Renascence School Education News - private school

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)

Brainomics: How Improving Brain Health Impacts the Economy

The Huffington Post – Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D.

“A new study by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth finds that closing the education gap would increase economic growth and reduce economic inequality. It sounds great, but is it really that simple? I think so — I believe the brain is the most significant path to raise the standard of living, not just nationally, but globally…The study suggests several public policy strategies to close socio-economic gaps that affect academic performance, including greater investment in early childhood care and education, criminal justice reform and family-friendly workplaces. However, there is another area crucial to educational achievement and life success: cognitive development and brain health. This area of science is concerned with the health and development of a child’s brain and how that is impacted by his or her external environment…The Washington Center study — correctly — notes the importance of early childhood education in closing achievement gaps. However, new scientific evidence shows there is another window of opportunity for gains: in middle school. Rapid frontal lobe development and pruning during adolescence makes middle school the perfect time to positively impact cognitive brain health.”(more)

Are bilingual babies better?

Times of Malta – Helen Raine

“Study after study has shown that learning two languages from birth stimulates the grey matter like nothing else and new research from Singapore has only underlined that conclusion…Myths have abounded since the 1970s that speaking two languages to an infant could confuse them or delay language in a way that could be permanently damaging. Those outdated ideas have now been roundly debunked. It’s very clear that not only is it much easier for children to learn a language if they do so from birth but that this actually helps a child’s cognitive development in a multitude of ways…Luckily there are some easy steps that parents can take to make both languages equally important at home…Once you have a plan, you need to persist…Children are hardwired to learn languages and want to communicate, so just remember to keep your approach light-hearted and fun. If you encounter resistance, play games, sing songs, get creative, find a friend that shares your goals and keep going.”(more)

Teens Are Getting Less And Less Sleep

The Huffington Post – Cari Nierenberg

“The amount of time that teens spend sleeping has substantially declined over the last 20 years, a new study suggests. The results from a large national survey show that the percentage of U.S. teenagers who regularly get seven or more hours of shut-eye is consistently decreasing…To function at their best, teens should hit the sack for eight to 10 hours a night, the National Sleep Foundation recommends. Getting enough sleep is important for teens’ bodies and minds during this critical stage in their growth and development. Those who skimp on shut-eye during their teen years could also set the stage for a lifelong pattern of getting too little sleep as adults…A lack of Zzzs could also affect adolescent health in a variety of other ways. Previous research has suggested that the average American teen is chronically sleep deprived, and this may increase teenagers’ risk for experiencing problems in school performance, mental health issues, automobile accidents, substance use and even weight gain…”(more)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Changing How We Think

Time – Shane Parrish

“What kind of thinking leads to better outcomes? That’s the question that Roger Martin addresses in his wonderful book Diaminds: Decoding the Mental Habits of Successful Thinkers. Changing how we think isn’t easy though. The world is awash in complexity. Nearly every decision we make is uncertain. There is no one way to look at uncertainty. There are as many ways of seeing, experiencing and representing problems as there are people. Each person, in turn, brings their own mental models.”(more)