It’s our job as parents to teach our children to embrace ALL people.

 An Awesome song by MattyBRaps

True Colours

(Original Song by Cyndi Lauper)

“The Forever Years” loves this!

It’s our job as parents to teach our children to embrace ALL people. This video is a beautiful example of how one person can teach so many. (Not to mention the kids making this video…BRAVO! – MattyBRaps)

Posted by Show and Tell on Friday, March 6, 2015


“Children of The World”/ “A Life Like Mine”: A Song and a Book Review

Featured Image

A Life Like Mine

Published in association with UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) A Life Like Mine/ How Children Live Around the World unpacks UNCROC (The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and presents these with colourful pictures of children from around the world.  Aimed at children and young people, this book is also useful for adults who want to learn or familiarise themselves with the major UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

In the forward, Harry Belafonte, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 2002, the year this book was published, says, “There are millions of children, leading different lives, all over the world.  You speak different languages, look different, and face all kinds of challenges every day.  However, although you live thousands of miles apart, in many respects your needs and hopes are alike.   …A Life Like Mine records the courage, energy, joy and optimism of children from all over the world.  Some of the children in this book enjoy every privilege in their lives; others have been deprived of some of their basic rights.”

Kids Round WorldObviously it would be impossible to have a child representing every single country on the planet– I was personally a bit disappointed that Aotearoa/ New Zealand, Japan and Vietnam weren’t included (nor were a number of others).  These countries are, however, mentioned under the different headings in A Life Like Mine.  I like that seventeen children, boys and girls from diverse cultures, are “introduced” to the reader in this book.  My own children really enjoyed “getting to know them” and learning their various names (also such an in integral part of culture and identity) and nationalities.

“The Forever Years” strongly recommends A Life Like Mine.  We love the ethos of inclusion, celebrating diversity and encouraging children (and anyone) to view themselves as part of the “global family”.  We also support UNICEF’s mission “…to create conditions that enable children to live happy, healthy and dignified lives…” and their programmes “to improve children’s health and education… protecting children from violence, exploitation, and disaters… guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” [After the forward by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, at the very front of A Life Like Mine].

A Life Like Mine is just one in a series.  Other titles include A School Like Mine, (about schools and classrooms around the world)  A Faith Like Mine (looking at the world’s religions through the eyes of the different children who practise them) and Children Just Like Me.

3 Books

“Children of the World,” a song by Amy Grant

Children of the World is a song by “pop-Christian” artist Amy Grant.  It was released in 1994 on her album House of Love. We felt that this song, as well as being in line with the ethos of “The Forever Years”, fitted well with the book A Life Like Mine… so we’ve put some of the images from the book (including the major articles in UNCROC) together with Grant’s song (click below to view). Enjoy, whether you’re watching alone or sharing a view through the eyes of a child.  We’ll put the song lyrics underneath the video clip.


Children of the World: a song by Amy Grant (Lyrics)

Every life, every beating heart
Has a searching soul inside
Ever needing, ever seeking out
The meaning to life

I refuse to believe that we’re only here to live and die
In the futile days of a faithless haze
Never asking why, why would I
When I’ve felt the hand of eternity
It’s a legacy I will leave, I want to leave

For the children of the world
Every single little boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

I will stand for the truth I’ve seen
So the truth is seen in me
I will give from the source of love
So all that I believe is handed down
For the road that’s yet to be travelled on
By the ones who will carry on, I’ll carry on

For the children of the world
Every single little boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

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“5 Ways in which Kids Benefit from Learning a Musical Instrument” By Justine Pierre

 justine easy to upload FYMeet Justine

Justine Pierre is a  musician and teacher based in Dunedin, New Zealand. While her primary instrument is flute, she also teaches recorder, clarinet, ukulele and an after school programme for primary school aged children called “Let’s Make Music”. She is the Senior Tutor for Flute, Ukulele and LMM for Saturday Morning Music Classes.

Contact Justine: justine’s-flute-page Saturday-morning-music-classes-dunedin

Music & Kids Header FY

  1. Strengthen Neurons/Brain Development

A neuron is a nerve cell which transmits information around the body (think of them as brain cells). A synapse is a connection which helps information pass from one neuron to another. Think of it like a bridge. The more the synapses are used, the stronger the bridges become. The best way to strengthen a synapse is repetition – a key factor in learning a musical instrument. The more your child practices their instrument, the stronger the synapses become and therefore the stronger the links between their neurons.

As this TED-Ed video by Anita Collins explains, playing a musical instrument uses all parts of the brain – the left hemisphere of the brain is generally used for activities like languages, mathematics and logic, while the right hemisphere is used for spatial abilities and visual imagery. This means that playing music strengthens synapses throughout the entire brain. (Click below to see video).

  1. Sense of Discipline and Commitment

Music lessons instil a sense of discipline and commitment in children. You cannot become good at music just turning up to a lesson once a week. Practicing at home means children learn skills such as time management (they have to juggle homework, other activities, playing with their friends). They also learn to practice effectively. To become good at playing a piece of music means you have to go over the tricky bits as well as the easy bits. This teaches children determination and tenacity – skills that are useful in a myriad of situations – school, sports, negotiating with mum for a sleepover… through music lessons children also learn how to behave appropriately. They will learn when and when not to play their instruments and that listening to others is respectful. They learn about taking turns. All these lessons can easily be transferred to other situations.

Singing Quote FY

  1. Thinking Creatively, which Helps with Other Subjects

Music lessons help children to think creatively and problem-solve – skills that can help in other subject areas. A 2008  study shows that learning a musical instrument can help improve memorisation skills and also pattern-recognition and sequential learning needed for reading and maths. The study also found that exposure to music education is correlated with phonological awareness – the awareness of the sound and sound structure of words – an early indicator of future reading ability. Students who had musical instruction were also found to be more motivated with other learning.

See link (to study):

Musical training can also help children think creatively. Often in the Arts, there is more than one answer to a question. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable for children, particularly those who are very literal, but through music, children can be gradually introduced to different opinions or outlooks on life. Music is related to all the Arts (visual, dramatic, philosophical, historical) and by learning music children are exposed to these other Art forms and can begin to create links to all facets of life.

Joe Sun 30th Nov, piano man! FY

A 9 year old during a piano recital

  1. Expression

Music is a way of expressing what words cannot. Written music uses a series of symbols to communicate to the player what sounds to produce. It is then up to the player to interpret these symbols, infuse them with their own emotions and express this to a listener.

Music is another tool for expression for those who cannot communicate orally. Children with special needs are often drawn to music and can become fixated with particular songs. In my experience they often love playing instruments (drums, shakers, xylophones) and will happily make up rhythms and rhymes to match their mood or feelings. Music can help with language development – it’s not uncommon for a usually non-verbal child to fixate on a song and repeat the lyrics over and over.

Learning an instrument can also be valuable for children on the Autistic Spectrum. The “rules” of music – the mathematical connection to patterns – can be soothing and the structure can appeal to these children. The British Association of Music Therapy cites other advantages such as helping children to listen, improving concentration and helping to build relationships.

See link:

Music is another way of communicating. The conductor of an orchestra communicates non-verbally to the musicians the volume, the tempo and the feel of the music. Chamber musicians communicate with each other in a similar way. For children, this helps with picking up non-verbal cues and understanding body-language.

banjo FY

Justine Pierre, author of this article, playing the banjo.

  1. Sense of Community and Friendship

Arguably the most important aspect of music lessons is the sense of community and belonging and the friendships music creates. Music caters for both the introverted and the extroverted child and encourages aspects of “the other” in all children.

The introverted child might enjoy the solitude of individual practice, yet will gain much from joining in with others in group lessons, participating in orchestras or choirs.  Conversely, the more extroverted child who thrives on the social interaction music provides, will benefit from the introspection practicing by themselves provides.

In music-making, each player makes their own unique contribution to the creation of something that is bigger than the sum of its parts. In music, the players are working together to create something, and without the competitive elements of sport.

Mistake Quote FY

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