Children’s & youth work links

Links from the world of children’s and youth ministry:

‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling opens up about books’ Christian imagery: ‘They almost epitomise the whole series,’ she says of the Scripture Harry reads in Godric’s Hollow.

Youth Court Protocol – what’s new?: The MA Youth Court Protocol was originally developed in 2003 as additional guidance for magistrates on the practices and processes of the youth justice system, but it has evolved to be a useful resource for all those who come into contact with the youth court.

Applications for grants to support British Science Week 2018 are now open: There are three grant schemes available to support British Science Week (9-18 March 2018) activities: one for schools, one for community groups (including youth clubs), and one for BSA branches.

Poor white boys are the new oppressed: Trevor Phillips, ex-head of the Commission for Racial Equality, writes a fascinating article on how recent statistics shows “every chance that while the Sikh teenager will one day turn into a highly skilled doctor, the grime-music obsessed African sixth-former will become a pin-striped lawyer, and that mathematics-nut Chinese GCSE student will end up a tech entrepreneur, the best that your average working-class white boy can hope for is a part-time job in an Amazon warehouse.”

These 4 reasons are why youth workers are leaving the church: James Ballantyne blogs on why he believes youth workers are leaving the church – this is essential reading for church leaders.

 

 

More than half of secondary school pupils think people have souls and life has a purpose

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New research has been published showing that more than half of secondary school pupils believe that people have souls, a survey has revealed.

The majority of those questioned (52 per cent) also said that they agreed with the statement “I believe that life has an ultimate purpose” and 45 per cent believe in God.  But a an equal number – 45 per cent agreed with the statement “the scientific view is that God does not exist”.

Prof Berry Billingsley, of Canterbury Christ Church University, surveyed 670 pupils aged 14 to 17 across eight English secondary schools, asking them 43 questions about science and religion.

The survey found that 54 per cent of pupils agreed with the statement “I believe humans have souls”, with a further 24 per cent neither agreeing or disagreeing. The remaining 23 per cent disagreed. The proportion of pupils believing in a “soul” is larger than the number who believed in God.

Prof Billingsley said it may reflect the fact that many people believe there is more to their identity than what they may be being presented with in science lessons. The figure for young people believing in god, 45 per cent, is lower than the proportion of adults who described themselves as religious in the last census – 67 per cent.

The findings are being presented at the British Educational Research Association’s annual conference today.

 

Marvel launches contest encouraging teen girls to pursue science & technology

Move over, male superheroes. A new contest initiative from Marvel Entertainment encourages high school girls to develop science and tech projects that they believe can change the world.

Emily VanCamp and Elizabeth Olsen just introduced the Captain America: Civil Warchallenge, an opportunity for girls between the ages of 15-18 to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects that “have the potential of creating positive change in the world.”

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Five finalists will win tickets to the red carpet premiere of Captain America: Civil War, while the grand prize winner will walk away with an internship at Marvel Studios.

Marvel launched the contest along with the National Academy of SciencesDolby LaboratoriesBroadcom and Synchrony Bank.

In the video, Olsen notes that even though Marvel’s heroes are divided in Civil War, “they remain united by the same goals: the commitment to safeguard humanity, protect the Earth at all costs, and make the world a better place for future generations.”

Through the Civil War Challenge, Marvel encourages young girls to do just that.

Boys Hit Puberty Younger

The New York Times recently highlighted researching showing that boys hit puberty younger but it is unclear as to why:

A large study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that boys are entering puberty earlier now than several decades ago — or at least earlier than the time frame doctors have historically used as a benchmark.

The study, widely considered the most reliable attempt to measure puberty in American boys, estimates that boys are showing signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than was reported in previous research, which historically taught that 11 ½ was the general age puberty began in boys. But experts cautioned that because previous studies were smaller or used different approaches, it is difficult to say how much earlier boys might be developing.

The study echoes research on girls, which has now established a scientific consensus that they are showing breast development earlier than in the past.

The study did not try to determine what might be causing earlier puberty, although it mentioned changes in diet, less physical activity and other environmental factors as possibilities. Experts said that without further research, implications for boys are unclear.

Dolores J. Lamb, a molecular endocrinologist at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, who was not involved in the study said:

“This should perhaps set a standard going forward for being very attentive to puberty in boys and being mindful that they’re developing earlier.  Whether the difference is as large as what they say on some papers 40 years ago is not clear.” However, she added, “this is going to be incredibly useful to pediatricians and urologists.”

The new study also found that African-American boys began puberty earlier than whites and Hispanics, a result that other studies have shown also applies to African-American girls. Researchers said that difference is most likely driven by the role of genes in puberty.

On average, black boys in the study showed signs of puberty, primarily identified as growth of the testicles, at a little older than 9, while white and Hispanic boys were a little older than 10.

Several experts said the study should not be seized upon as cause for alarm, but rather as a way to help parents and doctors gauge what to be aware of in boys’ development and whether to start conversations about social issues sooner.

For the study, researchers enlisted about 200 pediatricians in 41 states to record information on 4,131 healthy boys ages 6 to 16 during their well-child exams.