Posts found under: Children

Ask your child question

why?

Asking questions while reading to your child is not only great for encouraging your child to interact with the book, but it is also extremely effective in developing his ability to comprehend what he is reading. You see, if our main objective in “reading” is getting our child to “sound out” words, we have missed the boat entirely. Even children who can decode words and “read” with great fluency still might not be able to comprehend what they are reading. If a child can’t comprehend what he is reading, there really is no point to reading at all!

While your child is a baby, ask him questions such as, “Do you see the cat?” while pointing at the picture of the cat. This will not only develop his vocabulary, it will also encourage him to interact with the book that he is reading. As he gets older, ask him to point to things in the book himself and make the noises of the animals he sees.

Once your child is about 2 or 3-years of age, begin asking questions before, during, and after reading the book. Show your child the cover of the book and ask him what he thinks it is going to be about (predicting). While reading, ask him what he thinks is going to happen or why he thinks a character made a particular choice (inferring). If a character is depicting a strong emotion, identify that emotion and ask your child if he has ever felt that way (connecting). At the end of the book, ask if his prediction(s) came true. Afterwards, ask him to tell you what he remembered happening in the book (summarizing).

Modifying each of these techniques during read-alouds to meet the developmental stage of your child is a great way to promote and increase reading comprehension!

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Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Have you ever wondered what exactly your child needs to know before kindergarten?

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Please keep in mind as you look over this list that  kids learn best with hands-on experiences, not memorization or drill practice! These early years with our children should be about fostering a love to play, explore, and learn!  Also, it is important to note that our children are all different and gifted in unique ways.  Obviously, if your child has special needs, exceptionalities, or is delayed in a particular area, this won’t necessarily be relevant to your child.  This is simply a guide…not something to stress about!

Personal and Social Development

Approach to learning

-Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner

-Persists in task and seeks help when encountering a problem

-Is generally pleasant and cooperative

Self-Control

-Follows rules and routines

-Manages transitions (going from one activity to the next)

-Demonstrates normal activity level

Interactions with Others

-Interacts easily with one or more children

-Interacts easily with familiar adults

-Participates in group activities

-Plays well with others

-Takes turns and shares

-Cleans up after play

Conflict Resolution

-Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts

-Uses words to resolve conflicts

Language and Literacy

Listening

-Listens with understanding to directions and conversations

-Follows one-step directions

-Follows two-step directions

Speaking

-Speaks clearly enough to be understood without contextual clues

-Relates experiences with some understanding of sequences of events

Literature and Reading

-Listens with interest to stories read aloud

-Shows interest in reading-related activities

-Retells information from a story

-Sequences three pictures to tell a logical story

Writing

-Uses pictures to communicate ideas

-Uses scribbles, shapes, and letter-like symbols to write words or ideas

Alphabet Knowledge

-Recites/sings alphabet

-Matches upper-case letters

-Matches lower-case letters

-Identifies upper-case letters

-Identifies lower-case letters

Mathematical Thinking

Patterns and Relationships

-Sorts by color, shape, and size

-Orders or seriates several objects on the basis of one attribute

-Recognizes simple patterns and duplicates them

Number concept and operations

-Rote counts to 20

-Counts objects with meaning to 10

-Matches numerals

-Identifies by naming, numerals 0-10

Geometry and spatial relations

-Identifies 4 shapes- circle, square, rectangle, triangle

-Demonstrates concepts of positional/directional concepts (up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, beside/between, top/bottom, inside/outside, above/below, high/low, right/left, off/on, first/last, far/near, go/stop).

Measurement

-Shows understanding of and uses comparative words (big/little, large/small, short/long, tall/short, slow/fast, few/many, empty/full, less/more.

Physical Development

Gross-Motor Skills

-Pedals and steers a tricycle

-Jumps in place, landing on two feet

-Jumps consecutively- 7 jumps

-Balances on one foot for 5 seconds

-Hops on one foot 2-3 hops

-Hops on one foot- 6 ft.

-Throws a ball with direction- 5 ft.

-Catches a thrown ball with arms and body

Climbs a playground ladder

-Skips smoothly for 20 feet

Fine-Motor Skills

-Stacks 10, one-inch blocks

-Strings 4 1/2″ beads in two minutes

-Completes a seven piece interlocking puzzle

-Makes a pancake, snake, and ball from playdough

-Grasps pencil correctly

-Copies:  vertical line, horizontal line, circle, cross, square, V, triangle

-Copies first name

-Prints first name without a model

-Grasps scissors correctly

-Cuts within 1/4″ of a 6″ straight line on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ square on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ triangle on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ circle on construction paper

-Uses a glue stick appropriately

-Uses appropriate amount of glue for tasks

The Arts

Creative Arts

-Identifies 10 colors:  red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, white, brown, pink

-Uses a variety of art materials for tactile experience and exploration

Music/Movement

-Participates in group music experiences

-Participates in creative movement/dance

Creative Dramatics

-Makes believe with objects

-Takes on pretend roles and situations

Do you agree with this list?  Is there anything that needs to be added (or taken away) based on your experience???

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How to Improve Thinking Skills in Children?

Thinking Skills Chart.

Enhancing thinking skills in your kid can be real fun and thrilling. Nothing can be more effective than asking the right type of questions in an easy going manner. Questions that you ask should have simple and proper wordings. When you ask questions that lead to a mental stimulation of your kid’s thought process, it can be really good for you as well as your kid. One of the most important things to remember while asking probing questions to your kid is to creating questions by using different types or levels or platforms of thinking.

Enhancing thinking skills is best performed in a systematic and well calibrated manner. Your kid will not be ready to think on many aspects of life. Your main goal should focus at motivating his or her inner level of consciousness. Experts in human psychology grade thinking skills in humans into six categories. These thinking skills are common to all individuals and you will need to modify or restructure the questions in such a way that your kid will understand and comprehend the meaning very easily.

Developing Knowledge Skills

Knowledge skills include remembering, recalling or retrieving correct, right and appropriate and previously learned information or details to bring or draw out factual and data based answers which may either right or wrong.

Developing Comprehension Skills

In reality, comprehension means grasping, comprehending or understanding the real meaning of materials that signify materials and things.

Developing Application Skills

This skill involves applying and adapting previously learned and comprehended information or details to new, strange and unfamiliar scenarios.

Developing Synthesis Skills

This thinking skill is a bit difficult to learn and understand. It involves applying the previously acquired information, knowledge or skills to gel them together into a clear pattern which was not there before asking

Developing Evaluation Skills

This skill involves judging, inferring, deciding and concluding based on a set of conditions or criteria, without real or wrong answers.

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How to teach Phonics?

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Teaching children to read by teaching phonics activities is a lot like doing math, where you have to know what the numbers are, how to count, and you need to learn to add and subtract before learning to multiply and divide. Teaching phonics to children is no different where you follow a step by step approach by first teaching the child the alphabet letters and phonics sounds, and then teaching them the combination of different letters to create different words, and using words to form sentences. It is a very logical and sequential buildup of phonics knowledge and reading ability.

Before a child can learn to read, he or she must first learn the alphabet letters, and know the sounds represented by the letters. It’s usually easier to teach some consonants and short vowels first before moving on to more complicated things such as consonant digraphs (2 consonants formed to produce one sound, such as “ch” or “ph”) and long vowels. As you can see, teaching children to read by the phonics method helps them develop phonemic awareness, and it is also a very logical and straight forward approach.

Start off by teaching your child the phonics sounds. You can choose to teach your child in alphabetic order going from A to Z, or you can teach several commonly used consonant sounds and vowels, and go from there. For example, you may start teaching your child /a/, /c/, and /t/ (slashes denote sound of the letters). Once your child has learn to quickly recognize these letters and properly sound out their sounds, you can then teach them to blend /c/, /a/, /t/ to make the words “cat”, or “tac”, or “at”.

As you introduce more letters and phonics sounds in your lesson plans, you can generate more words, and slowly introduce short, simple sentences to your reading lessons. Depending on the age of your child, I would suggest keeping the phonics lessons relatively short – around 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes, just 3 to 5 minutes for a short lesson is plenty, and you can easily teach these short phonics lessons 2 or 3 times each day for a total of 10 to 15 minutes. Young children tend to be forgetful, so repetition is very important.

You don’t want to make the lessons too long and boring, that the child begins to feel like doing a “chore” when learning to read. So keep it short, fun, and interesting. By keeping the phonics lessons short, you also avoid overwhelming the child with too much information, and always remember to make sure your child has mastered one lesson before moving on to new material. Confusion and uncertainty will only make their learning effort difficult and frustrating – so review often, move on to new material only after they’ve mastered the current lessons.

So when can you start teaching phonics sounds and lessons to children? Not everyone will agree with me on this, but I believe that if your child can speak, then your child can learn to read. Of course, every child is different and unique, and some children will be more receptive to learning reading than others. One thing for certain, is that the earlier a child learns to read, the better.

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How to teach your baby to speak?

Baby speak

 

 

Babies absorb so much in the first few years of life. It is amazing what an impact everything you do has on an infant. With infants, it can sometimes be hard to tell what they are taking in because they cannot yet communicate with words. Teaching a baby to speak is fundamentally important for their development.

Talk to them all the time. As you change them, tell them what you are doing, and always speak in a soft, calming voice. Go through each step of everything you do with them. It may seem strange to say, “Now, I am taking off your diaper. I see you’re wet.” or, “Look at this nice big bowl of applesauce! Doesn’t it look yummy?” But babies respond to it, even if it may be hard to see it.

Watch your baby’s responses. When you talk to them, pause, as you would in a normal conversation, and give them time to respond. Sometimes they may smile, babble, or giggle, or sometimes they may just make a face or sit there and watch you. Either way, you are showing them the pattern of communication that they will use later on in life.

Read to them at least once a day. Show them the pictures and point out things in the pictures that go along with the story. Even if you are just reading a baby book of words, point out the picture of the ball, or the cat. They identify with things they can see. They make the connection between the words spoken and the pictures they see. Even taking objects that they are familiar with and speaking the name of the object will enhance their vocabulary, and make important connections between words and the world around them.

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Ask the right question to your child

Ask for the right question

Your child probably fires dozens of questions at you every day. But turning things around and posing some to him can fuel his excitement for learning. For instance, asking, “Why do you think the birds always come back to that same spot in the backyard?” can spark a conversation that introduces a variety of interesting concepts.

But beware of turning your child’s life into a pop quiz. “Some parents make the mistake of asking kids to display their knowledge. “They’ll ask, ‘What color is this?’ even though it’s obvious that their child knows it’s green. If you want your child to stay excited about learning, it’s much better to engage him in an active inquiry than to ask him to spit out routine knowledge.”

And when you ask about his day, be specific (“Did the guinea pig in your classroom have babies yet?”) rather than too general (“How was school?”). “Everyday talking is essential to learning,”. “Kids need to be able to take the hubbub of their lives and spin it into narratives if they’re going to become capable readers and writers.”

If you don’t know the answer, look it up. If your child is curious about something, take the time to explain it to her. But if you don’t have a clue either, it’s perfectly all right to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” Turn to a dictionary, an encyclopedia, or the Internet, and do some detective work together. “You’re showing her not only how to find more information but also how thrilling it can be to learn new things,”

Our Time to Learn books may have the answer your child questions.

Time to learn

 

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Your Child’s Curiosity

Child’s Curiosity

Curiosity is something all babies are born with.  They come into the world with a drive to understand how the world works:A newborn follows sounds, faces and interesting objects with her eyes.

-A newborn follows sounds, faces and interesting objects with her eyes.

-An 8-month-old shakes a rattle and then puts it into his mouth to see what this object can do.

-A toddler takes a stool to reach the counter top where the phone is—a “toy” she loves to play with.

 

-A 2-year-old pretends she is the garbage collector and puts all her stuffed animals into the laundry basket “garbage truck” to figure out what it feels like to be in the other person’s shoes.

 

Babies are born learners, with a natural curiosity to figure out how the world works.  Curiosity is the desire to learn.  It is an eagerness to explore, discover and figure things out.  The more curious a child is, the more he learns. Nurturing your child’s curiosity is one of the most important ways you can help her become a lifelong learner.

Parents don’t have to “make” their children curious or “push” their children to learn.  In fact, research shows that it is a child’s internal desire to learn (their curiosity), not external pressure, that motivates him to seek out new experiences and leads to greater success in school over the long term.

Find out your child curious question and answers through our Time to Learn program.

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How to encourage a reluctant reader?

Encouraging a Reluctant Reader

  • Work out why they are reluctant

The most likely reason your child is reluctant to read is because they find it an effort. Talk to their teacher if you have any specific concerns, but a child can find reading hard work even if they have no learning difficulty. Just make sure there are no other obvious reasons why they might not enjoy it: negative responses from others, feeling pressured, eyesight problems, over-tiredness, or being given books that are either too challenging or too easy. Also, think about what times of day they are reading – are they well-fed, well-rested, and have had a chance to play? For some children it’s just that reading is not high on their list of priorities when there are far more fun activities they can imagine doing instead!

  • Be enthusiastic

The most important role you can have in this is to encourage and praise your child when they read, especially if it is a big effort for them. Try to remain enthusiastic even when progress seems slow.

  • Have someone else listen to your child read

Anyone who will be non-judgemental and encouraging. Get them to say something like, “Mum tells me what an amazing reader you are. Can you read me a story?” Small children can also be a good choice, as your child might enjoy the role reversal, but be aware that little ones have a limited tolerance for slow readers and so this can backfire.

  • Use soft toys as listening companions

Get them to be interactive, and every so often have them respond to the story – jump with excitement, hide behind a cushion in fear, look closely at a picture… Illiterate furry animals who fall down in amazement when your child reads a particularly challenging word also go down a treat.

  • Don’t feel limited to books

Any reading is good reading. It could be that your child might prefer to read something other than stories – this is often particularly true for boys. Try comics, junior magazines, toy catalogues, reading apps, kids’ websites – my son loves the Lego site. Even if they only manage to read a few words, and the a lot of the time is spent looking at pictures or playing a game, the important thing is that they are associating good feelings with having to read words.

  • Be patient

Reading involves a lot of different skills that need to come together in order to make sense out of the written word. Some children pick this up quickly, while others need more time. With good teaching and encouragement they all get there. I didn’t enjoy learning to read as a child but when I grew up I loved studying literature, worked in publishing for a while, and now writing is my hobby! A slow start doesn’t have any bearing on what kind of reader your child will be as they grow up.

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Why some kids don’t like to read?

nonreaders

It’s helpful to figure out your child’s reasons for not liking or wanting to read. These reasons can help you decide what will work best in motivating your child to discover or rediscover how much fun reading can be.

WHY SOME KIDS DON’T LIKE TO READ?It’s boring. Don’t despair if your children have this response to reading that is assigned at school. You can expose them to another kind of reading at home that is related to their interests.

 

++I don’t have the time. Kids are busy. School, friends, sports, television, and chores all compete for their time. Some children need your help in rearranging their schedules to make time for reading.

++It’s too hard. For some children, reading is a slow, difficult process. If your child is having a hard time reading, talk with his or her reading teacher. Ask about how you can find interesting books and materials written at a level that matches your child’s reading ability.

++It’s not important. Often children don’t appreciate how reading can be purposeful or relevant to their lives. Parents can take it upon themselves to find reading materials on subjects that do matter to their kids. Let your child see you reading, too.

++It’s no fun. For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, books cause anxiety. Even for children with strong reading skills, pressure from school and home that emphasize reading for performance can make reading seem like a chore. Our advice: take the pressure off reading so that your children can enjoy it.

One great way to get kids motivated to read is simply giving them choices.  Let your child choose the book. Just like someone may love green beans but not like peas, some people love reading mysteries and others adventure tales. The lists go on and on. Once they find what they do like, you can’t keep a happy reader down

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Early Reading Habits That Make Young Kids Love Books

Reading Habit

How parents read to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can have a huge impact on how much they love reading and how readily they learn to read on their own one day. Here, simple steps you can take at bedtime tonight.

Read books with rich illustrations

The least helpful types of books for children under age 5: ones with simple photos illustrations €”and minimal text. Compared with illustrated books, these don’€™t trigger as many conversation starters, which are critical to child development.

Ask questions based on the illustrations

Children between 16 and 24 months add more words to their vocabularies on a daily basis than they do at any other age, says Morrison. The first and easiest words to learn and label from book illustrations are nouns like “dog” and “tree,” she says. If you see a picture of a dog, ask your toddler or preschooler such questions as “Do you see the dog?” “What color is the dog?” “What is the dog doing?” This base knowledge of nouns helps children add the other parts of speech more quickly.

Cuddle your child in your arms while reading

This helps your child associate reading with feeling close and comfortable. This will eventually help your child become more confident with reading out loud.

Share the obvious

Point out things about books that you may take for granted as an adult. Share the author’s name and describe what an author does, show your child how to hold a book, demonstrate how sentences are read from left to right, and what it’s like to turn the pages. Knowing these basic reading steps will make it easier for young children to read independently when they ’re ready.

Relate plots to real life

Ask open-ended questions (who, what, where, and why) to children age 3 and older to open a dialogue of storytelling. Relating a book ’s plot to a real-life situation your child has experienced helps her better remember the book and vocabulary words.

Use reading to spark conversation

It i€™s actually not important that you finish the entire book; what really matters is the nature of conversation you have during reading. A parent who readily responds to questions (even if they seem never-ending!) and has a back-and-forth style of talking with her child will help develop their kid’s cognitive skills and social development in the real world. Ask questions based on the illustrations and let the conversation flow from there.

Don’t be afraid to imitate voices or make silly sounds

Wham! Bang! Mooooo! These onomatopoeias may feel embarrassing to say, but your child needs to hear them (and will adore seeing your silly side). The variety of sounds and voices act as an early literacy skill that will eventually lead to your child recognizing phonemes, or the sound units that make up larger words, says Morrison. Recognizing and hearing these sound units help your children to speak full words.

Follow your child attention

If you force your child to sit still and read, he’ll come to think of reading as a punishment. Instead, go with the flow of your child’s attention span. When he loses interest he may run around the room a bit, but come back to the book in a few minutes. Don’t give up when your child runs away or gets bored. Keep reading and commenting on the story to yourself; often he’ll circle back to you out of curiosity.

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How to encourage your child to Read?

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Encouraging Your Child to Read.

  • Read and reread your young child’s favorite books every day. Reading books with rhymes helps develop a child’s awareness of the sounds in our language, an ability that is often associated with reading success in the early grades. If you have ever read “Green Eggs and Ham ”, you will always remember the repetitive refrain, “I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them Sam I am.” Young children also delight in predictable books with memorable refrains.
  • Read books with a variety of characters. All children should have the opportunity to read books with characters that look and speak like them. At the same time, children also enjoy reading stories about fantastic characters, such as talking animals that stimulate their imagination and build on their love of pretend play.
  • Enjoy rhyming books together. Children enjoy books with rhyming patterns. Young children find the use of nonsense rhymes playful and fun. As you read, invite your child to fill in some of the rhyming words.
  • As you read, point out the important features of a book. Before you start reading, show your child the title and author on the front of the book. You might say, “The title of this book is ‘Amazing Grace’. It is written by Mary Hoffman and the pictures are by Caroline Birch.”
  • As you read, point to each word with your finger. This demonstrates to your child that there is a one-to-one match between the spoken and written word. It also draws your child’s attention to the link between the words you say and the words on the page. Pointing as you read also reinforces the concept that we read from top to bottom and from the left to the right.
  • Use stories to introduce your child to new words. Focusing on new vocabulary words increases reading comprehension. You can promote your child’s vocabulary development by drawing his attention to new or unusual words in the story. It’s important to just have fun with these new words and help your child use them in real-life situations. After learning “capsize” in a story, you can point out that the toy boat in your child’s bath has capsized and the animals are now in the water.

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Bilingual can Boost Children’s Brain Power

bilingual - learning tech

There are many differences between a monolingual and bilingual child. In fact, a child that speaks two or more languages can easily monitor the ambiance and environment around him or her. In fact, this is similar to driving a motor vehicle. When a driver drives a vehicle, he or she has to perform many mental calculations to gauge the road, traffic coming from the opposite side, traffic that is behind the car, gauge distractions that occur on the roadside and to prevent any untoward incidences happening by monitoring the driving speed and by controlling speed, gear changing and clutch management. A bilingual child would be able to perform a series of mental tasks those are simultaneous and quick. In fact, these children always use lesser areas or sectors of brain to perform any mental tasks. Curiously, bilingual ability of the brain may postpone the onset of age related conditions like Alzheimer’s symptom.
Different advantages and benefits of being a bilingual
-Segregating words into different categories based on their meanings.

 

-Use information in many different ways and meanings.

 

-Easily playing word and scrabble games very easily.

 

-Easily solving crossword puzzles when children grow older and step into higher grade schools.

 

-Finding problems any problems very quickly.Easily develop personal relationship with others and connect with them without any problems.
Bilingual children always follow a particular pattern of learning which is systematic and organized. In fact, the rate at which a bilingual brain works is far superior to a child that just speaks one language. However, the biggest and most significant advantage of learning two languages is the ability of children to live anywhere in the world and confidence to lead a contended life.
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What reading does to your child?

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Reading alone expands a child’s world. By reading, a child can be transported to other times and places, which he would not be able to be, by just reading. History textbooks give facts, but historical stories have the power to make us feel as if we are living in that exact same setting.

Through reading, your child can imagine the life in the future, or on a distant planet. Books help us to consider the impossible situations and realise the many choices that we have in life. It builds a sense of wonder in your child.

Reading also allows us to live more lives than the one we have. While reading, we can face fear and loneliness without leaving the safety of our home. We’re able to sail around the world without fear of shipwreck, suffer blindness without loss of sight, while still feeling the emotions of the moment. Through reading, we can also feel the experiences that we may have someday.

Books cannot replace a real life experience, but they are useful to help us decide which experiences are worth having in the future

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Why Smart Kids Fail??

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Average kids from average homes received 432 negative statements as opposed to 32 positive statements daily.

Words such as “Don’t touch that.” “No, it is done this way” “No, you are not big enough.”

The Best way to help a  smart kids be more confident is to use more Positive words to the child

Here is a list of 15 encouraging words and phrases that will assist your child to keep trying and increase his self-esteem and confidence.

1. “I like the way you handled that”

2. “Wow, you really thought out the solution to that problem”

3. “I have faith in your ability”

4. “I appreciate what you did”

5. “You are really showing improvement”

6. “I know you will figure out a good way to do it next time”

7. “You don’t have to be perfect. Effort and improvement are important.”

8. “I trust you to be responsible”

9. “It must make you proud of yourself when you accomplish something like that”

10. “You are a valuable part of the team”

11. “It is okay to make a mistake, we all do. What do you think you learned from it?”

12. “How can we turn this into a positive?”

13. “I’m proud of you for trying”

14. “I’ll bet by next year you will be able to handle it, you just need to grow a little”

15. “I know you are disappointed that you didn’t win, but you’ll do better next time.”

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You Can Do Everyday To Make Parenting Awesome!

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Accept imperfection:  Parenting is a huge opportunity to  accept that everyone makes mistakes and that these mistakes are a chance to learn together, a wonderful time for reflection and an opportunity to problem solve and practice acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.

Smile: It’s contagious and brings happiness to the world.  After spending time apart, when you meet again, greet your child with a smile. When things are going not so great, breathe and try to think of something that makes you smile.  It’s simple and yet so powerful.
Listen:   Make time to listen to your child’s dreams, hopes and stories. Listen to the heartaches, the problems and the fears. Do not worry so much about fixing and solving problems, instead listen with the intent to be there, listen with a kind heart and strive to  be present and supportive.
Dare to be Ridiculous: You want your child to have courage, joy, happiness and a desire to find meaning in life? Dare to be ridiculous: dance together, laugh, laugh and laugh some more, invent, create, play, whatever it may be, step outside your comfort zone once a day. It’s worth every moment of connection and it models amazing qualities needed for success.
Be Encouraging: The more we can encourage, the more our children can flourish.   Look and celebrate process and progress, determination and courage. Face success and failures with compassion and with the intent to be supportive.
Expect Limits to be Tested: Know that limits and boundaries will be tested because your child is still learning and trying to understand how the world and relationships work.  Shift your expectations and face those test with determination, kindness and flexibility and guide your child towards better choices in positive ways.
Communicate with Respect: Remember the impact that your voice has on your child’s inner voice and strive to communicate in ways that are respectful, positive and kind. Say yes as much as you can and say no when you really mean it.
Spend time together: Look for opportunities, no matter how short they may be, to truly connect with your child each day. It can be five minutes reading together, two minutes shared looking at a picture, 15 minutes playing a game or going out to lunch together, find those moments and be truly present with your child. Children that feel connected are naturally more cooperative.
Aim for Balance:  Make time for yourself to re-energize. Our children are learning not just from what we say but so much from watching us. Striving to lead a balanced life, which includes time for ourselves really matters.  When our own tanks are full, we can handle the ups and downs of parenting much better.
Choose Love: Things will get messy, loud, sticky, complicated and stressful.Choose love and building a relationship over proving you have power. Children learn so much when given a chance to fix their own mistakes. Choose love and over the years your child will feel capable and remember “my parents loved me so” and not  ”my parents always told me so”.
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Inquiry Based Learning

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Inquiry based approaches to science education focus on student constructed learning as opposed to teacher-transmitted information” – Wilfred A. Franklin
Inquiry based learning is an old concept of learning. This form of learning is an educational concept that relies more on a learner’s side of involvement than a teacher’s intervention. This approach is quite different from a traditional mode of learning. In a conventional classroom, teachers use a system, where they come to the class with a set of pre-prepared course curriculum and deliver them to the students on a sequential mode. In fact, they are the active facilitators of teaching by providing a source of skills and knowledge to the students. The entire teaching process is teacher-driven, when the teacher manages and administers the entire proceedings.
On the other hand, an inquiry based learning system drives the students to learn in a productive manner. Here, the teacher or instructors act as mentors or guides to lead students to learn their lessons. The teacher-in-charge will allow the students to come with their own queries and questions that eventually help them learn with a motivated mind.
Children are curious and motivated to know and learn anything that interests them. Their intense desire to learn new things, will lead them to design, create, master and experiment with different things and issues. In an inquiry based learning system, there are two important entities. A child will have his or her interests and motivation to drive the learning process. On the contrary, both parents and teachers just act as facilitators or mentors in the entire learning process. An inquiry based learning process is evolving and organic, apart from its dynamic and interactive nature. It means that a child, who uses this approach is very active when he or she gets an active interest in learning. An inquiry based learning process involves the following important factors:
New discovery – Something interests and intrigues children that eventually force them to know more about it. This intriguing thing can fuel a child’s imagination and drive to learn more. This very precious response system works very well for any child. An urge or drive to explore new domains or things will help a child to try his or her maximum best to master the basics of lessons.
A sense of action to drive the learning process – Although children are busy learning their lessons, teachers keep observing and mentoring their activities. They will also provide many opportunities to children to ask their questions and seek clarifications. During the process of learning, children start collecting information and details regarding the lessons. In this way, children will interact with other children to learn on a mutual basis. Team learning is an excellent way to learn new things and lessons.
Results or outcome – At the end of the learning process, the children will assess their performance with the active help from their teachers. This step is a reflection period, when children compare their performance level and later assess what can be done to improve their performance. The teacher, who is in charge, will help them in the process. Once children feel confident, they can probe and test new areas, domains and territories. The outcome is academic excellence, cooperation and teamwork.
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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

1. Creating Time Try to plan ahead. Identify 10-15 minutes per day when you can play with the least interruptions. Turn the television off and involve brothers and sisters.

2. Involving Your Child Ask your child what they enjoy playing. Let them choose what they want to play. You would be surprised how many parents automatically decide how, what and when they are going to play. Children learn best and enjoy play more when they decide how they want to play and at what pace. Importantly their concentration, enjoyment levels and good behavior increases as a consequence! Hence there are strong “pay-offs” for both the child and parent.

3. Getting Down To Your Child’s Level Preparing for play is important. Make sure you are close to your child, have eye contact and show that you are interested e.g. if your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them.

4. Describing What You See Let your child pick a play activity and as your child is playing just concentrate on describing what you see in a very positive tone of voice e.g. “you have picked up the red brick and are placing it on the blue brick”. This skill will need a lot of practice as you will inevitably want to direct the play by saying such things as “I know lets put this brick on top of this other brick”. Avoid asking questions and copy your child’s play.

5. Praising What You See When you feel totally comfortable with describing what you see, try to begin to use descriptive praise i.e. “what a good girl for putting that red brick on the blue brick”. Be close when you praise, smile, get eye contact, use touches, hugs and strokes. Be sincere and genuine and praise as soon as possible after the good behaviour in order to encourage them to repeat it. Your child needs to know that you are pleased in order for them to learn self-confidence and to explore further. They are learning to be co-operative rather than to be defiant.

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Child Reading milestone

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Young children begin to recognize familiar words.Your young child may learn whole words that she can see, like STOP signs, before she learns individual letters. Young children may also learn logos and symbols, so, as they pass familiar restaurants, they may point out a known letter, such as “big M.”

Young children learn that stories have a clear structure and specific elements. As your young child listens to stories, he learns that all good stories have a beginning, middle, and end. He also learns to predict, based on the book cover, what the story will be about, as well as what might happen next or how the story will end. Young children learn that there are characters in stories and that the setting (where and when it takes place) is something that a listener would want to know. Your child will enjoy comparing the characters in a book to himself and to other real life people he knows.

Your young child may “pretend” to read. Children who have been read to frequently will pretend to read books to themselves or to their toy dolls and animals, using their own words or phrases from the story. Parents and caregivers may also observe young children incorporating pretend reading into their play—”reading” a recipe as they make a cake or “reading” a shopping list as they put groceries in their basket.

Young children become aware that the world is filled with letters. During the preschool years, many young children will be able to recite or sing the alphabet. They may begin to recognize familiar letters, especially letters in their own names, followed by letters from parents’, siblings’, and friends’ names. Finding familiar letters in their homes, at preschool, or in the grocery store is very exciting for young children, and they will let parents and caregivers know when “I found another big N!” or “Hey, there is the little t!”

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Why is reading aloud to your child important?

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You child will be able to hear how reading sounds like when it’s done by an adult, how it is different from his own reading. He carries the echo of the sound in his ear as he learns to read alone.

Even when a child develops enough confidence in himself by reading to his parents and younger siblings, he still needs to hear stories read aloud for him too. The growing independence in reading alone is strengthened by the praise he receives from his listeners.

Reading aloud is a social event, your child learns not only stories, he learns about life, his family, his place in the world. While reading a story, we tend to talk about it and even after the reading is over, we still continue to talk about it. Events from stories can be related to everyday life, reinforcing the story in your child’s mind.

Hearing a story in a group at the library or school cannot compare to hearing a story read aloud to you by your own parent at home. When you read to your children, you are not only teaching them about the material they are reading. You are telling them that they are important to you, that they are safe and secure with you by their side.

All children needs to receive messages like these, to show that you feel that they are important to you.

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Intelligence: Nature Vs Nurture

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A person’s learning and ability derives from a combination of genetics and environment. Nature may include some form of cognitive inherits from parents, and nurture includes the process of inferential and experiential learning that registers in the brain.

There are many components to intelligence. Memory, comparative behavior, planning behavior, classification, choice of inputs and outputs, language etc.

One important element is the use of time, not only “quality” but quantity time. Intelligence involves elements of knowing what is right or neccessary, but without proper guidance or mentoring, this intelligence is applied ” selectively” in the face of benefits and threats. Thus, it is important to guide the children in coupling intelligence with values and applications for a healthy individuals, and not intelligence as a unit only.

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