Oct 28, 2009

Flu shots

Aryaa got the first dose of the flu shot last week. Children are required to get in two doses, Aryaa will get the second one after one month. Me and Sobita too are thinking to get it, like last year. I had influenza two years ago.

This is the vaccine for the 'regular' flu and not for this year's 'hit' swine flu. Vaccination campaign against swine flu has just started in Japan. Medical workers are given the first priority. People with serious diseases and pregnant women will get it from November and children aged up to 10 from mid-December. I think 'healthy' adults may have to wait until March for it.

In the mean time, we have been completely successful in instilling the 'influenza terror' in Aryaa:) She doesn't forget to wash her hands and gargle each time after coming back from outside. She hasn't demanded mask for herself yet though. I think she hasn't yet seen anybody with mask in her kindergarten yet. As the epidemic is not so big in our area, we too haven't thought of putting on masks yet.

Oct 21, 2009

Good Schooling Alone Is Not Enough

[I am happy to share this Guest Post from Educational Technologies . Navendu Sharma from Educational Technologies will answer your questions/comments. -Basanta]

Understand Early Childhood Education - Good Schooling Alone Is Not Enough

The most important reason why school education is insufficient is that, by the time a child reaches schooling age, it is already too late to start the child’s education. The best time for parents to actively start educating a child is before the child reaches the age of three years. To understand why early childhood education is needed, we need to know how the human brain develops during this period.

The importance of preschool activities

When a child is born, its brain is not fully developed. Till the age of three it can be made to grow at a rapid rate because the dendrites become functional during this period. Dendrites are parts of the neuron that receive messages in the form of electronic impulses from other nerve cells. A portion of the dendrites that are formed are lost if the brain does not receive enough stimulation. The only way to preserve these dendrites is to generate electrical impulses in the brain by offering it external stimulation.

Dr. Rima Shore points out that "Early interactions don't just create a context; they directly affect the way the brain is 'wired'". This implies that if the child is given proper attention at the pre kindergarten stage s/he will become a good learner and thus always remain ahead of others. The best way to stimulate the development of the child’s brain is to impart a skill like reading. This skill will give the child an added edge because it will allow the child to start learning more complex things when its peers are struggling with reading lessons. Did you know that a child spends 17,500 waking hours at home before s/he starts kindergarten?

One size does not fit all

School education also does not prove profitable to children who are endowed with interpersonal, naturalistic, musical, visual-spatial, and intrapersonal intelligences because mainstream schools mostly focus on verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences.

We must also note that children spend only a fraction of their time in school. If parents do not enhance the education that they receive in school with adequate home education resources, the child will fall behind others in a highly competitive world.

What can be an effective home-education material – Interactive Books

When we talk about education, books are the imperative tools for imparting knowledge. But with the advancement of technology, they are no longer confined within paper covers. Books are now read on screen supported by attractive and interactive animations. These interactive books are a great way of inculcating the habit of reading and learning in children.

Interactive books for kids enable learners to interact with the characters, thereby making the reading process even more engrossing. Books for toddler are made interactive with animated gestures, special effects, and sounds. When children listen to fictional characters narrating the story, the experience becomes more enjoyable. Moreover, moving images appeal more to the tender senses than the static illustrations in a book.

Some of the interactive books even invite the young minds to contribute their imagination in order to carry forward the story line. This unique process gives children the desired scope to unfurl their imagination and creativity.

Advantages of interactive books:

• Interactive books give readers the opportunity to take part in the story line by changing the plot as per his/ her decision. Thus interactive reading can hone the decision making skills in children.
• Interactive books come with multimedia facilities of animated sound, actions, and special effects. This makes reading a richer and more captivating experience.
• More than just reading, listening to stories helps children learn new words and also perfect their pronunciations.
• When kids read books online or through CDs and DVDs, they automatically become well acquainted with the basic functioning of a computer.

In the multimedia generation, interactive books can be the latest and most suitable option as far as developing your child’s reading habits are concerned. It is capable of imparting a multi-faceted learning experience even as a part of the home education curriculum. As you browse the Internet, you can find a plethora of sites offering interactive books. So find a suitable one for your kid and watch how reading can become truly interactive and educative!

(Source:- www.educationaltechnologies.com)

Oct 14, 2009

"Laugh--!" and "Don't Laugh---!"

Well, Aryaa sometimes behaves like a 'dictator':)

It was a evening a few days back. Her mother had classes until late in the evening. I was cooking and Aryaa was playing with her writing board. She was talking mostly to herself and was sometimes saying "isn't it?--" to me too. "Yes, it is." I was replying her without looking at her.

She laughed suddenly with herself, I don't know what made her laugh.

"PAPA! WARATTE! (Papa, laugh!)" she then ordered me.
"Why Laugh?", I was tired and wasn't in the mood to 'laugh'.
"Aryaa-chyan funny, so!"
"OK then, hi hi hi-----" I make a barely audible grin.
"CHIGAU! CHYANTO WARATTE! (Not like that! Laugh well!)" she threatens me:)
"HA HA HA-----!" so I make a LOL. This makes her content and she continues her 'gibberish'.

And some days back again. It was dinner time. She wanted ice-cream at the middle of the dinner, we told her 'to be a good girl and finish her lunch' first. So she was pretty unhappy. She suddenly pushed her mother's hand, and chopsticks fell to the ground.
"What are you doing---?" her mother shouted at her.
"Aryaa, that's not good girl---." I added.
Aryaa then started crying.
"Don't scold---! See! I have tears----."
We looked at her, there was no tears.
"Ha ha ha! No tears in your eyes--!" I started laughing.
"WARAWANAIDE! WARAIKOTO JIANAI! (Don't laugh! It's not funny!)" She shouted at me. This made me laugh even louder! I had to go to another room for a while to 'pacify' her.

It's a great fun to be with a 'dictator' as long as the 'dictator' is a sweet, cute little one:)

(Image Source: Click Here)

Oct 2, 2009

The Great 'Why----?' Explosion

The great explosion of childhood curiosity and questions.

"Papa, why wiping head?"
"Because it's wet. It's ----"
"Why is it wet?"
"It's raining outside, I -----"
"Why is it raining?"
"Hmmm---, it's cloudy outside, a lot of black clouds---"
"Why cloudy? Why a lot of black clouds?---"
"Well, Hmmmm------, because it's not sunny."
"Why not sunny?"
"Sun is not out today."
"Why Sun not out today?"
"Why?----Answer!" She starts crying.
"Wait, wait! Papa is thinking. Well, because Sun wants rest today."
"Why Sun wants rest?"
"Because Sun is tired."
"Ehhh, Sun is tired?"
"Yes, Sun is tired."
"Hmmm, because Sun comes out everyday and runs a lot in the sky. When Aryaa-chyan runs a lot, Aryaa-chyan too gets tired. Isn't it?"
"Yes. Aryaa-chyan is tired today. Aryaa-chyan ran a lot with Honoka-chyan."
Thanks God! I feel relief now! There was a turning point and I got freed from this endless seeming chain of questions.

But this doesn't always happen. She continues asking until we reach a real dead end. "Why? Answer!" She keeps on saying. If we say "--- don't know." she will again ask "Why?". We try hard not to be irritated but sometimes there is no other answer than saying like "That is that because  that is that." and quickly change the subject. Sometimes we need to bring "God" in between to satisfy her curiosity. Well, she hasn't started questioning 'God' yet. We are going to have real trouble after she starts that too ::)

Sometimes her questions come from nowhere. One example is my last post. Here is another short conversation between us when I was reading picture books for her before sleeping.

"What does God do?" She asked suddenly.
"God lives so high in the sky. What does God do?", She made her question 'more detailed' while I was thinking for a good answer. She already knows that God lives up in the sky, God talks from sky to a young boy in one of her picture books.  
"Hmmm---, from that up, he watches what everybody is doing and----"
"Ehhh, SUGOII NE (amazing---)!" She interrupted me and then continued to listen what I was reading.

It feels wonderful to be a a part of her curiosity, her innocent quest to know this mystery called life. By trying to answer her questions, I feel that answers to many of my own questions are nearing.

I wish I could stay and listen and try to answer all of her beautiful innocent questions. I wish I had enough time to record all of our conversations with her and put here.

Image Source: Click Here