Category Archives: Learning & Development

How do I get my child off to a good start in school?

Some useful tips on giving your child a good start in school – some of these should prove invaluable to you too!

By JOY BROOKE Kirkland Reporter Contributor September 13, 2012 · 8:54 AM Dear Mrs. Brooke, How do I get my child off to a good start in school? Thank you, Concerned Parent   Dear Concerned Parent, What a great question and one that many parents often wonder. As a parent with a child entering kindergarten this year I asked myself the same question. There are many things we can do as our child’s first and most important teacher to ease this back-to-school transition and set them up for school success. Below are some tips that I have recommended to parents of my students in the past and that I am already implementing in my own home with my son.

Before School Begins

Get doctor and dentist appointments out of the way if possible. It is of course understandable when an emergency takes place, but routine exams should be scheduled out of the school day. We know when kids are absent they miss things and many times the class experience is hard to make up no matter how hard teachers try.

Read all information that comes home thoroughly and visit the school website. Get all numbers and emails stored in your contacts now. As soon as school starts, even more information will be sent and you may be feel overloaded and miss out on valuable information.

Coordinate the school calendar with your own so you are aware of important dates such as early release days, holidays, winter and spring breaks, Conference days, etc. If you are aware you will be taking a vacation during the school year you may let the teacher know once school starts but always follow up two to three weeks prior and even a few days before as a reminder.


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Free Educational Apps(iPad): Early Childhood

 Educational Apps for Kids
Here’s a look at three great apps that are perfect for young children. Motion Math helps develop basic mathematics skills while Dino Dan uses augmented reality to help youngsters learn to inquire about and investigate the world around them. Finally, Art in Motion, though not originally designed with kids in mind, can help develop creativity in young children. Here’s an interview I did with Appolicious explaining how I approach app development from the perspective of being an ex kindergarten teacher. In this tranquil setting of a muted underwater scene, there lives a special math game where young players use […]

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Is technology sapping children’s creativity?

The technology revolution has sparked a new debate about just how much parents should allow their young children to play with iPads, iPhones and other devices. Here’s a smart look at the issue by early childhood development expert Nancy Carlsson-Paige , a professor emerita of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma., when she won the Embracing the Legacy Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps for work over several decades on behalf of children and families. Carlsson-Paige is author of Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Road Map for Raising Confident, Creative, Compassionate Kids and the mother of two artist sons, Matt and Kyle Damon. […]

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Why a Child’s Character May Determine Their Success

Paul Tough is the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character; He has written extensively about education, child development, poverty, and politics, including cover stories in the New York Times Magazine on character education, the achievement gap, and the Harlem Children’s Zone

In this interview, Paul talks about why a child’s non-cognitive skills and character are important when determining a child’s success, how where someone grows up impacts their success rate, and more.

What made you want to write this book and what do you want children (and their parents) to get out of it?

In 2008, I published my first book, “Whatever It Takes,” about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone. I spent five years reporting that book, but when I got to the end of that process, I realized I still had some big questions about what happens in childhood – not just in low-income neighborhoods like Harlem, but in affluent communities as well. I wanted to know why some kids succeed and some don’t; what experiences and circumstances are most likely to direct children toward good or bad outcomes.

At the same time, my wife and I had our first child, which meant that suddenly these questions had a personal dimension for me as well – I wanted to know what I could do as a parent to steer my son toward a happier and more fulfilling life. […]

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How to Communicate with a Newborn Baby

Interacting with newborn babies through words and songs builds the bond between parent and child now and into the future. From the moment our children are born they’re capable of communicating with us through sounds and gestures. As parents we soon learn that different cries mean different things. From the moment our children are born they’re capable of communicating with us through sounds and gestures. As parents we soon learn that different cries mean different things. And how we respond to their cries, and interact with them teaches newborns a lot about communicating with the world around them.

The little snippets of conversation and face to face contact we have with our newborns are the first steps towards their first words. Which is why, according to speech and language pathologist Joy Carol, we need to be interacting with our newborns from birth. “Talk to them throughout the day”, explains Carol. “Not that you sound like radio noise in the background, but with words are that are animated, and with lots of facial expression. Tune into what the child is interested in, so that they’re part of your day and they can see what’s going on. It’s important to have a lot of face to face contact using simple words with your children, even from when they’re a baby.”

And if you have a tendency to talk to your baby in a sing-songy voice, don’t worry. This type of speech is instinctual and important to the development of a child’s speech. “When we speak with young children, we do use a form of sing song in our voice” explains Carol. “This type of speech is called “mother-eaze”. The melody has a lot of meaning to it because it is something children and infants attach meaning to.”

Keep in mind, not only do those one-on-one conversations you have while feeding and changing your baby help children develop language, it’s also helping you bond even closer to your newborn, creating that vital emotional attachment.

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