Tag: children

What is a Grammar Education and Where Does it Begin?

Children as young as four years of age can begin their learning journey at Townsville Grammar School. The Pre-Prep and Prep programs are designed to give children a strong foundation to learning. This foundation then supports them throughout their schooling years.

What is a Grammar Education?

Townsville Grammar School has a long-standing reputation as the leading academic school in North Queensland. However, the experience is far wider, with academic learning as the foundation. Principal of Townsville Grammar School, Mr Timothy Kelly, said the schools offer a particular style of education. It focuses on values and developing young people of character. Furthermore, young people are encouraged and supported to strive for personal best, and who develop a mindset of service and giving back.

Personal Best

“We use the term “personal best” because it encapsulates our Grammar experience,” said Mr Kelly. “Personal best means something different to every
child, and does not mean getting an A. It is a mindset of always striving to do your best, which is an attitude that is vital in all facets of life.

“We are focused on educating our students in a culture that is values-based, where respect for others and respect for self is paramount,” said Mr Kelly. “Our students know they are supported and encouraged every day to try their best, to learn from mistakes and to celebrate their wins. In doing so we are developing young people of character. This is what a Grammar education strives to achieve.”

Benefits of Starting at in Pre-Prep and Prep

Starting early sets the foundation for the Grammar approach to teaching and learning.  The concept of striving for personal best begins here. Children in Pre-Prep and Prep are the youngest Grammarians. Because of this, they wear the uniform, they join in wider school events and develop an early understanding of the culture and values of Grammar. Additionally, children also benefit from the successful Pre-Prep transition program, ensuring they are ready and confident to start Prep in a familiar environment.

Want to Know More?

We have several opportunities to experience and visit our Junior Schools in Term 3. Parents are welcome at any time to book a personal family tour of our Junior School Campuses at Annandale and North Shore.

Read more here

 

Classrooms of the Future

Long gone are the ‘chalk and talk’ days that framed old ideas of teaching and learning. The focus in today’s schools is on designing and providing the best possible environments for successful learning.

When parents think ‘classroom,’ our minds often think back to the old days of sitting in rows at individual desks, facing the front and letting the teacher fill us with knowledge. Then we sat an exam to test our recall skills. However, modern research and observations of the way students learn show us that this is no longer considered best practice.

Understanding how children learn has inspired many administrators to rethink and redesign classrooms. Learning in the 21st century is underpinned by teaching methods and spaces that are engaging and challenge our traditional view on classroom teaching and learning. Referred to as flexible learning, it uses spaces and evolving pedagogies to provide environments for creative and energised students and teachers.

Karl Fisch, who was behind the video Shift Happens, states that, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

If this is true then it is reasonable to say that the way children are being educated now should be very different to how it was done in the past. Schools for tomorrow need to be focusing on core skills for life: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication.

Flexible classroom environments are outfitted with appropriate furniture that allows teachers and students to adopt Professor David Thornburg’s archetypal learning spaces, such as:

The “Campfire”

A space where students can gather to learn from an expert or guru.

The “Cave”

A quiet and reflective space where students can activate their diffuse thinking and shift their learning from external knowledge to internal belief.

The “Watering Hole”

An informal space where students can collaborate, as well as share both information and discoveries. They can bounce off each other, thereby it serves as an incubator for ideas.

These are all different ‘zones’ that have specific displays or purposes within flexible classroom models.

In a typical flexible classroom, you could expect to find:

• Students who are active participants in their learning rather than passive vessels, who are challenged to think and do more.

• A design that promotes a sense of enquiry, wonder and excitement.

• Teachers delivering flexible lesson content in either lecture-style, group-style, presentation-style or activity-style.

• Moveable desks and furniture that accommodates different needs and different activities.

• Areas that promote student and teacher communication and collaboration.

These classrooms provide students with a choice of where they undertake their learning tasks. Stadium seating, community booths and standing desks enhance connectedness. Movable furniture such as wobble stools, ottomans and carpet mats provide students with the sensory input they need without distracting themselves or others from learning.

In a research study by Castellucci, Arezes, Molenbroek, de Bruin and Viviani (2016), it was found that characteristics such as high furniture, sit-stand furniture, tilt tables and seats had up to a 64 per cent positive effect on students’ physical responses and/or their performance. 

The benefit of a flexible classroom is its ability to provide an environment where students are motivated to do their best work and allows them to express their knowledge in diverse ways; an environment that has been strategically built and designed to promote curiosity and one that offers students the freedom to engage with content in the way that suits them best. Each child has their own strengths and limitations, so a flexible model seeks to allow a ‘way in’ for every student – one that they may not have had in a more traditionally designed classroom.

In his study, Herman Miller (2008) revealed that “Giving people some control over their surroundings adds to their sense of well-being.” (www.Psychologytoday. com). Barrett Et Al. (2015) also supports that 28 per cent of classroom design factors that drive student engagement also relate to ownership and flexibility.

Technology plays an integral part in the success of these modern learning spaces, with interactive whiteboards, iPads and laptops all being common place. With new advances in technology, new opportunities for engagement and learning are created. Augmented and virtual reality tools are already available to students, enabling them to experience looking at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre from their classroom in Cairns, fly through the Amazon Rainforest or engage in a submarine expedition.

Schools that wish to provide classrooms of the future will need to be constantly evolving to embrace these changes.

It is suggested that today’s learners will have between 10 to 14 jobs before they reach the age of 40. Take a step back in time… the first text message was sent in 1992, today the number of text messages sent and received each day exceeds the world’s population. There are 600 tweets sent per second. If Facebook was a country it would be the third largest in relation to population size. So with this in mind, just what are the future possibilities? Who knows how much schools will have to change as we head into the unknown possibilities the world will present to us.

The introduction of flexible classrooms in relation to space is just the first step, closely followed by flexibility in pedagogy, understanding and assessment, presentation of knowledge and the development of core skills.

Schools will need to continue adopting best practice by analysing research from around the world and constantly adapting their learning environments. This will ensure that every student has the opportunity to do their absolute best.

STORY BY Sarah Rowan, Head of Junior School – Peace Lutheran College.

 

 

Why Nature Play Is So Important

Ahhh, children. They’ll play in the dirt like no one’s business and explore like there’s no tomorrow. Sometimes as parents we want to keep children inside where it’s safer and we can keep an eye on them always. In our fast-paced, technology ridden world, it IS undeniably easier to set a kid up on the tablet or computer. But, we should encourage nature play instead of forgetting about it, because of its benefits. 

Children do a lot of their learning through playing, whether it’s obvious to us or not. It’s a great idea to have play occur outside instead of inside. This allows them to connect with the environment and start developing an appreciation for it early. Plus, nature is everywhere, so why not utilise such an awesome resource?

‘Nature play’ is any activity that gets children thinking outdoors or simply being active outdoors. 

By allowing and encouraging our children to play outside we help them develop the skills they need to be left to their own devices, without adults controlling the situation. Simply playing outside can help children grow creativity, curiosity, resilience and the ability to negotiate risks. By climbing trees, discovering land and other activities outdoors, children learn to assess the dangers of certain situations. They simply gain better risk assessment skills. Minor injuries help children grow and learn! 

Of course, it additionally has physical, social and mental benefits in general. Outside, children have so many opportunities to interact with other children. They can solve problems together, explore and discover together, help each other and just generally connect. Additionally, no technology can even come close to how beautiful and amazing Mother Nature is. Regularly playing outdoors also promotes better mood and less mental fatigue – not just for children, but adults too. The sunshine, the smells, the feel of nature and the animals are something that every child deserves to experience in full.

Encouraging being outdoors and getting involved in physical activity can put in motion a love for nature that can stick throughout their lives.

This is always a positive! Screen time is increasing a lot these days, taking us further away from nature and the world that we physically live in. Teaching your children to appreciate nature helps them to care about the environment later in life. The world and ultimately ourselves will benefit from this. 

Nature Play in Queensland can provide more information on the benefits of nature play in both childhood and adulthood, recommended amounts of physical activities for children and teens, and how nature play can be encouraged.

Click here to read more of our parenting blogs. 

 

 

The Thing Is…the Baby Days Are Over! with Bree James

It’s an interesting moment when you make the decision to not have any more children. I’m a mum of two boys nearing 9 and 11 years old. People still ask me if I am going to go back to try and have a girl. Now… my ovaries get excited when I see a gorgeous baby. But the rest of my body gets chills at the thought of going through parenthood from the beginning again. The Thing is, I do feel completely blessed and honored to be a mother. BUT I am pretty happy that the days of having a baby hanging off my boobs all hours of the day and the sleepless nights are over. Don’t get me started on the tantrums, constant nappy changing and not being able to know what they are crying about!

My eldest asked me the other day about periods. Being a mum that over educates and answers questions, I told him all about them. Told him that he will need to be a supportive boyfriend one day. Of course I mentioned how he has to be gentle with the girls at school who may be experiencing them. The cutest thing he said was, “Mummy it must be so sad though, getting a period knowing it could have been a baby”. The “Hell no” nearly came out of my mouth, as I have experienced 2,184 days of them. But, I stopped, and thought about it. I shared that yes, many ladies are sad if they are trying for a baby. However, many are pretty excited when they get their period as it means no babies.

It’s a big decision to have kids. I think it’s a pretty big decision for some of us to say that our uterus is closed for business.

I’ve still got most of our baby stuff “just in case we had an accident”. But now I am hitting 40 this year, my husband and I had to have the talk about no more babies. He decided that it’s time he gets the snip. I fully support this if he is happy to do it (even though the reality that this part of my life is over makes me a little sad). Now, my husband is as nervous about this procedure as I was about giving birth to our watermelon sized children. 

Sure, I understand that a man’s member is literally like having another human being in the house. Another human that has needs. And I know that men have a huge attachment to this area of their body way more than women do with their own bits. I acknowledge that this is a big surgery for a man to have psychologically. He is really worried about “King Richard” and “the twins” and I am trying to be sympathetic. But as anyone who has witnessed childbirth knows, a vjay jay goes through so much more during childbirth. Plus, these things can results in a lot more stitches!

My eldest said, ‘Daddy is getting de-sexed’. This made me laugh so hard that I nearly wet myself, but it’s certainly not helping calm his nerves. Now I am sure it will all be fine, and we will celebrate once it’s all over.I think it’s only fair that if we celebrated having a baby, we should celebrate not having any more too. We should also thank our bodies for their service.

As they say, the swim team may have been cut, but the coach will never retire.

I am sure like childbirth, he will forget all about this trauma to the family jewels in a few days. He will look at his two amazing children and thank his dad bod for its service to our family. When they are fighting over something stupid, or he sees a toddler being really naughty, or a parent struggling with their infant, he will realise getting the snip wasn’t so bad after all.

 

Learn more about Bree on her website. 

Read more of ‘The The Thing Is’ with Bree James here

 

 

13 Things to Unteach Your Kids – Dr Rosina McAlpine

Any parent who has accidentally sworn in front of their child and then heard it come back at them wishes they could “unteach” their child the expletive. When you reflect upon some of the many things you’ve taught your kids consciously or unknowingly – how many do you wish you could unteach?

It is important to recognise that sometimes we might inadvertently teach our children things we don’t really want them to learn, and then we need to “unteach” them. Here are 13 things you may wish to consider unteaching your children:

1. Swear Words 

It’s hard to unteach a swear word after your child has learned it, so the best way to move forward is to explain that it is not a nice word to use and mum or dad made a mistake when they said it. By trying not to use it again and offering a substitute word to use if the swear word comes, you might succeed in helping your child to “unlearn” it (but there are no guarantees it won’t come out when grandma comes over!)

2. Beliefs About Money

Were you told emphatically that there was “no money” and that “money doesn’t grow on trees”? Have you passed those limiting beliefs on to your children? Unteaching negative beliefs about money and instilling positive beliefs can make a positive difference in the way your children approach life and money.

3. Chores Aren’t Fun

Have you created a belief that “chores are no fun and simply have to be done?” Sure, that is one way to approach chores, but if you wanted to, you could unteach this by explaining to the kids that there’s a new rule in the house –that chores ARE fun. You can put on music and be together to get each job done in a creative, fun and cooperative way.

4. Negative Attitude

Do you and/or the kids start the day with a negative attitude? If you say things like “I feel so tired”, “I’ve got so much on”, just remember that kids are always listening. If you want to unteach a negative attitude, start the day with a “good morning ritual”, like setting positive goals for the day.

5. Technology Obsession

From toddler to teenager, taking the screen away can result in a total meltdown. It’s hard to unteach an obsession with technology … as adults we know that ourselves! Unteach technology cravings by finding activities to do together that are screen free.

6. Kitchens are Not for Kids

Often we send kids out of the kitchen as it is easier, quicker and safer because parents can be time poor. However, once we’ve taught our kids not to help – it’s hard to get them back when we’d love the help. So unteach your children that kitchens are not for kids and get them involved with all aspects from menu planning to preparing and cleaning up. You’ll get the help you need and they’ll have skills for life – Win-Win!

7. Just Do as Your Told

“Respect your elders” “I’m the adult and you simply need to listen and do as you’re told” are words children often hear. Teaching kids to simply do as they are told may seem like a great thing, however sometimes a more beneficial approach is teaching your kids to consider why they’re being asked to do something. By getting children to follow their inner compass, it can help children make good choices and be safe.

8. Gender Stereotypes

The world is filled with ways that children can learn unhelpful gender stereotypes. When parents become aware of their child’s unrealistic stereotypes like “mums should stay home while dads should work”, “football isn’t for girls, it’s a boy’s sport”, they can unteach these stereotypes by challenging them and offering a different point of view to support equality for all.

9. Being a Praise-Junky

It is not uncommon to hear parents praise their children TOO much. Kids can become reliant on praise from others for their self-worth. You can help your child unlearn the need for external recognition and praise to feel worthy and lovable by helping them to be more internally referenced, rather than needing external praise. For example, instead of offering praise, ask your children to reflect on whether they did their best, if they are happy with their work.

10. Junk Food is a Treat

When we call junk food a “treat” we create conflict. For example, when we eat something we call “junk food”, it’s going in our body and our mind thinks “this junk food is bad for me!” Then if parents deny their children a sugary, fatty, processed food they call a “treat” – children feel like they’re missing out when parents just want them to stay healthy. Unteach equating junk food with a treat.


11. Practice Makes Perfect

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘practice makes perfect’ and we know that it’s virtually unattainable. It’s too stressful to strive for perfection all of the time and can result in challenging perfectionist tendencies, so try unteaching this phrase. Replace it with “practice makes personal bests”. The more we practice the better our personal bests get.

12. Saying No

Does your toddler or teenager say a resounding “NO!” to everything? Many parents find this really frustrating. So perhaps you could start by considering how many times a day you say “no” to your child. When your child hears lots and lots of no’s you can bet you’ll get lots of no’s back. Instead, start saying more yes’s and you might find you’ll get more yes’s back. Here’s a short video on how you can do that without giving in to every request! Check it out in the online version of this edition at www.pakmag.com.au.

13. Always Getting What They Want

Often, it’s easier to let your child get what they want after they whine incessantly, as it will give you a break from listening to it. However, this can teach them that whining works, so there needs to be a balance between “No” and giving in. Otherwise, your child will likely realise that this works, and then continue to do it. There are many things that parents do out of the goodness of their hearts or to reduce their stress when dealing with their children. These don’t always have the best effects on a child’s development however, and it is better to nip the bad habits in the bud while they’re still young. Remember to seek help and support when you feel overwhelmed with juggling the struggles of parenting.


About the Author

Dr Rosina McAlpine is the CEO and creator of the Win Win Parenting program. Win Win Parenting practical and fun programs are delivered across a variety of organisations including early learning, school, corporate and government organisations in Australia, New Zealand and The United States. Dr Rosina is an internationally recognised awardwinning researcher and educator. Read more of her work on our website here

Digital Learning Might Be Here to Stay

Digital school reading program, Wushka, has surveyed over 750 primary school teachers across Australia. The survey’s goal was to see what teachers though about online learning and whether it should be continued by parents and teachers, even after students return to school. It found that 97 per cent of those who responded took on digital learning during the pandemic. 7 in 10 said that online learning is here to stay!

The use of programs such as Wushka increased during lockdown as teachers and parents had to find new ways of teaching. Being at home presented a variety of challenges. However, these programs kept children engaged and learning.

“We saw teachers rise to the occasion and embrace digital learning especially for literacy lessons,” says Michelle Kelly, General Manager Education Resources, Modern Star. “Online tools such as Wushka are a great resource for teachers. It is exciting to see so many educators embracing these programs and looking to use them in a post-COVID world.”

Classroom learning is likely to change as teachers continue navigating online learning moving forward.

97 per cent of teachers stated that they benefited from using an online digital reading platform with students. From those, 84 per cent believe students would benefit from online teaching methods – even after returning to physical classrooms. For example, Wushka supports teachers to assist with home learning. It provides both teachers and students with access to over 600 fiction and non-fiction readers. These then support students learning to read. Moving the learning online is made easy through this platform. This online learning then allows teachers to track students’ progress and keep them engaged, both in the classroom and at home. 

It makes complete sense – we are in living in a digital, technology filled world. Laptops, iPads and tablets are much more available in homes and in classrooms. This makes education a lot more accessible, quite literally at the tips of our fingers. Additionally, games and other fun programs easily provide the online education needed. Children are more likely to be engaged because of this, more than what they would be in a traditional, physical classroom setting.