How Technology Can Facilitate Early-Stage Education

How Technology Can Facilitate Early-Stage Education

We have long been aware that the early development of children’s social, emotional, and cognitive abilities is key for lifelong learning and wellbeing . However, lively debate continues regarding how to make use of technology when teaching children ten and younger.

Many educators and parents view early-stage education academically and, therefore, rigidly. For example, preschools often stuff curricula and day-to-day education with academic instructions that hone in sharply on a particular skill, such as reading, calculating, or solving textbook problems.

Rather than taking a skills-only approach with young learners, educators can adopt a teaching style that develops their natural willingness and curiosity to learn and study instead by integrating technology to facilitate learning experiences from a young age.

Let’s take a closer look at what is important in early-stage education and the tools that can help children develop a lifelong curiosity to learn.

Why the Right Early-Stage Education Is so Important

Young students are open to different learning experiences, and they also pick up new things more easily. As the brain slowly matures, so do the synapses , making connections and building habits that solidify with experience and repetition. Further, young children are less biased . This means they are more open to new information and alternative reasoning.

During this eight year period, children develop the base for their future development. Children also develop the curiosity to learn and the right habits and practices to study. Once children have these foundations to build on, it is easier for them to acquire skills of all kinds in the future.

Giving technological tools to children from a young age is a controversial issue . While many people are in favor of technology, others doubt its value with young children. However, using technology in a reasonable way can bring immense benefits to children. For example, if a school is teaching students about insects, visiting a botanical garden is a very practical and memorable experience. However, educators can’t go to a zoo or other off-campus locations every time they want to deliver a new learning experience. But with the help of technological tools such as simulations, explanatory videos, and other digital resources, teachers can replicate real-life experiences every day and on a large scale.

Using Technology in Pre- and Elementary School Classrooms

During early education, technology can facilitate different learning experiences, strengthen children’s curiosity, and build their ability to study self-sufficiently.

When school content is theoretical and abstract, educators can give children access to video materials, colorful interactive graphics, and educational apps. While audio-visual material grabs children’s attention and makes complex concepts easier to understand, using apps or web search enables children to follow their individual path of learning.

In preschool children should be able to explore, try, and experience things. Educators should focus on comprehensive learning experiences that strengthen children’s curiosity. For example, when students have their first contact with numbers, letters, and stories, teachers can use technology to practice content while they are playing.

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Does Your Child Hate Soccer? Here are 28 Hobbies for Kids You Haven’t Thought Of

Does Your Child Hate Soccer? Here are 28 Hobbies for Kids You Haven’t Thought Of

Hobbies are skill-building activities that relax and inspire you on the regular. In fact, a good one is downright therapeutic for kids and adults alike. If the young person in your life is spending too much of their free time sitting passively in front of a screen , a new interest is likely the only intervention they need. Of course, you can’t pick a hobby for another human, since the ones that really stick are those that speak to a person’s individual interests, but chances are you know your child pretty well. If you’re hoping to give your kid a gentle push in the right direction (i.e., away from Roblox), plant the seed by suggesting one of these unique and stimulating hobbies for kids.

1. Gardening

Aside from the obvious appeal of a hobby that allows kids to get their hands dirty, gardening is also an excellent activity for mindfulness , so it will calm your kid down while providing a physical workout to boot. Bonus: You don’t even need to have an outdoor space of your own for your child to put their green thumb to work, because time spent at a community garden can be equally rewarding.

2. Volunteering

Regular volunteer work is a crash course in compassion that teaches kids the importance of giving back to the community. It’s also a fun way for kids to make new friends and meet interesting people from all walks of life. Plus, given the huge variety of volunteer opportunities available, this hobby will never get old.

3. Chess

This classic game of strategy provides a stimulating challenge at every level of play. The critical thinking involved in chess also has major brain-boosting benefits and kids can join chess clubs and compete in tournaments for some friendly competition as their skill-level increases.

4. Yoga

Yoga is a well-known and widely practiced activity that strengthens muscles, improves physical fitness and calms the mind—and it’s not just for grown-ups. Yoga classes for kids are an excellent option for young people who want a hobby that involves physical activity, without the competitive component of most other sports.

5. Photography

Older kids can nourish their creativity with photography as a hobby. Of course, you’ll have to provide the camera and your child will need to put some effort into learning the skills that go into getting a good shot, but the process of exploring their surroundings in search of new subjects is sure to inspire budding artists.

6. Scrapbooking

Any kid who’s old enough to work with a pair of scissors can take up scrapbooking—a hobby that encourages self-expression and creativity, while producing pieces of art that will continue to inspire pride any time […]

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Kids are feeling anxiety about a ‘return to normal’

Recently, I scheduled a playdate for my 6-year-old with a good friend she hadn’t seen in months because of the pandemic. She was so excited — until, suddenly, she wasn’t. As the day approached, my daughter grew more and more irritable. The day before, she demanded that we bake cookies and make signs for her friend. When I told her we couldn’t, she exploded in an angry meltdown.

After she calmed down, I sat down with her to try to figure out what was going on. She tearfully admitted that she was terrified: She worried that her friend wouldn’t like her anymore, which is why she was trying engineer the perfect playdate — to ensure that she could win her friend back after months of being out of touch.

If you, as a parent, have been experiencing anxiety about the “return to normal,” your kids are likely to be harboring similar feelings, perhaps even to a greater degree. “We’ve gone from pause to fast-forward,” says Rebecca Schrag Hershberg, a clinical psychologist who specializes in early-childhood social emotional development and mental health. “It’s just really overstimulating. For all of us, and certainly kids.”

On the one hand, these struggles can seem counterintuitive. Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been waiting for — for things to get back to the way they were? For our kids to once again enjoy birthday parties, camp and visits with extended family? Absolutely — but we also need to remember that big transitions can be hard for children. Going from hardly seeing anyone and not doing anything, to seeing everyone and doing everything, can be confusing and overwhelming.

It’s been more than a year since we led “normal” lives, which is a very, very long time for kids — especially toddlers and preschoolers. They may not remember what things were like before, so the return to normal may actually feel like a departure from normal — the changes may feel jarring instead of reassuring. Compared with who they were before the pandemic, little children right now “are facing the world as completely different people,” Hershberg says.

Some may also be struggling because they don’t understand why the activities they were told were unsafe during the pandemic are suddenly safe again, so it can be helpful to explain why. You can tell them, for instance, that there are scientists and doctors in charge who conduct research to figure out what’s safe, and that you listen to them and do what they advise. The very idea that there are people in charge of these big issues can be reassuring for kids, Hershberg says, and can help them understand that you have good reasons for changing your behavior.

Children are also still processing the challenges […]

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How to use a trip to the playground to help your children strengthen their memory

How to use a trip to the playground to help your children strengthen their memory

To remember things, you need to give them your full attention.

American neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice, Lisa Genova’s key findings on preventing Alzheimer’s disease show how to enhance memory to retain information. This research can be adapted to children.

Children can be supported to exercise their mind muscles. They can learn the best ways to get information efficiently into their heads and access it effectively when they need to.

In her book Remember: the science of memory and the art of forgetting Genova points out to enhance memory we don’t need to play “computer brain games” or “read books on recall strategies”, what we simply need to do is improve our skills of noticing.

She writes that “noticing requires two things: perception (seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling) and attention”.

You can use a trip to the playground to help your children strengthen memory muscles and become better learners.

This can be done by paying attention, slowing down, mind mapping, rehearsing, enhancing the senses and mixing things up up. Getting there

Fill your child’s backpack with snacks and drinks, and small figurines such as fairies, lions, tigers, koalas, dinosaurs or favourite small cars and trucks for storytelling and mud play. Figurines are great for storytelling and mud play. Kid’s binoculars and magnifying glasses are great for noticing and spying on birds and bugs.

Pack watercolour paints, brushes and recycled paper for painting, and chalk and brown baking paper for tracing bark, leaves, rocks, hands and play equipment. Play dough is great for natural sculptures.

Then you’re on your way. Creating a mind map

Like all animals humans use mind mapping to create maps of our immediate environment to navigate our surroundings. Our brain is wired to recall where things are located in space.For wild animals this is critical for survival and for children, it helps them to feel safe. You can’t do mind mapping in a car – it requires walking. Walking to the playground, run your hands across fence palings and smell rosemary twigs. Encourage your children to do this too.

Let your kids notice the things around them to create a mind map of their journey. Collect eucalypti leaves, gum nuts, acorns and other natural loose objects and pop them in the bag to be used later in potions or paintings at the park. You could make chalk drawings of rivers and fish on the pavement as a way of finding your path back home.

This pace may seem slow but to really notice, you need to slow down. A lot of neural work is happening as children construct a mind map. The more time adds detail to the memory.

Exercising the mind

Continue reading the rest at theconversation.com

‘Kids are suffering’: School Counselor Corps to expand mental health services

‘Kids are suffering’: School Counselor Corps to expand mental health services

On the first day of summer school for Okmulgee Public Schools, high school principal LuVona Copeland noticed multiple students exhibiting signs of anxiety. On day two, a few more students were showing signs.

“I’m very concerned,” Copeland said. “I think it’s getting back to being in a routine, getting back to being around other people because those kids were not in school all year long, they were virtual. There’s just not enough help where we are to handle everything on a regular basis, and I know in the fall it’s going to be bad.”

State education leaders agree.



As part of its Ready Together Oklahoma initiative aimed at supporting students throughout the pandemic and beyond, the State Department of Education is investing $35 million into a School Counselor Corps, which will fund 50 percent of the cost of new licensed counselor positions at public schools.

“Schools [have been] starting to understand about trauma, what the statistics are in our state and the assistance students may need,” said Shelly Ellis, deputy state superintendent of student support. “I believe this is part of the next step to what we can do to help assist students.”

Even before the pandemic, Copeland worried about the mental health of the young people in her eastern Oklahoma district.

“We had a great need before because of the demographics of our population,” she said. “We have very high poverty, 100 percent of our kids eat free at school — lots of single-parent homes, a lot of kids who are living with grandparents and great-grandparents. We had a great need to begin with, but probably about October we had kids starting to reach out to us.”

Copeland said students began reaching out to her and their teachers to express the difficulties they were having coping with the pandemic and getting school work done.

“I’ve had kids that tell me they wake up and just lay there and they can’t get themselves going,” she said. “They might not use the word ‘depression,’ but that’s exactly what they’re describing.”

Copeland said socially-distanced visits made by district staff to the homes of students who stopped participating in school virtually revealed more concerns.

“I started having parents tell me, ‘You don’t understand, COVID is a blessing for our family. He’s going to be able to work a full shift out at Walmart, and we’re going to be able to keep the gas on,’” Copeland recalled. “There’s a lot of layers to this that I didn’t anticipate. If you’re 16 or 17 years old and it’s on you to pay the gas bill, you’re going to do that before you do your school work. But that absolutely affects them, and here we are trying to reel them back in.”
About five years ago, Copeland said Okmulgee Public Schools started the approach of focusing on the “whole” student, including their mental health and emotional well-being. The district was able to hire a therapeutic counselor in 2019 to handle crisis management, among other duties, at school sites district wide. Still, one mental health professional is not enough.

Continue reading the rest at nondoc.com

What Pandemic Parenting Can Teach Us About Leadership

What Pandemic Parenting Can Teach Us About Leadership

Though there’s no silver lining to be gleaned from the untold strife of the pandemic, as millions of working parents ready for a return to office work, there are key lessons we can all take back with us about leading our teams and how we show up. The authors present…

An executive-coaching client of Sanyin’s recently made an offhand comment that revealed something stunning about parenting over the past year. A busy executive with three kids and an equally busy working spouse, she quipped, “Who knew my kitchen would turn into my executive coach?” When Sanyin asked what she meant, she listed a litany of experiences from around her kitchen table: keeping her kids creatively engaged in their school activities while planning a meal and while, on the other side of the room, her laptop was logged into a virtual strategy session with her team. She reflected, “What I had to learn this past year to keep all my worlds integrated was a crucible I’d never wish on anyone. I know I had it better than many working parents. But I gained some new skills that will serve me well going forward.”

As professionals who spend a great deal of time coaching and advising busy executives, we got a firsthand look last year not just at our clients’ work leadership but at their home leadership as well. For many of us, the two arenas have become almost indistinguishable. We found ourselves offering as much advice about creative ways to keep things on track on the home front as we did coaching leaders on their effectiveness and organizational strategies. As it turns out, the merging of those worlds created an intensified leadership accelerator none of us expected. There’s no silver lining to the strife of the pandemic, but as millions of parents ready for a return to the office, there are four key lessons we can all take back with us about leading our teams and how we show up. Use peer data to hone quick decision-making skills.

One leader Sanyin works with has three elementary-aged children. When schools shut down abruptly, back in March 2020, she (and 63 million other parents) had to pivot quickly to new arrangements. Since then, decisions like that have been required almost daily. And parents often had to make them on very short notice and with very little data, facing the reality that decisions made in the moment can have significant long-term implications.

Because more data about the situation wasn’t always available, parents broadened their option set through peer data. Talking to other busy WFH parents and learning what they were doing and why helped them navigate the unknown.

Back at the office, many situations […]

Continue reading the rest at hbr.org