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Is your child ready for kindergarten? Here are a few things to consider

The Seattle Times – Paige Cornwell

“With school sign-up time approaching, this is the time of year many parents have to ask a tricky question: Is my child ready for kindergarten? And if the answer is no, they wonder whether to “redshirt” the child — a term borrowed from sports that means holding kids out of school for a year to give them more time to grow academically, physically or socially. “It’s a perennial question for parents,” said Kristen Missall, associate professor at the University of Washington College of Education. “It’s one of the questions I get the most.” In Washington, students must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31 to enroll in kindergarten. But state law doesn’t require that students enroll in school until they’re 8, so parents can keep them at home or in child-care programs for an additional year — or more.”(more)

Nurture as important as nature for success

Japan Times – Noah Smith

“The question of nature versus nurture is an important one, but also an incredibly delicate one. How much of the disparities we see in society are fueled by a lack of good education, social influences and role models, and how much are due to natural ability? Given that people in advanced countries spend multiple decades of their life in school, this is an important question.”(more)

Empowering Parents to Help Schools

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“I’ve been thinking about exit, voice, and loyalty lately, and how they pertain to parents of school-age children, myself included. Those of us in education reform have generally viewed parents as either choosers or helpers—in terms of exit or loyalty. Under the former rubric: If kids are stuck in failing or mediocre or “bad-fit” schools, we parents should be able to vote with our feet, “exit” the school, and go someplace else. That is the great promise of school choice—it gives parents real power and thus makes the needs of our kids a priority while providing beneficial competitive effects for everyone else.”(more)

Engaging children in math at home equals a boost in more than just math skills

Purdue – Staff Writer

“Preschool children who engage in math activities at home with their parents not only improve their math skills, but also their general vocabulary, according to research from Purdue University. “Exposure to basic numbers and math concepts at home were predictive, even more so than storybook reading or other literacy-rich interactions, of improving preschool children’s general vocabulary,” said Amy Napoli, a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies who led the study.”(more)

Encouraging risk-taking in children may reduce the prevalence of childhood anxiety

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A new international study suggests that parents who employ challenging parent behavioural (CPB) methods – active physical and verbal behaviours that encourage children to push their limits – are likely protecting their children from developing childhood anxiety disorders. Researchers from Macquarie University’s Centre for Emotional Health, along with partners from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Reading, surveyed 312 families with preschool-aged children across the Netherlands and Australia. Results showed that the parents who scored higher in their CPB methods, thereby encouraging their kids to push their limits to a greater extent, had children who were less at risk of exhibiting anxiety disorder symptoms, demonstrating that CPB was related to significantly less anxiety in children.”(more)

Holiday Gift Guide — For Your Favorite STEM Student: 9 Fun Toys That Also Teach Science, Engineering, and Computing

The 74 Million – Tim Newcomb

“What sort of gifts do teachers wish for for their students? This holiday season, STEM is the big draw — and not just computer-science-related toys, but also simple games involving blocks that can lay the groundwork for coding skills. Here are some of the top educational gifts for the budding scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in your life, courtesy of Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that promotes K-12 STEM education:.”(more)