Monday, 1 October 2012

Curiosity - The Learning Fuel

 Every child in his or her developing years is a very keen learner. Children are curious about almost everything that takes place around them. Whatever they see, hear and smell are all like mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Curiosity is merely their natural desire to learn, explore, discover and understand things, which make them understand the world around them.
   A curious child keeps exploring and learning, probably well into his adulthood as well. Hence, supporting your child's natural ability to be curious will help him become certainly a life-long learner. In addition, during the process of discovery, your child has ample chances to develop his creativity and also learn various problem solving skills on his own.
   As a parent, you can provide opportunities and ambiance to help nurture your child's curiosity in following ways: 

  • Expose frequently your child to new knowledge and experience through reading books, listening moral stories, participating in outdoor activities and playing various games. 
  • Encourage your child to ask question if he has doubts or queries, and help him to finding the answers. Make sure to make your little learner not be afraid of asking and testing out new ideas. 

Ways to Encourage Your Child's Curiosity and Learning 
There are various ways in which you can encourage your child’s curiosity and learning. Few of them are as follows:
Nature: Take a walk along with your child in the park or a forest. Nature is one of the best schools, as it comprises natural teaching materials for example, plants, insects, flowers, trees, birds, fruits etc. that will set a child's curious mind clicking and desiring to explore them all and consequently learn through them.
Museums, zoos and aquariums: Visiting museums, zoos and aquariums and other such places have also great things like artifacts and creatures, dead or alive, which all can arouse a young child's curiosity and imagination. It is a very interesting way to learn about history and life sciences for children.
Question Games: Encourage your child to play games which offer them to ask a lot of questions. For instance, puzzle games, which comprise a lot of things like, fruits, vegetables, transport etc. this way they will not only learn questions about those things but also try to place them at right places in the puzzle, and hence develop their problem solving, analytical and fine motor skills.
Be Patient and Answer Calmly
While trying to encourage your child's natural ability to see, get curious and question, you may at times find those “why's” and “how's” annoying, particularly when you're busy. You may also feel uneasy answering some questions, or baffled if you don't know how to answer them.
Nevertheless, be careful not to kill his curiosity by shutting him up or brushing aside his questions. Those little out of curiosity questions can be killed very easily with responses, like “don't disturb me” or “don't ask”. Crushing your child's curiosity too often may hamper a very critical early childhood learning process.
There may be a reason behind those never-ending questions, such as trying to seek your attention, or not satisfied fully with the answer provided. Whichever reason it may be, following ways can be tried to handle the different situations and that too in a very positive manner.
  1. If your child frequently asks the same question, ask if he knows the answer. Your child probably will answer his own question and stop at it. He asks the same question many times as he just wants to have your attention or approval, so be patient.
  2. If you're busy, tell your child very politely that you will get back to him later. Simply ignoring your child’s questions often lead him to find his own answer in different ways and from different sources that may be misleading.
  3. Honestly admit if you don't have the answer for the question of your child, and tell him that you'll find out and tell the answer to him later. Always tell it in a proper manner; or your child will never stop asking.
  4. When dealing with difficult questions, ask for some time to think about it, this allows you to come up with the best age-appropriate response for your child. Don't lie to your child; if he finds out the truth he may not believe in you anymore.
  5. You can also persuade your child to find answers for himself by going to the library, or by getting help from other family members or school teachers. 
It is always good to be curious for children and for parents it is best to make children learn through their curious questions. Nothing else can be a better way for parents to answer the curious questions of their children, because it makes them sure that their children are learning appropriate answers for their questions.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Advanced Learning — Teaching STEM Concepts through Robotics, Science Kits and Interactive Media

Advanced learning means teaching kids about challenging their young, talented minds and stretching their abilities with flexible, individualized learning approaches and unique enrichment opportunities.
The concept of Advanced learning is teaching kids by experimenting, i.e., getting some hands-on experience by doing. Advance learning tools include robotics, which makes kids learn about the machines in simple yet with deep understanding of the mechanical science; Science Kits, which makes kids learn about the basic science concepts like solar system, rotation of earth, heavenly bodies, growth of plants, animals, human body, etc. and the CDs/DVDs, which include the whole curriculum of their grade in animated form for their better understanding.
In this article we are discussing all these advanced learning tools for kids in detail.


Robotics is a multi-disciplinary tool that is being increasingly used by over 5,000 schools worldwide to motivate, excite and inspire children about math and science.
Robotics inspires students to make connections across several disciplines rather than learning topics in isolation as it combines mechanical, electronic, electrical and programming skills. Students are motivated to learn by creating their own robotic devices, while at the same time gain a deeper understanding of interdisciplinary fields of study. In addition, robotics appeals to a broad range of students and allows multiple points of access to science and technology for a variety of learners.
Besides the above it's exciting for students and easy to implement for teachers, robotics is the premier vehicle for hands-on delivery of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to students. Also, through robotics, students build significant skills – problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork.
Robotics is already playing a very pivotal and cutting edge role in diverse sectors such as manufacturing avionics, medicine, defense, automobile, and entertainment to name a few.
As technology becomes gradually more significant in today’s world, it is important to not only learn how to use technology, but also to understand how to create it. Technology is the future and today’s kids are tomorrow’s technologists. Give your child the robotics experience of learning.

Benefits of Robotics Education

  • Brings out innovation and creativity
  • Builds logical thinking
  • Helps in collaborative learning
  • Facilitates constructivist learning
  • Develops teamwork
  • Enhances problem solving skills
  • Gives visual grasp of math and science
  • Helps in absorbing future technologies with ease
  • Learning by making things
  • Numeracy Competence with numbers and measures
  • Self-management
  • Teaches through discovery (Causes and Effect Learning)
Science Kits and Their Benefits to the Children
There is no dearth of the reading material and textbooks about Science. Nevertheless, these resources are not very much favored by school children as they find reading about Science in textbooks dull and monotonous. A lot of researches in this field show, children (even adults) still prefer experiential learning.
Science Kits are not only children, but also good companion of teachers and parents in learning more about Science in an informative yet fun way. Now, learning about Science is not so boring with Science kits. These kits are designed to generally complement the textbooks of most Science classes.
Science Kits are treated as educational toys for the reason that they concretely teaches principles of Science, gives in-depth knowledge about Science and hands-on learning of the subject by doing experimentation. These kits are widely available in most bookstores, school supplies shops and even online educational stores.
A lot of topics have been covered through Science kits. Topics about human anatomy, animals, plants, the earth, the solar system, the heavenly bodies, many topics of physics and chemistry, and a lot more are covered with these Science Kits. They are packed as a kit with genuine replica or models of the certain topic.
Science kits are not just created to educate but also to entertain. A lot of its function is to informatively entertain the children and make them understand the science concepts. The recent ones are about technology and gadgets. Children can experience and see how gadgets are made and how they function.
All of these different types of Science kits have specific age range. The simplest are of course applicable to children between the age three to five. Then there are kits for school children from age six to nine. There are also Science kits which are a little more complex designed for older students in high school.
When purchasing kits, make sure that they are within child’s age range for information and process compatibility. Supervision of teachers and parents is still required particularly for children below twelve years of age.

Benefits of Educational CDs/DVDs for Children

Interactive and Fun Learning VCDs/DVDs represents real life situations and its interactivity permits children to analyze the situations, associate themselves with the characters, and get feedback on their answers. There is plethora of educational toys, computer games, fun learning VCD’s for children in offline and online market today. Parents and educators often see these tools as a way to advance their young kid’s computer literacy skills as well as reading, math and critical analytical skills.
Read more about the benefits of educational CDs/CDs in our previous article. Benefits of Educational CDs/DVDs for Children.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Pre-School Basic Development Skills

Your child's skills and abilities learnt in childhood will be his most valuable asset throughout his life. Skills and behaviors are are the things you can improve in your children by practicing. Every day, students are learning and practicing various skills while increasing their knowledge in the subjects they study. Abilities are closely associated with the skills – they are natural talents. We perceive   singing as ability, because a few people who today are famous singers are born with good voices; and typing as a skill, because it can be learned. Some of the skills, nevertheless, are really learnt and are well developed (practiced) talents.
In the following paragraphs we will discuss about the various skills that children should learn in their initial years, especially before going school.
Motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements which take place in body parts such as the fingers in coordination with the eyes.
Motor skills development in preschool years includes fundamental motor training, fitness and sport skill training. Training for preschool children should be designed while keeping their abilities in mind. Fundamental motor skills comprises:
  • Locomotor skills — crawling, jumping and galloping;
  • Stability skills — turning, twist and bending;
  • Manipulative — as throwing, catching and dribbling.

Fitness comprises cardiopulmonary function, endurance, strengthening muscles, bones and body portion. Children should have adequate fitness for building and developing motor and sport skills.

Sport skills comprises:
  •  Utilizing preschool sport equipment such as plastic ball and climbing net,
  • Simple movement concept, such as, performing fast and slow movement as required in sport games, simple rhythmic dance movements,
  • Ability to join group sport games, such as, throw and catch ball with partner, playing football with fellow kids.
Cognitive Skills
Cognitive skills relate to the abilities to gain meaning and knowledge from experience and information. Cognitive skills are crucial for the overall development of a child. Various aspects like language learning, usage, thought process, memory development etc. come under its preview.
Early Literacy Skills
Children prepare to read and learn long before they enter school - early literacy is everything children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write.
Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development.

Looking at early literacy development as a dynamic developmental process, we can see the connection (and meaning) between an infant mouthing a book, the book handling behavior of a two year old, and the page turning of a five year old. We can see that the first three years of exploring and playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, listening to stories, recognizing words, and scribbling are truly the building blocks for language and literacy development.

Having good imagination skills can make all the difference to life, especially in childhood. For children, it can help them with various areas of learning, such as imagining characters when they’re reading or creating stories, to livening up their experience of play.
Preschool children have very vivid imaginations. Their world is full of magic, fairies, witches and superheroes. Further, Stories and cartoons can seem very real to them.
Preschool children love to create things themselves. Any opportunity to draw, paint, paste, sing or dance is met with great interest. It doesn’t matter that, if 3 year old children does not have the proper coordination or hand control to handle more things than a scribbling or splashing paint on paper.
At the age of 4, a child can use a pencil or crayon more confidently and can draw and fill color in a figure with a body, head, arms and legs. These creative potential might grow with the beginning of kindergarten. At this age, your child is likely to remain less into the imaginary world and show interest in knowing more about the real world. So, children enjoy pretend play like, dressing up as a grown-up, being mother or father, a doctor or an explorer, and trying out roles to help make sense of the real world.
This list of skills is not exhaustive still there are many skills which are essential for children which we will be discussing in our next articles. We would love to hear your responses on this topic. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Parenting Tips — Preparations for Sending Kids School on a Rainy Day

All of us have fond memories of the monsoons and rains from our childhood — unplanned school holidays, splashing in muddy puddles, or simply getting wet in rain, sitting home with friends and siblings and having a lot of fun. Similarly, your little one will also love the rains and monsoon season, the fresh new leaves on the trees, that nice smell of the wet soil. But with all the jubilant moments, the rainy season also accompanies with it humid weather, flooded roads, mosquitoes, and different types of diseases, etc. With a little care and precaution you can let your children enjoy this beautiful season and also keep them safe from diseases. 
It is in reality disappointing for the parents when their child is getting ready for the school and its pouring outside. A well prepared mom can save the day and ease the first-day jitters by offering the perfect raincoat or an umbrella before sending the child off to school. But in order to be prepared, you must plan ahead. In order to keep your children safe and healthy during the rainy season you must follow certain quick remedies. Parents having small children are required to be extra-careful during rainy season to prevent any such disease or disorder.
Cold and flu are the most common diseases occurring in this season. Whenever you go out in the rainy season ensure to carry the rain coat or an umbrella along with you and for both you and your child, it will save you both, from the rain. If you are not carrying any raincoat or umbrella try to find out a shelter as soon as it starts pouring which can save you and your child from getting wet. But it is advisable to buy a raincoat for your children before the monsoon season. You should also keep in mind a certain things before buying the rain coat for your child:
  • Think about the season your child will use the raincoat. If you are buying it to use during the colder months, a heavier, lined rain slicker is the best option. For spring, a lightweight, waterproof spring jacket is probably the best thing to invest in.
  • You can also consider removable liners. The raincoats which come with removable liners can be used in different seasons.
  • Try to buy matching sets. Nowadays raincoats come with matching rain boots and umbrellas to make your children completely waterproof.
  • Buy a size that will fit your child in the coming few years. Children grow every year so you should buy raincoats at least a little bit big in size, from what they are wearing now so that it can be used in next year as well.
  • Let your children try it on. You children will wear this coat at recess and on the playground, so make sure they can easily wear it on their selves and can move and play, otherwise they won’t put it on as it will deter them to play, move and walk.
Besides the above a few more things should also be kept in mind while sending kids to school on a rainy day:
  • If possible first put their books in a plastic bag then keep it in their school bag, it will keep their books dry and safe.
  • Make sure your kids carry handkerchief with them so that they can wipe the water on their hands while touching books and other things once they reach into classroom.
  • Tell your children about the hazards of getting wet in rain so they should not leave their classrooms during rain.
  • Pack a healthy lunch in for their mid-day meal in a vacuum tight container so that it won’t get affected due to moisture and they will eat it properly in their lunch box.
  • If possible give them boiled water after cooling in their water bottles so they won’t drink water from taps connected to tanks which might get bacteria in the rainy season.
  • As soon as your children come back home from school in the rainy season try to bathe them in lukewarm water with a good antiseptic solution like dettol or savlon, which reduces the chances of germs affecting their skin.
  • In the rainy season try to keep children inside home and give them lots of fun learning toys, games, books, art & craft sets, Do-It-Yourself Kits etc., which can keep them engaged and render non-stop fun and knowledge throughout the season.
Following the above measures will possibly keep your kids healthy in the rainy season and they can also enjoy the season very much.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Home Schooling

Home schooling is not a new concept, it has been around for many centuries. The process of schooling in fact began in the home, and then moved into the outside brick and mortar model schools. A home school is where children are taught by a parent or parents without the outside influence or interference of the school system. There are various dissimilarities on a home school but all follow basic rule of no interference from outside. But, getting started in home schooling will need the parent to do some research ahead of time, so they know exactly what they need to do, to get the curriculum on track.
Everyone has a different reason for home schooling their children. Some have their reasons as being able to provide religious studies and building strong family bonds. A few parents look at the quality of home school and feel that they have more control over the curriculum and content of the materials studied in addition to knowing that their children are much safer at home. Many a time it is the factor of flexibility that makes some families go for home schooling their kids. Flexibility here doesn’t merely implies the time, but methods as well.
But, getting started with home schooling requires quite a bit of research before your home school even begins. The more you research, study and talk to others about your home school the more you will be able to learn how to avoid common problems that may come up when you will be working with your home school.
Home schooling is not just confined to teaching a child at home by parents rather it is a broad term. There are many techniques that are used widely for proper functioning of home schooling. There are a lot of different styles of home schooling that can be brought in can. The list below describes the most common types of home schooling:

  • Structured:  This type of home school works just like a public school, in that, it follows a predefined schedule throughout the day. For instance, math lessons would be done at a certain time, English at another, music and dance in the evening, Science lessons at 11 am and so on.
  • Interest-initiated: This approach of home schooling is based on what is happening at the time. For instance, if it is raining, you may choose to revolve the day’s curriculum around rain and rainbows. This can be both unstructured and structured depending on your choices and present situations in the family.
  • Learning-style:  This method is based on each child's learning style. If your child has more interest in arts you can choose to focus most upon arts lessons or if your child loves singing and dancing you can opt for that and set the curriculum accordingly.
  • Philosophical: Using educational philosophies and studies to mold a curriculum is the basis for this method. For instance, if your child is most into reading and learning literature you can set his curriculum to cover most of the literature and language.
  • Accommodating: This approach is most suitable for the families with children with special needs. For example, if the child is blind or handicapped the parents can set his curriculum accordingly, as in the case of a blind child one cannot opt for art lessons, and similarly for a handicap child dance classes cannot be done.
These are just some basic methods used in home schooling. Few parents may find a mixture of these to work best for them. Home schooling is all about tailoring the process of learning according to the child’s need.