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Every week in our Big Interview we celebrate people who have dreams, drive and passion. And one lady who has all three in abundance is the amazing Alison Qualter Berna. Alison is a mum, a businesswoman and an adventurer who thrives on helping to bring out the best in others. She loves a challenge and recently guided the first blind runner across the Grand Canyon. She can also do a headstand on a paddle board and we think that’s pretty awesome! If ever you needed inspiration to get out there, do what you love and live life to the max, this is it… – Rachel Kempton (dowhatyouloveforlife.com)


Read the full interview here!

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Evelin Santiago - employee of the month!



Congratulations Evelin!  You are the July employee of the month!  You can always be found with seven children walking behind you calling out your name…usually it sounds like “Ebawin” or “Ehwwwwaweee.”  (Seriously, you’re like the Pied Piper)  You are amazing in the playground, a great assistant in class and constantly proactive.  You are willing to help out wherever and whenever help is needed and you always do it with a smile (and a coffee).  For all of this, we are truly grateful to have you as part of the apple seeds team!

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Missing Preschool

Welcome to this week's Wednesdays with Wendy!
by Wendy Bradford

These are the last days preschool for us, and I've resisted writing about them, embedding them with meaning and sentiment with which I am not sure I am in touch. And then today I took my oldest daughter back to her own preschool classroom to say a hello and a goodbye to the retiring director. It was as I stood in that room, where my daughter had once a cubby, and a rest mat, and had memorized her own address, that I realized with a thud, there would be no more preschool rooms for me. And I wish that weren't so.


These rooms are not so different from one another—my five year olds attend a different school—the tables and chairs are miniature; the blocks are wooden; art work fills the walls and hangs by wire from the ceiling so low it grazes the tops of parents’ heads; the dress up corner is the most popular. And there didn't seem to be all that much to miss until now—now that there will be no child of mine in this gentle in-between phase again. These preschool years have been filled with tantrums about clothing, learning to legibly write their names, misunderstood song lyrics, and questions about the exact origin and nature of everything from God to planets to flowers to construction workers. I have watched unsure toddlers disappear into bold and dauntless children. Every moment has tried and fed and defined my soul. And I will never do exactly this again.


My children are looking forward to kindergarten, what they understand of it—and they are ready and prepared in their individual ways. The day will be longer, the class much larger, the expectations worlds greater for them than those of preschool. They will decide where to sit and eat their lunches, and next to which friend. They will decide who is a friend. It is what happens now, and we’re melting with joy at the possibilities ahead. I've waited for mothering three small children to “get easier,” and this is when it does. But I am not ready for these young and simple years to be over.


I bought a lady bug backpack and a Thomas the Train backpack out of sweet, adoring irony two years ago, laughing as they zipped toy cars and dolls and hair brushes in and carried them off. Sometimes we put their snacks in there for the day. Next year, the school supplies for kindergarten cost almost a hundred dollars. Each child knows exactly what kind of backpack, lunch box and water bottle he or she wants. They tell me what to order “on the computer.” And I do it. Because this stage too, is enormous; their opinions are outstanding and always surprising us.


We will be out of town the day of their “moving up” ceremony at preschool. They will miss that and the entire last week of school for a family trip. I was feeling sad and very guilty about this—that they and we wouldn't have these memories of the last official day of preschool, the pictures of the ceremony, the special outfits for the day, the hugging of other parents with wet eyes. And now at the end of the year, I think it may be better to leave for vacation early, saying goodbye to their classroom, still decorated with drawings and paintings, and their friends still seated around the miniature tables, as if any of us could possibly return to this place again.

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Putting Down the Phone to Face Life's Terms (I Don't Want to)

Welcome to this week's Wednesdays with Wendy!

Wednesdays With Wendy: Being a Mom With Eating Issues 
by Wendy Bradford

This week I wrote on my own blog about needing to put down my phone and step away from my laptop—because my kids have begun telling me to do so. I knew I needed to make some painful changes. Over the 24 hours that I had decided to remove my phone from my face, and not run to the laptop the minute we walked in the door from the playground, I got a taste of how difficult this will be—my hand kept moving to my phone in my pocket; I was anxious not be able to check social media having posted something earlier that day; a peak at the time became a scroll through Facebook that I didn’t intend. It is clear to me I have a problem seeking distraction from my thoughts and feelings—and importantly, I’ve had the time to think about why this is so.

In my twenties and thirties, I spent time in treatment and recovery for eating disorders, which I’ve also written about here. I have a long history of obsessive compulsive disordered behavior around other issues as well. It is all related, I believe strongly, to a painful need for control and a profound fear of all that we cannot. There is a saying among addicts that we have trouble with “life on life’s terms.”

This is because life’s terms are often awful. Or at best, are unpredictable. Peaceful living, meditative living, conscious living all happen “in the moment.” That, we learn, is the key to being happy. And I agree. But we are not built to live in the moment—we plan our lives as if we have many moments ahead of us, don’t we? If we believed our happinesses, our marriages, our families had numbers on their days we wouldn’t bother with the hard work of it all. Yet they have invisible stamps. We cannot stop it, know it, control or change any of it. And this, for people like me—prone to distraction and addiction, in need of relief from the anxiety of living—is the hardest business of life.

Sitting with my children at a local restaurant for dinner last night, a time I would have been checking my phone, or posting cute pictures to Instagram, I felt the intensity of our family—the sharing of French fries, the coloring of underwater scenes on the white paper covering the table, the exhaustive giggling over making bubbles in water. That too is life’s terms. I have trouble with the good parts too. Walking to school with my five-year-old twins, being peppered with questions from my son about how cement is made, where water comes from, how construction workers get all the dirt, is life’s terms. Returning from that walk to read of another mother burying her three year old, is life’s terms.

I don’t know why social media or the numbing action of switching among websites help to keep my thoughts—the hard thoughts—far enough away, but they do momentarily. And as I go through other people’s pictures and comments on my phone, and my kids are asking me to play games or “who is that?” or “can I have something to eat?” I get angry with them for piercing my numbness. I push back at not only all the things that have to get done—dishes, dinner, homework help—but at having deal with life’s terms that, while captured at a safe distance in friends’ online posts and photographs, are waiting in my children’s impatient faces.

Not everyone has to put down his or her phone; I don’t think parents should never look at their phones while they are with their kids. I am seeing though, that I need to put some tough rules into place: I have a difficult time enjoying life because of my anxiety—and my phone is too easy and too cheap a way out of that anxiety, and away from my children in front of me.

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“Parental Involvement is Overrated"

We wanted to share an article we enjoyed reading– from last weekend’s NY Times Sunday Review (April 12, 2014).



Also if you haven’t heard of his book, Give and Take, it’s a great read and a beautiful philosophy.

-A & A

Raising a Moral Child
What does it take to be a good parent? We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated.

Yet although some parents live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments, success is not the No. 1 priority for most parents. We’re much more concerned about our children becoming kind, compassionate and helpful. Surveys reveal that in the United States, parents from European, Asian, Hispanic and African ethnic groups all place far greater importance on caring than achievement. These patterns hold around the world: When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was not achievement, but caring.
Opinionator | The Great Divide: Parental Involvement Is OverratedAPRIL 12, 2014

Despite the significance that it holds in our lives, teaching children to care about others is no simple task. In an Israeli study of nearly 600 families, parents who valued kindness and compassion frequently failed to raise children who shared those values.

Are some children simply good-natured — or not? For the past decade, I’ve been studying the surprising success of people who frequently help others without any strings attached. As the father of two daughters and a son, I’ve become increasingly curious about how these generous tendencies develop.

Genetic twin studies suggest that anywhere from a quarter to more than halfof our propensity to be giving and caring is inherited. That leaves a lot of room for nurture, and the evidence on how parents raise kind and compassionate children flies in the face of what many of even the most well-intentioned parents do in praising good behavior, responding to bad behavior, and communicating their values.

By age 2, children experience some moral emotions — feelings triggered by right and wrong. To reinforce caring as the right behavior, research indicates, praise is more effective than rewards. Rewards run the risk of leading children to be kind only when a carrot is offered, whereas praise communicates that sharing is intrinsically worthwhile for its own sake. But what kind of praise should we give when our children show early signs of generosity?

Many parents believe it’s important to compliment the behavior, not the child — that way, the child learns to repeat the behavior. Indeed, I know one couple who are careful to say, “That was such a helpful thing to do,” instead of, “You’re a helpful person.”

But is that the right approach? In a clever experiment, the researchers Joan E. Grusec and Erica Redler set out to investigate what happens when we commend generous behavior versus generous character. After 7- and 8-year-olds won marbles and donated some to poor children, the experimenter remarked, “Gee, you shared quite a bit.”

The researchers randomly assigned the children to receive different types of praise. For some of the children, they praised the action: “It was good that you gave some of your marbles to those poor children. Yes, that was a nice and helpful thing to do.” For others, they praised the character behind the action: “I guess you’re the kind of person who likes to help others whenever you can. Yes, you are a very nice and helpful person.”

A couple of weeks later, when faced with more opportunities to give and share, the children were much more generous after their character had been praised than after their actions had been. Praising their character helped them internalize it as part of their identities. The children learned who they were from observing their own actions: I am a helpful person. This dovetails with new research led by the psychologist Christopher J. Bryan, who finds that for moral behaviors, nouns work better than verbs. To get 3- to 6-year-olds to help with a task, rather than inviting them “to help,” it was 22 to 29 percent more effective to encourage them to “be a helper.” Cheating was cut in half when instead of, “Please don’t cheat,” participants were told, “Please don’t be a cheater.” When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us.

When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us.

Praise appears to be particularly influential in the critical periods when children develop a stronger sense of identity. When the researchers Joan E. Grusec and Erica Redler praised the character of 5-year-olds, any benefits that may have emerged didn’t have a lasting impact: They may have been too young to internalize moral character as part of a stable sense of self. And by the time children turned 10, the differences between praising character and praising actions vanished: Both were effective. Tying generosity to character appears to matter most around age 8, when children may be starting to crystallize notions of identity.

Praise in response to good behavior may be half the battle, but our responses to bad behavior have consequences, too. When children cause harm, they typically feel one of two moral emotions: shame or guilt. Despite the common belief that these emotions are interchangeable, research led by the psychologist June Price Tangney reveals that they have very different causes and consequences.

Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, whereas guilt is the feeling that I have done a bad thing. Shame is a negative judgment about the core self, which is devastating: Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether. In contrast, guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior. When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right.

In one study spearheaded by the psychologist Karen Caplovitz Barrett, parents rated their toddlers’ tendencies to experience shame and guilt at home. The toddlers received a rag doll, and the leg fell off while they were playing with it alone. The shame-prone toddlers avoided the researcher and did not volunteer that they broke the doll. The guilt-prone toddlers were more likely to fix the doll, approach the experimenter, and explain what happened. The ashamed toddlers were avoiders; the guilty toddlers were amenders.

If we want our children to care about others, we need to teach them to feel guilt rather than shame when they misbehave. In a review of research on emotions and moral development, the psychologist Nancy Eisenberg suggests that shame emerges when parents express anger, withdraw their love, or try to assert their power through threats of punishment: Children may begin to believe that they are bad people. Fearing this effect, some parents fail to exercise discipline at all, which can hinder the development of strong moral standards.

The most effective response to bad behavior is to express disappointment. According to independent reviews by Professor Eisenberg and David R. Shaffer, parents raise caring children by expressing disappointment and explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation. This enables children to develop standards for judging their actions, feelings of empathy and responsibility for others, and asense of moral identity, which are conducive to becoming a helpful person. The beauty of expressing disappointment is that it communicates disapproval of the bad behavior, coupled with high expectations and the potential for improvement: “You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing, and I know you can do better.”

As powerful as it is to criticize bad behavior and praise good character, raising a generous child involves more than waiting for opportunities to react to the actions of our children. As parents, we want to be proactive in communicating our values to our children. Yet many of us do this the wrong way.

In a classic experiment, the psychologist J. Philippe Rushton gave 140 elementary- and middle-school-age children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep entirely or donate some to a child in poverty. They first watched a teacher figure play the game either selfishly or generously, and then preach to them the value of taking, giving or neither. The adult’s influence was significant: Actions spoke louder than words. When the adult behaved selfishly, children followed suit. The words didn’t make much difference — children gave fewer tokens after observing the adult’s selfish actions, regardless of whether the adult verbally advocated selfishness or generosity. When the adult acted generously, students gave the same amount whether generosity was preached or not — they donated 85 percent more than the norm in both cases. When the adult preached selfishness, even after the adult acted generously, the students still gave 49 percent more than the norm. Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do.

To test whether these role-modeling effects persisted over time, two months later researchers observed the children playing the game again. Would the modeling or the preaching influence whether the children gave — and would they even remember it from two months earlier?

The most generous children were those who watched the teacher give but not say anything. Two months later, these children were 31 percent more generous than those who observed the same behavior but also heard it preached. The message from this research is loud and clear: If you don’t model generosity, preaching it may not help in the short run, and in the long run, preaching is less effective than giving while saying nothing at all.

People often believe that character causes action, but when it comes to producing moral children, we need to remember that action also shapes character. As the psychologist Karl Weick is fond of asking, “How can I know who I am until I see what I do? How can I know what I value until I see where I walk?”

Adam Grant is a professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.”
Adam Grant is a professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the author of “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.”

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apple seeds Dubai on TV!

We are so happy to see the success of our partners at appleseeds in Dubai!
Check out some of their teachers and see their gorgeous space, located in Gold and Diamond Park. 


-A & A

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World's Toughest Job

This hit our inbox this AM from Inspire52 and we wanted to share. You will laugh, you will cry…you will relate!