Friday, March 15, 2013


Easter Break is around the corner! This can be a valuable time for the family to spend quality time together. Family vacations can provide some of the best memories of your child's life. Here are some tips and ideas you may want to consider as you plan that time off with your family:

1. If you are taking a car trip, keep it peaceful by having clear traveling rules that you stick to. Reward your child if they follow the rules!

2. Consider a portable DVD player for additional traveling peace.

3. Plan meals. Decide when you will eat out and when you will prepare your own meals at your vacation spot. Have easy-accessible snacks and drinks in the car. Stressing over where and what to eat can spoil your fun.

4. Plan child-friendly events. While you may not want your vacation to be "all about the kids," remember to plan some things that they will enjoy, too.

5. Help your children pack. Making a list of items that every family member should take along is a good idea. Things go much more smoothly when everyone has what he or she wants to bring, and also when there are certain limits on what can be taken. Prepared packing also guards against emergencies and other unforeseen situations. Pack rain gear, sunscreen, sweaters, and those other preparations that can make the difference between fun and disaster.

6. Consider taking a babysitter or nanny with you on vacation. This is especially helpful if you have very young children. Parents can then enjoy some time out together.

7. Give your older children space. Sometimes, just being away from schoolwork and taking some time out is an enjoyable vacation for a pre-teen.

8. Don't have expectations and rigid schedules that will only make everyone miserable. Even though you are preparing and planning, be flexible and willing to laugh.

9. The family that plays together, stays together. View this as a time to get away from it all. Away from work, the phone calls, the children’s activities, the daily to do list. This is a great opportunity to spend time as a family and get to know each other.

10. Teach your children well.Travel is an excellent learning tool for kids. They can have the opportunity to learn about things first hand they may have learned in school, read about or saw on TV. Any destination can offer this learning experience. Family vacations can teach children about different cultures, food, history, geography, climate, environment and so much more. The best part is that it’s way more fun for them then learning it through homework!

Time to kick back and relax. Now this part is the most important part. One of the main reasons to take a vacation is to get some rest and recharge. Scheduel fun activities but don’t over do it. Family vacations are intended to spend together as a family. As far as memories go, we tend to remember the good things; the time spent together as a family, the new things that were discovered, the new friends we made, the places we saw. This is what your children will remember and, the fact that you were there with them to enjoy it.

Friday, March 8, 2013

 by Jim Trelease, Penguin Books, 1995.

1. Television is the direct opposite of reading. TV shows break its programs into eight-minute segments (shorter for shows like Sesame Street), requiring and fostering short attention spans. Reading, on the other hand, requires and encourages longer attention spans. Good children's books are written to hold children's attention, not interrupt it. Television is relentless; no time is allowed to ponder characters' thoughts or to recall their words because the dialogue and images move too quickly. Books, however, encourage the reader to move at his own pace as opposed to that of the director or sponsor. The reader can stop to ponder the character's next move, the feathers in his hat, or the meaning of a sentence. Having done so, he can resume where he left off without having missed any part of the story. 

2. For young children television is an antisocial experience, while reading is a social experience. A three-year-old sits passively in front of the screen, oblivious to what is going on around him or her. Conversation during the program is seldom if ever encouraged by the child or by the parents. On the other hand, the three-year-old with a book must be read to by another person - parent, sibling, or grandparent. The child is a participant as well as a receiver when he engages in discussion during and after the story.

3. Television deprives the child of his most important learning tool: questions. Children learn the most by questioning. The time a child sits infront of a TV, he or she can neither ask a question nor receive an answer.

4. Television interrupts the child's most important language lesson: family conversation. Children seldom engage in little or no conversation while watching TV.

5. Much of young children's television viewing is mindless watching, requiring little or no thinking. With more than 100 cable channels to chose from one would expect today's young adults to be among the most informed citizens in our history. They are not, unless this is discussed and shared with an adult, or what they are watching is a meaningful experience.

6. Television stifles the imagination. Studies have shown that children hearing a story produced more imaginative responses than those seeing the same story on film.

7. Television overpowers and desensitizes a child's sense of sympathy for suffering. Extensive research in the past twenty years clearly shows that television bombardment of the child with continual acts of violence makes the child insensitive to violence and its victims. Any classroom teacher or pediatrician will tell you of the connection between children's viewing of violent films and classroom behavior.

The purpose of television is this:
The purpose of a book is this:
·        Information - advertising, news, sports
·        Identity - people to emulate and things to identify with
·        Social Interaction - as a basis for conversation or substituted for companionship to ease sense of isolation
·        Entertainment - escape, relaxation
·        Information - story, how-to

·        Identity - to provide characters or a voice to identify with, to be identified with an author or book

·        Social Interaction - to create a basis for discussion and/or conversation between you and others

·        Entertainment - interacts with reader's imagination

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Because of the multicultural nature of Discovery School there are certain values that are taught, encouraged and become expected in our students. Some parents welcome the fact that we live in an increasingly diverse society and school. Others may feel more hesitant, especially if they haven't had much exposure to people different from themselves. Many kids are way ahead of their parents regarding exposure to cultural differences. Their circle of friends, their schoolmates, and their athletic teams are much more varied than those of even a generation ago.
Still, parents and teachers at Discovery school should help students prepare to live, learn, and work in communities that will become even more diverse. Teaching tolerance is important because the person who learns to be open to differences will have more opportunities in education, business, and many other aspects of life. Success in today's world — and tomorrow's — depends on being able to understand, appreciate, and work with others.

About Tolerance 

Tolerance refers to an attitude of openness and respect for the differences that exist among people. The concepts of tolerance not only applies to ethnic and religious differences but also to gender, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, and other differences, too.
Tolerance means respecting and learning from others, valuing differences, bridging cultural gaps, rejecting unfair stereotypes, discovering common ground, and creating new bonds. Tolerance, in many ways, is the opposite of prejudice.
Does tolerance mean that all behaviors have to be accepted? Of course not. Behaviors that disrespect or hurt others, like being mean or bullying,  behaviors that break social rules, like lying or stealing should not and are not tolerated at school. Tolerance is about accepting people for who they are — not about accepting bad behavior. Tolerance also means treating others the way you would like to be treated.

How Can Parents Help The School Teach Tolerance?

Parents can teach tolerance by example — and in other ways, too. Talking together about tolerance and respect helps kids learn more about the values you want them to have. Giving them opportunities to play and work with others is important as well. This lets kids learn firsthand that everyone has something to contribute and to experience differences and similarities.
Things parents can do to help children learn tolerance include:
·                       Notice your own attitudes. Parents who want to help their kids value diversity can be sensitive to cultural stereotypes they may have learned and make an effort to correct them. Demonstrate an attitude of respect for others.
·                       Remember that kids are always listening. Be aware of the way you talk about people who are different from yourself. Do not make jokes that perpetuate stereotypes. Although some of these might seem like harmless fun, they can undo attitudes of tolerance and respect.
·                       Select books, toys, music, art, and videos carefully. Keep in mind the powerful effect the media and pop culture have on shaping attitudes.
·                       Point out and talk about stereotypes that may be portrayed in media.

·                       Answer kids' questions about differences honestly and respectfully. This teaches that it is acceptable to notice and discuss differences as long as it is done with respect.
·                       Acknowledge and respect differences within your own family. Demonstrate acceptance of your children's differing abilities, interests, and styles. Value the uniqueness of each member of your family.
·                       Remember that tolerance does not mean tolerating unacceptable behavior. It means that everyone deserves to be treated with respect — and should treat others with respect as well.
·                       Help your children feel good about themselves. Kids who feel badly about themselves often treat others badly. Kids with strong self-esteem value and respect themselves and are more likely to treat others with respect, too. Help your child to feel accepted, respected, and valued.
·                       Give kids opportunities to work and play with others who are different from them. When choosing a school, day camp, or child-care facility for your child, find one with a diverse population.

·                       Learn together about holiday and religious celebrations that are not part of your own tradition.
·                       Honor your family's traditions and teach them to your kids — and to someone outside the family who wants to learn about the diversity you have to offer. Help them be proud of who they are!
When parents encourage a tolerant attitude in their children, talk about their values, and model the behavior they would like to see by treating others well, kids will follow in their footsteps.