Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: school

Watch Your Language

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health , Tags: illiterate, language, literacy, riots, school, speech, toddlers

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It has been reported in a recent study that language checks should become a routine for all toddlers and that speech and language checks should be as regular as those for checking a child's weight and growth.

It is said that without the necessary help, children with undiagnosed speech problems could suffer a life of failure if they go unchecked and unaided.  By two years old, children are already destined to failure or success at school.

The review stated that children with problems just slip through the net and that without help they could literally find themselves with greater problems in later school life. Waiting until school age is just too late.  By the age of five the problem is just too ingrained and children are likely to never catch up with their fellow school mates. They are more likely to be unemployed in later life and even end up in prison!

Although the screening and helping of children will cost money, it is estimated that for every £1 spent on children with impairments, the return on the investment is actually over £6.  It could be costly while the child grows up, but it will effectively negate the cost of dealing with problems in later life.

It was even suggested that better literacy and speech education may have prevented last year's riots, and it was estimated that 90% of the rioters were illiterate.

Sobering thoughts...

Children's Packed Lunches Don't Contain Enough Fruit and Vegetables!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: food, healthy eating, lunchboxes, packed lunch, school, school food

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Research has shown that parents are not providing enough fruit and vegetable in their children's packed lunches; 3,500 children had their lunches examined and the findings showed that nearly half did not contain any fruit or vegetables at all. The School Food Trust said that at least 2 portions of fruit and veg should be included in everyone's lunch box in order to get the children towards their '5 a day' requirement.

Jamie Oliver did great work improving school dinners, and now school dinners are better than ever at helping to provide children with a balanced and healthy diet. But nutritionists fear that lunch boxes have been ignored and are very not nutritionally sound. Healthy packed lunches are a great way to help children reach their five a day requirement, they claimed it was a "missed opportunity".

The trust carried out their research two years ago, in 2009, so hopefully things are better now, but still of the 135 schools researched, so many children did not have a healthy, balanced meal to eat. Only 58% had a single item that could be counted towards their five a day - many had nothing fresh at all.

The World Cancer Research Fund has pointed out the value in eating fruit and veg from an early age and that not including fresh items in a lunch box is a missed opportunity. Healthy eating at school promotes a healthy living and parents should be provided with information helping them provide a healthy lunch for their children.

Here are some ideas to add fruit and vegetable to your children's packed lunches:-

  • Put fresh salad inside sandwiches
  • Add finger fruit and veg such as grapes, cherry tomatoes, celery, carrot sticks etc.
  • Give them a little pot of processed fruit, available from supermarkets
  • Add easy to manage fruit such as satsumas and bananas
  • Prepare a pot of fork salad rather than sandwiches with grated carrot, coleslaw, potatoe salad etc.

Choose Me, Miss!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Child Development , Tags: bbc, class, dylan william, hands up, learning, london university institute of education, school

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In schools where children are banned to put their hands up in class, the pupils learn twice as fast according to an experiment carried out last year where children were told not to put up their hands. In a class of 13 year olds, it improved their academic performance and they learned quicker when not made to answer teachers questions by raising their hand. Instead they were all told to write their answer on white boards on their desks and lift the boards at the same time to show the teacher their answers.

The study was carried out for a BBC documentary.  The new way of working helped not only the shy and less able pupils but it also helped the more confident child too.

The study was led by Professor Dylan William, deputy director of the London University Institute for Education. He admitted the children and teachers did not like the new system at the start. Bold students missed showing off that they knew the answers, uninterested children had to actually contribute and work, and teachers too had to chance their way of working.

The study also found that making the students exercise at the start of each day also helped with their performance. Children worked together more and the dynamic of the class changed for the better.

French children to learn English at age 3!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Child Development, Preschool Children , Tags: english, france, french, language, learning languages, school

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President Sarkozy of France has said that all French children should learn English at the age of three. He said he wants French children to learn 'the language of Shakespeare'.

In comparison, General Charles de Gaulle, never spoke anything but French in public. Opposition to the idea claims it will dilute the French language. Some say its just a trend, others say that children of three can barely talk their own language let alone cope with a second language.  The French have always been highly protective of their language, introducing bans on the import of foreign words (such as 'computer' and 'internet') into their own language, instead mandating the use of French terms.

France's Education Minister states that not learning English can be a real hindrance to French people. In England we learn a second language at age 11 although some schools introduce languages earlier.

Playground Games Are As Fun As Ever!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Child Development, Make Believe , Tags: children, games, michael rosen, playground, playing, research, school

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What were the games you liked best at school: skipping, Cat's Cradle, British Bulldog, hand-clapping rhymes, marbles?  People would have us believe that all these games have completely been wiped out by the advent of the DS, television, DVDs etc.  However recent research has found, not surprisingly, that playground games are as popular and as fun as ever they were!

The Universities of London, Sheffield and East London carried out research on traditional games children play and it found that many of the traditional games we enjoyed are still played today, with some modern references thrown in.

Two years was spent studying the children at play in schools.  There were lots of imitation games such as their own version of Britian's Got Talent and chat shows, and lots of mimicking their childhood heroes such as Simon Cowell and pop stars.

The finding suggest that children are in fact better informed by their access to the digital media of today.  They are not, as many would have us believe, walking around zombiefied once starved of their Wii or DS. Instead, they use the information they have and build ideas and develop themes in an accomplished way.

The results of the study entitled 'Children's Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age' will be presented at the British Library next week by former children's laureate Michael Rosen.

Do The Walk!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Preschool Children , Tags: colours, counting, fit, games, healthy, ideas, letters, nursery, school, walk, weather

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Walking to pre-school or nursery in the bad, autumnal weather can be  a real bore for little ones, especially those who are only just out of the buggy.  Here are a few ideas to perk up your walk together and do a bit of fun learning on the way!

Weathery Walk - walk the way you might in different types of weather.

  • Trudge through snow
  • Battle against raging rain
  • Fan yourself in the heat of the hot sun
  • Keep upright in the blowy wind

Colour-Spy - spot things that are certain colours.  Find 3 red things (traffic light, post box, car) etc.

Letter Think - think of things that begin with certain letters.  Name 4 things beginning with "d".  Even little ones can do this with come help.  Give a clue to help them get to a "d" word.

Wonkey Walks - Walk in different ways between the trees you pass.  So, walk like a frog to the next tree.  Then walk like a monkey to the next tree.

Tree Races - If you live on a quiet road you could race to the next tree.  See who gets there first.

Count the Steps - estimate how may steps you need to get to the next landmark (tree/traffic lights) and simply count how many steps you actually take.  How close were you?

Car Count - name a colour and count how many cars you see on the way of that colour.

Walking to school or nursery is a great, healthy way to start the day;  these ideas will make it fun too!  Have a good day!

Walking To School Week

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Kids Art and Craft, Preschool Children , Tags: active, health, school, walk to school week, walking

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This week, all over the country, children and parents are choosing to walk to nursery, pre-school and school rather than drive.  In an effort to encourage children to be active, and reduce the use of cars at peak hours, Walk To School Week has been hailed another resounding success with thousands of children using their feet rather than a vehicle to get to school.

The campaign is arranged by the charity Living Streets with funding from the Department of Transport.  It asks  parents, teachers and everyone travelling to and from school  not to use their car for this one week.   It is reported that 50% of children who wouldn't normally walk to school, have walked this week.

Walking to school:

  • reduces air pollution
  • reduces traffic
  • improves children's activity levels
  • helps increase fitness
  • is social (you'll spot your friends on the way!)
  • good fun!

WOW is the scheme that encourages children to Walk Once a Week.  If they do so, they get a little metal badge designed by children in the national badge competition.

The Walk To School campaign history:-

  • 1995: Five primary schools in Hertfordshire participated
  • 1996: The campaign went national and was included in Child Safety Week
  • 2000: The first ever International Walk To School Week was launched
  • 2003: Walk To School Week is supported by over 33 countries
  • 2005: The focus was on health
  • 2006: The focus was on independence of children
  • 2007: The focus was on the environment
  • 2010: 2 million children have taken part!

The next event is the Walk To School October!

When Older Siblings Troop off to School...

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Toddlers, ToucanLearn, Parenting, Preschool Children , Tags: school, siblings, toucanlearn

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The start of a new school year may introduce significant change in the routine of younger siblings. With older siblings no longer about each day, younger siblings may be upset by the sudden change. They may even experience fear or anxiety if they don't understand the change. Make sure you talk and explain to younger children that their brothers and sisters are starting at school, and if you are lucky enough to spend every day with your children, take advantage of quality time with the younger siblings. Try to take them out on excursions and fill their day with activities. Don't forget to use ToucanLearn as a regular source of activities to do together. Look for a craft activity to do each day at home, and maybe an outside activity to do on a walk. Many of our outdoor activities can be done on the school run itself as you walk to drop off or pick up siblings. If your younger children are upset that they can't go to school, pretend that their craft activities at home are their own school at home - they will love to be able to do what their older brothers and sisters are doing.


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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

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