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Henri Des: the children’s songwriter

50 years of career, 250 songs, 4.5 million albums sold, 30 schools bearing his name, 100 times on the Olympia stage, 15 gold records, a melody composed for the carillon of the Geneva Cathedral, a mention in the Petit Larousse 2012, a web radio station that plays his songs 24 hours a day … We are talking about the Swiss artist Henri Des, one of the favorite songwriters of French and French-speaking children, considered by many to be a real legend. We started to love him thanks to the many parents, friends of Ocarina, who regularly report his songs to us.

Henri Des is the father of “La petite Charlotte”, a song so adored by children of several generations, as well as of “Les betises”, the CD composed of fun rhythmic songs for children and of “Le beau tambour”, a very successful album that makes sing and dance. There are also many other compositions that have made him unique in his field, one of the few that always remain on the crest of the wave over the years.

Henry’s songs speak of children’s daily life: at school, before going to bed, at the playground; they tell about dreams, but also about nightmares, because the universe of the songwriter is not always pink … Among the funniest videos we recommend “Les bêtises à l’école”, which on youtube has more than 6,000,0000 views.

Many argue that Henri Des is a true unifier of generations and it is surprising to discover how grandparents, parents and children sing his songs in unison during the shows. However, it seems that the Swiss singer is not appreciated only by the little ones. In fact, in August 2019 he participated to a metal music festival in Brittany, making thousands of metalheads dance, so much that he has been nicknamed Henri “death” metal. In this occasion he posted on social media that ‘big bearded men “with arms as big as [his] thighs” let themselves be carried crazy by the refrain of “Ohé, le bateau!”‘.

Maybe due to the too demanding concert in Brittany, in the late summer 2019 the singer had to take a forced break, then to resume his concert activity at the end of the year to the delight of his fans. And just this February, Henri Des will celebrate his 80 years on stage with a tour that will last until April. Here you can find the complete schedule of all dates.

Chiropractic and sensory development in children: interview with pediatric chiropractor Sébastien Cras

Sébastien Cras, can you talk about your profession?
I am a chiropractor based in the Basque Country, in Bayonne. Chiropractic is an excellent remedy to identify and combat spinal problems, but not only! In particular I deal with Chiropractic Functional Neurology. Pregnant women, newborns, children, adults, athletes, the elderly, all they require treatment to prevent or recover physical, chemical or emotional injuries. These last 3 aspects are actually related and my job is to bring patients back to an optimal balance and posture.

Functional neurology … where to start?
Everything starts in the belly of the mother, in the embryonic phase! Tens of thousands of neurons are created every day, as well as their interconnection. The optimization of this mechanism is essential in the first years of life, because in adulthood the creation of neurons slows down. It is for this reason that any stimulation in the fetus and in the child will allow to multiply the neuronal connections and to maintain their activity. Stimulations can be physical (motoric), chemical (food, micronutrition) and psycho-affective. They touch all the senses: taste, smell, sight, touch, but also hearing!
Before planting vegetables in a vegetable garden the soil is prepared, weeds are removed, the soil is nourished … in the same way the chiropractic “cleans” and optimizes the nervous system of a child so that he can understand stimulation, assimilate and then promote good posture, good motor skills, good concentration, good learning ability, etc.

In concrete terms, how can we stimulate children every day?
One of the first roles of the nervous system is movement. This is innate and should not be blocked. For example, bandaging a child deprives him of free motor skills and does not promote brain development. It is certainly better to leave a child on a mat than on a recliner. In this way he will be able to move, turn his head when he hears a sound and associate it with an image. He will also be able to touch what surrounds him without movement restrictions. Surely even the sounds will have a stimulating role: the noises of the house and of the outside, the voices of his entourage, the music are all factors that will participate in the multiplication of neurons!

Do you think Ocarina Player can play an interesting role in this stimulation?
Sure! The variety of sounds and sound frequencies promote a quantitative and qualitative creation of neurons and their connections. Ocarina also allows children to develop their autonomy thanks to simplified navigation and listening on the go.
A small personal advice to all of Ocarina lovers and users: enter into the player many and different tracks to offer children a wide range of rhythms, genres, languages and sounds!

* Sébastien Cras is a chiropractor for children and a professional in Kinesiology. He carries out his profession in Bayonne in France. Here you can find more information about him and his business.

Listening in learning: towards new educational frontiers

The bell is now played in all schools; children return to class and the new year begins with new good intentions! If you want to help your children to face this moment, sometimes a little ‘tiring, good medicine is certainly listening to lots of music. This will help to stimulate the mind, to concentrate, to learn better, but also to socialize, because one ear trained to listen to music will certainly be able to listen to others better.

The Mozart effect
Have you ever heard of the Mozart Effect? This is a study conducted in 1993 by two physicists – Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher – who tried to demonstrate how, listening to the Sonata in D Major for two pianos, K.448 by Mozart, could improve cognitive and learning skills of the students, as well as the relational ones, including also the empathy towards schoolmates. The research was carried out on students subdivided into three subgroups: the first listened to Mozart’s sonata, the second listened to “easy listening music” (another genre of instrumental music), while the third remained immersed in total silence. When the two physicists analyzed the test results they were stunned, noting how the group of boys who had listened to Mozart’s sonata had scored more than the other students, with an average of ten points of difference.

When is music beneficial?
The research of Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher was questioned by several scholars until Glenn Schellenberg (1996), a professor at the University of Toronto, conducted an even more in-depth study of how effectively Mozart’s Sonata contributed to cognitive improvement, as an element that developed dopamine – a fundamental chemical mediator for brain activity. However, Schellenberg’s study will highlight how music stimulates our mind, as long as we like what we are listening to – whether it is Mozart, the Rolling Stones or Metallica.
The point of view of science is therefore quite clear: music is beneficial and stimulating, but only if the melody and the sounds we are hearing are “friendly” to us and do not impact us in any way.

At listening school
Listening, empathy, inclusion, are the elements of emotional intelligence that enrich the development of each child. It is no coincidence that in Swedish schools the time of empathy was introduced last year, in which children can share their problems and listen to those of others without judgment or embarrassment.
Also in Italy starting from this school year, the Florentine experimental school (primary and secondary) Città Pestalozzi has introduced, for the first time, in the school program the subject of emotional education which provides 1 hour per week in which children put themselves in barefoot circle for talking, confronting, listening to their schoolmates, but also the passages of their favorite music.
And starting from listening to music, as well as stories, fairy tales etc., the child develops the right concentration, empathy and the ability to weave social relationships. A good ear will undoubtedly be fundamental to know oneself, others and also to learn how to stay in the community. In fact, by listening to the experiences, there will be no more fear of expressing one’s emotions, even those kept more hidden, even finding that sometimes many of our fears are similar to those of others.
Born with the intention of encouraging children to listen to music and sound fairy tales, Ocarina finds itself fully aligned with these new educational trends: at the base of its mission, listening is considered a priority in every moment of life of a child, in the classroom, but also at home, for every type of learning.

Animal Verses

Ocarina is 5 years old!
In June Ocarina celebrated its first 5 years of made in Italy production with a big party. 5 years that were very intense, dedicated to entertaining, singing, dancing, relaxing children from all over the world, stimulating them to listen to fairy tales, songs and lullabies, all of high quality and in different languages. Until today OcarinaSound – the name that defines Ocarina’s audio productions – has made many original tracks thanks to important collaborations in Italy and abroad: from the French “Bloom – la radio des enfants” Parisian reality that develops audio content with innovative format, to Storynory the most important independent English producer that for over 15 years has been making audio-fairy tales for early childhood, up to the well-known German publisher Vorleser.net which proposes a growing collection of classic fairy tales for children.

The new OcarinaSound audio project
The last production just developed by OcarinaSound is titled “Animal verses” a new audio project aimed in particular at children of preschool age with recreational but also educational purposes. A total of 25 sounds followed by an introduction speech recorded by some Ocarina’s little friends describing in three different languages (Italian, English, French), the animal’s name and the respective call. Thanks to the new shuffle function, which allows for random reproduction, children have the opportunity to hear the sound and try to guess the animal that emits it. The little ones do not always know that the deer bells, the owl hoots and the whale sings … thanks to these new audio tracks they will be able to learn many animal sounds not always known and easy to memorize.

The new Ocarina Summer Edition
Starting this month, the playlist with the sounds of animals was included in the new Summer edition, the special version of Ocarina dedicated to summer, the sea and travel. In addition to these new tracks, within the Summer Edition you can find a special playlist with songs about the sea, the heat, the surf, the holidays and of course all the audio content found in the classic Ocarina will also be present.

Here you can find information on the Ocarina Summer Edition and its contents.

Babywearing: the advantages for the little ones and for mum and dad

Carrying children in the wrap is an increasingly popular practice. Wrapped in a fabric or in a baby carrier, always in close contact with mum or dad. A way of moving with your children, transporting them and supporting them that comes from ancient times and that in many African and Eastern countries is a tradition still in use.
Although in the Western countries the Babywearing is a less widespread habit, in recent years many parents are rediscovering and re-evaluating it as a real high-contact and maternage treatment method suitable for raising their children.

Benefits for children
Small humans are “programmed” to be held by their parents all day. This is a fundamental need for them as important as drinking and eating. The use of the wrap allows to recreate an environment similar to the mother’s womb, in which the baby feels enclosed and protected thanks to this closeness, warmth and love.

The child is more easily integrated into the family routine: it lives “at the height” of the parent, has the opportunity to observe the world and receive stimuli, sharing the experience of the adult.

The sense of balance is constantly stimulated because the child must balance and follow the movements of the wearer. Babywearing is also very effective in protecting the child’s back and reducing the risk of dysplasia and / or dislocation of the hip.

This practice is very useful for newborn children, but even in the older ones it represents an extra chance to be together in a special way and to relax.

The advantages for mom and dad
With baby carriers and wraps it is possible to have total freedom of movement and to go anywhere: you can climb the stairs, you can walk during the day but also at night, in the heat or in the cold, in noisy places like even at a concert! … Children tightly wrapped so close with the parents, it does not need anything else and most of the time it falls asleep.

The continuous closeness favors that deep understanding that allows the mother to intuit the needs of the child, interpreting the bodily signals and facial expressions.

Baby wrap is a valid support to breastfeed comfortably even when you are away from home.

The babywearing favors the early development of the father-son connection.

Finally … if you want to carry your children in the wrap and also make them listen to the music, Ocarina is the right tool for you, ideal to hang and carry!

For further information, below we point out some of the most qualified associations specialized in babywearing divided per country:
For Italy we advise you to visit Portare i Piccoli, the first Italian site specializing in the topic of carrying, intended for parents and early childhood professionals, and the Bimbinfascia portal, one of the first Italian associations that dealt with babywearing.
Below is the site of the Swiss association ASpb.
For France the reference association is AFPB.
for Spain we mention Red Canguro. For further information in Spanish visit also the national pedriatric web page Porteo de los bebés

Diviértase y aprenda con MaguaRED: la plataforma que promueve el contenido de audio en español para la primera infancia

Desde 2013, un proyecto único sobre cultura digital en la primera infancia está activo en Colombia.

Se trata de MaguaRED, un espacio virtual creado por el Ministerio de Cultura, en colaboración con el Centro Ático de la Universidad Javeriana, que promueve el acceso gratuito y el intercambio de información, herramientas y contenido digital de alta calidad en español, todos relevantes para las diferentes etapas del desarrollo de los niños y sus intereses. No es casualidad que el nombre Maguaré esté inspirado en el instrumento de percusión de origen precolombino utilizado por las comunidades indígenas amazónicas para anunciar e intercambiar mensajes, ceremonias y planes futuros.

Dentro del portal es posible acceder a www.maguare.gov.co, el primer sitio web gratuito con contenido cultural y propuestas artísticas, especialmente diseñado para niños de 0 a 6 años. Una gran oportunidad para los usuarios, que tienen la oportunidad de disfrutar de más de 500 contenidos en español como libros, canciones, videos, canciones de cuna, juegos y aplicaciones para aprender mientras se divierten. Dicha página web tiene actualmente un promedio de 8,000 visitantes al mes.

En manos de Saimiri, el mono rencoroso pero también amigable, los niños pueden participar en numerosas actividades.

Dentro de la sección Escuchar es posible escuchar y leer los textos de rimas infantiles, canciones relajantes y educativas: dulces canciones de cuna que las trabajadoras de los campos de café cantan a sus hijos para que se duerman, rimas infantiles para calmar los caprichos de los pequeños, canciones educativas para cuidar el medio ambiente, cocinar platos típicos de algunas regiones y mucho más.

En Cantar puedes encontrar canciones alegres para hacer fiestas divertidas y también para hacer karaoke gracias a los textos de apoyo.

En Bailar escuchas canciones para bailar; muchas de ellas son antiguas y están tomadas de la tradición popular.

En Ver, hay videos divertidos disponibles que también son ideales para niños muy pequeños.

En la sección Jugar puedes divertirte con muchos juegos educativos que enseñan a conocer el entorno, a moverte y jugar con los sentidos.

La sección Leer explora la tradición escrita colombiana con cuentos e historias de hadas.

Muchos son los contenidos que ofrece la web, todos son de fácil acceso y están organizados para que incluso los más jóvenes o aquellos que no tienen mucho conocimiento de la navegación web puedan acceder a él. Uno de los objetivos del proyecto era capturar los cuentos populares, dar voz a los personajes y contar su riqueza cultural a través de la música. Músicos y productores reconocidos en la escena musical para niños en Colombia, como Ricardo Prado y Juan José Salazar, pero también muchos otros cantantes, intérpretes e ingenieros de sonido, dieron vida al contenido para cantar, tocar, bailar y sorprender. Las ilustraciones, hechas por artistas de renombre internacional como Amalia Satizábal, también son de la más alta calidad. Es la ilustradora que dio vida y color a la última serie de historias digitales de Maguaré titulada La Ceiba.

Si aún no lo ha hecho, le recomendamos que visite la web.

La plataforma Maguared también está activa dentro del portal, con el objetivo de compartir proyectos y experiencias entre padres, madres embarazadas, maestros y educadores. La idea básica es trabajar en una red, construyendo una comunidad donde los miembros visitantes reciban orientación a través de las guías de uso sobre cómo aplicar cada contenido en la escuela, en el hogar, o en el laboratorio.

Marcela Benavides Estévez, coordinadora de la Estrategia Digital para la Cultura y la Primera Infancia, se toma muy en serio el proyecto: “Nuestro objetivo es llegar a todos los adultos en el país: aquellos que están alfabetizados digitalmente y aquellos que no lo están, explica. También queremos ofrecer Contenido de alta calidad adecuado para niños y de acuerdo con sus intereses y habilidades, al tiempo que promover la diversidad cultural y la inclusión”.

Pero no termina ahí. El proyecto sigue evolucionando. En 2018, se introdujeron nuevos contenidos y nuevas características en el portal. Es posible acceder a producciones heterogéneas y multiculturales, como canciones y videos, en las que los niños de diferentes regiones del país pueden identificarse más fácilmente.

MUSICAL CON-TACT

Since the prenatal period, the fetus is able to perceive the noises, the sounds and the voices not only through the auditory apparatus but also through the sensations received by the whole body, through the vibrations.
his ability to recognize the mother’s voice in the seventh month of pregnancy and to prefer it to others immediately after birth is now widely demonstrated, as well as recognizing the melodies that were heard during the gestational period or the songs that were sung.
The maternal voice, the contact, the sound, represent a bridge and a link that can give continuity between the prenatal and the postnatal life and act as reassurance for the newborn in an external world that is still unknown to him.
The voice, as a tool of relationship, is a channel of connection and tuning with the other and baby-talking, in particular, represents an emotional-musical dialogue and mutual co-regulation. Through this prosody, but also through the visuo-facial communication, contact and gestures, parent and child mark a rhythm, as in a dance, where the behavior of each one is modulated and modified mutually to adapt to each other.
The rearing and the relationship have a rhythm. There are sounds and there are silences, there are times and there are pauses. There is a trend, a cadence, a regularity, as in music. This represents a non-verbal, emotional and relational communication channel, which can become one of the tools through which to establish contact with your child. It can accompany particular moments of daily life to create rituals that reassure him during his growth phases, strengthening the exchange network with the adult and the emotional bond that grows day by day.
A relaxing melody can help to calm and attenuate the states of tension, reducing the levels of activation of the organism (heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, etc.) or create an atmosphere to share cuddles and tenderness; a lullaby can accompany and guide the child during drowsiness and sleep; a nursery rhyme or a little song can become a moment of discovery, play, stimulation and learning.
Singing and listening to music together becomes an opportunity for exchanging and sharing that allows the child to develop different skills, not only related to communication and language, but also linked to attention, concentration, memory, the psycho-emotional sphere and relational.

Bringing the music in my world of professional psychologist and teacher of infant massage as a facilitator tool to develop relationship has been natural and has enriched the experience of the post-childbirth groups, making them even more unique and special.
During the massage everyone learns to listen to their own feelings and that of the other, learn to observe others and themselves, to move and stop depending on the needs and necessities of each: the music can become an additional channel of connection with the baby.
The touch and the contact can be accompanied by background music that can be modulated and chosen according to the moment, the preferences and the mood.
The effect of touch and contact penetrates within the person and spreads throughout the body. At the same time, music penetrates through the vibrations and the sensations it provokes, spreading in the area and creating an atmosphere of well-being and pleasure. It can become a sort of “emotional and sensorial container” that amplifies and makes the experience lived with your children even more complete, where every moment is marked by sounds and silences that involve the whole sensory system. The melody can help to achieve a state of calm and relaxation, the silences allows to listen to the breath, the vocalizations of your child, the cry, reaching a tune, an intimacy and an even stronger complicity.
The parent and the child can thus live their daily meeting, their being together in the “here and now”, enveloped in a sound sphere, building their baggage of experiences and musical memories, unique, special and personal that will accompany them to all the way in their life.

Having fun with the sounds: lots of games to do with Ocarina

For children to play with sounds is very funny and at the same time also very stimulating for their growth.
Some scientific studies show that a proper education to listen can help them to develop imagination and creativity, to increase capacity for concentration and attention, to exercise memory. Moreover, at relational level, playing with the voice, with everyday objects that produce sounds, sing nursery rhymes, strengthens interpersonal ties (with adults and peers).

Since early age it is important to put music in the house, listening songs and nursery rhymes, to sound easy instruments or improvised objects as well as recording the voices and other sounds and then listening to them again. It is essential to maintain moments of silence, thus creating an atmosphere of suspension in which the child can wait for the beginning of the story, of the song or of a sound while he prepares to listen.

In this regard the new shuffle function of Ocarina, by activating a random reproduction of the audio tracks, adds an element of unpredictability that always renews the emotion of the game. In this way the breaks become moments of stimulating “surprise effect”, during which children repeat, invent and develop their creativity.

There are several games to play individually or in groups that children can do with Ocarina:

– Try to listen to recorded sounds and to recognize the source: sounds of nature, animal voices, ambient noises and so on. For the little ones it will be fun to listen to a sound like the voice of an animal or the noise of an engine and play to guess the source: “the roar is the lion’s call”; “this is the noise of the tractor “… You can also ask to identify similar sounds and look for “this sound is like…”

– Reproduce short rhythmic sequences and invite the children to repeat them. Also make the children listen to the 7 musical notes by singing them back and forth and recognizing them.

– Listen to several songs and then pick the favorite one. Try to play it together several times until you learn it.

– Reproduce a music theme and invite the children to draw and color freely with sheets and pencils

– Take Ocarina outdoors and listen to music lying silently on the grass. Invite the children to express the music they listen to with free movements of the body. Invite the children to tell the music they have heard in pictures. Invite the children to invent a short story about the music they are listening to.

– Propose the traditional “game of chairs”: set up as many chairs as there are players, minus one (for example seven players and six chairs). Start the music and then suddenly interrupt it. Children will start walking in circles or dancing. When the music is interrupted the players must try to sit down as soon as possible. One of the participants remains without a chair and is eliminated. The game is repeated until there is a player who will then be the winner.

– Finally, a last simple game: invite the children to record their voice and then listen to it again … they will have a lot of fun!

These are just some games that can be invented with sounds. Surely there are many others … Do you have more ideas, proposals or experiences? We would be happy to read them! You can share these with us by writing to info@ocarinaplayer.com

The children of the digital age: reflections on the Unicef 2017 Report

Play station addicted, always connected to the internet with smartphone at hand even at night: they are digital natives, children and young people born after 2001 for which the virtual and real life are often intertwined with very blurred boundaries. The latest annual report by UNICEF “The State of Childhood in the World 2017”: Sons of the digital age”, published at the end of December 2017, confirms this scenario without any doubt. The data are clear: a 1 of 3 web users are children, 71% of children in the world is connected and in most developed countries a teenager sends an average of 4,000 messages per month, one every six minutes!

What do children do online?
All over the world, users connected to the internet are becoming increasingly younger and more mobile. Data from high connectivity countries report that children begin to use the internet to an ‘increasingly early age: on average 10 years and in some countries such as Bulgaria even at 7 years.

In the US, 92% of teenagers between 13 and 17 years declares daily online access through mobile devices. The situation in Europe is very similar: children access the internet from multiple locations and use different devices, particularly smartphones, but also fixed and portable computers, tablets and games consoles.

Although children and adolescents are digital pioneers, the range of activities they perform online seems to be rather limited. From a research conducted in 2016 in South Africa, Chile and Bulgaria, from the Unicef Innocenti Research Center, the London School of Economics and the EU Kids Online network, children surf online mainly to have fun and communicate.

In particular, teenagers love social media on mobile to be able to communicate with their peers in peace, often in the privacy of their room or from a friend’s house. The result is more personal, more private and less controlled online access and therefore less secure.

The Unicef report in fact shows how the Internet increases the vulnerability of young people to a variety of risks, including access to harmful content, cyber-bullying and misuse of their personal information and images.

The data are clear: in 2016, a total of 57,335 URLs (web address) contained pedo-pornographic material. Of these, 60% were hosted on servers located in Europe and 37% in North America. 53% of children abused and exploited to produce this content are 10 years or less. The number of images of children aged 11 to 15 is increasing: from 30% in 2015 to 45% in 2016.

A call for security against the risks of the digital world
Unfortunately, too little has been done to protect young people from the risks of the digital world and to increase their access to secure online content. “Only collective action by governments, the private sector, children’s organizations, academics, families – reads the report of the international association for children – can make digital space more accessible and secure for children”.

First of all to be regulated is the market of toys and technological devices for children and adolescents. In recent years, the iPhone, iPod and iPad, equipped with technologies initially intended for adults have become the most desired toys by young people. Children play with tablets, smartphones and other talking devices even before learning to walk or express themselves. In this perspective, the very poor regulation in the sector, only helps to accelerate the continuous innovation of toy manufacturers and the technology industry, which proceeds faster than the parents can understand, consumer groups can serve and governments can legislate. From the intelligent toys that listen to the children while they play, to the usual use of Amazon Echo and the great amount of software and hardware used around them, even the youngest children live in a world that is always connected. This raises important questions about the invasion of privacy and security at home and online, as well as serious concerns about what companies can do with information recorded by toys, how such information can be used and protected and who can access it. On the other hand, parents and even teachers often do not have the tools to protect children from the possible risks that could run in the network or to teach them to have a critical thinking on the use of new technologies. It is no coincidence that in the Unicef ​​report to the question “How did you learn to use the Internet?” 42% of the children replied that they had learned on their own, while 39% – mostly young people living in low-income countries – answered having learned from friends or brothers.

At the same time, even the school seems not to keep up with the times: teenagers have declared, in fact, that the use of technology in schools is significantly behind the digital practice outside school hours.

Signs of change
Although there is still a lot to be done about the “digital” addiction of children and adolescents, some signs of change seem to be coming. In Europe and the United States, arguments on the smarthphone and social dependence of children and teenagers, often related to the increase in depression and suicides, are growing

It’s dated few days ago the letter sent to Apple by two of its major shareholders, the manager Jana partners and the California Calstrs teacher pension fund, in which the company is urged to take countermeasures to prevent children and adolescents become “junkies” of smartphones. Also in the letter, promptly intercepted and published by the Wall Street Journal, it is asked to provide precise guidelines to parents and to develop software that will help the “parental control”.

At the beginning of December Facebook also tackled this issue, introducing “Messenger Kids” into the US market, an app that allows you to exchange messages from an early age, but under parental control.

Has also made news the choice of the French government to ban smartphones from all primary and secondary schools of First Instance. In an interview with Le Figaro, the head of the Ministry of Education, announced that “In nine months the phones will have to be turned off as soon as they have passed the school door and not just during the lessons”.

At the same time, projects and courses aimed at parents and trainers are becoming increasingly frequent, with the aim of reflecting on the implications of the use of new technologies among children, promoting a modulated exposure or even a detoxification.

La Détox Digitale des enfants by Bloom
Ocarina was born choosing to say no to video, web connectivity and touch display. A mission supported and shared also by the realities with which it collaborates. First of all “Bloom – the radio des enfants” that in these days is proposing a nice and certainly useful initiative aimed at parents who feel the need to start a “digital diet” for themselves and their children. It is a program that aims to free children from the screens: in February 2018, every day for a month will be suggested not only games, shows, culinary recipes, dances to share with the family, but also information, tips for a life without a screen… or almost. If you are interested and would like more information visit the Bloom fb page

Learning in freedom: Experiences about Children’s Active Education between game, music and nature

“Help me do it alone.” On this principle are based the methods of active education that the child does not have to be spectator of the learning process but protagonist.
Through experience, space exploration, building and destroying, relationship with others, the little one will have the opportunity to become a free man and with his own critical thinking.

In fact, Maria Montessori, the founder of modern pedagogy and Active Education in Italy, supports the importance of educating the child to independence and autonomy. This does not mean leaving him free to do whatever he wants, but to help him do his experiences, discover and acquire knowledge and skills.

The activity of the child thus becomes the central point of the educational process, as well as the environment and educational materials are of crucial importance.

Here are some principles inspired by an Active child’s Education:
The educator must observe and never intervene
The task of parents and educators is to help them accomplish their own achievements as they learn to walk, run, and wash. “The master must minimize his intervention. It must be like a guardian angel, who watches for the child not to be disturbed in his free activity. (M. Montessori “Educating Freedom”)

Educational environments must be child-friendly
The school environment must be welcoming and familiar. Inside all the furniture and objects (chairs, tables, sinks …) must be modeled and used according to the needs of the small. It is important that spaces are open so that children can move easily and autonomously, but also interact with the outside environment.

Educate children with the right teaching materials
The teaching materials should be simple even if specially studied, such as objects to be assembled, ribbons, cards that can promote the intellectual development of the child and encourage self-correction of the error.
Educational materials must also educate the senses, develop motor skills, logical-mathematical, linguistic and musical skills.

Game is the baby’s work
The game plays an important role in helping children to be active, to learn to make choices, and to increase their mastery of their actions. As children grow, they have to experience a wide range of disciplines (art, music, language, science, mathematics, social relationships); Each of these matters is important for the development of a complex and integrated brain.
The toys must be simple, usable in autonomy, so very safe too. Through these, children learn to know themselves, others, and the world around them.
Active education prefers individual and free games to collective ones though supervised by the educator. The child must be free to do so while respecting the order of things and be able to collaborate with others by following the method of mutual teaching.

The child must be in contact with nature
It is important to make the child in contact with nature as much as possible, because the feeling of nature grows with attendance and exercise. A child left in the midst of nature pulls out muscle energies higher than what parents think.

Children should approach music to preschool age
According to Maria Montessori, music promotes autonomy in the small, the spirit of collaboration and participation, respect for each other, freedom. This is because it has the ability to open up the heart and make it more sensitive and human.
Compared to the language that tends to create walls between people, music unites all men into a single large community and must therefore remain a good accessible for everyone.