By Vidya Pradhan
Our Indian community is known for its obsession with the education of its children and sometimes we make enormous personal and professional sacrifices to make sure our kids are in the right environment and the right school. While there are many public schools around the bay which meet the rigorous standards of Asian parents, when it comes to keeping the kids abreast on current events, even the best schools fall short. My 11-year old had access to a magazine called the ‘Weekly Reader’ a couple of years ago through the kind offices of his teachers, who used the kid-friendly journal to keep students educated while integrating it with the curriculum. But all his teachers were not like-minded and we have missed the weekly paper in subsequent grades. Access to current events and news about happenings in countries other than the US has always been a problem for kids growing up here. Television news is too gory to permit uncontrolled access and the average newspaper is consumed with local news. Barkha Madan of ‘Our Little Earth’ has a simple and elegant solution to this problem. In a bi-weekly email, she sends kids 4 stories related to recent news. A small collection of fun facts and little quizzes is part of the email. Click here for a sample. The email is available for a subscription fee of $15 a year; a price point that Barkha feels is low enough to not be a serious issue when compared to the educational value of the service. What you pay for is a thoughtful culling from recent events and a writing style that keeps it simple without talking down to the kids. The email can be tailored to be sent to both the parent and the child or just the parent. The age group targeted by Our Little Earth is 8-12, a time where the kids are fluent readers and interested in soaking up information. In the works for the site is a forum where kids can ask and answer questions, a place where they feel safe and comfortable discussing their issues with other kids. For the time being, Our Little Earth is yet another resource in the arsenal of parents to keep their kids well-informed and make them responsible future citizens of the world.