity. From Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation to baseball season and Stress Awareness, there’s a lot going on! This week, I focused on Autism Awareness with the release of Sesame Street’s character — Julia, Maya Angelou’s birthday, opening day in baseball and the fact that Ella Fitzgerald is the featured musician for this year’s JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month). But there’s perhaps no more important message than that of the World Health Organization on Friday, because the theme of their 2017 campaign is preventing and treating depression. Did you know...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: From Nature to Nurture

Listen to this week’s Spotlight on Learning below. http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SPOTLIGHT-ON-LEARNING_032717.mp3   http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SPOTLIGHT-ON-LEARNING_032817.mp3   http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SPOTLIGHT-ON-LEARNING_033017.mp3   http://chapelboro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SPOTLIGHT-ON-LEARNING_033117.mp3 This week on WCHL during the “Spotlight on Learning,” we shifted from the power of nature to the importance of nurture.  One of the key voices in this exploration was Dr. Daniel Siegel, and his seminal work, The Whole Brain Child:  Twelve Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, Survive Everyday Parenting Struggles, and Help Your Family Thrive.  A paradox of parenting is that, in order to help support our kids’ growth, we must nurture our own well-being.  Seigel writes, ““As children develop,...

Read More

Spotlight on Learning: A Focus on Nature

Children need time to play in order for their brains to develop to their full potential, but only 4.1% of states require recess today.  No wonder our kids can become restless, disinterested or come home drained…Remember when your mom used to say, “Go outside and play!”  It’s not the same world today, but there is an organization right here in Chapel Hill that provides a safe and engaging environment for kids:  Learning Outside. For middle and high school kids, it’s important to know that (according to Psychology Today) time in nature can help to alleviate symptoms of ADHD.  If...

Read More