Thursday, September 30, 2010

Halloween Giveaway

Today launches the 2010 Halloween Giveaway and one person will win a $100 Visa Gift Card.
To enter for a chance to win please leave a comment at the end of this blog post.
Separate comments for entries to be counted.
Mandatory entry:

1. Sign up for our newsletter/ Mailing List
2. Leave a message on our facebook wall telling your favorite Halloween tradition
3. “Like” Cora Carolina on facebook (if you haven't already)
4. Share this giveaway on your facebook page.
5. Tweet about this giveaway. Be sure to include @coracarolina and a link to this post.
6. Follow Cora Carolina on twitter
This Giveaway ends 12 pm EST on October 31, 2010. After the last day of the giveaway we will pick, at, one winner out of all the comments. Winner has 48 hours to respond, before another winner will be chosen.
We do not share your email with anyone.
In order to be eligible to win you must follow all of the rules listed above. You must be over the age of 18 and live in the U.S.
Good Luck!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Music helps to stimulate the child's mind

There have been many studies done regarding the importance of music in the development of children.  Studies have proven that music does have a positive influence on children in different stages of development.

Parents are known to play classical music while the mother is still pregnant.  It is a well known fact that children do react positively to music even while in the fetal stages.  Classical music is soothing to the fetus, especially when it is very active and causing the mother discomfort.

Music also plays a part in early child development.  Most mobiles and crib toys play some kind of music to soothe the child to sleep.  Music also gets the baby's attention at play.  Music helps to stimulate the child's mind and that is important at any stage of development.  Many shows that are geared toward children incorporate some type of music into their programming.

Music is also a wonderful learning tool.  There are songs that help children learn things on television programs as well as in the classroom.  Most children learn their ABCs through song.  There are many lessons that are incorporated through music.

Music also helps with hand eye coordination in children.  The rhythmic clapping and keeping up with the music stimulates the brain.  Studies also show that exposure to music helps with learning math later in the child's life.

Children who participate in music in school are also proven to be better students.  Learning music takes a lot of counting and reading, both are classes that musicians in school are known to excel in.  Children who take music classes or are a part of a band have to learn to read music and of course they have to keep time with the music.  They also have to learn to work together with the band and have to play their parts effectively.

As a part of a band the children also learn that if they do not cover their parts then the piece is not complete.  They must participate synonymously with each other in order for their recitals to be successful.  They learn teamwork and responsibility all in one place.

Music is both educational and therapeutic.  It can help soothe people and it is also associated with celebration of all kinds.  It's a wonderful tool of education.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Structured or unstructured play time?

There has been plenty of debate recently about structured versus unstructured play.  For those that are not sure of the difference, structured play involved preplanned activities.  Preplanned activities may include themed events and even board games where there are a set of rules that need to be followed.  Unstructured play is basically free time for the children to so as they wish in their playtime.

Child development experts say that unstructured play is vital to the development of the child.  Unstructured play allows children to learn to play together effectively.  It allows them to learn teamwork and compromise.  It also allows the child to explore lands of make believe and allows for their play to be imaginative and unbounded.  This type of play also allows the child to learn problem solving skills as they will make forts, use everyday items around the house as props for their play and they will create characters and stories that they will play to.

Having a constant schedule to adhere to can be a good thing however, if there is absolutely no free time it does tend to become stressful.  As grownups we often crave time where we have nothing to do except for relax, maybe watch some television or read; whatever it is that we enjoy doing.  This is the very same concept for children.  They need the time to daydream and image things that they want to do and make up their own games.

There are others that say that unstructured play leaves too much of an opportunity for a child to act inappropriately and get into trouble.  They also say that there should be play dates set so that their children can be supervised at all times and that there also should be games and activities that are planned before the play date.

Advocates against unstructured play also believe that there is no room for idle time in a child's day.  All time should be scheduled and that leaves no room for misbehaving.

Advocates for unstructured play feel that so much structure will backfire later on in the child's life and may lead to rebellion.  Parents that plan every facet of a child's day tend to do so on into a child's later years.  This constant planning will make the child feel as if they have no choice to do the things that they want to do and to participate in last minute activities with their friends.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Interview with Gareth Butcher of Natural Fashion

CC: Could you please begin giving us a little background on
you and your company. What first got you interested in going green and work
with organics?

GB: The Natural Fashion Consortium was founded on April 4th, 2000
with the objective of strengthening the clothing and textile companies of
the city of Campina Grande, PB, Brazil, to confront the strong competition
in external markets. With this in mind, the members of the consortium
searched for a product that could serve as a competitive differential for
this group of 10 companies, namely, coloured cotton.
The consortium grew and it was necessary to create a production cooperative,
so that it was feasible for new partners to join and a growing number of
products could be sold. Initially formed by 10 clothing and fabric
companies, today the cooperative, known as CoopNatural, has 35 members - 25
of which are textile sector manufacturers. More specifically, they are
manufacturers of female, male and infant clothing; cuddly toys; decorations
and accessories.
Natural Fashion offers to the market the quality that comes from
artisan-produced products, which are ecologically and socially correct, and
yet still use the concepts of: family-based agriculture, cooperative labour,
mother's clubs and periphery neighbourhood associations from Campina Grande.
The collection that is developed from this naturally coloured and organic
cotton is like re-reading Northeastern Brazilian culture, but this time
being linked to the trends of international fashion.
For me personally, what attracted me to work for Natural Fashion was the
chance to work in an area in which I specialize in, namely foreign trade, at
the same time as being involved with an organization that truly has at its
core the desire to work in harmony with the environment and to improve the
socio-economic conditions of a relatively poor, large local community.

CC: Your company is very concerned about the widespread use of
chemicals within the textile industry and specially on cotton.
Please share with us some of the statistics you gathered.

GB: Some of the main reasons why Natural Fashion is involved in the
cultivation of organic cotton is:
- Because 25% of the worldwide consumption of agro-toxins takes place
on cotton plantations.
- Because in the Northeast of Brazil there are 2 million family-based
agricultural workers that could be absorbed by the production of organic
- Because organic agriculture encompasses all environmental, social
and economic systems.
- Because the organic model is in agreement with the global principles
accepted in local geo-climatic and socio-economic contexts.

CC: Please tell us how do we know the strict organic requirements have been

GB: By the fact that the cooperative's cotton is certified organic by
the IBD.

CC: What is the most hopeful sign you've see recently in the
green economy?

GB: The demand for organic cotton products remaining strong (due to
consumers' growing environmental awareness and commitment to the
environment) even during the recent and continuing, difficult economic

CC: What are the benefits of using organic cotton?

GB: Amongst others:
- It helps reduce the thousands of deaths that occur each year from
pesticide poisoning in developing countries, many of these from cotton
- Makes use of farming techniques elaborated to help sustain the land it
grows on, the people who grow and harvest it, and the planet in general;
- It helps protect the world's water tables from pollution by agro-toxins;
- In many cases it provides sustainable employment and income for small
family-based agricultural workers;
- The likelihood is lower that the user of the product made from organic
cotton will suffer from skin-based allergies.

CC: What advice would you give to green entrepreneurs just
starting out?

GB: Using the passion that they have for the green product that they are
interested in, they should first develop and apply market research to
identify potential target markets and their necessities in relation to the
product being considered. From that point, they should then identify
segments of the market that can be targeted profitably, and then tailor the
different aspects of the marketing mix for the product chosen to attend to
their needs. Really, like any entrepreneur starting out, the keys to begin
with are planning and research.

CC: Thank you. We really appreciate your contribution to our blog.