EDUCATION

Home school: lessons from a pandemic

Bored is good. Let's enjoy boredom

The Globe and Mail, March 2020

The real losers in the teachers strike

If Doug Ford wants an education system that parents respect, he might have to learn to respect their children 

The Globe and Mail, January 2020

When kids dread recess, we have a problem

Recess in its current form is failing to provide the physical activity and social opportunities that are its raison d'être – and the consequences are serious.

The Globe and Mail, February 2019

Removing class size caps doesn't solve problems

The Ford government’s latest swing of his deficit-slashing hatchet has nothing to do with education – and everything to do with the looming spring budget. 

The Globe and Mail, January 2019

The home and school association

Toronto kindergartners learn a real-life lesson about homelessness

 The Globe and Mail, November 2018

Doug Ford is failing on the education file

The Premier will have to listen to the people: all the people, not just the ones he likes

 The Globe and Mail, August 2018

Absent teachers aren't solving problems - they're creating  new ones 

This is the season of the substitute, as regular teachers vanish and instruction gives way to games, movies and popsicles.

 The Globe and Mail, June 2018

A hard lesson: the digital classroom can really fail

“Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology will not replace poor teaching.”

 The Globe and Mail, May 2018

Our kids face real dangers – cartwheels and pizza aren’t among them

Don't ban cartwheels, teach them. 

The Globe and Mail, September 2017

More Phys Ed in Schools!

Schools need to stop considering physical activity a fun distraction from the serious business of academic work and recognize that it is essential to learning.

The Globe and Mail, September 2017

Why do French Immersion, if it means more tutoring?

La problème (sic) avec French Immersion

The Globe and Mail, March 2017

Report cards are failing parents and their kids

The fact that my son "writes different kinds of texts following models to communicate a certain purpose" leaves me rather cold.

The Globe and Mail, June 2016

Lunchtime Lunacy

With nearly 100 kids per lunchroom supervisor, in a windowless basement, it's no wonder kids are not feeling the "wellness" the TDSB so hopes for

The Globe and Mail, November 2016

Banning cartwheels: what’s the point of recess with no fun?

Risk is a big word in parenting theses days; in fact, we may be the most paranoid generation of parents in history. 

The Globe and Mail, October 2015

Could WiFi in schools be harming our kids?

"We're asking much bigger questions, like what is education? Are these devices good for society generally? Is this speed of innovation a good thing? The stakes here are huge."

The Globe and Mail, May 2014

The Anti-Nut Nutiness

Public health authorities face a tricky challenge, determining how to balance the concerns of the allergic individual against the well-being of the group. Meanwhile, immunologists are warning about the unintended consequences of widespread nut avoidance.

The Globe and Mail, February 2014

 

PARENTING / CHILDCARE

Mothering during a pandemic

Mothers give a lot. They also get a lot back

The Globe and Mail, May 2020

A parent's nightmare

Your spouse abducts your children to another country and the government is in no rush to help

The Globe and Mail, April 2019

Why I don’t shield my kids from the news

There’s a prevailing belief in our culture that the innocence of childhood is sacred and must be preserved at all costs. I don’t agree.
Today's Parent, September 2017.

The Story of Us was not a failure: ask my kids

It did not present a perfect, exhaustive chronology – the most deadening approach to history – but highlighted the drama, the stories within the histories, some of the main historic arcs. 
The Globe and Mail, June 2017

Has Old-fashioned fun been trumped by fears of injury and liability?
Shelf the Elf!

Why are we lining up in big-box stores in exurbia to buy something inferior to what our kids can happily supply themselves?
The Globe and Mail, December 2015

Sometimes there are monsters under your bed

This was first heard on the Doc Project, CBC Radio, September 2015

Best Summer Ever

There's no small irony in the fact that, while we love them to death, we're depriving our children of one of the richest aspects of our own childhoods: freedom.

Cottage Life, July 2015

Once upon a time there was a Mayor

In all the chatter around the Rob Ford story, there’s been a lot of parental soul-searching about how to explain the situation to kids.

my blog, February 2014

Take my kids, please!

When I moved back to Toronto from Berlin, a newly single mum, my first order of business was finding good, affordable childcare for my two boys. What I discovered was a daycare system on the verge of collapse.

Toronto Life, September 2012
National Magazine Award nomination

 

TRANSPORTATION

Driving past the point of no return

SUVs are killing the planet and pedestrians - so why do Canadians keep driving them?

The Globe and Mail, December 2019

Why did our children stop walking to school?

Maturity can be fostered, but not in the back seat of a car

The Globe and Mail, October 2019

Who's Doug Ford trying to please?

Traffic flow is a problem on Ontario highways, but a 10km/h raise in speed limits isn’t going to fix it. The move is nothing more than a distraction from a much bigger problem: The transportation sector is the main contributor of greenhouse gases in this province.

The Globe and Mail, May 2019

Lord of the Flies on Wheels

How is the driver supposed to manage this?

The Globe and Mail, November 2018

Kids in Public Transit - Who could object to that?

“Helicopter parenting” has metastasized well beyond the parent, into the reaches of schools, institutions and provincial ministries

The Globe and Mail, September 2017

What is a fit penalty when a driver takes a pedestrian’s life?

One would hope that the judicial process would at least provide some clarity and that penalties would act as a serious deterrent.

The Globe and Mail, December 2016

Why the SUV mentality needs to change

Speed limits and stop signs can do only so much to control powerful vehicles. We need to look at their design - and drivers.

The Globe and Mail, November 2015

Slow Down

Toronto’s roads are the most perilous in the country for pedestrians. The solution is simple, smart and anathema to an already gridlocked city: make drivers slow down.

Toronto Life, May 2015

 
Far from Home

The Dasni family survived unspeakable horrors in Iraq. When they arrived in Toronto last year, they had nothing: no money, no English and only a vague idea of where Canada was on a map. 

Chatelaine, November 2017.

Digital Publishing Award nomination

Canada’s two-tiered refugee system

Among the chaos, great generosity

The Globe and Mail , May 2016

IMMIGRATION

FOOTPRINT

 
A holly, jolly Christmas - while the planet burns

Between climate change, the most severe spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs and global pollution on an unprecedented scale, Earth has little cause for celebration

The Globe and Mail, December 2018

Bürger power

A nascent movement in Berlin wants to transform the municipal grid into a greener citizen-led co-op.

Corporate Knights, March 2016

Hot Topic

Should we bury nuclear waste near the Great Lakes?

Cottage Life, May 2015

Israel’s fountain of youth

An entrepreneurial shift among Israeli youth is helping to create a green oasis in a country worried about dependence on oil.

Corporate Knights, March 2015

Raising a greener glass

Wine and beer drinkers have never had more variety when it comes to products boasting lower environmental impacts.

Corporate Knights, June 2014

Debating population

There may be too many people on the planet, but population control alone won't save a species afflicted with overconsumption

Corporate Knights, December 2013

PHILANTHROPY

 
Concrete Jungle

Mixing philanthropy and public space

Corporate Knights, June 2016

Meddling billionaires

Their intentions are good, but when the super rich decide to back a cause, ego can sometimes undermine the hard work of NGOs.

Corporate Knights, October 2015

The Rich-Giving Paradox

Is it possible to judge the charitable nature of a person by the pricetag on their car?

Recent research suggests yes.

Corporate Knights, January 2014

 

OUR HOME & NATIVE LAND

Canadians don’t know how to vacation

A holiday, as the Oxford English tells us, is "a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done." So why do we continue to desecrate them? 

The Globe and Mail, March 2018

Amokfahrt in der Frühlingssonne von Toronto

Der Tagesspiegel, March 2018

No ‘fake Christmas’ in our house: Only a real tree will do

There's something quite remarkable about bringing a mammoth chunk of nature into our increasingly sterile urban homes. 

Globe and Mail, December 2017

Neither Rhyme nor Reason to Ontario’s beer sales “shake-up”

Treating alcohol as a forbidden fruit, best kept under lock and key, does nothing to keep it out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have it. 

The Globe and Mail, December 2015

R.C. Harris: the man behind the Bloor Street Viaduct

Designed to transport water, traffic and electricity, it was built in 1918.

Toronto Star, July 2015

Front Lines, Home Fires

In the early 1940s, the battle fields of Europe and the sunny shores of Muskoka were closer than it seemed.

Cottage Life , Summer 2015

International Regional Magazine Award nomination

Bin ich schön?

Moderne Dorfschönheiten in der Einwandererstadt Toronto

ubuntu (SOS Kinderdörfer)  April 2011

 

DISPATCHES FROM GERMANY

The Conscience of a Nation

Monument to peaceful revolution a symbol of how Germans are still coming to term with the fall of the wall

National Post,November 2014

If music can’t change the world, maybe film can

Neil Young's not angry, he just doesn't mince his words

The Globe and Mail, March 2009

Canadians come out strong at Berlinale

Berlin festival programmers know Canadian film better than most Canadians do

The Globe and Mail, February 2009

Procreative Prenzlauer Berg

Berlin neighborhood is a mecca for young families

Spiegel Online, August 2008

Who’s the Papa? Papers, please

A pregnant Canadian heads to the old Stasi arsenal to register her baby's paternity

The Ottawa Citizen, April 2008

Berlinale Bust or Buzz?

Stars such as the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Penelope Cruz may have turned out on in force for this year's Berlinale, but there were few cinematic masterpieces.

Spiegel Online, February 2008

Let There Be Light

An Alpine town reflects on plans to brighten things up

The Walrus, December 2007

Get off my swing set, Grandma!

Playgrounds for seniors - why not, given demographic trends

The Globe and Mail, May 2007

Ich bin ein (hammered) Berliner

One Saturday night late last month, a 16-year-old boy succeeded in downing 56 shots of tequila in a drinking competition at a west Berlin bar. 

The Globe and Mail, March 2007

All eyes are trained on Enemy

There’s a nice kind of historical symmetry to this year’s Berlinale

The Globe and Mail, February 2007

Requiem for Bruno: We bearly knew him

Farewell to Bruno, Germany's most famous and shortest lived brown bear

 The Globe and Mail, July 2006

Visitor becomes unbearable

At first, Germany put out the welcome mat for JJ1, who invaded from Austria. Then there were those incidents with the sheep and the chickens.

The Globe and Mail, June 2006

Spuddenfreude

Efforts to save Linda, a venerable German potato

The Walrus, June 2006

The medium is English

Who's smarter - the French or the English?

Sign and Sight, May 2006

Portman storms the Berlinale

It's hard to focus on the movie when the exquisite Natalie Portman is at the press conference.

 The Globe and Mail, February 2006

Behind the Tent

Dancing tents from Iran

The Walrus, February 2006

The Sound of Music

As a child growing up in Canada, I understood there to be two kinds of Europeans: French ones and German ones.

This essay was first heard on CBC Dispatches in December 2005.

Phillip Earl of Hessen meets the Fast Runner

Bringing Atanarjuat to Marburg

This essay was first heard on CBC Dispatches in January 2005.

The sound of Snow in Berlin

Michael Snow talks about this, that and the other.

The Globe and Mail, July 2002

All eyes are trained on Enemy

The future of Studio Babelsberg may rest on the decay of its past

The Globe and Mail, February 2001

Love under Hitler

'Jaguar' was a lesbian Jew who died in the Holocaust. 'Aimée' was a Nazi's wife -- and her lover. 

The Globe and Mail, January 2001

© 2018 Naomi Buck