Thursday, 17 April 2014

How to Survive Your Beach Holiday When You Bring Your Kids

We all know that life changes completely after having kids; the house never stays tidy, bedtimes are a struggle, and you end up finding yourself doing their homework for them rather than settling down on the sofa with a nice glass of wine. Despite this, you wouldn’t change your family life for the world, and simply accept that some things will require more planning and flexibility to be a success.

This is especially true when it comes to your annual beach holiday. In the very early years, you may cut out this trip altogether, but by the time your children are around the age of five, you may think it is time to head overseas once again. Of course, there are plenty of considerations to make, but there are some that will apply to pretty much every family in your position. So have a read of these tips to make planning your trip just a little bit easier...

Before you travel

Find a hotel with a kids club: When you are actually looking for a place to stay, you may want to take advantage of the kids clubs that are available in some hotels. This will allow your children to make friends with other kids staying in the same complex, as well as giving you a couple of hours of peace. Do your research to find out which hotels are better equipped to give your children the best experience; are there water slides and children’s pools?

Buy activities to keep them entertained: After you’ve booked your flights (check if you haven’t done so yet), turn your attention to how you will keep your kids amused on the plane. Even a three hour trip can feel long to children, so ensure you have plenty of things packed and prepared. Whether you bring colouring pencils or a Nintendo DS, something is certainly better than nothing in these circumstances.

During your trip

Keep bedtimes regular: When you have landed in your destination and have unpacked, you should try and instil a routine fairly quickly. Even without jet lag to contend with, kids can get tired and grumpy pretty quickly. Staying up until the early hours won’t help this, especially if they are keen to make the most of the daylight hours for swimming and making sandcastles. A slightly later bedtime may still work for your kids if this is when you want to eat dinner, but this will be down to your personal preferences.

Supervise carefully: Finally, it is important to remember that there are still risks and dangers out there, even in a relatively safe holiday resort. Swimming pools and the sea are a couple of the major hazards to watch out for, but so are the hygiene standards in restaurants and hotels. Ultimately, you will need to supervise your children carefully to make sure they stay safe and well during your trip; don’t let your guard down just because you are on holiday and the sun is shining.

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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Art and Design

We all know that the National Curriculum places a heavy focus on science, math, computers and literacy.  Whether in the classroom or at home, parents are always looking to reinforce and expand upon these concepts.  Often, the connection to these subjects is missing a connection back to art and design.  This void presents an opportunity to reinforce how art and design are core to all subjects.  Tying art and design to these subjects creates connection, otherwise you end up with subjects in silos that do not correlate with one another.

Montessori education is dependent on experiential learning.  Students don’t just learn concepts by repetition or book learning, they work with them.  Use art and design to tie concepts together.  As an example, assume the discussion of a Fibonacci sequence in math.  In an integrated classroom children would draw it, identify it in nature and in famous paintings and sculpture.  Students could draw it in pencil or by designing/utilising a simple computer program.  Students could also explain or express it through a poem or an essay, art and design has the ability to express complex concepts in a visual manner. 

A fundamental aspect of this is through literacy activities.  Words are symbols that when combined, communicate a concept to the reader or the listener.  Just like a Fibonacci sequence, words in their application are art and design.  Not only in typography but in the message, feeling and logic they convey in their use and application. 

Use art and design in conjunction with literacy activities to improve your child's vocabulary, phonics, sentence structure, grammar and comprehension.  Additionally, they reinforce all other aspects of the National Curriculum.  How?  Here are two examples:

The Golden Ratio
The Golden ratio is a math term, found in nature that describes a ratio, 1 to 1.618.  Leonardo Da Vinci uses the Golden Ratio in the Mona Lisa.  The painting of the Mona Lisa is also a story.  What of?  Children of all ages can craft one and their friends and classmates can read and discuss each other’s story.  Has your child been to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa?  Encourage her to share this experience.  Does she want to learn more on the subject?  Take a trip to the library and encourage her to read about Leonardo and the painting.  Good readers make for good writers and speakers.

Problem Solving

The Genuflection of the Bishop by Jean Dubuffet
Consider The Genuflection of the Bishop by Jean Dubuffet.  It is a crazy, chaotic design of just about anything your imagination can conjure.   It is mathematical in its geometry and almost fractal in its construct, it is quantum physics on canvas.  Show children this piece and guide them through problem solving what this piece is all about and what it represents.  Have them verbalise or write a poem or story, design a computer game, or discuss it mathematically.       

Art and design need not be a separate subject in your child’s curriculum.  Use it in infinite ways to develop educational skills beyond the common curriculum.  Encourage your children to pull disciplines together into a cohesive system of comprehension.  After all, they do not exist by themselves, alone in a vacuum.  Art and design can be the glue that holds the concepts together.  By doing this, their skills, knowledge and comprehension will accelerate.   

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Book Review:Mamoko

We recently received a book for review which has instantly become Derin's most popular book :

 Mamoko is the kind of book that has no words in it but lets you get interactive.You are supposed to pick up a few characters and follow their story. The illustrations are quirky and interesting. Mamoko is the name of the town where the events take place.
Below is the first two pages of the book that introduce the characters.
 Sometimes it happens that the two characters we have chosen come across and help out each other or go somewhere together. It is a good book for developing the children's language in a fun way. Both Derin(4yo) and Defne (7yo) love this book.

Mamoko is published by Big Picture Press and they have very interesting books that you can check out here.

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