Child coloring a book

How Can You Tell If Your Child is Ready for Preschool?

As soon as you see your toddler begin to walk on their own or communicate in words and phrases, you might consider enrolling them in a preschool. Child development is important to nurture at an early age, but one of the critical things that you should consider is whether your child is ready for preschool. Determining if your child is ready to start preschool can be an anxiety-inducing process. As much as possible, you want to make sure that your child feels safe and comfortable in a new environment.

While most preschools accept children between two and four years old, educators also look into a child’s preschool readiness – whether the child’s is ready to make a transition into a preschool environment, including its routines and expectations. Thing is, certain building blocks or skills are necessary to develop preschool readiness, including language, sensory, social, and self-care skills. Establishment of these building blocks will help your child adjust easier, allowing them to make a smooth and successful transition into the preschool environment. You can identify whether your child is ready for preschool by considering these following factors.

Separation Anxiety

Child hugging his fatherIf your child is used to having you around every time they need you, then it might be difficult for them to be apart from you when the time comes that he starts going to school. They might feel distressed, anxious, or scared when they see you leave, causing them to throw a tantrum. Before your child starts preschool, try creating opportunities that will allow your child to be away from you. You can schedule a weekend with their grandparents or you can ask a babysitter or a relative to care for your child. Do this gradually, until your child starts to feel comfortable spending time away from you. However, if you can’t workout separations anxiety upfront and if your child cries during their first few days at school, don’t worry. Many preschools would allow parents to spend a few minutes in the classroom to help children calm down.

Self-Care Skills

While some schools are more lenient, there are preschools that will require children to exhibit independent behavior. This may include potty training, being able tie shoelaces, eating with utensils, or opening their own bags. Though children are not expected to fully master these skills at their age, being able to do these tasks will make the adjustment period less stressful.

Comfort with Routine

Preschools usually follow a predictable schedule. When the same things happen every day, children feel more comfortable and in control. It will help if you and your child establish a routine at home. Schedule time for reading, play, bath time, meal time and bedtime and stick to it.

Social Interaction

One of the activities preschool usually have is “circle time”, allowing students to learn and play together, sit still, and listen to stories. This can be difficult for children who are still more focused on exploring their surroundings or those who have short attention span. You can help prepare your child for such interactions by scheduling play dates or signing them up in a summer class so they can experience how its like playing with other children.

Before sending your child to preschool, it is important to look into these factors. Pushing your child to adjust in a new environment when he is not physically, emotionally, or socially ready might just make it a traumatizing experience for them, and in the end could only hinder their learning and development.

Male high school teacher

How High School Teachers Engage Students to Learn

It is a sad truth that some high school students do not feel inspired to learn in school. This leads to not only lowered achievements but also an overall disinterest in learning.

While there are lots of school strategies to motivate students to focus on their subjects, many high schools in progressive areas like Salt Lake City continue to look for ways to inspire and encourage students to become more engaged in learning. Here are some strategies that teachers and instructors apply to make a difference.

Giving Students Control

Sometimes, teachers become too attached to their manual and modules that they forget about the capabilities of their students. They hardly ever track each student’s learning progress because of the unending list of to-do’s.

Some students begin to lose interest in learning when they cannot cope and feel overwhelmed with lessons and schoolwork. Teachers can counter this by allowing students to track their own progress with simple lists to empower and motivate them. Students who are in control of their learning become more interested and feel more accountable to deliver.

Focusing on Short-Term Goals in the Classroom

High school students may not care much about long-term goals because the future is a long time away for them. Teachers can focus more on visible and easy-to-reach goals.

This can be incorporated into learning activities like using writing prompts for better writing, reading aloud activities for low ability students. Teachers and students can become more engaged when they pay attention to their present actions and activities.

Using Passive Learning for Disengaged Students

Relying on positive attitude for students to learn will not work for those who are not interested or are disengaged. Students will absorb knowledge better when they are exposed to it via oral language and listening.

One way to use this is through instructional videos on different subjects to build background knowledge. Reading aloud to some students is rarely done in secondary students, but it is actually a great strategy to engage students to listen and learn.

Using the Power of Imitation

Teachers can ask students to copy and imitate good examples that they see around them. It is not teaching them to cheat; rather, it is a passive way of internalizing basic and social skills. Help them to learn from one another so that they can improve.

Coaching and Mentoring

Female high school teacher and her student

Teachers are regarded as evaluators and judges of a student’s learning progress. To become their coach and mentor means that a student has a helping ally that will guide them to reach their goals.

Coaches and mentors will have tips to help the student excel, and if students trust their teachers as they believe their sports coaches, they will be more engaged in the learning process.

Student engagement is necessary for academic growth and development. Disinterested and disengaged high school students may be undergoing life changes that affect their ability to focus. Teachers can help students out by using strategies that will reverse disengagement and encourage them to love and own their learning.

Student answering an exam

Accepting Your Child’s Choice of College

The college dream starts as early as primary school for some. It’s usually fueled by their parents’ aspirations, especially if they graduated from a prestigious school and they want their child to attend when it’s time. Young hopefuls may also want to attend the same university that taught an influential person they admire. They may even get their first university merchandise as a Christmas gift as a sort of encouragement for their dream.

If that’s how it was for your child, they may have a hard time admitting that they had changed their mind. Maybe they’re considering a different, but equally prestigious university. Maybe they wanted to change their plans for their life. Whatever it is that changed their mind, you should show support unconditionally. Do the following to show them that you have their back:

Help Them Fill Out Their Application Forms

It’s normal for students to have a backup, so they will have other options should their original plan fails. However, if they’ve changed their heart and would prefer to go to a university known to compete with the one everyone expected them to attend, they may not have prepared to apply for it.

Now is your chance to show them your full support by preparing everything they need. You may even find a college admissions consultant to inquire about differences when it comes to the different universities. Each one may consider different values, so you should know how to apply in a way that sets your child apart from the thousands of other applicants.

Encourage Them to Talk Openly About Their Choice

Mother talking to her teenage daughterIt can be scary for your child to openly admit that they don’t want to go to the university everyone else in the family went to, but if they are sure of their choice, you should not make them regret it.

The choice of campus should not be enough to strain family ties, especially because no one knows whether they’ll get in. When they do get in, they will appreciate having the family congratulate them and being proud of their achievement. Remember that the choice of campus is not about prestige, it’s about getting into the academic institution that best fits your child’s interests.

Talk to the Family

It’s one thing to encourage an applicant to talk about their choice, but it’s even better to see everyone accepting the change openly. For family members who are deeply loyal to their university, they may feel betrayed or let down. They may even think that your child is choosing a different school just to spite the family name.

It’s your job as the parent to protect your already-stressed child from all the unnecessary drama over something that will benefit your child’s future. Everyone may have their opinions, but talk to them so they can express their feelings and not hurt or belittle your child in any way. The last thing you want is for your child to go through all the discussion with their relatives, and for it to stress them enough that they end up not getting into the university they want.

The choice of college is your child’s prerogative. Remind everyone that while their opinion is appreciated, this is not about them.

The Pros of Reading Books and E-Books

On Paper or On Screen? The Pros of Reading Books and E-Books

In the digital age, it seems like anything that can be put on a computer screen will be put into a computer screen, from food delivery and hotels, to taxis and furniture delivery. Over the years, I’ve tried to embrace as much of this technology as I could (for fear of being called a Luddite!), but there was one thing that I only recently started embracing: e-books.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I still love my hardbound collection (even the paperbacks), but e-books have really opened my eyes to the possibilities of technology. But more importantly, it’s also shown me how this technology can inspire the younger generation to read more.

I can hear the purists now though, “e-books aren’t real books! Nothing beats paper!” And believe me, I would have agreed with you a few years ago, but trust me, there’s a lot of benefits to e-books. Which isn’t to say that traditional books aren’t great too, they are; it’s just that e-books are not the hardcover killers that people make them out to be. In fact, if done right, e-books can help students appreciate traditional books more.

While browsing the bookstore to buy a gift for that special someone (or yourself), you may be faced with a tough decision: e-books or the old-fashioned kind? Each one has its pros and cons, and choosing the best option depends on a number of factors.

Convenience

For a bibliophile like myself, there’s nothing more impressive than seeing a room with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookshelves filled with all manner of books. But the problem with that setup? I can’t bring all of those books in my backpack!

books

With e-books, you can fit entire libraries into a single electronic reader. This makes it convenient when you want to take a break from reading Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and want to continue your reading of Hegel’s Dialectics.

Sustainability

I love the smell of books: the ink, the paper, oh that wonderful smell of paper! Unfortunately, because of society’s mass consumerism and unchecked industry, our forests are being destroyed at a rate that is not only alarming, it’s catastrophic. While there are few things in life that make me as happy as that new book smell, I need to be practical.

E-books are digital, which means there’s no environmental impact in their creation. Yes, the digital readers require resources like rare earth materials and alloys and such, but they are, in the long, more sustainable than buying paper books day in and day out. While the written word on paper is magical, we also need to be practical. Besides, a real reader will find that magic anywhere, whether it’s on a standard 6”x9” sheet or on an electronic screen.

The Kids Are Already On It

In 2014, the Library & Information Science Research, a journal dedicated to all things books, conducted a study that focused on more than a hundred 10th graders and their reading habits. They found that an overwhelming majority of these kids preferred e-books over traditional books.

This is an example of technology helping kids to read: newer generations of students are more comfortable with electronic devices, so reading an e-book is more than just preferable, it’s actually interesting for them. It also helps that most e-book readers also have options to adjust the font size, offer on-screen explanation of difficult words, increasing the brightness, etc. all of which make them more accessible to kids.

So the next time you feel the urge to scold a child for spending too much time on their computer or tablet, bear in mind that they’re probably just reading a book!

E-books help the visually impaired

Children with dyslexia are often turned off by the idea of reading. Unfortunately, because of their condition, dyslexic children are lacking in terms of reading skills and thus have a harder time progressing with their education. However, scientists are discovering that e-book readers might just be a solution to that problem.

e-books

A component of dyslexia is its inefficiency of processing visual information. Because traditional books are static, dyslexics have to struggle with understanding every sentence. However, e-book readers give them an option to increase the text size. This might not seem like much, but for dyslexics, it’s a godsend: studies show that it helps them read more efficiently, and has in fact made it easier for some. This is because larger text sizes mean shorter lines of text, which helps them process information more effectively, and ultimately, making book reading an accessible and enjoyable activity.

But before you start thinking I’m some kind of e-book zealot, let me remind you why I still love traditional books…

People Retain More Information from Paper

Scientists from around the world are finding evidence that reading on paper might actually be much better for retaining data as well as remaining focused. Researchers from Norway’s Stavanger University conducted small-scale studies that tested people’s ability to remember key plot points of stories when read from either a traditional book or an e-book. They found that readers who were using a Kindle scored higher in memory tests as opposed to those reading from paper.

They believe that the tactile sense of paper is what gives it an edge in terms of retaining information: because the book’s weight shifts from right to left as you progress, the brain is more engaged and focused on processing all this data at once, helping it retain as much information as possible. Feeling the weight of the book shift dynamically while you’re reading the story makes it easier for your brain to visualize plot points and other story details.

I told you books were magic!

Traditional Books Help with Eye Strain

One of the biggest drawbacks of e-books is its screen luminance. Even e-book readers that have low-light screens are still emitting artificial light, which interferes with a person’s ability to sleep and putting strain on their eyes. Reading from an e-book reader at night can also impair your body’s production of melatonin.

traditional book

Traditional books don’t have that problem. When reading from a traditional book under good lighting, your eyes relax over time, and do not interfere with your body’s sleep-cycle. Any reader who’s ever fallen asleep reading a book will attest to this!

In my opinion, one type of book isn’t better than the other: they both have their pros and cons, and at the end of the day, it’s all about preference. As for me, well, I like my Kindle; I take it everywhere I go, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting rid of my physical library any time soon!

Kid with special needs being hugged

Amazing Back-to-School Tips for Children with Special Needs

A new school means a set of new teachers, new grade, and maybe even a new school for your child. That’s why it’s best to find ways to help them be as successful as they can be. Back-to-school time can be busy, and it can get twice as much when you have a child with special needs. Before you find a special needs school in Bali, here are a few things that you can consider:

Give them an idea of how it will go

You can start your child’s summer days early and give them something they can look forward to this coming school year. One suggestion that care.com provides is to tell them you’ll go some place else right after breakfast. If you’re going to be home after the day ends, it’s best to tell them how their day will look. You can finish it with an art project or even with a game.

Connect personally with the teacher

It’s best to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher as well as the therapists. Get to know them better and connect with them. You can set up a time to come to their school and meet up with your child’s staff. You can also provide them with a few information about your child’s strengths and challenges. Very Well Family also suggests to let everyone know that you’re willing to talk and consider options that are best for your child.

Connect school with the word fun

Little girl in the playgroundTry to visit the school as often as you can. You can also do regular weekend visits to the playground to help your child familiarize themselves with their new environment. As soon as the school year approaches, it’s best to call ahead and see if you can schedule a meeting with the principal as well as the teacher.

Create a checklist

As much as you would like to monitor your child’s development, you will probably be hearing about their progress only when their report card comes. The easiest way to address this problem is to provide your child’s teacher with a checklist that they can answer every day. It should only be a quick yes or no question that the teacher or aid can easily answer before your child gets home.

Ease their anxiety

If it’s challenging for your child to adjust to their new environment, it’s best to have them familiarize with the faces that they will meet at school. If the staff agrees, you can take photos of the principals, teachers, aids and nurses, the cafeteria, and the gym. You can show it to your child before school starts to give them a sense of reassurance.

Starting a school year at a different school can be a challenge. That’s why it’s best to show them your support especially while they’re adjusting. You can ask them how their day went and made them feel that everything is okay. Have an open and constant communication with the school staff so you will be aware of your child’s progress.