Archive for the 'Education' Category

Kindergarters and School

How is your kindergartener learning?  There is a lot of talk about what kindergarteners’ should learn and what they are really learning.  Does your child get to learn through play and exploring, or are they just taking test and learning things that older children should be learn? What do you expect from your child, regarding what they should be able to learn?  Have you asked your child if they enjoy school, and do they tell all about their day?

I think parents should watch out for school burnout, and pushing children too early.  There needs to be a balance, and we need to help them find that balance.  The child’s natural way of learning is through exploring and playing.  So, ask yourself is exploring, a part of test taking, and does it really help?  I think educators are starting to understand, that children do not learn by tests, and that they need to get back basic and good old Child’s play.  Please give your thoughts.

UAE the Intellectual Centre

I think it is nice that UAE wants to be the Intellectual Centre in the region and the world, but to do this, I believe that they need to look at the begin instead of the end of a person’s educational education.  If the UAE wants to be the centre of intellectual they need to start at birth, and through out Early Education, not just Higher Education.  The child’s building blocks of their brain starts at birth and after age seven the blocks are just about finished growing. My wish is to see more importance put on Early Education, to truly give the children of the UAE a better chance when they are in Higher Education.  This in return will truly give the UAE the title of Intellectual Centre in the region and the world.

Khaleej Times:

Speaking at the closing ceremony at Dubai Men’s College, Shaikh Nahyan said: “You (Nobel laureates and experts) brought to the festival great experience, impressive knowledge, superior intellect and a commitment to global progress. The presentations and discussions reflected your conviction that thinkers, acting alone or in concert, have the capacity and the responsibility to effect necessary progress and change.

“I am also hopeful the festival will help establish the United Arab Emirates as a major intellectual centre in the region and the world.”

A sapling was planted as part of the concluding day of the festival.

A panel discussion on the role of educators in preparing creative and responsible citizens was the highlight of the day. University heads spoke about their ideas and plans for educating the younger generation.

After junk food, children fall prey to junk sleep

Does your child or teenager get enough sleep, or does electronics keep them from getting the sleep they need?

Read more at Gulf News.

UAE health experts warn that gadgets, such as television, computers and musical devices, in the bedroom distract teenagers from getting enough sleep, backed up by a UK survey on 1,000 teenagers.

The survey found that a third of the 12 to 16-year-olds slept between four to seven hours a night, suffering from ‘junk sleep’.

The average recommended sleep time for teenagers and adults is seven to eight hours, according to Dr Maxwell Kayed, clinical neurophysiologist who specialises in sleep disorders at British Medical Consulting Centre.

“The amount of sleep depends on the person, but most people need eight hours,” he said.

“(But) I think lots of kids are sleep-deprived. When they come in with headaches to our clinic, parents bring up the point that they are staying up late, surfing the internet and playing games,” he said.

He told Gulf News that sleep was very important for teenagers because it consolidated their memories and helped them organise their thoughts. It also refreshes their mind.

If a teenager is deprived of sleep, he or she becomes drowsy during the day, making them less attentive and unable to concentrate in class, which in turn will affect their studies.

Dr Kayed laid the blame of junk sleep mainly at parents’ door, saying that they did not view the issue seriously enough and disregarded the effect of electronic gadgets on their teenagers’ sleeping habits.

“They treat it as a secondary problem, rather than a primary problem. Nowadays, parents work and as long their kids are in their bedroom then they are not bothered what the kids do in it,” he said.

Back to School Ideas

The start of school can be stressful for both children and parents, no matter how old they are.  Making a check list can help in making sure you have everything covered for the first day of school. Here are a few things you may want to think about when making your checklist for the first day of school. Here are some ideas for your checklist age 3-12 year olds.

One Month before school it is very important to set a routine for bedtime and for getting ready for school in the morning.  By doing this ahead of time, you will save a lot of heartache before the first day of school.  You can achieve this by setting a time that your child goes to bed and wakes up each morning.

Another thing to think about is this is the time to talk to your child about school, and how they are going to make new friends and have new activities. You may want to read books with themes about school and making new friends.  If your child is older then it is a good idea to talk to them about the school year, the extra activities they will be responsible for, homework, practice time, and also their down time. Try to cover safety information like your child’s full name, address, telephone number, and their parent’s names.

This time is a good chance to clear the clutter by the two of you going through your child’s clothes, toys, books, etc. Make sure your child tries on his or hers clothes from last year, to see if they still fit. You can talk to your child about giving the items to donation, and how that my help others.

Two weeks before school is the time to plan how your child will get to school and how they will get home.  If some one else other than your self will take them and/or pick them up, set a meeting place.  Also make sure that your child is aware of how they will go to school and how they will come home. If for some reason there are any changes to the plans for how your child will get to school or home, let them know ahead of time. Also make sure you know the route to school, also talk to your child about how they will get to school.

It is time to by school gear, before the rush.  Call the school and get an updated list from your child’s teacher or school office and mark the supplies with your child’s name. This includes any school uniform. Visit the school with your child, this way he can see his classroom and meet his teacher.  This will give a chance to explore their new space. If your child will have lunch at school, it is a good idea to practice lunch.  Let your child know what is expected of them and what they may have for lunch.

Plan for homework.  Buy extra supplies just for the home, this will help with homework. Also let your child help pick a homework area, where they will feel comfortable for their studies. This area should be well lit, quiet, comfortable, and isn’t near distractions, like the TV. The last but one of the most important things to do is make sure your child’s medical records are updated and that the school has a copy of them.  Also let the school know of any special medical needs.

One or two days before school decide on a first-day outfit, with your child, for the big day. This is a big day for them, and they want everything to be perfect as well. Plan your child’s breakfast as it is important for them to have a healthy start for school. One way to show how important school is and how proud your are for your child’s first day of school is to make sure they have a energy packed breakfast on the first day.  Also make their favorite dinner the night before.

Make sure your child’s items are pack up and arranged for school in one place. Also make sure that your child’s backpack is supplied and ready for school. Your child should  know where this area is and where the items go. This will help with making your morning run smoother, by not having to look for things.

It is very important to plan your goodbye; if this is their first day of school as a child, then you need to make sure you are also ready for the first day. This can be an emotional day for both of you. Even if you cannot take your child to school every day, try to make a plan where you can at least be there for the first day, as this is an important day.

Setting a bedtime routine can be a daunting thought for most parents, here are some tips for setting a bedtime routine.  If your child is too young to tell time, then it may be easier than you think to get them to go to bed at an earlier time.  If you already have a bedtime routine, then just move it to the correct time for school, but if your child is older, than you will need to have a talk with them about bedtime. Also you will probably have to go slowly with changing the bedtime.

If there is not a routine, then this is a good time to make one. You can set up your routine by having a time for dinner, bath, brushing teeth, reading, and the good night
time. The evening with the family should be a routine, and it should be kept simple, so that you can repeat it every night. After just a couple of nights, you and your child should know the clues to night-night time.  If after a few weeks, your child is having problems with the new bedtime.  It is time to troubleshoot. If your child is falling asleep at the new time, but is having trouble waking up, then you may need to try a earlier bed time. If this does not work, cut our any caffeine (watch out for hidden caffeine) and some evening TV watching.  If your child is still having problems, you may want to check with your child’s doctor.

I hope these tips help you and your child to have a easy, wonderful time going back to school.  This is an exciting time for the both of you, and with a little hard work, you can have a great start.  Just remember that you child is probably excited about school, and that the way it should be.

Southborough autism center to help build school in UAE

The MetroWest Daily News:

Southborough –

The New England Center for Children has been recruited by the Health Authority of Abu Dhabi to establish a school for autistic children in the United Arab Emirates’ capital.

The 10-year agreement, signed last week at the Sea Palace in Abu Dhabi by Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and New England Center for Children CEO Vincent Strully Jr., will not only bring the center’s programs to the Arab nation, but it will also bring funding for new research, administration and treatment programs to the Rte. 9 school.

“It’s an incredible recognition of our work,” said Strully as he addressed the staff yesterday. “We should feel honored and flattered that when they shopped the world for autism services, they chose us.”

The center’s relationship with Abu Dhabi actually began a decade ago, when the parents of an Abu Dhabi 3-year-old were referred by a Boston hospital. Services for special needs children in the emirate are limited and the school was asked to supply a teacher for the child, according to Daniel Gould, the director for the Abu Dhabi program.

Gould does not expect to have difficulty recruiting teachers for the new program, since he has always had to turn away eager applicants for the existing position in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s a great opportunity for our teachers to do great things for a country that hasn’t had these services previously,” Gould said. Abu Dhabi “is really at a point when they’re focusing on the infrastructure for their entire country.”

This is not the first time the emirate has shopped stateside for services. Johns Hopkins Medicine has been contracted to manage Tawam Hospital, Abu Dhabi’s largest hospital, and the Cleveland Clinic earlier this month was tapped to manage Shaikh Khalifa Medical City. Earlier this year it struck a deal with France to build a Louvre Museum.

The financial details of the agreement are confidential, Strully said, but he anticipates the deal will go a long way in helping the school further delve into the needs of children with autism.

“These children and their families deserve the best and the most professional attention we can provide for them and, thanks to this agreement, this will soon be available here at home in Abu Dhabi,” Prince Nahyan said in a statement. “This is a major step toward implementing the vision of his Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, to establish world-class facilities and services for all children with special needs within our country.”

In November, the center will open the first of eight planned classrooms where each child will receive intensive behavioral instruction based on applied behavior analysis. Over the next two years, it will gradually add the full spectrum of services, including early assessment and intervention, preschool programming, residential services for severe cases, family support services, professional training and development and a research center.

Staff members recruited for the work will earn their regular salary as well as an annual bonus, likely under $10,000. They will live rent-free and receive a monthly living allowance of $500, six or seven weeks of vacation and a health/beach club membership.

English is a commonly used language in Abu Dhabi but staff will be also be training Arabic-speaking personnel there, Gould said.

Autism cases are on the rise in the United Arab Emirates, just as they are in the United States, Strully said. Autism affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans of which 600,000 are children.

“It’s the same around the world,” Strully said. “All races, creeds and classes. There’s clearly a genetic origin – all the signs point to that. What is abundantly clear is that it is not caused by vaccines. That’s been proven by science, again and again. It’s such a distraction. There is money that is being wasted (studying the vaccine link to autism) when we have these kids who need to be treated now.

“I can’t understand why (most autism funding) is being spent on finding a cause,” he added. “We need to find a cause, but that’s 30, 40 years down the line. This generation of children, the next generation of children, need to be treated now.”

In addition to Abu Dhabi, the center has staff treating children in Qatar, Bermuda and Vancouver and has ongoing relationships with institutions in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand and Uganda.
“This situation changes everything for us,” Strully said. “We’ve always wanted to be a little Mayo Clinic for autism. This just gets us closer.”

Strully hopes the partnership will not only allow the school to expand its services but also to complete and publish what he termed an online “encyclopedia” detailing the principles of applied behavior analysis for parents and educators.

“Here at the center, we have had to turn away hundreds of families from around the world,” Strully said. “We’re just not big enough to serve everyone, and there’s a substantial need. We want to be able to expand the knowledge that is out there.”

(Jennifer Lord can be contacted at 508-626-3880 or

Children Podcasts

I found this website with a great collection of podcasts for you and your children, called Educate.  The podcasts start for age 5 to college age.

Call to improve early education in Arab world

Another story today in the Gulf News is, Call to improve early education in Arab world, in which they talk about investing more in pre-primary schooling, as some countries have been moving slow for the last 30 years.

“There has been some progress as far as government involvement in Pre Primary Education [PPE] is concerned in the Arab region, but it is one of the slowest in the world,” Soo-Nyang Choi, Chief of Section for Field Support and Coordination at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), told Gulf News yesterday on the sidelines of the first forum on early childhood education in the Arab world.

She pointed out that the government involvement in PPE was the lowest and private sector was very active in imparting early education in the region.

“It could create a problem of inequality and poor children could be deprived of PPE,” Choi fears.

Asked how much funding governments should allocate for PPE, she replied: “A minimum of four per cent of the total education budget.”

“The developed countries [the member countries of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] contribute 82 per cent of the expenditure for PPE in their countries and only eight per cent for PPE comes from the private sector,” she said, urging governments in the Arab region to invest more in PPE.

Talking about Oman, she said that Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) here was only six per cent in the last three years.

“It is much lower than in some of the GCC member states,” she said.

According to a global monitoring report on education for all, with 64 per cent GER, the UAE is second among the GCC member states and third among the Arab countries. Lebanon is at the top with 74 per cent followed by Kuwait with 71 per cent GER.

Juggling Children and Work

The Gulf News has a story from The Christian Science Monitor, Juggling Children and Work. This story is about parents juggling their child’s after school activities. My question to you, do you have this problem here in the UAE. Do you have a hard time finding a good balance for after school time for your older children?

It seems that they did a study about Parental Concern over After School Time (PCAST), and found that it does affect your work, and your productivity? This went for Mothers and Fathers. Do you believe that you have that problem here in the UAE and what would help you?

Despite progress, many communities still face a serious shortage of affordable, high-quality after-school programmes.

Researchers call this challenge Parental Concern over After School Time (PCAST). It affects workers from the factory floor to the executive suite, mothers and fathers alike.

“They may be called at work or have to leave work for any disruption of their after-school care arrangements,” the Catalyst report explains. “Just worrying about [that] possibility may affect productivity – and thus the employer’s bottom line.”

In one study, more than half the women and almost a third of the men said work/family stress affected their ability to concentrate on the job.

Parental concern is greater when children are older – from grades 6 through 12 – because this age group is more likely to be unsupervised. “Researchers find that teenagers don’t like to go to after-school programmes,” says Sabattini.

Supervised programmes for teens often do not even exist, says Celsi, a single parent. Those that do exist, she finds, often serve at-risk children. “At some point my kids became aware of that and wouldn’t go. They were perceived as at-risk kids, poor kids.”

Child Development and Parent Information

This is a really nice website, to help parents to understand, the different developmental milestones that their children are going through. Child Development and Parent Information is brought to you from Child Development Institute. They cover speech or Language Development, ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Education, Parenting Issue, Child/Teen Health and Safety. I hope you enjoy the site, as it can really help you understand your child.

Google helping Teachers, with free software

USA Today has a story about how Google is using teachers, to spread the word about it’s new online software. By helping teachers use the software to teach children, they are reaching the next generations of users. How do you will about having documents and spreadsheets online? Will they be safe on the interent? The good thing is that it is free, and for teachers and students, this can be a big help. So if you like free software, this just may be for you.

As it tries to usher in a new era in computing, Google is promoting its software applications in kindergarten through high school classrooms, where kids who have grown up with the Web are more likely to experiment with different technology.

“It’s the perfect place for them to target the next generation of computer users,” said James McQuivey, a former Forrester Research analyst who is now a Boston University professor specializing in technology and communications.

The free-software approach poses a challenge to Microsoft, whose success revolves around sales of its long-dominant Windows operating system and Office suite. The programs — including Word and Excel — are installed on hard drives and information is usually stored locally as well.

Google views its educational initiative as a public service for teachers who often lack the money and expertise to introduce more technological tools into their classrooms. The company doesn’t allow advertising in its word processing and spreadsheets programs, leaving it unclear how Google expects to make money.

Google isn’t the first high-tech company to use education as a marketing tool. In the most conspicuous example, Apple Computer Inc. has positioned its Macintoshes as a student’s best friend for the past 20 years. Despite those efforts, the Mac holds a U.S. market share of just 6% with virtually everything else going to Windows-based personal computers.

Unlike Apple’s computers or Microsoft’s programs, Google’s software is free — an enticement that gives it a built-in advantage, especially in schools hard-pressed to buy enough computers, let alone software licenses, to accommodate students.