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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Maths and English Educational Kids Games To Get Them Ahead When Starting at School

by Victoria Welch

It is your little ones first step into the Big world of school, and for many children this can be an anxious time.

This can also be a very hard time for some parents to, the first time that you let your little child out in to the big world, but there is no need for you to worry, they are going to school, they will have fun learning and meet new friends. Don’t let your child feel you anxiety, as this could unsettle them.

As a parent you have the important role in helping your child learn, it is important to have fun as they learn about new subjects, you will also need to help and answer the many questions your child will ask you about each subject.

The most important thing that you can do is taking an interest in what your child is learning at school; praise them when they have done well and give them the tools to learn more.

All children that go to school, are taught by targets that should be reached, this is usually done by age group such as 5-7 years old, 8-11 years old and so on. But each child is different and will learn things at different speed so don’t be pushy and let them grow at their own pace.

If you play educational kids games that are interesting to them, they will want to play and learn at the same time.

Playing learning to read games that are enjoyable as well as educational, can Make English Fun!

Rhyming Games and Word Games will help them learn new words and they can use their fantastic imagination to create rhyming poems.

We can then help build on this again by letting your child make up their own stories, and putting on a show using Learning Puppets or a Picture Book, this will help strengthen their confidence, and let us listen to the way they speak, to make sure that they talk clearly.

Some children find it difficult to sit and listening to a story or a teacher’s instruction. By playing listening games, children learn to be quiet and still to hear what the sound is, Cock-a-Doodle-Moo, is great fun for kids and learning games like Listening Lotto really grab their attention.

Reading is a wonderful skill, which lets children’s imagination run wild.

Learning to read begins with you reading to your child as a baby. With time your child understands that the content of a book never changes.

Later on, after much sharing of books, children begin to play read and turn the pages of a favourite story while chanting parts of it aloud.

There are two ways are children are usually taught to read, either by Look and Say or by using Phonics

A Word Building Game and learning what new words mean will help grow your child’s mind. Using Rhyming Words Games is also great fun.

If your child has had the opportunity to use paint, crayons or small construction toys this would all help their fine motor skill, and consequently their writing skill.

Teach your child to hold a pencil correctly and guide them over letters of their name or through workbooks suitable for their age group, if they need you to, place your hand gently on top of theirs

Once your child knows how to trace letters shapes with your help, see if they can use their looking skills to make letter shapes by drawing over faint dots you’ve made. From this stage of copying over, comes a stage of copying beneath.

Early writing will not necessarily be the correct way up or stay in a horizontal line. But do try and help your child correct this, so that it’s not an on going problem.

If you love numbers yourself your child will mimic that love, so make any encounter you have with numbers a fun activity for yourself and you will soon transmit this feeling to your child.

Counting doesn’t have to be boring for your child, remember to make learning fun.

There are all sorts of ways to help your child remember how to pronounce numbers and how to put them in the right order.

Some simple activities and Math games for kids that you and your child could do could be; Counting Out Loose Change, Singing Counting Songs or Counting How Many Times They Can Skip a Rope.

Keep an eye out for chances for your child to count out loud, it’s all great practice, and a good time for you to check that they pronounce the numbers correctly, particularly the numbers 11 to 19 as many children find these numbers difficult.

By the age of 7 years old most children are able to; count, read and write whole numbers up to 100, and put them in order, count on or back in ones or tens from different starting numbers, tell if numbers are odd or even, know that you can undo an addition with a subtraction, know when doing addition that its easier to start with the bigger number, understand that multiplying is the same as adding more of the same number, be able to double numbers or half them and know the 2 and 10 times table by heart.

Don’t give your child a calculator to relay on as this will stop them using their fantastic brain, but do show them how to use an Abacus to solve mathematical problems.

But maths isn’t always about calculating exact answers.

Being able to estimate a rough answer is an important skill that helps your child solve problems and check their work.

Virtually all those who have excelled in mathematics have stated that estimation was a prime skill.

Some simple Math games for kids to encourage estimating would be guesswork games.

Ask your child to guess how many peas he thinks are in the bag, or marbles in the pot. Then ask him to count them to check his own guesswork.

Let him know that there is nothing wrong with making an inaccurate guess, and that it is not always possible to know exact quantities, but do encourage him to learn to trust his own guesswork.

Practice with guesswork will make it more accurate as time goes by, but do be playful when you are engaged in guesswork.

With Gratitude and until next time. (artcileAlley)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Needs School?

By Brooks Elms

The founders of The Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts, in the late 1960s asked the question: "Who needs school?" Their answer is that school prepares children to become productive members of society-essentially, to be good citizens. Then they asked, "How do we meet that objective? If we could re-start from scratch, or adapt from any known model, what are the social mechanisms we'd choose to best serve the children in meeting this goal?" Those founders quickly threw out the commonly accepted adult-centered approach, and instead moved forward with a democratically run mini-community where the kids follow their passions all day, and collaborate in the creation of rules to protect the individual's pursuit of happiness.

The result, after the first 40 years, is much like they envisioned. Because students create their own unique curriculum, and rules to protect individual liberty, the students tend to be more responsible as adult citizens. They've felt and wielded power at a very young age (even 4 year olds vote to hire or fire a teacher) so they've got palpable experience with the good and bad consequences of large stakes community decision-making. Plus, they also do learn the basic reading, writing and math skills that are so strongly stressed in traditional school, although at Sudbury Valley, they're learned organically, as tools to further their knowledge in their passion projects.

For the children in the industrialized nations growing up in the Information Age, this child-centered model fits perfectly. It's like the world-wide-web personified. The Industrial Era Factory Style learning approach, still deeply entrenched in the mainstream as we begin the 21st century, served its purpose well-enough for decades when the bulk of students we're headed to factories for life. But it's a new world. Even back in the 60's Bob Dylan observed with biting sarcasm that "After twenty years of schoolin' they put you on the day shift." The system needed change back then, and now with the Sudbury model's proven effectiveness after four decades, the change is picking up its pace.

The Sudbury Valley Model has been featured on CBS's "60 minutes," and on the front cover of "Psychology Today." Representatives from hundreds of like-minded alternative schools flock to education conferences every year. There have been several documentaries about the model, and I, myself wrote and directed a fiction film inspired by the model entitled "Schooled."

I believe the reason for the surge in popularity has to do with the reality that we now live in an economy devoid of job security. People have to prove the value of their services over and over for their rest of their lives. And without passion driving that life-long re-invention process, how successful can new adults be when faced with harrowing market conditions and brutal competitors? Just as adults create their own lives within the laws of the land, so do the students in this model, making them far more prepared for productive Information Age citizenship. Another way to look at it is to see that there are many different ways kids learn, so the different schools that exist today-including home schooling-cater to these different ways of learning. These different ways of learning lead to a more "trade-orientated," or "customer service orientated" mindset. How do I serve the customer (and my community) as efficiently as possible? Passion facilitates this.

While the common fear about this education model is that kids will grow up lazy, in actuality, it's the opposite. Driven by desire, these new adults have spent their whole childhood very aware of balancing personal ambition with community accountability standards. They work because they want to. When they fall short of goals, they use their well-honed innovation skills to come up with new solutions. They don't rely on imposed structure to guide them. They don't waste time rebelling against "The Man." They simply create their own structure and solve problems, no matter how the marketplace shifts and re-shifts, because that's what they've always done.

This Information Age education is particularly valuable in a place like the movie business. Nobody needs a degree for anything in Hollywood. The question is: Can you do the job? People get known for their work (and lack of work) and their reputation fuels the next step of their career. While other industries are less extreme than Hollywood's hyper-volatility -- they're not that different. These days, every market hums with volatility and so it's vital that our schools meet these new needs of our future generations.

(c) 2008, Brooks Elms All rights reserved. Reprint rights granted so long as article and by-line are published intact and with all links made live. (

About Author:

Brooks Elms fiercely writes, directs and produces films, winning awards and thrilling audiences around the globe for the last 20 years. His latest film, "Schooled" is like "Kid Nation" meets "Dead Poets Society" and it fundamentally changes the way people think about education: