Tips For Smooth Transition To A Nursery School

Starting school is always a mix of emotions for both the child and the parents. Ensuring a smooth transition is very pivotal so that the child’s expectations are set in terms of what to look forward to. A little bit of support and encouragement goes a long way in helping the kid be prepared for success in school as well as in life. Nursery for toddlers provides care, play, socialization and education at a very early age so that the child has a well-rounded growth.

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Tips For A Happy Start To School
Start off by introducing your child to other adults or extended family and let them spend some quality time with them. This will help them with the separation anxiety that occurs when they do not see you for long periods.

Allow them to play with other children their age. This will help them learn the art of making friends and sharing their toys or waiting for their turns.

Try including discussions about school in the day to day conversations and keep it very positive and encouraging so that their anxiety is at bay and they are excited about school.

Letting the child choose their own outfits (out of the ones you pick to avoid inappropriate choices) is a great approach to teach them the lesson of ownership and encourage decision making.

Kids need to be trained very well on bathroom manners like zipping up, flushing after use and washing their hands after using the bathroom.

Teaching them basic concepts like shapes, letters and numbers will help them learn quickly when they get introduced to these topics at school.

Let them understand the importance of knowing their full name, address and contact number as well as your name and work details so that they are able to contact you should the need arise.
Ensure that your kid has the opportunity to visit his new school so that he is aware of the surroundings and the people he would be spending time with on a regular basis.

Teach them basic skills like peeling an orange or a banana. Let them be aware of the ways to open a carton or box so that they can do it by themselves during lunch.

Ensure that they know who their designated pickup is so that they do not leave the school grounds with anyone else without prior permission.

Make reading a habit. You should read to the child regularly and also allow him to choose his own book and read it.

How to select a good international school?

Education is the most important part of a person’s life. Right from a preschool to a PHD admission, every school or college you pick shapes the way you learn and engage with the world. This is why it is crucial that you enroll your kids only in the best educational institutions. However, this is easier said than done. Parents, especially expats, often find the task of identifying good international schools around them extremely challenging. Here are some useful tips that can help you find a good international school in Singapore for your child’s education.

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Gear up at the Application Stage

Application stage might seem like the easiest, but can be the most challenging stage for many parents. To ensure that you don’t miss out on important dates and information, it is advisable to create a list of admission dates, deadlines, procedures, and requirements before getting into the finer details of finding a good international school.

Assessing Compatibilities

As is true with choosing any kind of educational institution, assessing your child’s strengths and weaknesses and comparing the same with the school’s identity is a crucial next step. Identifying prominent personality-driven traits and interests in your child like sports, art, music, technology, and academics can help you look for similar traits in a school and make a successful match.

Meet The Teachers and School Staff

Meeting just the head teacher of the school isn’t enough. If you want to move ahead of the rosy picture that is painted for you by the school management, make an effort to meet some other teachers in the school. Meeting them will give you a sense of the teaching environment and could also work up the opportunity for you to build positive relationships with the teachers.

Course and Curriculum

International schools pride themselves for having strong ethos and curricula that put them a notch above other educational institutions. Many schools in Singapore offer an International Baccalaureate (IB) syllabus that provides an international standard learning environment. There are also schools that align their syllabus with that of the child’s home country to enable easy adaptation. Other schools do a little bit of both. Given this difference in curricula, it is important to pick the right kind of curriculum that best suit the needs of your child.

Fees and Costs

Budgeting schools right in the beginning can accidentally discard some good choices. Only once you’ve identified a list of good schools, should you make your final decision by comparing the tuition fee and other costs.

Importance of Vitamin D for your preschooler

Dosage of Vitamin D for children
Vitamin D forms a major part of your child’s diet. Although it is a micro nutrient, and needed by the body in small quantities, it is still very important to keep the child’s body fit. One way of replenishing vitamin D in your child’s body is by exposing his or her skin to the sun. But many times, children are not exposed to the sun adequately which makes them run the risk of suffering from vitamin deficiency. Often geographical location play a major role in inducing vitamin D deficiency. Dark skinned children run a risk of vitamin D deficiency as the melanin in the skin impedes vitamin D synthesis.

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Therefore, it is essential for parents whose children are getting ready to go to preschool, to make sure that their children have adequate vitamin D. Preschool for kids is an important phase as it prepares the child for a major phase in an individual’s life. Hence it is of utmost importance to make sure that your pre-schooler has an adequate dosage of vitamin D. For any child, the need for vitamin D starts from the stage the child is in the mother’s womb and the requirement continues to be there till one dies.

Benefits that vitamin D gives to the child
Vitamin D is beneficial for your child at any phase. Here are some benefits of vitamin D for your child:

1. There are two types of Vitamin D – Vitamin D2 and also vitamin D3.
2. Vitamin D2 is scientifically recognized as ergocalciferol. This type of vitamin is generally created by the plants.
3. Vitamin D3 is scientifically called as cholecalciferol. It is created naturally in the human body as the body is exposed to the rays of the sun.
4. Both types of vitamin D is needed by the body to build better and healthier bones, specifically for children.
5. Many parents have the wrong notion that making the child play outside under the sun and having milk will help in generating vitamin D in their children’s body.
6. Vitamin D assists the body in absorbing minerals such as calcium that helps in building strong bones and teeth.
7. Vitamin D also has another role—it acts a hormone that helps in working of the immunity of the body and also facilitates cell growth.
8. Most importantly it helps the child from not being infected by rickets, a bone deformity disease.
9. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphate that helps in protecting bones.

How to Stop Your Playgroup Toddler from a Biting Habit

Growing of teeth is a very tough time for children. Playgroup toddlers, during this stage, are seen biting without any regards to what their actions may lead to in the future. Biting can inflict serious physical harm on the toddler if they are not stopped. Aggressive biting commonly takes place between the age of 18 months and 29 months; this is the time when kids are unable to communicate using the verbal method. He can only communicate using his actions. A child usually stops his biting habits when he is able to communicate with words.

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Role as a parent:
1. Understand: Biting usually begins as a socially incorrect gesture. However, if this is not checked, it can turn into aggressive behaviors. This is why you need to amend this before they become a part of the child.
2. Do not bite back: You need to give your child an early lesson of empathy and teach sensitivity to him or her. You can adopt the tooth-for-tooth method. Press the forearm of your child against his or her upper teeth and ask to bite, not in an angry manner, but only as a part of your teaching. This will instill upon the child’s mind that biting hurts!
3. Look out for a mean streak: Keep a watch on your toddler; see if he or she is habitual to banging toys or throwing them. If this becomes a habit, they are at a risk of treating humans in a similar way. Encourage gentle play and show them it is good to be sensitive, even to their toys. Ask them to hug the doll, or pet the toy.
4. Supervise: It is important that you keep a supervising eye on your child. You can talk to the teachers or other parents. Many have gone through similar phases and they might be able to show you the right way to deal with your toddler who bites. As a parent, it is important that you play your part right. Often, parents of biters are blamed for their aggressive behavior.

Role as a teacher:
1. Find out the source of the behavior: As a teacher, you should know what triggers a child’s aggressive behavior. Keep a journal, if that helps you.
2. Teach the kids what being gentle means: If you see a child demonstrating aggressive behaviors such as snatching or pushing, gently tell him that he is wrong in doing so. Teach them to say sorry. On your part, make sure you do not show similar behavior in front of the children. They do what they see.
3. Reward: It is seen that children often respond to rewards better than any other type of incentive. Tell them they will get a surprise reward if they keep their best behaviors.

As guardians, parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to ensure that children do not make aggressiveness a part of their daily life.

Signs that Your Child is Not Yet Ready for International Kindergarten

Of course, every parent wants their children to learn, grow and develop. But children do not perform at the same rate. Some might be very fast at learning while others need more time and attention.

In this article, we are going to discuss how you can determine if your child is ready for kindergarten. If your child exhibits any of the following behaviours that will be listed below, it shows that he is not ready for kindergarten.

Difficulties following directions and listening

For your child to do well in kindergarten he has to know how to listen and take instructions from their teachers. If your child is intelligent and easily understands things but cannot follow instructions, he might not be able to cope in some international kindergarten. This obviously because kindergarten teachers give a lot of directions in order to teach.

If your child cannot follow simple directions listed below, then you need to spend more time teaching them to follow directions.

  1. Stand up
  2. Jump up
  3. Put on your coat
  4. Cover your ears
  5. Line up

Always in need of help

Children are not perfect so they tend to make mistakes from time to time. But if you observe that your child cannot carry out simple tasks like- dressing up, zipping up their coat, wearing their shoes, eating and pouring into to a cup. Then it shows that they will not be able to cope with kindergarten schools.

A child that is ready for school should be able to carry out simple and important tasks on their own without needing too much assistance.

If your child is not independent and requires you to help him a lot, then you probably should wait until he is ready.

Overly upset

It is natural for children to cry when they fall or bump into something from time to time. It is also normal for your child to cry on his first day of school. But you should be concerned when your child starts having separation anxiety. That is when they become overly upset about you leaving.

To determine correctly if your child is ready for kindergarten school, ask yourself this question; Can my child say goodbye and begin to engage in an activity that he finds intriguing at a kindergarten school?

Your answer to that question will determine if your child is ready or not.

Basically, children learn more when they are able to leave their parent without becoming upset or angry. A good actionable step parent can take in this regard is to start practicing how to say goodbye to their children in preschool and day care.

Doing this will prepare your child mentally, and ultimately help them cope with kindergarten.

Can they communicate properly?

It is important that a child is able to communicate properly to their teachers because if your child is able to communicate, he will be able to express his need to his teachers. Even more, communication is the foundation which a child can use to build a strong relationship with teachers and other adults.

Do they participate in a group activity?

Working as a team or in a group is difficult even for adults. So, before you enrol your child in an international kindergarten it is wise to ask yourself if your child play and interact with other kids. You need to also confirm if your child can take turns and share.

Asking your self these questions, you will be able to know for sure if your child is ready or not.

As a parent, you don’t have to feel bad or blame yourself if your child is not ready for kindergarten. What you should do is to seek help from help teacher and child development experts.

Education Archives –

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Would you relocate for a job?

I have heard this increasingly over the past 12 months. I have seen peers from the communications industry who used to be ferocious bloggers disappear. I myself, took a year off while a combination of a new role and family life took their toll on my time…..but I never lost the belief that blogging is a valuable part of the communications mix.

Everyone at Berkeley PR blogs. Everyone. You need to know what works and what doesn’t and a textbook can’t provide you with as much knowledge as simply doing it. In addition, a third of our team are trained journalists so just try and stop them from writing.

What I have found heartening over the past month were a couple of stories about children blogging to great success. I’m sure most will have heard the story about Martha Payne’s blog on school dinners (see Wadd’s blog for more details) and I also enjoyed hearing about Holly Pope’s blog – Childtastic Books – where she offers her thoughts on the books she is reading at school.

In an article in the Sunday Times a teaching assistant who works with Holly explains: “….its encouraged Holly to formulate her own opinions. By blogging in this way children are encouraged to start thinking about things like, what am I reading, do I like it, what do I like about it. It’s letting them realise they can have these opinions.”

I totally agree but both stories also highlight that if you have great content there is no limit to how far you can go. Here are two school children who both started blogs but have received both national and international coverage of their campaigns.

It also shows the power of local. Both of these blogs were picked up by local newspapers who in turn were picked up by larger titles.

I would say that the only people who would say that blogging is a waste of time either aren’t doing it properly, don’t understand it or have had zero engagement because simply their content isn’t very interesting.

What are the secret rewards of free?

The joy of reading is finding a book that challenges, grips you and encourages you to make changes to your life. I also read a lot of trash that does none of the above but are still enjoyable, it is just when you find a book like this you want to shout about it.

One such book is Drive, by Daniel H Pink, that looks at how we motivate people. One of the chapters starts with story:

Imagine it’s 1995. I would like to test your forecasting powers by describing two encyclopedias.

The first comes from Microsoft. It is going to fund this encyclopedia. It will pay professional writers and editors to craft articles on thousands of topics. Well compensated managers will oversee the project to ensure it’s completed on budget and on time. Microsoft will then sell the encyclopedia on CD-ROM and later on-line.

The second encyclopedia won’t come from a company. It will be created by tens of thousands of people who write and edit articles for fun. These hobbyists won’t need any special qualifications to participate and absolutely nobody will be paid to write or edit articles. Participants will have to contribute their labour, sometimes twenty and thirty hours a week, for free. It will only exist online and will be free – no charge for anyone who wants to see it.

Now imagine it is modern day. Which will be the biggest in the world and which will be defunct? In 1995 I doubt you would have found a single person who would not have picked the first model. The incentives were all wrong for the free offering as everyone involved in that project knew that success would bring them nothing. In fact it would cost them something.

So what happened? In 1995 Microsoft pulled the plug on MSN Encarta while Wikipedia ended up becoming the largest and most popular encyclopedia in the world.

Edward Deci explains that human beings have an inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise their capabilities to explore and learn.

I like this. Cold hard cash is never something to turn your nose up at, but I agree with this ethos that a challenge or opportunity to create a legacy is a stronger driving force. They are certainly skillsets that we look for when recruiting people at Berkeley PR.

The story also reminded me of the excellent work that Barbara French does with her blog and analyst database. There are a number of expensive (and frankly not very good) analyst relations databases out there but she has bucked the trend by creating a community analyst database.

Barbara has created a free information resource looking for experts on the tech and telecoms market. She openly encourages user to send her updates, add comments about their dealings with analyst firms and sends out regular updates via her Twitter feed to highlight changes. She also does this on top of the day job.

So what motivates Barbara to do this? Having never discussed this with her I wouldn’t like to put words in her mouth but having read Drive would suggest it is the motivation offered by intrinsic reward that drives her forward. She isn’t working on this directory for commercial benefit but simply because she finds it gratifying to provide a service to the community and enjoys it. The joy of creating the database is in itself its own reward.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a similar media list service presented itself? It would certainly save many PR companies many thousands of pounds each year.

Bad news and The Olympics

With the Olympics coming to town and the opening ceremony this Friday I am officially VERY excited about the start of The Games. I literally can’t wait. I remember sitting around the television at a previous employer watching the news come in that London had won the bid and thinking this is going to be a once in a lifetime event. I still feel that way.
A former colleague Laura Slade wrote a blog last week calling on the press to stop being so negative around the games and to get behind them. She explained that positive stories also sell papers and pointed to the Royal Wedding as an example.

At Berkeley PR, we believe there are three things that make a great story. My colleague Matt Brown wrote a blog recently that opened with the infamous moto of Lord Northcliffe, founder of the Daily Mail, “Get me a murder a day!” This might sound like a cynical approach to journalism but time and time again it has proven to be successful. People like drama. They like having something to gossip about. Think about the stories you have read recently and actually retold to someone else – I bet they were all bad news stories.
That said, there are two other elements that can make a great story which seem to be forgotten at the moment. Human interest and topicality.
This was why the Royal Wedding sold papers like hot cakes. Not because it was a nice story but because people felt they were part of something and because, regardless of who you are, everyone loves a wedding.

I sincerely hope that the British press embrace these elements of a story of the next couple of days and help bring a sense of occasion to the whole country. The Games should be a source of pride to this country and more importantly an opportunity for businesses to prosper after a difficult couple of years. The Olympic flame went through Reading and Theale recently and the whole of our company was excited about the fact.

The eyes of the world will be on London this week so let’s show them that we can put on a show but also approach the reporting of The Games in a creative and imaginative way that we can all be proud of. Don’t forget, bad news sells…..but so does human interest and topicality.

Would you take a pay cut so your colleague could have a pay rise?

I watched a very interesting programme last week about Pimlico Plumbers, where the CEO decided that he was fed up with people knocking on his door every two minutes asking for a pay rise so he asked everyone to share with each other how much they were paid. The results were startling with many people doing exactly the same job but being paid up to £9k less.

This brought back memories of when I worked for my first PR agency and management called everyone to a meeting and asked everyone to vote on whether they would take a pay cut for six months or keep their current salary and watch the business make three/four redundancies.

I remember at the time it was a no brainer to take the pay cut for my colleagues but now with a wife addicted to ebay, a two and a half year old and a mortgage would I be so generous? A very difficult decision but I hope I would make the right one almost as much as I hope that I am never put in that situation again.

As well as getting me thinking the show taught me three things:

1. I wish I was a plumber……I couldn’t believe how much they were getting paid!!

2. The PR manager should get his pay rise if the show was his idea. What a great piece of positive PR for the business. An hour long show for a plumbing company that didn’t focus on blocked drains but how it was a caring business and forward thinking in its approach to HR.

3. More business should be open with their staff about how they can have an impact on salaries. I was really impressed with a group in the body work team who recognized that if they asked team mates to take pay cuts to help others it would lead to bad feelings, but if they analysed their costs in their department and put the savings towards pay rises for those in need of them, they could really make a difference.

What I’m not saying is that I want execs coming to me to say that they have stopped posting press releases on Real Wire so can they have the money instead but I do think everyone (regardless of industry) can be guilty of having tunnel vision and doing the job and not being aware of the costs that the job entails. Maybe if more people were aware of where they could make savings on top of delivering results it would be easier to distribute rewards.