Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Have We Taken The Wrong Approach To Treating Kids With ADHD?

The Huffington Post – Carolyn Gregoire

“Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often told to be quiet and sit still in the classroom. But new research suggests that letting them move around may actually be a more effective way to help them learn. The study, recently published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, suggests that physical motion is critical to the way that children with ADHD recall information and solve problems. “Our research indicates that targeting reduced movement in children with ADHD may not be in their best interest,” Dr. Mark Rapport, a psychologist at the University of Central Florida and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. “They need to move more than other children when engaged in learning tasks that require the use of critical executive functions such as working memory.””(more)

Monday, April 20, 2015

U.S. Government’s attempt to raise children fails

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Even though there is a lot of discussion about diversity and open mindedness, the U.S. has become a very closed-minded place to raise children.


Government agencies decide how children should be educated, psychology “experts” provide guidelines on how parents should interact with their children, law enforcement agencies force parents to follow the advice of the “experts”, and lawyers sue when kids are kids. With all this regulation, advice, policing, and legal intervention, one would think U.S. kids would be well educated and socially adept.


Just the opposite is true. U.S. children rank poorly in international academic comparisons. More than 50% of the U.S. college graduates are out of work or are underemployed. In addition, the U.S. spends over $100 billion on mental health annually and has the third highest incarceration rate in the world.


International comparisons provide some perspective.


In Vietnam, most children are potty trained by the time they are nine months old, something many U.S. psychologists suggest causes long term issues for children. Interestingly, most Vietnamese children go on to become happy, well adjusted adults.


In Japan, it is not uncommon to see six and seven year old kids riding the subway alone. Not only is this unheard of in the U.S., but would likely lead to a visit from Child Protective Services.


In Germany, it is common to see 4 and 5 year old children working with knives and other sharp instruments. Yet, in the U.S. children are not allowed to pick up a stick at school for fear that they will injure someone. And parents demand suspensions and threaten lawsuits when a student pinches or pokes another student.


A review of child rearing in the U.S. in the middle of the 20th Century provides some insight into the problem.


At that time, there was less government intervention. Local school districts had more control over curriculum and discipline. Teachers had better subject area preparation and lawsuits against school districts were uncommon.


There were no government agencies overseeing child rearing and few psychologists second-guessing what might be best for a child. Also, kids had the freedom to be kids. There were fights in the parking lot, scraped knees on the playground, and tears about “mean” comments. Families figured out how to interact and solve problems. Most people were employed. Few people had mental health issues and stints in prison were uncommon.


It appears that we need less government intervention, less expert advice, less enforcement, and more common sense.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Doyel: How to build leaner kids, better learners

The Indianapolis Star – Gregg Doyel

“Thomas Campbell has no idea he’s exercising. As far as he knows, he’s sitting in Miss Sitzman’s first-grade class at Frederick Douglass School. As far as he knows, he’s learning. And he is. He’s sitting at his desk and he’s going over spelling words, but he’s not sitting on a chair. He’s sitting on one of those big bouncy balls you see in a gym, a stabilizing ball that strengthens your core. Thomas Campbell is working his abs, and he has no idea. “I like the ball,” he says, and he smiles, and that’s just one of the small victories at Frederick Douglass, also known as IPS School 19, also known as Super School. This is a school, and IPS is a school district, that could use some victories. Thanks to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, the wins are starting to pile up. Thomas Campbell is working his abs as he spells out f-i-s-h in Miss Sitzman’s class. Down the hall, fifth-grader Leshly Soto is walking on a mini-elliptical trainer – the kids call it a “moonwalker,” but you and I know it’s a cardio machine – as she reads a history lesson. Another fifth-grader, Alyssa Smith, is watching math facts on a projector screen and jumping on a mini-trampoline. The screen asks: What is 12 times 5?.”(more)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Julia Steiny: Refuel Kids’ Attention with Short Movement Breaks

Education News – Julia Steiny

“In a technology class at the International Charter School (ICS) in Pawtucket, RI, second and third graders are learning to change fonts on their laptops. They look droopy, so I ask how they like the class. They love it! “Computers are so fun.” “So cool!” But the languid body language doesn’t match. It’s the end of a period; they’ve been glued to screens. So they’re fine with putting the electronics away and quickly arrange themselves into a formation that looks like back-up dancers at the ready. Cynthia Sime, their regular teacher, leads them through a one-minute “energizer.” Together they do a spoken-word doo-wop with a made-up word that sounded to me like Aroostasha sha sha sha. The kids use the last four syllables to mark beats, as their hands slice the air from left to right. It repeats as Sime adds a new physical challenge prior to each four-beat chant. “Hands together! (hands smack together in front of their bellies). Legs out! (jump into wide stance). Elbows in! (elbows whip back). Knees bent! Bottoms up!” (butts stick out.). And the last challenge she adds is “Tongue Out!” With that the nonsense word sounds like total garbage, so when they’re done, kids dissolve into giggling. Then, without asking, they settle right back at their desks, alert and ready for math. The buzz in the air is palpable. When Sime gives a first direction, they’re on it. One minute of movement, release and a bit of fun tees up high-quality attention for this happy teacher, who isn’t battling restless, fried kids.”(more)

Friday, April 10, 2015

10 ways to help your kid get a good night’s sleep

The Herald Extra – Erin Wilkey

“Parents know firsthand the impact a poor night’s sleep has on kids. Lack of sleep can contribute to crankiness, problems with attention and learning, behavior issues, and even health problems such as obesity. Though the reasons for poor sleep vary, many parents worry that media and technology interfere with bedtime routines and sleep. Studies on how media use affects kids’ sleep aren’t conclusive. But they do highlight certain behaviors that are associated with poor sleep. We’ve put together a list of tips for ways your family might manage tech use to help your kids (and you!) sleep better.”(more)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The gut/brain axis and happier, smarter kids

The Jakarta Post – Niken Prathivi

“While some parents might think that the human digestive system is only involved in absorbing nutrients, proponents of the gut/brain axis say that a healthy gut is important for growing children. The gut/brain axis refers to biochemical signaling between a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract and their nervous system. It often involves intestinal microbiota — the microorganisms that live in our bodies, which happen to have an important role in healthy brain function…“A healthy gut delivers a positive signal that influences brain growth, while the brain also sends positive signals that influence microbiota composition in the gut, which has an impact on nutrition absorption,” Ahmad Suryawan, a member of the Happy Tummy Council, said at a recent talk in Jakarta. “This is why we call the gut the ‘second brain’.”…Ahmad said that there is a connection between the microbiota in a child’s gut and the development of behavioral intelligence.”(more)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Healthy food is an important part of child rearing

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


Next time your child asks for soda, chips, sweetened juice, or chicken nuggets you might want to think twice. Most prepared items are loaded with refined sugars, unhealthy fats, additives, flavor enhancers and preservatives – things that can cause behavior and learning issues and long-term health challenges.


The attractive packaging and the taste of these prepared foods are appealing to kids and parents.


When parents look beyond the advertising they realize a high quality diet is an important part of providing for their children.


The National Cancer Institute says, “ Serious diseases that are linked to what we eat kill an estimated three out of four Americans each year…. Eating a diet that contains five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy, active lifestyle lowers the risk for all of these diseases.”


In addition to health issues, there is a correlation between healthy eating and academic performance. In 2011 Kate Northstone’s research team showed a link between diet and IQ. In this study young children who ate a health conscious diet (salad, rice, pasta, fish, fruit) showed an increase in IQ.


In a study in the New York City Public Schools researchers discovered, “A lowering of sucrose (sugar), synthetic food color/flavors, and two preservatives (BHA and BHT) over 4 years in 803 public schools was followed by a 15.7% increase in mean academic percentile ranking… on standardized tests.”


Processed foods are more expensive than raw ingredients, so families can lower their food budget and increase the quality of food they provide their children at the same time.


In today’s busy world there is a constant struggle to balance work and family, so it is imperative to find ways to prepare healthy foods from basic ingredients without increasing food preparation time.


Fortunately there are some simple changes that do not place additional demands on parents’ time. As a first step, parents should avoid having prepared food for snacking. Instead they should load the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, yogurt, milk, eggs, lean meats, nuts, and dried fruit.


Once kids are eating healthier snacks, parents can look for simple meals made from raw ingredients. There are many resources on the web, so it is possible to find tasty raw food alternatives that only take a few minutes of preparation time.


With these simple changes, parents can maximize their children’s academic experience and lay the foundation for a healthy future.


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)