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Back-to-School Anxiety for Children With Dyslexia

This article is part 10 of 10 in the column Simple Words

Back-to-school can be a stressful time of year for both children and parents. Adding learning differences to the equation can increase levels of stress and may lead to anxiety. Reducing stress overall definitely helps the entire family be happier.

Children with dyslexia need additional emotional support to get through a school day Read more

“Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Burning of the School”

This article is part 8 of 8 in the column Flights of Fancy

As little ones gather up their school supplies and head off to school this September, what are the attitudes about school that they bring along with their backpacks?  In meeting kids during research, I have heard plenty of young ones say that they only like two things about school:  gym and recess.  It’s disarming for a college professor to consider this; we don’t have either gym or recess in college. Read more

Why Make-Believe Play Is an Important Part of Child Development

Visit any preschool classroom during free play and you will likely see a child pretending to be someone else.

Make-believe play is a ubiquitous part of early childhood. And beyond being fun for kids, pretending and other kinds of imaginative play are also believed by some to be critical to healthy child development.

Research has found a relationship between pretend play and a child’s developing creativity, understanding of others, and social competence with peers.

As a psychologist who studies imaginary play and Read more

School: Motivate Your Child to Embrace Learning

This article is part 5 of 5 in the column Two Peds in a Pod®

“What will happen if your grade drops from an “A” to a “C”?” I sometimes ask during a check-up.

Many kids shrug and say, “Try harder next time, I suppose.” Others look shocked and anxious about the possibility and are speechless.

Still others will point at their parents and say,”THEY would kill me.”

Observe a toddler learning a new skill. You will see him repeatedly try to fit a ball into a hole until he is either successful or wanders way. He is not anxious or afraid of failure. He is not “stressed” about trying to learn. Although all children start this way, too often toddlers become big kids who end up in my office discouraged and worried about school performance. Today’s guest writers, based on the work of Dr. Carol Dweck, discuss ways parents can influence their children so that they embrace learning.

– Drs. Lai and Kardos

Read more

Building Confidence One Backpack at a Time

C2C Backpack A Thon

Starting the year off right can be as simple as having a pair of confidence-boosting sneakers or a backpack full of brand-new pencils, pens, and paper.

But for families struggling to pay for housing and food, school supplies can be an unaffordable necessity.

On August 10, Cradles to Crayons hosted its 10th annual Backpack-A-Thon at Lincoln Financial Field, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Over the course of just two hours, 600 volunteers filled 30,000 backpacks, assembly-line style, with new school supplies. Read more

Kindergartners Get Little Time to Play: Why Does It Matter?

Being a kindergartner today is very different from being a kindergartner 20 years ago. In fact, it is more like first grade.

Researchers have demonstrated that 5-year-olds are spending more time engaged in teacher-led academic learning activities than play-based learning opportunities that facilitate child-initiated investigations and foster social development among peers. Read more

Why Is English So Hard to Read?

This article is part 9 of 10 in the column Simple Words

Learning to read does not happen as naturally or at as young an age as learning to speak.

Children need to intentionally work on literacy to master this skill. In addition, English is filled with inconsistencies, and these make the language more difficult for children with dyslexia to decode or encode.

If you are like the majority of native English speakers, you might not even be aware of these inconsistencies while you speak. But when it comes to reading and writing, these inconsistencies make English a tough language for learners and users.

 

What are these inconsistencies in English? Read more

How to Curtail Summer Learning Loss

This article is part 8 of 10 in the column Simple Words

Leave behind the morning routines, after-school activities, and weekend games: summer is here!

Forget about tears at school pickups and about meltdowns during homework. Now is the time to relax and enjoy the sun. But don’t throw the schoolbooks out the window just yet.

While summer break is an excellent time for all children to recharge their batteries, a long break from academics can result in learning losses both in reading and math. Read more

Farm Week in Denmark is Not Your Average Petting Zoo

This article is part 4 of 4 in the column American Mom In Denmark

My first hint that the Danes are generally not sentimental about animals came last year during our first Farm Week at my sons’ combined forest kindergarten and day care.

At the beginning of the week, I picked up my younger son—who was 2½ years old at the time—from the vuggestue (a day care center for infants and toddlers up to age 3) after his midday nap. He was groggy from sleep and enjoying an afternoon snack.

“We had a chicken in the vuggestue today,” the teacher told me, “because it is Farm Week.” Oh wow! A chicken! I imagined a chicken walking around in the back garden Read more

Raise Well-Behaved Children, Part 2: Discipline Without Spanking

This article is part 3 of 5 in the column Two Peds in a Pod®

Questions: Why does that child run into the road? Why does that child hit other kids?

Answer: Because no one ever taught him not to.

Toddlers need lots of teaching, so where do you start? To help teach your on-the-move, act-first-and-ignore-the-consequences toddler how to become more civilized, first make sure BOTH parents agree on the rules. Teach your toddler that you mean what you say. When you call your toddler and he does not come right away, GO TO HIM AND  LEAD HIM BY THE HAND OR PICK HIM UP no matter what the situation. Also remember that civilizing a toddler is a work in progress, not an afternoon project. Read more

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