Friday, October 28, 2011


Today’s video games are appealing to our young ones: they are fun, the action is fast, the challenges are inviting. However, when children spend time in front of small screens – whether it’s the TV, computer or hand-held games – it takes away from the time they could spend playing sports, learning other skills or enjoying active play.

When children constantly receive their entertainment through computer games, they develop an increasing desire for instant entertainment which decreases their attention span and hurts their listening skills. Simple common sense dictates that too much time spent playing online games is counter-productive to a child’s healthy growth and development.

If as a parent you are not facing this problem (yet) CONGRATULATIONS! If it is a concern, (or you think it might become one) bear in mind that the goal of a parent should not be to remove the child’s access to these activities, but to help the child find balancebetween time spent using these devices and time spent in activities of a different nature.

What NOT to do:

Here are some suggestions to help reduce the amount of time your children spent playing video games.Many articles discuss strategies to reduce video-gaming time suggest “tiger-mom” measures such as removing the computer from the child’s room, installing access-limiting software, or simply pulling the plug on the computer. These methods are confrontational, and send a message that the child lacks self-control. Cooperation and respect should be the tools of first choice. As parents we should help our children see the consequences of too much time online and help them make the decision for themselves to bring more balance into their lives.

1. Play a video game with your child - Let your child teach you one of their favorite video games and give it a try. You may find the game instructive, challenging, or deplorable. In any case, you’re showing your child that you are open-minded and willing to try something new. After all, this is what you’re asking of your child in having them reduce time spent on video games. There’s a better chance your child will listen to your suggestions when you’ve shown a willingness to understand the appeal of these games.

2. Keep a log of time spent on video games for a week - Ask your child to keep a record of time spent on gaming. (Or keep a record yourself.) At the end of one week, show them a visual representation of how much of their free time is going to this activity. Is it 10% of their time, or 50%? It’s likely that your child hasn’t considered this, and may be surprised at the results. Once you have some actual data, any argument over the amount of time spent on gaming is eliminated, and you can see if there is a problem, and to what degree.

3. Show your child what that amount of time represents in other activities - With some thought, you can develop a list of activities and opportunities that can be achieved in the same amount of time spent gaming. As a parent, you should be prepared to help the child get started in an activity program, or help buy supplies or equipment for new projects. The goal of this exercise is to show the child what activities he or she may be missing.

4. Arrange active indoor or outdoor activities for your children and thier friends - Help do the thinking and planning for alternative activities for your children. (They may be out of practice.) To make it more appealing, look for ways to include your children’s friends.

5. Start a long term project of your child’s choosing - Your child may have an interest or goal that seems out of reach. If you can tap into something your child is passionate about, you may be able to help them realize their passion. Most children don’t think of long-term projects, but you can show them how planning and budgeting their time and money can bring big rewards. Working on the garden, building something, decorating, are good examples. Of course, as a parent your participation is required to help finance the project and help see it to completion. But a long term project with your child is rewarding to the parent as well!

7. Have family meals together - Playing video games is often a solitary activity. Eating dinner together as a family provides a valuable opportunity for communication. A scheduled meal together helps lift children from the isolated bubble of their game consoles and engage the other members of the family in the exchange of ideas. Family dinners should be a place for open discussion, where the children can discuss their gaming accomplishments, should they choose, and where they can also hear the interests of all family members. Dinnertime is also an opportunity for family members to discuss a variety of interests outside of the video-game arena and plan upcoming activities.

Encouraging your child to spend less time playing video games requires more hands-on time from the parents. This is not always easy, given the busy schedules of parents today. But the rewards are rich as we see our children grow, and as we spend more time with them.

Taken from:

Sunday, October 23, 2011



“...that it is necessary to assist children in developing the skills of reasoning, empathizing, valuing and the creative resolution of conflict; that it should encourage curiosity, open-mindedness, persistence, respect for the opinions of others and cooperation; that it should develop in children the ability to think abstractly, critically, and creatively;...”

Quoted from an original document that was provided by the founders of Discovery School 1994

One of the most important traits of Discovery School it the international nature of its population. That is something we not only take pride of, but use as one of our most valuable teaching resources. Values such as tolerance, respect and acceptance are clear expectations that are taught and enforced in our school community. Thus, it is no wonder why the celebration of the anniversary of the United Nations is such an important date in our school calendar.

When examining closely the aims of the United Nations we find among them that as an organization it seeks “to keep peace throughout the world” , and among its principles it encourages countries to “settle their differences by peaceful means”. In a microcosmos, teachers, parents and students at Discovery School are constantly striving to use effective means of conflict resolution to overcome problems and differences, all the while respecting other’s individual and cultural differences.

The School Community comes together to celebrate these differences, giving the opportunity to all our different cultural communities to showcase the richness of their traditions and ways of life in an event filled with enthusiasm, activities and delicious food for students, parents and teachers. Throughout this week, the children will be learning about the United Nations, and will be participating in activities that will lead to this wonderful event.

What do YOU know of this organization? This is an ideal time to sit with your child and talk about the United Nations, and learn more about this amazing organization. Take the time to discuss traits such as tolerance, respect, cooperation, and peace with your child(ren). Think about ways we can demonstrate these at school, at home, and with family and friends. Use the following links to refresh your knowledge! We hope to see you all at school this Friday, October 28.

Just for adults

Sunday, October 16, 2011


October is National Anti-bullying month in the Unites States. The media has been sharing valuable information about this very serious and damaging topic. We pride ourselves at Discovery School for being an Anti-bullying school, for teaching our students from very early on the importance of tolerance and acceptance, and for addressing any bullying like incident as soon as it rises.

Understanding Bullying BehaviorAs a parent, it can be shocking and upsetting to learn your a child has gotten in trouble for picking on others, or been labeled a bully. As difficult as it may be to process this news, it's important to deal with it right away. Whether the bullying is physical or verbal, if it's not stopped it can lead to more aggressive antisocial behavior and interfere with your child's success in school and ability to form and sustain friendships.

Kids bully for many reasons. Some bully because they feel insecure. Picking on someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker provides a feeling of being more important, popular, or in control. In other cases, kids bully because they simply don't know that it's unacceptable to pick on kids who are different because of size, looks, race, or religion.

In some cases bullying is a part of an ongoing pattern of defiant or aggressive behavior. These kids are likely to need help learning to manage anger and hurt, frustration, or other strong emotions. They may not have the skills they need to cooperate with others. Professional counseling can often help them learn to deal with their feelings, curb their bullying, and improve their social skills.Some children who bully at school and in settings with their peers are copying behavior that they see at home. Kids who are exposed to aggressive and unkind interactions in the family often learn to treat others the same way. And children who are on the receiving end of taunting learn that bullying can translate into control over children they perceive as weak.

Helping Kids Stop Bullying

Let your child know that bullying is unacceptable and that there will be serious consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues.

Try to understand the reasons behind your child's behavior. In some cases, children bully because they have trouble managing strong emotions like anger, frustration, or insecurity. In other cases, they haven't learned cooperative ways to work out conflicts and understand differences.

Tactics to Try

Be sure to:

· Take bullying seriously. Make sure your child understand that you will not tolerate bullying at home or anywhere else. Establish rules about bullying and stick to them. If you punish your child by taking away privileges, be sure it's meaningful. If your child acts aggressively at home, with siblings or others, put a stop to it. Teach more appropriate (and nonviolent) ways to react, like walking away.

Teach kids to treat others with respect and kindness. Teach your child that it is wrong to ridicule differences (i.e., race, religion, appearance, special needs, gender, economic status) and try to instill a sense of empathy for those who are different. Consider getting involved together in a community group where your child can interact with kids who are different.

· Learn about your child's social life. Look for insight into the factors that may be influencing your child's behavior in the school environment (or wherever the bullying is occurring). Talk with parents of your child's friends and peers, teachers, guidance counselors, and the school principal. Do other children bully? What about your child's friends? What kinds of pressures do the kids face at school? Talk to your child about those relationships and about the pressures to fit in. Get them involved in activities outside of school so that they meet and develop friendships with other kids.

· Encourage good behavior. Positive reinforcement can be more powerful than negative discipline. Catch your children being good — and when they handle situations in ways that are constructive or positive, take notice and praise them for it.

· Set a good example. Think carefully about how you talk around your children and how you handle conflict and problems. If you behave aggressively — toward or in front of your child — chances are they'll follow your example. Instead, point out positives in others, rather than negatives. And when conflicts arise in your own life, be open about the frustrations you have and how you cope with your feelings.

Starting at Home

When looking for the influences on your child's behavior, look first at what's happening at home. Children who live with yelling, name-calling, putdowns, harsh criticism, or physical anger from a sibling or parent/caregiver may act that out in other settings.

It's natural — and common — for kids to fight with their siblings at home. And unless there's a risk of physical violence it's wise not to get involved. But monitor the name-calling and any physical altercations and be sure to talk to each child regularly about what's acceptable and what's not.

It's important to keep your own behavior in check too. Watch how you talk to your children, and how you react to your own strong emotions when they're around. There will be situations that need discipline and constructive criticism. But take care not to let that slip into name-calling and accusations. If you're not pleased with your child's behavior, stress that it's the behavior that you'd like your child to change, and you have confidence that he or she can do it.

If your family is going through a stressful life event that you feel may have contributed to your child's behavior, reach out for help from the resources at school and in your community. Guidance counselors, pastors, therapists, and your doctor can help.

Getting Help

To help a child stop bullying, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and other school officials who can help you identify situations that lead to bullying and provide assistance.

Your doctor also might be able to help. If your child has a history of arguing, defiance, and trouble controlling anger, consider an evaluation with a therapist or behavioral health professional.

As difficult and frustrating as it can be to help kids stop bullying, remember that bad behavior won't just stop on its own. Think about the success and happiness you want your kids to find in school, work, and relationships throughout life, and know that curbing bullying now is progress toward those goals.

For videos you may want to watch with your kids click here:

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Communication is the foundation for all parental involvement activities at school. Typically, most parents hear from the school only when their child is in trouble. At Discovery School, we try to keep the lines of communication open, and working both ways. Parents want their students to get a good education and have fun in school. Teachers want to get through to students and provide them with a good education. Communication is the key to making this happen. When parents and teachers communicate well and work together, everyone comes out ahead—the student, the parents, and the teacher.

Discovery School teachers take their role in effective communication with parents very seriously. Our teachers are very prompt in posting the weekly information on their grade/classroom blogs. By blogging every week, parents are informed at all times of the content and skills that are being addressed in the classroom, as well as of special activities that are coming up. Furthermore, it is school policy for teachers to report immediately to parents any situation that may directly affect a student. This communication may come in the form of an email or a phone call, and sometimes in a note being sent home, or a request for a conference.

Home-school communication helps teachers and parents develop strong relationships that motivate the students to work harder at school and improve their academic performance. Parents can learn basic teaching tips and concepts that assist them in reinforcing what is being taught at school. This in turn presents a unified front for each child.

When parents tand teachers communicate well with each other, children benefit and are more likely to have success at school. The best way to really focus on a student’s progress is a face to face meeting between teachers and parents. Parent-teacher conferences provide this opportunity, and are an important step in creating a positive home and school communication. Parents do not need to wait until the Mid Term or Report Cards to do this. Our teachers have preparation times during the day when they can meet with parents and talk about each child’s progress or areas of opportunity. Please check your child’s schedule to see when the teacher is available to talk to you and set up an appointment. We understand that everyone has very busy schedules, so while you are able to set up an appointmet with your chld’s teacher, a phone call or an email may be your best alternative in keeping the communication lines open between school and home.

A healthy, honest and friendly relationship between partents and teachers contributes to the student’s learning and success at school. However, when a difficult situation arises, the best way to resolve a conflict is at a parent-teacher level. Problems are more likely to be resolved when people talk directly to each other. Everyone benefits when teachers and parents work together on behalf of the students. The school Parent-Student Handbook provides clear guidelines on the chain of communication, and what to do when one of the parties feels communication at a certain level has not been effective.

As we are wrapping up the first quarter in this school year, Student Led Conferences willbe scheduled for Friday October 21st. Please make sure you come to this conference with your child. Teachers will behanding out Report Cards and discussing your son/daughter’s progress in school.

When parents and teachers communicate well and work together, everyone comes out ahead—the student, the parents, and the teacher.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


Homework is important because it is the intersection between home and school. It serves as a window through wich a parent can observe their child’s education. It provides an opportunity to express positive attitudes towards your child and his/her education.

As children grow older, it is only natural for the amount of homework to increase. For teachers, homework in an important way to provide additional instructional practice of the contents that have been covered in school. When handled effectively, this independent practice can assist a teacher to modify and differentiate instruction whenever needed.

At Discovery School we believe that homework should be assigned at a reasonable amount, depending on the grade level of your child. We believe that homework reinforces learning either by repetition of the information that has been presented in class, or by extending understanding of the concepts being learned at school. The more a child is exposed to a skill or content, the more retention is likely to happen. It also helps the child understand that learning can take place with or with out the teacher present. By allowing children to complete assignments and solve their own problems at home, we are communicating that we believe them to be capable, thus contributing to a child’s self confidence.

Homework teaches a child to work independently, which is what everyone has to do later in life in the work fore. Homework provides a beginning step in school towards responsibility. It shows students that they can apply themselves to a task. Just the fact that they complete their homework proves that they are responsible. This in turn proves to be a life learning skill that will be crucial for success in later schooling.

Parents should provide constant support and encouragement when it comes to homework. It is important to demonstrate to children how important homework is by taking an interest and guiding them. Helping with homework means supporting our children, not doing the homework for them. Students will not gain confidence in their own abilities unless they complete the work themselves. You may help your child by discussing the assignment with them, making sure that it is at an appropriate level of difficulty and challenge for him/her.

How can parents help their child with their homework resposibilities?

Ø Schedule a regular time for homework to be completed. Allow for a relaxation break after school, but do not let children leave homework until just before bedtime when they are likely to be tired, grouchy, and unable to concentrate.

Ø Help elementary school students set a schedule. Older students can set their own schedules, but make sure these are workable. Younger students need consistency in a schedule that works with each household needs.

Ø Sports, music, art or other activities are important, and time should be allow for these extracurricular activities, but cut back if more homework time is needed.

Ø Provide a homework area that has good lighting, is comfortable, and is fairly quiet. If possible, supply a desk or worktable. Each child is different, so be attentive to what works for your child.

Ø Eliminate distractions by making the telephone, television, video games, and music off limits until the homework assignments have been successfully completed.

Ø Provide homework supplies and hold students responsible for keeping them organized.

Ø Communicate with your child’s teacher regularly about the homework routines, and how your child is handling work at home. Teachers need to know this in order to make adjustments when necessary.

Please help us to stress the importance of homework to your child, and help him/her understand its value and the need for doing one’s personal best in this area, as well as in school! Your positive attitudes in these areas will be reflected in how your child thinks of and does in school.