Category Archives: Education

Educating Special Needs Children in Mainstream Schools

These days finding a special needs child in a mainstream school would be like finding an “Enter” key on a keyboard.

The concept of institutionalised care and education is almost a thing of the past. Though some circles still feel special needs kids and adults do not have a place in mainstream society, thankfully these groups are diminishing as the decades roll on.

The placement of Special needs kids in mainstream school has many benefits to the special needs child but also the school community as a whole. Mainstream school kids get to know the disabled child for the person inside the body, not the outward disability. This goes a long way to improving social acceptance of the special needs kids both now as a child in school and later as an adult in the community.

As a parent of a disabled child I often liken the use of Special School facilities to taking a bath without any water or taking a flight in a plane without wings.

Just like we need water to take a bath we also need a “normal” social setting to educate special needs kids about society and interacting in it. The use of Special Education facilities is like taking a mainstream school student to the desert to teach them to swim.

I should pause to explain that this article is written out of frustration due to a long run battle for our child to be accepted at a mainstream school on a permanent basis. The closest we have ever been able to get was 4 days at a mainstream school and 1 day at special education – with this likely to expand each year until she was a permanent pupil at the special education school.

As parents we are in no way against the Specialised Education our daughter requires. We do however, feel this Extra support could and should be made available to her at a mainstream school. She should have the ability to have lunch with her siblings, participate in Lunchtime activities with mainstream kids, Attend sporting events – whether participating or cheering – and generally socialise with her age group peers.

The concept of splitting Education between 2 facilities due to a disability is like splitting a child’s world in half. Its saying “Its OK to be called ‘normal’ a couple of days a week and ‘disabled’ for the rest of the week”.

The teachers call it “getting the best of both worlds”. Unfortunately we don’t live in 2 worlds. We live in one world and we should all be accepted as equal within it regardless of race, colour, ability, disability or orientation.

Important Considerations in Selecting Primary Schools For Your Children

Primary education is when challenges begin both for the student and the parents. For countries, this is where compulsory education starts. This would mean that parents are mandated by law to send their children to primary education and children are mandated by their parents to attend school. This stage, however, can be very crucial because it is where students first shape their study habits, enthusiasm for learning, ideals, and goals in life. Hence, parents try to find the most conducive primary schools for their children’s early educational development so as to make sure their children are guided by their schools accordingly.

The following are several issues that parents may consider when selecting the best educational institution for their children:

1.Inadequate school facilities. Although learning does not really rely on how fully equipped an educational institution is, it is very important for quality learning that the school has sufficient facilities in order for the student to be able to learn comfortably or without impediments. Enough classrooms with comfortable breathing space and desks, a library with sufficient books and space for reading, fully supplied laboratories, clean comfort rooms, cafeteria that serves healthy meals and snacks, well-maintained gym and areas for physical activities, and so on are among the most important school facilities.

2.Quality instruction. It would really be hard to assess what kind of instruction a school offers but this may be inferred from the related achievements of the faculty as well as how well the school’s graduates have performed in higher education. Almost always, an educational institution would post achievements of their staff on their websites or brochures. A little research would help a great deal in making the right decision. It would also help if parents get to talk to some of the graduates of a certain school just to get an idea of the quality of education a school provides to its students.

3.Extracurricular activities. Learning is not confined in books and in the classroom. Students should be provided with avenues to develop their talents and skills such as in the area of arts, drama, music, debate, sports, and so on. As most experts would say, people have multiple intelligences and it would do well for an educational institution to help its students develop all these areas as much as they can. People are found to be more productive when they are provided with a lot of room to be more creative and to explore their multiple intelligences.

Using Flannel Boards in Early Childhood Education

What is a flannel board or story board? It is an invaluable and versatile educational tool for preschool teachers and children. The story board has become an integral part of the preschool curriculum. It is basically a story-telling board covered in a flannel or felt material that teachers can use with preschoolers to tell visual stories with pictures, storyboard shapes and a variety of other manipulatives that are made from flannel or felt cut-outs (flannel sticks to flannel). Flannel boards can come in a variety of sizes and can be mounted on a wall or be a smaller table-top style with an easel that easily folds up to put away.

The table-top style is great for small groups of children and encourages more participation and interaction and can easily be stored away. The larger wall-mounted style is more permanent and better for large groups such as in a classroom setting. Flannel boards or story-boards can be purchased commercially but it is very easy to make your own. Some of the commercially bought boards have a magnetic side on the reverse for use with magnetic manipulatives and some may have whiteboards on the reverse.

Story re-telling is an important skill in developing language and memory skills with preschoolers. Pre-literacy is important and even toddlers will benefit from listening and watching as older children play. Younger children always learn by observing and modeling older children. Most preschool settings have a multi-age population and age overlaps for various groups, just as most families do.

Encouraging a child to re-tell a story or a number sequence or identify colors and shapes is a great independent activity as well as partner fun. Re-telling reinforces learning and abstract concepts. Preschoolers will gravitate toward this anyway if the materials are left on the board for their use. They will also make up their own creative stories using the flannel board shapes in a free-play setting. Children enjoy touching and feeling the soft manipulative shapes.

For parents, flannel board play is a great independent activity for quiet times such as waiting at the doctor’s office, long car rides or just before bedtime or nap time. Flannel boards are also fun for rainy day indoor activities for kids. Teachers love to use them for everything from storytelling; abc kids games, themed lesson-plans to teaching songs, rhymes and finger plays.

Flannel board sets are soft, colorful felt cutouts of shapes, alphabet letters (upper and lower case) colors, numbers or story characters and props. Commercial sets can be found for fairy tales, nursery rhymes, popular literature, safety lessons, maps, the seasons, calendars, animals (zoo, jungle, farm, pets, etc.), special holidays, dinosaurs, multi-cultural ideas, Bible characters, games, transportation and many more early childhood themes. They can be purchased pre-cut or teachers and caregivers on a budget can make their own designs from felt.

Flannel board activities are fun for families, pre-school centers, Head Start centers, home daycare providers, home school families, early childhood education settings, Sunday school teachers, special education classrooms, librarians, and school teachers in the lower elementary grades. Even teachers in higher grades may find good use of flannel boards for teaching the States or other geography, maps or math lessons. The usefulness is virtually endless.

3 Types of Childcare Training Programs In Starting A Childcare Facility

There’s an increased need for childcare facilities today which results to more people who are thinking of taking childcare training seminars for this need. Many parents now focus more on their careers so they need to find a good facility where they can leave their children during working hours.

Unlike what most people think, establishing a childcare facility has a number of requirements including training in taking care of children. It’s not just as simple as building a facility, get people, get clients and that’s it. In fact, there are several types of training programs like the following to accomplish:

Actual Childcare Training

Different procedures are used in taking care of children. Even if the facility is going to be a school or a day care center, it’s still important to know the right way of dealing with children of all ages before starting this type of facility. An expert must know the gestures, how to teach children, proper interaction and the right attitude in handling kids. These training programs will teach everything about kids of different ages to know how to take care of them as their second parent.

CPR And First Aid Childcare Training

Children are prone to accidents because of curiosities. With this in mind, numerous facilities make sure that they have staff that knows how to do CPR and provide first aid to kids during these scenarios. They find it helpful not only in providing appropriate care to children but also in finding clients since they can assure parents that their kids are safe in their facilities.

Administrative Training Program

Although a childcare facility is just like any other organization, administrating the staff and overall procedures are different from others. The good thing about these programs is there are a number of childcare training groups that offer them for people who want to establish their childcare facility. This allows individuals to search one company instead of spending hours looking for groups offering this training program. Aside from being a standalone program, some groups may offer them in integrated training program for the benefit of clients.

In conclusion, there are different training programs a childcare facility owner and staff must complete. Parents are very concerned about leaving their children to a facility and getting these training programs assure that they are in good hands. Finding these training facilities today is very simple with the help of the internet and local government offices.

The 5 Features of the Best Primary Schools

We all want our children to go the best primary schools and we all want them to have the best education. But what makes some better than others, and what are the common similarities between the best schools? We have come up with a list of the top 5 features of the best local schools to make your decision on where to send your child that much easier.

1. OFSTED report – The best primaries have the best OFSTED ratings. Of course they do! This may seem obvious, but it’s a good place to start when measuring the varying quality of schools. OFSTED rate schools from 1 (Outstanding) to 4 (Needs Improvement), the best primary schools obviously sit at the top of this scale.

2. Teaching – the best schools have the best teachers. This is a bit self-fulfilling in reality, because the best primary school teachers are attracted to the best primary schools, which in turn makes the schools themselves better. You may know of local schools which have good or bad reputations, and these reputations tend to stick, mainly because of this very thing. Moreover, the teachers at the best primary schools are less inclined to leave their post as the chances of them finding a better job are slim. So, if you find a school near you with a lot of long standing teachers, chances are the school is a good one.

3. Facilities – the best primaries have the best facilities. When we look at the facilities of local schools, there are a lot of different things which we can consider, and not all of it is important to everyone. Think about the sports facilities, the catering facilities, and the buildings. Generally these are the three biggest considerations people think about when they search for a school. The best primary schools always have the best facilities to work with.

4. Location & Transport – location is a massive factor in your decision, but the best primaries usually have the best transport links. It isn’t much use choosing a school with no bus stop within 2 miles if you are going to need to use a bus to get there. Rural primary schools will not always have good transport links, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t good schools. The local roads and transport are not their fault. In urban areas, however, the best pupils and the best teachers will be attracted to the schools with the best transport links. So if you are looking for primary schools in urban areas, remember the best ones will have the best transport.

5. After school care – last on our list, the best schools will usually have the best clubs. If you need your child caring for after the 3 – 3.30 closing time of most primary schools then you will need to consider before and after care. Generally, these are held at the schools, at a local nursery/play centre, or not at all. The best primary schools host their own breakfast and after school clubs giving you confidence that you child is going to be in the safest possible hands.

Every parent looking to send their child to school for the first time needs to consider the relative qualities of different educational establishment and how they relate to their own circumstances and the needs of their child. All schools are different, but the best primary schools all have a few things in common. Be sure to consider these things so you make the best choice for your child.