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Pesticides cause short-term learning problems in children

About the Author: Bryan Hubbard
May 12th 2017

Common pesticides that are sprayed in parks and gardens are affecting children and their ability to cope in school. The effects are short-term but serious, and include a sudden inability to concentrate, a loss of hand-eye co-ordination and behavioural problems, and especially a lack of self-control.
Although the effects may be short-lived, they can still last for around three months—and because pesticides are never suspected, the children may end up with an ADHD diagnosis that results in a drug prescription.
It's often hard to prove a direct cause-and-effect in most environments because pesticide levels can be constant and never high enough where a connection becomes more obvious, but scientists have an opportunity once a year in Ecuador to test the effects.
Ecuador is the world's third largest producer of cut flowers, which are prepared primarily for Mother's Day in the US. There's a peak pesticide spraying season—and researchers from the University of California at San Diego were able to monitor for any neurological changes before and after the spraying in a group of 308 children, aged four to nine.
The children "displayed lower performance" in attention, self-control, visual abilities in connecting with the world, and hand-eye co-ordination. The children were assessed for a hundred days after the spraying had stopped.
The effects happen at a critical time for the children; their lower mental and learning abilities occur between May and July when they're often sitting for critical exams that determine where next they go in their schooling.
The reactions also have all the hallmarks of ADHD (attention-deficit, hyperactive disorder) which can trigger long-term drug therapy.
References (Source: NeuroToxicology, 2017; doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2017.02.002)

Dirty Hands help brains...valuing nature boost for kids

Headline in Daily Telegraph (Oct 17, 2016) Natash Bita

Cooped up kids are being diagnosed with behavioural disorders when they just need to get back to nature, a childhood expert claims.

Claire Warden, head of the International Association of Nature Pedagogy, said children can learn more climbing trees than playing with sterile toys.

We've got 7.4% children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and the question is if it is a real diagnosis or children are just behaving in a way that is physical, and they need to be outside," she said. "Rather than giving children drugs we should be prescribing nature."

Australian Medical Association child health spokesman Dr. Paul Bauert said "the more outdoor exercise kids get, the better it is for them".

"In Suburbs of Sydney, children should spend more time in parks and the time they spend in front of screens should be limited." he said.

But if problems with inattention and impulsivity persist as children get older, "that needs to be taken seriously".

ADHD is the most common mental disorder in Australian children, affecting nearly 300,000 a new Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing survey shows.

At least one in every 15 children suffers an anxiety disorder, with 83,600 diagnosed with a conduct disorder.

Mrs. Warden has established two "nature kindergartens" in Scotland where toddlers play outdoors and even learn to light fires with flint. She said play had become too commercialised.

"Kids are being taught that the simple things aren't worth anything and we've forgotten to value nature." she said.

"The brain need stimulation from the natural world and children need to be moving".

Ms. Warden said smaller backyards and cramped school playgrounds meant children spend more time indoors. "Because we're avoiding physical risk - the bruised knee or scraped arm - we've got children who are scared of their own abilities." she said.

Sydney dad Nathan Bribe enjoys taking sons Logan, 5, and Griffin, 3, on bushwalks.

"We like to go to the creek to look for tadpoles." he said.

Official: Organic really is better

The biggest study yet into organic food has found it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help lengthen people's lives.

Organic food lowers children's exposure to pesticides

Study by Emory University (Atlanta, USA) shows an organic diet lowers children's exposure to agricultural pesticides. Read the research here:

New ADHD guidelines approve Ritalin for under 7 years of age

This month, October 2012, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommended that stimulants be considered for this age group, even though research shows that ADHD drugs cause side effects in children aged 3.5 to 6 years "at rates greater than that observed in older children".

Common effects of ADHD drugs are:
. sleep disturbance
. reduced appetite
. abdominal pain and headaches
. crying spells
. slowed growth
. heart palpitations
. increased blood pressure
. psychosis

Circles of Learning is committed to helping to bring the body back into balance, mentally, emotionally and physically and the Clever Kid Health & Play programs and the Garden Circle Health and Happiness program have a profound effect on changing behaviour and promoting better brain function.

The symptoms of ADD/ADHD and related behaviour and learning disorders can be severe, however at Circles of Learning our experience is that when you work with the core essentials to build a healthy body and brain and build the immune system, many, (if not all) of the symptoms disappear.

In the last 50 years there has been a massive increase in the number of physical and mental disorders and the body's natural healing abilities can and do heal, when it is supported by a healthy natural lifestyle. Eating healthy living foods, drinking clean fresh water, breathing clean air, sunshine, exercise, being in nature and having a joyous attitude all contribute to make the changes.

At Circles of Learning, through our programs we support you and your child to make these changes.


FREE e-BOOK Holdsworth Communal Garden Recipe Book

Parents who participated in the Circles of Learning Edible Garden Program in Woollahra, baked these snacks and the recipes have been placed in a for you to download.

FREE e-BOOK Effective Ways to Improve Your Child's Health & Learning Ability


Circles of Learning opens its office in Canberra.

ACT and regional areas can now gain easy access to the programs on offer from Circles of Learning. Headed up by two exceptional professional people with great passion for helping children and families, Pam Housseloge and Tracey Anderson Askew can be contacted at
PO Box 5115
Chisholm ACT 2905
email: /
mobile: 0414 267 791 / 0414 587 308


Learn how to cook healthy wholefoods at home with friends


100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

100% Pure Essential Oils have a profound positive effect on Physical & Emotional Well being

When your child is ‘high energy’, doesn’t sleep well, has learning difficulties, or is diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and offered drugs as a ‘solution’, it’s important to know that you have choices.

All Oils are not the same and it is important to seek out the 100% pure, natural therapeutic grade essential oils.

Essential oils can be used topically, inhaled or diffused. With young children, the safest place to apply essential oils is on the soles of the feet. Some oils may also be applied to throat, wrists, chest or the base of the neck. Cold air diffusers such as the Home Diffuser are recommended (pictured) rather than burners or diffusers that heat the essential oils.
A range of oils are available through Circles of Learning including the excellent Thieves for personal care and cleaning surfaces.

For more information and to purchase read attached document.

Mother's right, smarter kids eat their vegetables


Mothers have been saying it for years, and now doctors agree: smarter kids eat their vegetables.

Children who eat a nutritious diet of fruits and vegetables have higher IQ levels, while a diet of processed and sugary foods has the opposite effect. And it seems the earlier you start your child on a healthy diet, the better.

The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which has tracked around 14,000 children for five years, discovered a direct correlation between eating habits and IQ scores. For every point gained from eating healthily, there was a 1.2-point increase in the IQ level. Conversely, every point lost by eating processed food resulted in a 1.67 fall in the IQ score.
The researchers believe the greatest benefits are seen when a child starts early on a healthy diet, and especially during the first three years.

(Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 2011; doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.111955).
wddty 09 February 2011

Lessons in how to 'feel' by health writer Caroline Marcus

We can’t let this article in Sunday Telegraph, December 26, go by without comment as it relates so strongly to why we developed the Clever Kid Health & Play program, and its importance in improving children’s learning abilities and overcoming symptoms of ADD/ADHD.
Reading, writing and arithmetic are important but schools are also being urged to teach young children about emotions.

US research psychologist Marc Brackett says “emotional literacy” should be part of the curriculum from as early as kindergarten.

His theory has been supported by improved performance in US schools.
Research by Dr. Brackett at Yale, a leading US university, shows children at schools with an emotional literacy program raised their grades by an average of 11 per cent.

Dr. Brackett said a two-year study of Year 6 and 7 students found their academic performance improved remarkably whenthey were taught about reading emotions.

The research also showed children were less hyperactive and did not suffer as much anxiety and depression. There was also a drop in bullying and suspensions at schools that had implemented the program.

Dr. Brackett’s program used by about 100 schools in the US and Britain, helps children talk about and understand their psychological and physiological experiences through a “mood meter”. It also focuses on solving problems.

“If there’s a conflict between two students, they’re asked to jot down what they’re feeling with tht experience, and what they think the other person may be feeling,” Dr. Brackett said.
“Emotions are critical for student attention and student learning. If a student is feeling bored int he classroom, they’re not going to be learning.”

Linking the content of lessons to certain emotions activated areas in students’ brains that helped them learn more, Dr. Brackett said.


'Emotional literacy' for kids key to better school results

Many teachers and parents should learn better emotional and social skills in order to help children boost their school or university performance, according to a top research scientist from the United States.

Dr Marc A. Brackett, Deputy Director of Yale University’s Health, Emotion, and Behaviour Laboratory, is in Australia to present a keynote address to the Australian Psychological Society’s College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists national conference, held at the University of Melbourne (Hawthorn campus) on November 26.

Speaking ahead of the conference Dr Brackett said that programs to help combat social problems in schools, such as underperformance, anxiety and bullying, were becoming more common but the most lasting results – and the greatest improvement in academic results – occurred only when family members and adults working with children also improved their emotional skills.

Dr Brackett has devised a program called RULER (, which sets out five skills that helps children and adults to better manage their emotions. Since its creation eight years ago, his team has helped children and adults develop the skills of Recognising, Understanding, Labelling, Expressing and Regulating emotions. RULER has now been adopted by hundreds of schools in the US.

Educational institutions have introduced the program to improve the social environment and reduce problem behaviour. Research into the emotional literacy program suggests that, in comparison to schools in which such programs do not exist, those students armed with the RULER program had 17 per cent fewer problems such as learning and attention difficulties.
Even more striking, they recorded 19 per cent better study, social and leadership skills, and 11 per cent better marks.

Dr Brackett said: “Most schools invite us in because they want students to be better at regulating their emotions, but you can’t succeed at one aspect of this without developing the other RULER skills.”

“These programs are often seen as an add-on, but in fact they must be fully integrated into every aspect of the day. To be effective, teachers, school leaders and even parents or other family members need to make sure they are living these principles,” he said.

Dr Brackett, who also is the head of the Emotional Intelligence Unit at Yale University, is a prolific researcher who has investigated issues ranging from the effect of teachers’ mood on the way they mark schoolwork to the benefits of emotional literacy in the workplace.

The concept of emotional intelligence was popularised with the publication of the 1995 book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman but Dr Brackett favours the term “emotional literacy”.
He explains: “Emotional intelligence is an ability, whereas emotional literacy is an achievement. A person may have a temperament, perhaps genetically acquired, which means they are prone to experience more negative emotion in life but learning these social and emotional skills will help them to manage it. No person is born knowing that ‘reframing’ a negative experience can help them to feel better about it. But it is a skill they can be taught.”



Forget fish - mud pies are brain food

Parents, step away from the baby wipes and put that hand sanitiser away – eating dirt could actually make your child smarter.

Research published in the current issue of Kidsafe NSW’s playgrounds, newsletter shows the positive side of a soil-borne bacteria that is likely to be inhaled when children are playing outside.

Academics discovered that mice that were fed the dirt bacteria mycobacterium vaccae navigated complex mazes twice as fast as those which were not.

The research, presented in the US earlier this year, was welcomed by Kidsafe NSW Playground Advisory Unit program manager Kate Fraser as another reason kids should be encouraged to get outside and get dirty.

“Over the past few years terms like ‘cotton wool kids’ and ‘helicopter parents’ are becoming really common,” Ms. Fraser said.

“So we thought it was time to air the laundry on what’s happening with our play spaces and make sure we are offering kids challenges.

“We need to make playgrounds safe, but also offer a certain amount of risk. It’s a real balancing act.”

It is believed the bacteria increases levels of serotonin, reduces anxiety and may also stimulate growth in certain neurons in the brain.

Ms. Fraser said that while playing in the dirt was great, parents should take care around potting mix, which can contain harmful bacteria.

“But as long as safety directions are followed, that can be a great learning experience, too,” she said.

The research will be a relief to the parents who know it’s almost impossible to stop children getting dirty.

Nicole Livisianos, of Zetland, said her one-year-old Sebastian loves to get messy.

“We come to the park almost every afternoon and he is always into something dirty,” she said. “There’s no point trying to stop him.”

Providing natural play environments is a topic at the Kidsafe NSW Playground Conference next week.

“Many pre-schools and schools are planting sustainable garden beds and are teaching kids how plants grow,” Ms Fraser said.

“They learn about the environment and where their food comes from. The benefits are endless. The trend is definitely to make the most of the natural environment.”

Daily telegraph 24th Nov. 2010-12-01

Organic food mitigates climate change

Visit the full article at

UPS generously support Circles of Learning

Founded in 1907 as a messenger company in the United States, UPS has grown into a USD49.7 billion corporation by clearly focusing on the goal of enabling commerce around the globe. Today UPS, or United Parcel Service Inc., is a global company with one of the most recognised and admired brands in the world. As the largest express carrier and package delivery company in the world, we are also a leading provider of specialised transportation, logistics, capital, and e-commerce services. Every day we manage the flow of goods, funds and information in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

UPS has kindly made a cash donation to Circles of Learning in support of the Klever Kid program Health & Play Program, and recently provided their own Sydney based staff on a volunteer basis to assist us for a day. Your help was greatly appreciated!

Newsletter Archives

Download copies of our past newsletters 2013-2014.

Twice the goodness in organic fruit and veg, new study says

You get twice the nutritional goodness when you eat organic fruits and vegetables, a new study has found. The pesticide-free produce have up to 69 per cent more antioxidants than non-organic varieties.
The person who always eats organic may even be able to halve the five-a-day daily recommended intake, say researchers from Newcastle University.
The study is the definitive study into organic produce, and reanalyses 343 peer-reviewed previous studies.
Study author Carlo Leifert says there are “statistically significant, meaningful” differences between organic and standard produce, with organic having from 19 to 69 per cent more antioxidants. The compounds have a strong influence on heart health and some cancers.
(Source: Daily Telegraph, July 12, 2014) London

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