Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Munson: Eighth-graders raise forks in fight for good etiquette

The Des Moines Register – Kyle Munson

“The last line of defense for our civilized world is a ballroom inside the Hotel Pattee where I sat down this past week with 37 eighth-grade students from Guthrie Center and six of their teachers for an elegant three-course formal dinner and lessons in etiquette. No, this wasn’t greasy state-fair stick food or a platter-sized tenderloin from a roadside diner. (Both of those are fine in my book; I tend to subsist on convenience store sandwiches and Twizzlers as I roam Iowa.) It also wasn’t the typical 20-minute school lunch where students shovel in tater tots while texting.”(more)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moving Smarter

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Although a healthy diet and adequate sleep help prepare a child for a day of learning, experts now believe exercise is critical for academic success.


According to Dr. John Ratey, Harvard University MD and Clinical Psychology Professor, our body, including our brain, is designed to perform most efficiently when we move. We have perfected our hard-wired need to conserve energy and find high calorie foods, but have failed to maintain enough movement in our lives.


We are all culprits. We drive instead of walk; our kids sit in front of the TV or computer instead of playing tag, climbing trees, and digging up buried treasure; and we go the grocery store instead of tending a garden.


Deb Skaret, who holds a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Alberta, and long time student of the brain says there is a strong link between exercise and learning. In addition, she believes attention problems in children can be related to a lack of physical activity.


Dr. Ratey agrees, “Exercise helps us with patience, optimism, focus and motivation. Exercise is like a little bit of Ritalin and a little bit of Prozac. It increases the levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine and allows children to stay more focused, have less disruptive energy, and have less worries.”


He encourages “Time-In”, controlled physical activity on a stationary bike for example, rather than “Time-Out”, sitting quietly. He argues that the physical activity break allows the child time to “recover” and “control” his/her behavior.


According to Ratey, research also suggests a link between obesity and IQ. Obese children, who tend to be relatively physically inactive, have lower IQs than children of normal weight. So logically, a smart child with a weight problem could become smarter if he/she added more movement to his/her daily schedule.


Parent can also help with the process by shut off the TV, restricting video and computer time and encouraging daily activities that require their children to move.


So let’s get moving and get smarter!


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Do Parents Nurture Narcissists By Pouring On The Praise?

NPR – Poncie Rutsch

“When a kid does something amazing, you want to tell her so. You might tell her that she’s very smart. You might tell her that she’s a very special kid. Or you might say that she must have worked really hard. On the surface, they all sound like the same compliments. But according to Brad Bushman, a communications and psychology professor at Ohio State University, the first two increase the child’s chances of becoming a narcissist. Only the last one raises the child’s self-esteem and keeps her ego in check. Bushman and a group of collaborators surveyed parents to see how they show warmth and value their child’s accomplishments. They then compared those findings to the children’s levels of self-esteem and narcissism. The results were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”(more)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Eating together helps children succeed

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


With all the stress of everyday life, parenting often seems like an overwhelming task. As parents, we want to do what is best for our kids, but there never seems to be enough hours in the day to do everything.


According to the latest research, there may be a simple solution – eat dinner together as a family. Kids who do this one thing perform better in school, eat a healthier diet, have better social skills and communicate more effectively with their parents than children who don’t.


Unbelievable? Here’s the data. According to a Louis Harris and Associates survey of 2000 high school seniors, students who regularly eat dinner with their families four or more times a week have better test scores than those who eat with their parents three or fewer times a week.


In addition, Dr. Diane Beals, Washington University researcher, and Dr. Patton Tarbors, Harvard University researcher, found that parents can enhance their children’s vocabulary by the way they talk to them at meals. Specifically they discovered that 3- and 4-year-olds whose family members expose them to “rare” words during mealtimes score higher on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test than those who do not receive the same level of exposure.


Also, Karen Cullen and Tom Baranowski, Ph. D. pediatric physicians at Baylor University, found that students in grades 4 to 6 who ate dinners with their families consumed more vegetables, more fruit and juice, and less soda. When children ate with their families, they also used more low fat practices.


As part of one of her shows, Oprah Winfrey conducted a “Family Dinner Experiment”. Families ate dinner together every night for a month, staying at the table for a half-hour each time. At the end of the month, the families were so pleased with the communication they planned to continue eating together.


However, there is one big challenge. After a long day at work, figuring out what to cook, shopping for the necessary ingredients and then spending 30 or 40 minutes preparing the meal is often too much.


Fortunately, there are ways parents can overcome this challenge. Some families prepare meals on the weekends and reheat them during the week. Others visit 15-minute recipe websites. And some frequent businesses that prepare meals for a reasonable fee.


The solution will be different for every family. Just remember eating together gives your child an advantage. Don’t miss out!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

When Combating the Bully, Our Hands Aren’t Tied

The Huffington Post – Lain Hensley

“As a part of growing up, most of us have experienced bullying either directly or indirectly. And despite our efforts to build awareness, today bullying still persists. As a society, we have to not only work to eradicate bullying, but also to prepare children for it. Like animals in the jungle, if somebody is weak, they get picked on so another can assert dominance. And the sad truth is, the behavior kids face today is at a new high, or low, depending how you measure it. Thanks to the Internet, cyber bullying is a whole new outlet for kids to attack the weakest members of the social herd outside the classroom. So how can we, as adults, combat this critical issue? As it turns out, we’re not as powerless as we might at times feel. Here are a few steps we can take.”(more)

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to get kids to read independently

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading ReportTM: Fifth Edition is out and offers a snapshot of where young people are when it comes to reading independently. Here are some of the findings of a nationally representative survey conducted last fall by Scholastic in conjunction with YouGov. Some of the results are surprising, including the fact that kids prefer to read books in print. Following the findings is an analysis of what they mean for parents and teachers:.”(more)

Friday, March 6, 2015

How does play promote social-emotional learning? – Sarah Levin Allen, Ph.D.

“The word “play” has become somewhat of a dirty word in our culture; instead of playing, our children must now learn, study, do ballet, soccer…Each moment must be structured and planned to ensure the best, highest quality experience…In all of this, however, we tend to neglect the power of unstructured play. There is a significant amount of learning and brain growth that happens when children of all ages play. It is through play that children develop the skills associated with social-emotional learning…Social-emotional learning includes a child’s ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of himself and others, and to use that knowledge to practice skills necessary for appropriately interacting with others. They learn how to feel, how to control emotions, and how to express those emotions…In addition to these skills, an article in Pediatrics highlights play as essential to the development of creativity, resiliency, and cooperation skills. Higher social emotional skills have also been linked to improved behavior, higher academic performance, and better attitudes about school.”(more)

Effective parenting leads to success

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are not raised in a proper environment are likely to have learning and developmental difficulties.


If this statement isn’t enough to make parents neurotic, the barrage of information might. Today there are diagnoses to explain almost every behavior problem — from attention deficit disorder to depression. As a result, it is easy to believe a child needs medication or counseling rather than parental guidance.


Then our busy lives create another challenge. Many parents feel guilty about the amount of time they spend with their kids. To compensate, parents give their children almost anything they want.


And some parents want to be “best friends” with their youngsters. These adults make their children “equals” in an effort to maintain approval.


Are we on the right track? According to research by Stanford University psychology professor Eleanor Maccoby, Harvard trained psychologist John Martin and University of California psychology professor Diane Baumrind, probably not. These researchers say there are four types of parents.


Uninvolved parents are not responsive to the child’s emotional needs or demanding about behavior.


Indulgent (permissive or nondirective) parents are more responsive than they are demanding. They tend to be nontraditional and lenient and generally do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation and avoid confrontation.


Authoritarian parents are highly demanding and directive, but are not responsive. According to Dr. Baumrind “They are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation”.


Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive and balance clear, high parental demands with emotional responsiveness and recognition of childhood autonomy.


These researchers also suggest indulgent parenting, like that highlighted in the examples above, is far from ideal. Instead they say authoritative parenting, a blend of authoritarian and indulgent parenting, is the most effective way to guide children. They use studies to demonstrate that this type of parenting produces well-adjusted, high-achieving kids.


Authoritative parents make a child feel accepted, loved, valued and supported and are also firm about expectations and limits. Unlike parents who have few rules or standards for their child’s behavior, authoritative parents establish limits for how their child acts. However, they also allow their child autonomy. And even though it is sometimes unnerving, they tolerate, support and encourage their child’s sense of individuality.


Authoritative parenting is really common sense. Give kids limits, establish consequences for poor behavior and allow them the freedom to grow into unique individuals. You should be pleased with the results.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Solving Oregon’s chronic absenteeism problem: Would financial incentives motivate schools or punish students?

Oregon Live – Betsy Hammond

“Oregon lawmakers are hotly debating a bill that would gradually change state school funding to a formula based on the number of students who come to school rather than the number enrolled. Principal-turned-legislator Rep. Betty Komp, D-Woodburn, is pushing House Bill 2657, which would make that switch, starting by funding kindergarten based on kindergartners’ attendance in 2016-17. By 2020-21, all grade levels would be funded that way. But several members of the House Education Committee said Monday they will vote against the bill, which is exactly the position that the state teachers union and the Oregon School Boards Association urged them to take. Students who come from low-income homes are most likely to miss a lot of school, so schools in poor communities would be harmed, and family factors outside of schools’ control contribute to absenteeism, said Portland Democrat Lew Frederick and Salem Republican Jodi Hack. Schools need more money and more support, not a hammer hanging over them that they will lose funding if they don’t fix high rates of chronic absenteeism, they said.”(more)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hansen: Are parents training resilience and creativity out of their kids? – Matthew Hansen

“We congratulate kindergartners when they line up neatly, pat second-graders on the head when they color between the lines, scold fourth-graders when they ring the doorbell twice to see what happens. All of these parenting moves make perfect sense, says an Omaha expert on child development. And each one of these moves, when drummed into our kids’ heads, can produce adults ill-equipped for the new American economy. “We love disruptive innovators,” says Dr. Laura Jana. “We don’t love them when they are 4.””(more)