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Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD for short) is on January 27, 2017. This special day is in its fourth year of celebration and I'm glad to participate again by reviewing 2 wonderful books filled with diverse content.  Read the rest→

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My youngest son graduated kindergarten from Lawrence Montessori School two years ago but his beautiful preschool years are still fresh in my memory. There are many amazing child-friendly aspects to the Montessori curriculum. What struck me most is the emphasis on compassion and peace that occurs on a daily basis in the classroom. The children extend compassion to themselves, each other, the environment, and the world around them as a matter of course.  Read the rest→

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The first time I sent my little boy to preschool, I was as nervous as he was, if not more! But not to worry too much, with a little preparation and planning, you can make your child’s first school days a joyful experience and the start of a lifetime of learning.  Read the rest→

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This summer our family has been on a number of road trips – with two restless boys under ten, I count  any drive longer than an hour and a half as a road trip. I must share though, that our long drives have been a breeze thanks to the boys re-discovering the charm of books on CD. No sibling squabbles, no begging for cell phones, no cries of “Are we there yet?” - I’m a fan!  Read the rest→

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Summer vacation presents a great opportunity for kids to relax, have fun and mix in all sorts of learning – academic learning to prevent kids from forgetting material learned during the school year, also known as the dreaded summer slide plus learning new skills based on kids' interests and inclinations. All the classes and camps can add up to a lot of expense so we searched for various free resources to help our kids make the most of summer time without breaking the bank.  Read the rest→

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As a parent, some of my most special moments are when my little one and I read a book together. The joy only increases when your child is able to spot words and read with you and eventually read to you. It’s a fun journey from alphabet recognition to phonics, reading and understanding a story - one which can be greatly helped by some wonderful tools out there in the marketplace. There are a couple of companies like Fisher Price, Leap Frog and V-tech that seem to be more focused on this particular space and some of their products worked very well for my children. Here are some toys and tools that can help your child in this process:  Read the rest→

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Children, even siblings, can differ greatly in their abilities, the areas where they excel and the areas where they struggle. Yet, many parents (including me) tend to get anxious if their kids do not perform to a standard or conform to standards of expected behavior in the classroom. In the US alone, the Center for Disease Control states that approximately 11% of kids (4-17 years) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. The Dyslexia Research Institute estimates that 10 to 15% of the US population is dyslexic. How can we help our kids, especially those diagnosed with one or more such conditions, learn better taking their individual personalities and learning styles into account?  Read the rest→

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As the school year draws to a close, it’s a time of reflection for me. I marvel at the growth I see in my kids – physical, academic, and new dimensions in their personalities that have unfurled over the year. Much of the credit must go to the teachers who have worked patiently with them on their good days and their aggravating days (and I know they have plenty of the latter). Many parents I know feel their children’s teachers have made a positive impact on their kids as well as their family, but often are stumped for ideas on how best to express their gratitude. Here are some ideas we’ve gathered from talking to both parents and teachers.  Read the rest→

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A few weeks ago my son’s teacher emailed me to let me know that she was concerned about his “constant fidgeting” and “lack of focus” in the classroom. When questioned, he said it was quite unconscious on his part and that he was  paying attention all the while. So of course I rushed to the internet and to some of my teacher friends to find solutions – turns out very many boys in Elementary school have similar issues (no offence to his teacher who is  wonderful, concerned and very attentive to all her student’s needs). It did get me thinking though, about differences in the ways boys and girls learn and whether there is something to be said for single sex classrooms.  Read the rest→

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The College Board announced significant changes to the format and content of the SAT, which will become effective from the spring of 2016. The first test takers for the new SAT will be current 8th graders. As a parent, this concerns and interests me, as I’m sure it does many of you. What does the change do for our kids? Does it make an already grueling college admission process even harder? Here’s what I found out.  Read the rest→

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National Grammar Day - 4 March 2014

For those of us who still believe in the value of good grammar today is National Grammar Day in the US. It was started by Martha Brockenbrough in 2008 to promote the usage of good grammar.  Read the rest→

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Students lay the foundation to becoming effective learners in the higher education system in the years well before high school and the preceding ‘middle years’  are critical for the demanding years ahead.  Here we take a look at two popular international curriculum options for students in the lower secondary years (eighth to tenth grade) – IGCSE and IB MYP.   Read the rest→

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Geography is one of those subjects which, depending on how it’s taught can be very interesting or intensely boring. Here are some fun online resources and apps to spark the geo-bug in your child.  Read the rest→

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Standardized tests are a reality in today's education. With the increasing pace of competition, kids are exposed to it from their elementary school years. Taking a test under time constraints has its own challenges and not all kids are equal in their  test taking skills. Too often, I have seen a really bright and intelligent student falter when it comes to performing in a test. Given the role test results play in determining a student's grade, eligibility for advanced or gifted and talented programs as well as college selection in the later years, it is important to help kids develop their test-taking skills. Here are some suggestions based on inputs from counselors, teachers and parents of college-going kids who have been down the same road:  Read the rest→

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As my kids get older we have slowly moved away from working on the actual mechanics of reading. Instead, the focus has shifted to understanding and analyzing the text and characters, not a process that comes naturally to my kids. Here are some of the ways I approach reading with my kids to help them with reading comprehension at a deeper level.  Read the rest→

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