Renascence School Education News - private school

Thursday, March 5, 2015

15 Surprising Discoveries About Learning

Innovation Excellence – Saga Briggs

“What are some of the most encouraging known facts about learning? From taking a walk to learning a new language, there are countless things we can do to improve the way we learn. Below we list fifteen steps toward a better brain:”(more)

The new scientific reason moms help their children’s brains grow

Deseret News – Herb Scribner

“According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, babies who hear their mother’s heartbeat and voice show stronger signs of development in their auditory cortex, which, among other functions, is a part of the brain primarily known for helping people hear. “Larger auditory cortices usually result in better hearing and language development later on in an infant’s life, so the scientists plan on tracking these babies’ progress,” according to PBS…But reading to children isn’t the only practice parents can adopt to improve their babies’ brain development. They can also show more emotional support to their loved ones. According to a study from researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, children with mothers who show them high levels of affection see a larger growth in the hippocampus, a section of the brain that often deals with one’s long-term memory, than those whose mothers showed them less attention.”(more)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Air Pollution Slows Cognitive Development In Children Due To Brain Inflammation

Medical Daily – Chris Weller

“Schools that are located near busy roads may be more dangerous than remote schools due to the increased levels of air pollution generated by passing cars, a new study finds. Toxic chemicals found in the air pose a growing concern for scientists studying brain health, especially among adolescents. Experts call them neurotoxicants, and they’ve been linked with a higher risk of suicide, autism, and the myriad direct physical effects of breathing in harmful air, such as asthma and diseases of the lungs…Both parents and local governments can take steps to making sure an area stays pollutant-free and ensuring a child’s brain develops at a normal rate.”(more)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Behold The Humble Block! Tools Of The Trade

NPR – Eric Westervelt

“For this series, we’ve been thinking a lot about the iconic tools that some of us remember using — if only for a short time — in our early schooling. Things like the slide rule and protractor, Presidential Fitness Test and Bunsen burner. Today we explore the simple, powerful tool that is still alive and well in some early learning classrooms: the wooden block. You might call it the anti-app. Measurement. Balance. Math. Negotiation. Collaboration. And fun. The smooth maple pieces need no recharging, no downloading. “Let’s just put these blocks up,” says 4-year-old Jacques. “I think this will probably work. Be careful, Corrine.” “I know,” says Corinne, who is also 4.”(more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

As Part of March “Sing With Your Child Month,” Leading Authority on Early Childhood Music Education Asks What Songs Get Your Family Singing and Dancing Together?

PR Web – Staff Writer

“March is Sing with Your Child Month, a time to focus on the importance of making music with children. This year the campaign…will focus on encouraging families to sing, dance, and move together…According to Kenneth K. Guilmartin, Founder/CEO of Music Together LLC, “The aim is to cultivate a larger conversation about making music together as a family; to create a public shared list of favorite songs; and to inspire all families to make music with their children in March—and all year long. When we sing and make music as a family, we form everlasting bonds and memories, which ultimately allow children to feel secure as they grow.” Research shows the impact of early music education and participating in music can have not only on musical growth, but also on overall development. Recent findings include: music instruction can promote key school readiness skills; music education in early childhood can have a profound impact on developing the areas of the brain integral to reading ability; and participation in music activities is associated with child and adolescent achievement outcomes in math and reading.”(more)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Music Makes You a Better Reader, Says Neuroscience

GOOD – Kayt Sukel

“It’s known as the “musician’s advantage.” For decades, educators, scientists, and researchers have observed that students who pick up musical instruments tend to excel in academics—taking the lead in measures of vocabulary, reading, and non-verbal reasoning and attention skills, just to name a few. But why musical training conferred such an advantage remained a bit of a mystery. Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University and research collaborator on the Harmony Project has spent her life surrounded by music. And, today, she is studying how musical training can harness the brain’s natural plasticity, or adaptiveness, to help students become better overall students and readers, even when they grow up in impoverished environments.”(more)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bilingual children may have lower Alzheimer’s risk

South China Morning Post – Liz Heron

“Being raised bilingual is good for you. It can boost your language attainment, enhance overall academic performance and perhaps even protect you against Alzheimer’s disease in later life. That is the good news for Hong Kong from one of the world’s leading experts on the biological foundations of language learning. Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Laura-Ann Petitto shared the latest scientific findings on bilingualism – including her own discoveries – in a lecture to mark the launch of University of Hong Kong’s Science of Learning research centre. Trilingualism and full literacy in two languages is the goal for all students in Hong Kong’s public education system…Such kindergartens are absolutely going in the right direction, says Petitto…Early learning is crucial to success in learning two or more languages.”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Building the brain

News Herald – Juliann Talkington


You may have inherited your mother’s eyes and your father’s nose, but probably not their brains. The brain is a biologic computer. But unlike a laptop that contains chips programmed with exact code, the brain has the ability to customize itself based on experience and exposure.


According to Dr. Lise Elliot with the Chicago School of Medicine, “We know…that an infant’s experience can have permanent effects on the wiring of the brain.” At birth the brain contains the cells necessary to handle trillions of processes. If signals are sent between brains cells, the connections become hard-wired. However, if signals are not sent between cells, the connections are discarded. Most researchers believe the hard-wiring/discarding process is complete at the beginning of puberty, leaving adults with many fewer brain connections than infants.


Learning certain basic skills, such as language and music, becomes much more difficult with age. According to FSU professor Dr. Karen Glendenning in her book Brain, Behavior and Learning, “After birth there are continuing changes in the brain. For example, cell populations in the language area, may decrease by 30 percent between the ages of two months and 18 years…”


These findings create a challenge. We don’t want to pressure-cook our kids, but we do want to expose them to things early so critical brain connections are not lost. One easy way to start the process may be to limit screen time.


According to educational psychologist Dr. Jane Healy, “Too much television — particularly at ages critical for language development and manipulative play — can impinge negatively on young minds.” Even though a tremendous amount of information is available from these sources, the information enters the brain in similar ways and deprives the brain of other critical experiences.


Most experts believe it better to encourage children to build, create, experience, and explore. This not only helps children learn about the world, but also helps build fine motor skills and spatial abilities. One might also think carefully about focusing young children completely on the arts, sports, math, language arts or the like. Instead it makes more sense to encourage children to participate in a combination of things – art, science, music, math, sports, foreign language, public speaking, building…


If we can just step out of our “old”, inflexible brains for a minute and keep ourselves from becoming too rigid, our children have the potential to be a lot smarter than we are.


The Benefits of Bath Time for Babies

U.S. News & World Report – Anna Medaris Miller

“For years, parents have valued bath time as intimate (and adorable) moments with their children…Now, researchers are learning that everyday rituals such baths and diaper changes are critical for babies’​ development…Bath time is also a time for touch, which is critical for cognitive and emotional development…But it’s not just touch that makes bath time special. It’s also the engagement of other senses, from watching bubbles burst to listening to water splash to smelling soap.”(more)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Toddlers Tango Combines Exercise, Music and Keeps Your Little Ones Active

Time Warner Cable News – Candace Hopkins

“When the weather turns bitter outside, it can be difficult to find ways to keep your kids active, forcing many parents to get creative…These kids are taking part in Toddlers Tango. The program was started in Central New York in 1999, and is now underway in several other areas and states. It’s designed to get little ones, and their parents, up and moving. And it’s one of few programs kids can start before they’re a year old. “For the two, three minutes of the song they’re going to either be jumping, running, moving, walking, at the same time as they’re playing their instrument or using their prop,” said Tamar Frieden, the Toddlers Tango founder…”Research shows that music enhances brain development in children, and doing it in such a natural way by having music, movement, repetition, and helping in development in a fun, enjoyable way for the mom and kids is one of the great benefits you get from coming to a Toddlers Tango as well.””(more)