Showing posts with label Kindergarten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindergarten. Show all posts

Monday, May 18

CHALK TALK: helping young children be aware of the purpose of advertising

As with television and the internet, young children may innocently embrace advertisements on kid-friendly apps, such as the recently launched YouTube Kids app, as a resource of viable, unbiased information. While adults and older children have a better understanding of the intention of advertising, children eight years and younger are particularly susceptible to the persuasion of ads sharing the screen with educational content and kid-appropriate entertainment.

Children advocacy groups express concerns about the negative influences of advertisements on these age-appropriate apps. They worry that the ads, specifically those targeting vulnerable young children, contribute to reinforcing children’s fixation on soft drinks, junk food, and other unhealthy habits. The issue matches concerns raised in a report published in 2004 by the American Psychological Association entitled “Television Advertising Leads to Unhealthy Habits in Children.”

Dr. Rebecca Osborne, Technology Enhanced Curriculum Specialist for Fairmont Private Schools, encourages parents to monitor what their children are watching and to be vigilant about the kind of advertising that accompanies the programs.  Parents may want to consider streaming programming such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, which do not include ads, as an alternative to broadcast television or ad-supported apps.

When children watch ad-supported programming, parents can help their children identify the difference between a regular show and an advertisement. Parents can point out how the characters are different, the changes in volume or pacing, and how the content of the program and advertisement does not match.  Since this type of distinguishing will not develop until children are around 5-6 years old, parental guidance is essential for helping them see the differences.

Lastly, parents can help their children think critically about the information they are presented. This skill will develop over time, but parents can encourage children to evaluate statements by simply asking "What do you think about that?" or "Do you agree with what they are saying?"

Children have a natural curiosity, and parents should foster this type of thinking in their children to help them identify advertisements and avoid being unduly persuaded by them.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools
Image by sheknows

Thursday, April 2

HOW TO: managing a child’s screen time

A parent’s involvement in their child’s recreational screen time is important particularly in the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school years according to Dr. Rebecca Osborne, Technology Enhanced Curriculum Specialist for Fairmont Private Schools.  Studies show that spending too much time passively staring at a screen can affect brain development, especially among younger children.  Sherrelle Walker, M.A. lists the reasons why parents should pay close attention their children’s passive screen time in her blog post entitled “Why Limit Screen Time? Reasons You Should Limit Screen Time.”

To help children avoid too much passive screen time viewing, parents should track the amount of free time a child spends in front of a screen and set limits to encourage their child to engage in other activities. Screen time refers to the use of tablets, smartphones, laptops, gaming consoles, desktop computers, and good-old-fashion television. Parents are also encouraged to set an example by limiting their own passive screen use. Together, children and parents can turn off their screens and together play a board game, take a walk, or enjoy some time at a park.
Helpful tips to help parents manage their child’s screen time:Talk to the child’s teacher to understand the amount of classroom time devoted to iPads and computers each day as beneficial interactive educational tools. Parents can then set a time limit at home that balances well with their screen time at school. The rule is simple: when time is up, turn off the screens and begin another activity.

The Time Lock app ($0.99 in the iTunes App Store) allows parents to set a time limit for iPad, iPod, or iPhone use.  Once the time limit has been reached, the device will lock and require a parent pass code to unlock it. Similar apps are available for Android devices. For children under the age of five, it is recommended that recreational screen time at home not exceed two hours per day. For children five and older, passive screen viewing on a daily basis should be limited to four hours per day.

Introduce the principles of time management and add variety to a child’s day.  By limiting screen time, parents can encourage their children to engage in a mix of creative and physical activities each day. For example, when the time comes to switch off the game console, encourage children to get their bodies moving by engaging in outdoor physical activities such as riding a skateboard or playing basketball. Activities such as reading a book, drawing a picture, and figuring out a puzzle help exercise the brain.

Encourage children to use their screen time to engage in interactive games that promote critical thinking. Some great puzzle games that develop problem solving and critical thinking skills include World of Goo ($2.99), Dwelp ($1.99), Magnetized ($2.99), and Luminosity (Free, with in-app purchases).  A few subject-specific apps that offer interactive features include Flags Fun (Free) and Art by Puzzle World Games ($0.99).

By managing screen time, parents will help children appreciate the benefits of a well-balanced day of activities that foster healthy academic, personal, and physical enrichment. 

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by  Portia Stewart

Thursday, September 11

FAIRMONT FIVE tips for keeping kids healthy

Simply said, transitioning from summer to the school year seldom goes by without a hitch. During this busy time, it’s easy even for the most organized parent to overlook simple steps to protect your child from colds and the flu. Despite your best efforts, cold symptoms can suddenly appear at the worse possible times.

The following practical health tips will go far in keeping your child healthy. This is especially helpful when your child is getting settled with a new school schedule and on a different campus setting.

Wash Your Hands
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps for avoiding illnesses and spreading germs to others. Children need to be reminded on how important it is to wash their hands. Below is an outline on proper hand washing provided by the CDC.

Using Soap and Water
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Using Hand Sanitizers

Apply the product to the palm of one hand.

Rub your hands together.

Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

Calling in Sick
Even with your best efforts in keeping hands clean, catching a cold is still a possibility. Have a plan ready in advance for times when you need to keep your child home to recovery from a cold or the flu. Keep them hydrated with water and always discuss any medical concerns with your doctor. Medical experts recommend that a child with a fever needs to stay home for 24 hours after the fever ends.

Getting Enough Sleep
Elementary school-age children need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. This can be a challenge during the school year. Taking an afterschool nap, having quiet reading times with no television (30 to 35 minutes each day) and going to bed early will help your child receive the rest he or she needs to effectively manage a busy school schedule.

Exercising as a Family
Make time for walks, bike rides or other outings involving the family. Everyone will enjoy this well-deserved break especially during the school year. Laughter, exercise and having good times also relieve stress and keep immune systems strong. This is a good opportunity to talk with your child and discuss ways to reduce stress.

Eating Right
Eating plenty of healthy food and frequently drinking water are essential for good health for children and adults. Maintaining a balanced diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and meats in the home sets a good example for children to follow for the rest of their lives. Having your child contribute to meal preparations is another way to enjoy quality time together. Point out at an early age the importance of eating a well-balanced diet to sustain good health.

Image Credit:  World’s Children Blog
Contributed by Doug, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, October 28

A TO Z kindergarten readiness

Is your child ready for kindergarten? The skills that kindergarten teachers are looking for may surprise you. You might think it’s important for children to enter kindergarten knowing their ABCs, numbers, shapes and colors so they can keep up with the curriculum. While teachers love it when children are familiar with these building blocks of academic learning, they are also looking for students with:
  • Good listening skills. Loves listening to stories. Answers questions about a story. Hears and identifies letter sounds in words. Detects rhyming words and patterns. Concentrates on what the teacher is saying. Listens carefully for directions. Follows 3-step directions.
  • Strong fine motor skills. Correct pencil grasp. Forms letters and numbers, and writes first name. Weaves and threads objects. Colors a simple picture. Cuts on a line. Copies simple shapes. Has mastered practical life skills i.e. buttons, zippers, and fasteners on clothing. Also beginning to learn to tie shoes.
  • Solid oral language skills. Has a strong knowledge about their world. Uses words to convey needs, feelings, likes and dislikes. Uses language/words in the correct context. Identifies letter sounds. Responds to questions in complete sentences. Retells a story in own words.
  • Ability to play with others. Invites other to play through conversation and body language. Communicates with others by expressing personal wants. Understands and respects rules--often asks permission. Takes turns and shares (toys and attention with others. Shows self-control by using words instead of hands. Pretends while playing (combines fantasy and reality). Is silly, playful and happy. Plays through gross motor skills (jumping, climbing, etc.)
  • Enthusiasm for learning. Asks questions. Participates in activities. Becomes engaged in lessons. Wants to come to school. Is developing a habit of cooperation. Is curious and wants to investigate. Is willing to take risks and not afraid of making mistakes. Shows independence.
Watch your child's behavior and look for these key signs to ensure that he or she is ready to transition to "big kid school." Starting kindergarten when the child is truly ready is one of the first key steps towards academic success. 

Image credit: Fairmont Private Schools
Contributed by Danyelle, Fairmont Private Schools