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NCERT Sends Guidelines on Cyber Security To Guard The Privacy of Preschoolers

The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) has issued guidelines on cyber security to schools, teachers and parents, to protect the privacy of preschoolers and to track their internet usage. Keeping a track of people who are accessing computers, using USBs, and other storage devices, unknown icons on desktops are some of the guidelines that the organization has come up with.

“Students should not log in as someone else to read their e-mails or mess with their online profiles; attempt to infect or in any way try to make someone else’s computer unusable and not download any attachments from an unknown source as they may contain viruses,” the instruction manual said according to a report filed by The Indian Express.

They way children are getting addicted to social media and internet, the guidelines also encourage schools to teach children not to communicate with unknown people online and avoid susceptive profiles which could harass children through emails and messaging. Besides the guidelines, NCERT has urged schools to introduce educational activities and courses on cyber security.  The guidelines also follow that schools and teachers should teach children the judicious use of internet and technology.

Image Source - http://media.bizj.us/view/img/3421601/187104312*750xx2085-1173-0-134.jpg 

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How older kids can improve their writing skills

An education expert offers a surprising way for parents to help that will do more than improve their child's writing skills.

Writing skills don’t come naturally. It is a bigger struggle for many children even if they are good readers. You know, it’s interesting that here in California — and my read of studies from around the country suggests that this is relatively consistent — we find across the board, whether students are doing pretty well or not so well, that they’re usually doing better in reading than they are in writing. So we find that this is kind of a generic issue. That in general, our students, our young people are not writing as well as they should be or could be.

Parents often think there is not much they can do to help their older kids except keep on them to finish the paper — or do it for them. But the answer very much mirrors the answer about how to address reading issues: it’s a combination of excellent instruction and age-appropriate practice — and lots of it.

A strategy and process
For example, say you have a student who is in middle school, and they have to do a report on some famous person in American history in their eighth grade U.S. history class. It’s important that they have a strategy for how to gather information, how to organize that information, how to execute a rough draft, how to edit that draft. There’s got to be a step-by-step process, and it’s got to be taught and supported.

So what can parents do? Really, a couple of things. One is to partner with the schools, to make sure that we understand what the expectations are in writing, and to break the expectations down [into specific skills]. So, for example, it’s really helpful, if the school’s not requiring it, to support your kids by [providing] an assignment calendar where they see: Oh, this major report, an eighth grade biography report, for example, is due in three weeks. We then help them come up with an outline by the end of week one.

It doesn’t mean that we have to necessarily be doing it with them, but just orienting them. “Make sure that you have this outline by the end of week one. Make sure that you’ve gathered research on these eight topics (about the person’s educational background, their contributions, their politics, whatever the elements are).”

Monitoring and supporting
So, breaking it into manageable parts and then monitoring and supporting the kids to accomplish the parts. Not waiting until two nights before and then having the parent write the whole thing, which is what we find typically happens. Either the kids don’t do it, or they do it poorly, or the parents wind up stepping in and writing it for them. And so it’s really a matter of understanding what the requirement is, helping our students break it into manageable parts, and then working with the schools to make sure that they’re being taught strategies for how to accomplish these parts.

In sum, it’s very similar to learning to read.

We have to really look and analyze what needs to be taught. What are the expectations? What are the standards?
Then separate it into manageable pieces.
Then give them lots and lots of instruction and lots of practice.
Organization skills and work habits
So parents are really helping their kids with a lot of their work habits and their organizational skills. And that’s something that I think is very appropriate for parents to do. We’ve been doing that with our seventh grade son, and at first there’s quite a lot of resistance. You know, it’s, “Get out that assignment calendar. Okay, what’s due?” And I show Max, my son, my calendar and say, “Hey, this is exactly how I’ve managed my time at work.” I get a lot of grumbling, but I think over time we back out. We monitor or we do less and less as he shows us that he’s really taking responsibility for it.

But earlier in the year, I was monitoring it every night. When he came home, I wanted to see what the new assignments were for that day. Did he have them? Of course, at first he would say, “Oh, nothing, Dad.” So I’d say, “I don’t know about that.” And we would call up one of the neighbor kids in his class and say, “How about that science report?” “Oh Gosh, Dad, I forgot about that.” So it’s two parts: It’s modeling — such as modeling with your own calendar — and then monitoring.
A big part of it is supervising the use of these skills, as well as reading and writing and math, at home.

Source - https://goo.gl/ebjHeD

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Improving Kids' Social Skills

Learn about the social milestones your child should have at different ages and the activities that can help enhance social development.

Not all kids need help with the same social skills, and what your child needs practice with could vary, depending on her age. "It's important to know the normal developmental skills appropriate for different age groups so you can determine where the help is needed," says Susan Diamond, M.A., a speech-language pathologist and author of Social Rules for Kids. The proper social skills that need to be taught can be divided into three stages: determining the social skills that need development, figuring out ways to teach the skills, and reinforcing lessons with the right resources. We'll take you through all three stages and offer examples on how a child struggling with general shyness and social anxiety can become a friendly kid who's comfortable and ready to handle any social situations.

Determining the Stages of Social Development

In general, kids will have developed certain social skills and social cues by these ages:

2- to 3-year-olds: able to seek attention from others, initiate social contact with others both verbally (saying "Hi" and "Bye") and physically, look at a person who's talking, have the ability to take turns talking, and laugh at silly objects and events.

3- to 4-year-olds: are able to take turns when playing games, treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it's alive, and initiate verbal communication with actual words.

4- to 5-year-olds: are able to show more cooperation with children, use direct requests (like "Stop"), are more prone to tattling, and pretend to be Mom or Dad in fantasy play.

5- to 6-year-olds: are able to please their friends, say "I'm sorry," "Please," and "Thank you," understand bad words and potty language, are more strategic in bargaining, play competitive games, and understand fair play and good sportsmanship.

6- to 7-year-olds: are able to empathize with others (like crying at sad things), are prone to sharing, use posture and gestures, wait for turns and are better losers and less likely to place blame, joke more and listen to others tell their points of view, and maintain and shift/end topics appropriately. At this age, however, they still can't understand the clear difference between right and wrong, and may not take direction well.

Improving Social Development

Playdates are a crucial part of growing up, but kids with social issues can have a hard time making plans. "Having a playdate is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of using rules when a friend comes over and to teach him how to be polite to guests," Diamond says. Discuss ahead of time any situation that could be uncomfortable. "Write a plan beforehand. Go over all the different things the kids can do together, and then have your kid offer his guest three activities to pick from. Have them take turns picking activities from there, to avoid fights and to help teach compromise," Diamond says. "Talk about what you think will happen, what could possibly happen. You can even role-play and practice greetings and manners. If it's necessary, write a script to help reduce your child's stress."

To enhance your child's social development further, Lawrence Balter, Ph.D., child psychologist and parenting expert, suggests the four strategies below.

Teach empathy: Run through different scenarios by asking your child how other people might feel when certain things happen, and substitute different situations each time.

Explain personal space: Tell your child that it's important for everyone to have some personal space to feel comfortable, and practice acceptable ways to interact with someone during playtime.

Practice social overtures: Teach kids the proper way to start a conversation, get someone's attention, or join a group of kids who are already playing together. These are all situations that can be discussed and brainstormed at the dinner table, or in the car on the way to school or activities.

Go over taking turns: Sit with your child for at least an hour a day and play with him to explain what it means to wait, take turns, and share.

Reinforcing Specific Social Skills

Activities and games can provide additional help in developing specific skills, and you can reinforce your child's social development and interaction by playing The Name Game and Follow the Leader. Researchers Sandra Sandy and Kathleen Cochran developed The Name Game to help young children learn the importance of getting someone's attention before speaking. Have kids sit in a circle and give one kid a ball. Ask him to name another child in the circle, and roll the ball to that child. The recipient then takes his turn, naming another child and rolling the ball, and so on. The classic Follow the Leader game teaches kids about taking turns and practicing patience. Designate either yourself or your child as the leader, and have the follower(s) mimic the leader's actions.

Dr. Diamond recommends these other activities for recognizing particular social cues:

For nonverbal skills: Help kids recognize facial expressions and body language by watching kid-friendly TV shows with the sound off and observe what characters are doing and what certain movements might mean. (Just make sure to follow the media guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that kids watch TV for a maximum of two hours a day.) "Predict what you think they're saying, and really start [observing] facial gestures," Diamond says. "You can also look through magazines and make collages with different facial expressions, and talk about what the people in those photos might be saying."

For tone: To help kids differentiate a range of tones, "use a tape recorder and record different emotions in your voice and ask your child what they are, then explain how meaning changes with voice change," Diamond recommends. For example, try recording phrases like "I'm angry!" in a loud, empathic voice, and "I feel so sad" in a soft, low, dejected voice.

For attention span If your child has trouble staying on point, pick a topic and say three sentences -- two related to the topic and one random. Then ask your child to pick the sentence that's off-topic. For example, bring up the family dog. Talk about how long he played outside today and what he did at the dog park, and then say something about the weather. Ask your kid to differentiate between the different sentences. "Also, at the dinner table, have your kid keep track of how many times the topic changes during dinner," Diamond suggests.

There are plenty of good apps available that reinforce social skills. "Model Me Going Places" allows kids to look at photos of other children modeling appropriate behavior in certain situations (the hairdresser, doctor, playground), "Responding Social Skills" teaches kids how to respond to others and how to understand others' feelings, and "Small Talk" presents conversation fillers for awkward social moments. But if your child still seems to have difficulty keeping up with the skills she should be developing for her age group, it may be time to give her a little help. "Some children have problems with impulse control and self regulation; some have a problem with processing information," Dr. Balter says. "These issues can lead to [kids] having awkward interactions with peers." So if social issues cause your child fear or make him feel isolated, seek help from your pediatrician or another child expert, such as a therapist.

Source - Parents

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How Kids Learn in First Grade

Understanding an Abstract World
First graders move slowly from a world of play into a world of symbols and concepts (with a lot of backtracking along the way). This doesn’t mean that play is not still important, but it does mean that learning in first grade becomes more organized and routine-based, with a lot of room for children’s explorations.

The First Steps
To get a handle on the way your first grader’s brain is developing, think back to her first baby steps. Your child was probably a master crawler before taking those initial wobbly steps. First graders take those same baby steps away from the familiar information that they are comfortable with into a bigger, abstract world that is more difficult to understand. During those early toddling days, your child probably reverted to crawling in order to get somewhere quickly. Similarly, your child will still be more comfortable gaining knowledge through exploration and play. A first grader’s brain is just beginning to grasp a few concepts at the same time, and then to make connections between those concepts.

You can see this in a first grader’s writing. Children use “invented spelling” by writing in ways that make sense to them. They use what they know about sound and spelling relationships to get their ideas onto the page. They haven’t mastered all the letter sounds or spelling rules that they need to be fluent writers, but they’re willing to use what they know to work out the puzzle of written language.

Learning From Mistakes
First graders learn by doing and by making mistakes. These mistakes can be frustrating, so they need positive reminders of the many ways that they are powerful learners.

Until now, most of their learning and growth have been part of a natural progression that took place in the comfortable worlds of play and home. They may have worked hard to learn how to slide down the fire pole in the playground, but no one gave them a grade on how well they did, or how long it took them to accomplish the task.

In first grade, children begin to acquire skills in areas they may not be completely comfortable in — and they may be graded on them. First graders are asked to work with more difficult material and may feel like they are struggling for the first time in their lives. These new situations can sometimes lead normally confident children to feel unsure about their abilities. Previously, they have been “masters” at whatever they did. But now they may feel pressure to learn to read and to grasp more complicated math and science concepts. Therefore, first graders need to be surrounded with excitement and encouragement, and given examples of how we learn from mistakes.

Source - pbs.org

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