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Technological gifts for students How scholastic sports are going digital Getting kids the homework help they need August 2019 A Special Supplement to

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Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Regional School 2341 Washington Ave, Bellmore, NY 11710

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St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Regional School is an AdvancEd Accredited Parochial School providing a top-quality education for thousands since 1992. At SEAS the goal for our students is to thrive in an environment that up holds the best aspects of a traditional education while students are immersed in a technology forward environment. SEAS focuses on the development of the whole child academically, physically, and spiritually. Students find happiness rooted in our mission of respect, responsibility, and reverence.

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Technological gifts for students

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ifting students with tech is a surefire way to help them with their educations. In a 2013 Harris Interactive poll, 86 percent of teachers thought it was important or absolutely essential to use edtech in the classroom. In addition, 96 percent of teachers felt edtech increased student engagement in learning. Today’s students are more tech-savvy than ever before, so hot gadgets figure to be coveted items this holiday season. Here’s what to add to holiday shopping lists.

• E-reader: Digital e-readers enable students to carry an entire library of books in one small device. Full backpacks or small dorm rooms bogged down by piles of books are a thing of the past. E-readers have highlighting and notetaking features that can facilitate learning.

• • Digital assistant: Digital assistants pack a lot of intelligence into their diminutive size. When paired with smart home devices, digital assistants can be used to turn on lights or small appliances, making them an asset in a bedroom or a dorm room.

• Earbuds: Students can never have enough quality earbuds for personal use or school study. Whether walking around campus listening to music, using a classroom chromebook or catching up on an audiobook, earbuds are a must-have for modern students.

• Smart bulbs or alarm clocks: The importance of lighting on mood and function has been well-documented. Innovative LED bulbs and technology can simulate various times of day and even be used for mood lighting. Instead of waking up to a blaring alarm buzzer, students afraid of sleeping in can set special lighted clocks to gradually brighten, simulating the rising of the sun.

• Streaming media players: Devices like Roku, Amazon Fire stick and Apple TV can broaden media horizons. These players are paired with viewing apps (some free; others requiring subscriptions) that can do everything from stream TV, movies and music, and offer connectivity to the internet. They’re a boon when setting up a functional student spot for hanging out.

• Digital tracking devices: Students can keep tabs on prized possessions by using Bluetoothenabled tracking devices, like TrackR. These plastic gadgets can be placed on or in items and paired with Android and iOS apps on smartphones. The user then locates the item through a locate network. • Computer workstation: Even though handheld digital devices are functional and in demand, a student can always use a quality laptop or desktop computer for writing papers or doing research.

Students can benefit from a world of tech this holiday season. It’s time to start shopping to secure the hottest items.

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Getting kids the homework help they need

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omework has long been a way to reinforce lessons learned in the classroom and ensure that the learning process continues when students leave school each day. A recent survey of teachers conducted by the University of Phoenix College of Education found that high school teachers assign about 17.5 hours of homework each week (3.5 hours per class), middle school teachers assign about 3.2, and elementary school teachers assign about 2.9 hours per week.

have already “been there, done that” in terms of assignments. Oftentimes high school and college students volunteer their time for community service hours. Ask at the local library or at schools in town if older students offer homework help.

So where does a parent and student turn when homework has become challenging?

Thanks to ever-evolving curriculums and new problem-solving methodologies — particularly in mathematics — parents may no longer have the expertise to help their children with their homework, leading to confusion and frustration.

Students who are struggling should not feel embarrassed about the fact that homework has become an issue. Such students should speak with their parents, teachers or school counselors if they are having

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difficulty with their homework. Such discussions alert teachers that there are potential issues. Teachers can be important resources because they can give specific advice on assignments or strategies for tackling complex processes. Next up, students and parents can consult with older students who

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Families also can do their best to make the environment at home conducive to homework. Scholastic suggests setting up a schedule that includes a time indicating when assignments must be completed. In addition, setting up a quiet, distraction-free zone for doing homework can help kids concentrate on their assignments. Students can tackle harder assignments first, as they will likely take the bulk of the time, and then move on to the easier assignments. If homework is taking a long time to complete, parents can speak to teachers about when it might be alright to offer youngsters some extra help. If these homework helpers are ineffective, families can hire private tutors who can work on homework with the student and reinforce classroom lessons.

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The oldest universities in North America

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In Europe, there are many old, established institutions of higher education. In fact, many schools in Europe are among the oldest in the world. But North America has its share of centuries-old colleges and universities as well. The following is a look at some of the oldest institutions of higher learning that North America has to offer.

• The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico, 1551: The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico was founded on September 21, 1551, by a royal decree signed by Charles I of Spain, in Valladolid, Spain. It is generally considered the first university founded in North America and second in the Americas.

• Harvard University, 1638: One of the original nine colonial colleges, Harvard University was funded by a bequest by namesake John Harvard. It was twice what the Massachusetts Bay Colony had set aside to establish two schools in the area. • Université Laval, 1663: Université Laval is the oldest institution of higher education in Canada and the first North American institution to offer higher education in French.

• The College of William & Mary, 1693: The College of William & Mary was established when land for the college was purchased in 1693. The school claimed that it was in the planning stages decades before Harvard was established. • Yale University, 1701: Yale University began as the “Collegiate School.” It was renamed in 1718 and has become one of the world’s most prestigious schools.

• Washington College, 1782: Chartered in 1782, Washington College can trace its origins to a gift of 50 guineas provided by George Washington. Washington granted permission to use his name on the school, which grew from the existing Kent County Free School. www.southbaysneighbor.com

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• St. John’s College, 1784: St. John’s College is the third oldest college in the United States, tracing its origins back to the King William’s TODDLERS * COMBO CLASSES * MOMMY AND ME * ADULT ALLET *HIP HOP * JAZZ * TAP * CONTEMPORARY * LYRICA school in the colony of Maryland. The schoolB was TODDLERS * COMBO CLASSES * MOMMY AND ME * ADULT Long Long Island Island Dance Dance ForceForce not chartered as St. John’s College until 1784. • The University of New Brunswick, 1785: The University of New Brunswick is the oldest English-language university in Canada, and among the oldest public universities in North America. It was founded by a group of seven loyalists who left the United States after the American Payment Revolution.

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oday’s high school students interested in pursuing higher education have many colleges and universities to choose from, both at home and abroad.

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• The University of Ottawa, 1848: The University of Ottawa was established as the College of Bytown in 1848 by the first bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa, JosephBruno Guigues. It was renamed the College of Ottawa in 1861 and received university status five years later through a royal charter. • The University of Windsor, 1857: The University of Windsor was established in 1857. when the first students arrived to study at its predecessor, Assumption College. It eventually became one of the largest colleges in Ontario.

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3 tips to establishing a successful homework area

Homework has long been the bane of high schoolers’ existence. Studies regarding just how much homework is being assigned to teenagers are somewhat outdated, which makes it difficult to determine just how much work kids are being asked to do after school lets out. A 2014 survey from the University of Phoenix found that high school teachers assign, on average, 3.5 hours of homework per week. Multiply that figure by five, which is the number of different teachers many high school students have in a typical school day, and the survey concluded that high school students may be expected to complete as much as 17.5 hours of homework per week. Though the study, which is the only one of its kind to be conducted in

recent years, is older, there’s little reason to suspect today’s high school students are being asked to do any less than their predecessors were in 2014. While parents might not be able to do much to lessen their children’s homework workload, they can take steps to ensure their homes are as homework-friendly as possible. The following are three ways to do just that. 1. Create a communal homework table.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education notes that youngsters who seem reluctant to do their homework may benefit from doing their afterschool work at a communal table. With parents nearby, such students may feel less lonely and may be less likely to procrastinate if they know mom or dad are nearby. Students who are not reluctant to do their homework may benefit from working quietly in their bedrooms. 2. Clear the area of distractions. Distractions like televisions,

devices that are not necessary to complete assignments and even younger siblings can make it hard for teenagers to concentrate on their work. Designate a time each day for homework, ensuring that the television is off and that devices have been placed on “Do Not Disturb.” In addition, high school students with younger siblings can expect their brothers and sisters to be finished with their homework first. Make sure youngsters recognize the importance of staying quiet until everyone has finished their homework. Encourage younger siblings to leave the homework area and play quietly or read elsewhere in the home.

like a few minutes to unwind when getting home from work at night, kids likely won’t want to dive right into their homework after getting home from school. A break between the school day and homework time can help kids clear their heads so they’re more capable of concentrating when they sit down to do their work. A good work environment at home can help kids live up to their academic potential.

3. Include a break between school and homework time. Much like parents may

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High school students have a lot on their plates. Today’s parents often lament that kids’ schedules are far more hectic than their own schedules were when they were teenagers. But for many high school students, a familiar foe their parents have no doubt encountered is proving a considerable source of stress.

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Pros and cons of public and private schools

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arents may have a number of options when choosing schools for their children. Public schools are responsible for educating millions of youngsters every day, though private schools also may make great options for certain students. Families must weigh the pros and cons of schooling decisions carefully to find the best fit, as school helps set the foundation for life ahead. Private schools

While most people think of religion when they consider private schools, many such schools in the United States are not affiliated with a religious organization. According to data from Niche, more than 30 percent of the roughly 25,000 private PreK-12 schools in the United States are not based in religious education.

Private schools can benefit kids in various ways. Each private school follows its own direction, which means there can be varied educational goals and approaches. Private schools have more flexibility than public schools in regard to their curriculum, as they are not bound by state or federal mandates. This can be a boon to a student who learns in a specific way. Private schools tend to have small class sizes and student bodies, which can make for individualized attention.

The most prominent drawback for private schools is the cost. Many private schools cost thousands of dollars per year, and such costs may

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How to prevent busy kids from overextending themselves

not include uniforms and supplies. Another potential con is some private schools simply cannot offer the same vast level of options as a public school. Through taxpayer funding, public schools may be able to bring in more resources and offer a greater array of classes. Public schools

Public schools are often a natural choice because they are free to attend.

With a more varied curriculum and greater propensity to offer more after-school activities than smaller schools, public schools can be a great draw. Plus, children who attend local schools may feel more in touch with the community and take pride in partaking in the town or city’s traditions.

Enrollment is often considered a downside to public schools. Many public schools have a higher teacher-to-student ratio than private schools. This may lead to a “lost in the crowd” feeling for students who may otherwise benefit from more individualized attention. What’s more, because public schools are bound by set curriculums, teachers may not have the same flexibility in what or how they can teach as their colleagues who teach at private schools. There are other pros and cons to public and private schools that families can work through together. Ultimately, parents and their children should work to find the best match for their needs.

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oday’s teenagers are busy. According to the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average high school student spends just under an hour and a half each weekday participating in extracurricular activities that include playing sports, working/volunteering and religious activities. With so much do and lots of encouragement to participate in their communities, teens can easily find themselves overextended. Extracurricular activities are important, and some have even been linked to improved academic performance. But it’s equally important that high school students avoid burnout, which can adversely affect their academic performance and how much they enjoy school and other activities. Parents can employ various strategies to help busy teenagers avoid overextending themselves.

• Learn the signs of burnout and look for them. Even the most overextended teenager probably enjoys many of the activities he or she engages in. So it’s unlikely that kids will selfreport burnout to their parents, teachers, coaches, or other authority figures. Parents can learn to spot the signs of burnout to identify if their child is overextended. According to Understood. org, a website sponsored by 15 nonprofit organizations devoted to helping parents of kids between the ages of three and 20, procrastination, negative attitudes, testiness, difficulty concentrating, and a disinterest in things kids once liked are some potential indicators of burnout. Parents who notices any of these signs in their children might want to look at their kids’ schedules to see if their children are simply taking on more than they can chew.

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• Teach kids time management skills. Time management skills can help kids make effective and efficient use of their time. Encourage kids who are struggling with their schedules to use a calendar to plan their weeks. Knowing what’s expected of them each day can help kids develop a plan to get everything done. In addition, when kids make a list of their daily activities, parents can go over that list with them to see if they’re taking on too much. Discuss the calendar with kids, and if kids express feelings of exhaustion or burnout, go through the calendar to see where they can free up some time, even if it means cutting some activities out of their schedules entirely. • Teach kids the art of prioritizing. Parents know that some tasks are more important than others. But kids may not be so savvy. Teach kids how to prioritize, emphasizing that academics always come first. Give kids some credit if they’re initially resistant to dropping some activities, as that can indicate an admirable willingness to commit. But emphasize that school comes

first, and that activities that are low priority might need to be sacrificed during the school year. In addition, point out that certain activities that are not school-related can be revisited in the summer, when kids typically have less hectic schedules. Burnout can be harmful to high school students. Parents can work with their children to ensure they aren’t overextending themselves.

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Things to know about returning to school

Tips for professionals returning to school

W

hen a new school semester starts, children and young adults may not be the only ones who are returning to the classroom. Many adults resolve to expand their professional horizons by returning to school even after they have established themselves in their professions. Some may aspire to develop skills specific to a particular job, while others may want to make it easier to transition to a new career.

The number of adult undergraduates continues to grow. The National Center for Education Statistics says 33 percent of the 18 million undergraduate students in the United States are over the age of 25. Students over the age of 30 make up 22 percent of the student body in colleges and universities. The NCES also projects a continued rise of older students through 2020. Going back to school can be an exciting time, but one that also comes with a bit of trepidation. Many adults may not have been in a classroom in more than a decade. Many things have changed with regard to academia in recent decades, and adults may need some extra time and help to make their transition back to student go smoothly. • Schedule a campus visit. Choosing a school is an important decision, and even though you might not be spending as much time on campus as you did when you were younger, don’t overlook the importance of a campus visit. A member of the admissions faculty or even a current student may be able to offer a guided tour, explaining the layout of the campus, amenities and resources. He or she also may point out parking areas, study locations and the best way to navigate the campus. This will help alleviate a fish-out-ofwater feeling the first day of class.

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exclusive to younger learners. Speak with a financial aid counselor about programs that might be available to you. In addition, check with your employer to see if they offer incentives for returning to school. • Brush up on school skills. Start reading more to refresh your vocabulary and other language skills. College involves critical thinking and reasoning, so explore free online courses or games that cover critical thinking skills. Refresh your memory on basic writing rules if essays and reports will be part of your curriculum. Honing your academic skills in advance of returning to school can help you start off on the right foot.

• Create a support system. Going back to school will require you to rearrange schedules and make certain sacrifices. Such adjustments may require the assistance of friends and family. Stop by your school’s student services department and ask if they have help in place for nontraditional students. They may have guidance on balancing work, life and school. Such departments may also assist you with scheduling classes at the times of day that fit best with your work schedule.

U

pon taking inventory of their lives at the start of a new year, some people entertain thoughts of returning to school.

Adults who decide to return to school after a long layoff are following a popular path. According to the education resource Education Corner, a growing number of career colleges and vocational training schools now offer bachelor’s and graduate degree programs geared toward working adults. People return to school for various reasons, including the chance to learn new skills or further develop their existing skills. Some return to school because they are changing careers, while others may have lost a job or desire a promotion and feel that attaining a higher level of education or new skills can make reaching that goal more likely.

Adults who hope to return to school might be surprised to learn that the educational landscape has changed considerably since they were last in a classroom. • College students are no longer just young men and women who

begin pursuing degrees right out of high school. In fact, the number of adults returning to the classroom has increased considerably, often making younger students the exception rather than the rule, says the college financial planner Straighter Line. According to the U.S. Department of Education, college students 25 years or older comprise 40 percent of all students enrolled in college.

• Adults who are thinking about returning to school are urged to fill out the free applications for student aid to see if they qualify. Grants and scholarships may be available, and some workers find that employers may match funds or offer some assistance to finance job training courses. • Many schools now offer online courses that make it easier for working adults to pursue their degrees.

Many working adults are returning to school to pursue new or advanced degrees, as more colleges and universities are facilitating such pursuits.

Many adults return to school for personal reasons or to advance their careers. Having a plan in place can make the transition go smoothly.

• Secure financial aid if necessary. School is expensive, but keep in mind that scholarships and other forms of financial aid are not

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The benefits of a strong school counseling program

E

ducators deserve recognition for their hard work as they help to develop the minds and attitudes of tomorrow’s leaders. When offering such gratitude, it’s important that school counselors, who are often the unsung heroes of the educational landscape, receive their due.

Counselors are a support system through which students can manage emotions, navigate social changes and set goals. According to the Southington Public School District in Connecticut, school counseling services are vital to improving students’ academic performance by identifying barriers to learning. Counselors work with students individually or in small groups to help children work through difficult issues and get the most out of school. School counselors also serve as a liaison between the student and parents. They may be the first person a student looks to for advice when trying to work through

an issue. However, counselors also may facilitate communication when students are experiencing difficulty discussing challenging subjects with their parents.

Counseling teams also work with teachers to offer support. Counselors may gather and share resources with teachers to help improve teaching efficacy, making suggestions after observing students in the classroom environment, according to the counseling career resource Best Counseling Degrees.

choose their courses.

In a high school or higher education setting, counselors may help students identify skills, strengths and potential career paths. They can act as advisors and help students

Counselors may have experience in various disciplines. While some counselors may offer psychological counseling, others may specialize in identifying learning disabilities or work in career placement capacities.

Counselors generally serve as advocates for students. They help children adjust to new schools, recognize causes and effects of their behaviors, develop social skills, and navigate the often challenging world of academics.

Tried-and-true ways to raise a confident kid

C

hildren raised to be confident have the tools to be resilient in a challenging world. Confidence helps children handle peer pressure, stress, obstacles, and much more. There’s a fine line between developing confidence and raising kids who are overly boastful. Parents, teachers and other influential figures can employ various research-based strategies to start boosting kids’ confidence.

• Allow children to make mistakes and learn from them. Mistakes happen, and children benefit from making mistakes and learning from them. Children who fail, pick themselves up and try again are learning lessons of resiliency. Their confidence develops as they pick themselves up again, learn from their mistake and ultimately meet with success. • Resist the temptation to “fix” everything. Parents may get hung up on trying to improve on their children’s efforts to make it perfect. This may occur with school work. According to the mental health www.southbaysneighbor.com

wellness resource Psychology Today, constant intervention undermines children’s confidence and prevents them from learning for themselves. • Model and teach positivity. It can be easy to fall into a pattern of saying things like, “I’ll never be able to do that” or “It’s too difficult.” But parents must remember that their children take their cues from mom and dad. Parents who stay positive in the face of adversity will instill the same attitude in their children.

• Give praise when it’s deserved. Praise children when they do their best, but avoid praising kids when they don’t try their hardest or if they are still working toward solving a problem they haven’t yet figured out. In lieu of praise, provide encouragement and urge youngsters to try again and practice. • Value their ideas. Ask children for age-appropriate advice, suggests the growth mindset company Big Life Journal. Showing kids their ideas are worthy can instill confidence. • Skip the rescue operation.

Parents often are quick to swoop in and try to prevent kids from feeling hurt or discouraged. However, according to Robert Brooks, PhD, who coauthored the book “Raising Resilient Children,” it’s alright for kids to fail and feel sad or angry. Success

ZONE TWO

is learned by overcoming obstacles rather than having all obstacles removed. Above all, children who are loved and supported can develop confidence through the years with some well-placed guidance.

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The benefits of music for young learners

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any children are introduced to music instruction at school. After being introduced to band, chorus and various instruments, students may be eager to explore music.

Young students are often introduced to the recorder or ukulele in the early grades and then given the opportunity to join primary bands as they move through elementary school and into middle school. Some children also may want to supplement school music lessons with private music tutors, who can provide more in-depth instruction. Parents considering making a commitment to music instruction may find that kids benefit from being involved with music in many ways, some of which may be surprising.

• The New England Board of Higher Education says several studies show that consistent music education improves vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Emerging evidence points to an area of the brain that controls both musical ability and language comprehension as being more closely related than previously thought. • Music education may help young children learn words and how to pronounce them, as learning to play music enables them to process the many new sounds they hear from others. • Researchers have discovered a strong relationship between participating in school arts and academic success as demonstrated by students’ grade point averages, according to the National Association for Music

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The role of free play in early education

Education.

• • The relationship between music and academic performance has been studied for decades. As far back as 1988, studies have been conducted about the benefits of music education. An analysis of data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 demonstrated a significant correlation between participation in school music groups and achievement in math and English. And a 1996 study published in Nature found first graders who participated in special music classes as part of an arts study program saw their reading skills and math proficiency increase dramatically.

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lance at a typical family schedule and you would no doubt see that afternoons are jam-packed and many children — even the youngest among them — have full itineraries of structured after-school activities.

activities taking over young children’s days. Even in school settings free play has given way to more time spent at desks and devices in preparation for standardized testing. Recess, which has been cut or reduced in many school districts, has become a hotbutton issue for many free play advocates. The development of Recess for All Florida Students, as well as proposed legislation in other states, has redirected attention to free play and the importance of it. Recess is a form of free play and provides students with a break from the rigors of learning.

• Introducing music lessons to young children can have profound effects on their social development. Music fosters greater trust and cooperation, as well as a sense of community and belonging.

In a 2011 article in the American Journal of Play, Peter Gray, Ph.D., a researcher at Boston College, indicated that “lack of play affects emotional development, leading to the rise of anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self-control.” Gray also indicated that without play, “young people fail to acquire the social and emotional skills necessary for healthy psychological development.”

• Another benefit of music education is it allows children to harness their creativity and express it in a healthy way.

• The music instruction company Music U says children with developmental disorders and mental health issues might be able to unlock their potential with music. Music therapy has been shown to affect significant change in children with autism-spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, attachment disorders, cerebral palsy, and more. Music instruction both in and out of the classroom can be a benefit to young learners.

In an effort to raise well-rounded and intelligent children, many parents enroll their youngsters in all sorts of extracurricular activities, including sports leagues, travel teams, enrichment clubs, and musical instruction. While these activities benefit kids in myriad ways, it’s also beneficial to let kids be kids and to provide ample time for them to engage in free play.

Free play also can benefit youngsters in the following ways: • Enables kids to learn dexterity and improve on other strengths; • fulfills exercise requirements for growing kids;

According to the popular toy and learning company Alex Brands, structured activities can teach children how to follow rules and routines and help them build developmental skills. But free play can improve critical skills as well. One of the biggest benefits to free play is it can foster kids’ creativity and help kids discover their interests on their own. Free play also helps children learn independence and how to keep themselves occupied.

The United Nations recognizes free play as a basic right of every child and underscores its importance. Despite this, unstructured play seems to be on the decline, with more structured www.southbaysneighbor.com

ZONE TWO

• helps kids conquer fears and develop confidence;

• establishes natural leadership roles and hierarchy in social groups; • contributes to emotional wellbeing by giving children a respite from schedules; and • helps teach self-responsibility, which may translate to better behavior at home and in school. Free play is an important component of learning and exploration for children. A mix of structured and unstructured activities is key to raising wellrounded individuals.

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Tutoring benefits and how How does classroom to find a tutor that fits design impact learning? C hildren tend to learn at their own pace, and certain subjects may challenge them more than others. In many instances, students can benefit from working with tutors.

Tutors can be very effective. Children who work with tutors and then see their grades improve may develop greater confidence and feel less anxious about going to school or taking tests. Without intervention like tutoring, at-risk students (those who are not meeting academic standards) may not pass their classes, and some may face year-end retention or experience difficulty keeping up in the next grade. The National Tutoring Association says students at all grade levels participating in tutorial programs improve their reading performance and can achieve significant cognitive gains. Tutoring can be the answer for students affected by inconsistent delivery of classroom content. For example, when families move, students may be forced to catch up in a new school where teachers may have different styles than students’ previous teachers. Students who have missed classroom time due to illness or injury may face similar difficulties. Sometimes children struggle because they have difficulty processing or remembering their lessons. In such instances, a fresh approach through one-on-one tutoring may be necessary.

Parents and students have different tutoring options at their disposal. Some services may be offered through the school system at no extra charge. Pull-out instruction during the day or before or after school might be part of such services. Private tutors, academic coaches, peer tutors, online tutoring, and home tutoring are other options. Depending on need, budget and comfort levels, families can explore these and other www.southbaysneighbor.com

options at their disposal.

The NTA says families should not discount peer tutoring. Peer tutoring is a cost-effective way to improve performance. This type of tutoring also can contribute to students’ social and cognitive development. According to Care.com, which helps consumers find tutors, caretakers and babysitters, one can expect to pay an average $10 to $15 for a peer high school student tutor. Comparatively, a private tutor, whether it’s a professional teacher or a tutor hired through a service, may charge as much as $75 per hour. Parents should contact their children’s schools for information about tutoring programs. Schools typically keep lists of tutors or tutoring programs.

Examine credentials and seek recommendations prior to hiring a tutor to get a feel for the person and his or her teaching philosophy. Certified tutors also can be found by visiting www.ntatutor.com. Keep in mind that it isn’t enough for the tutor to know the subject matter. He or she also has to relate to your child. According to the tutoring firm Test Prep Authority, motivation plays a key role in the success or failure of a students’ work with tutors. Motivation may be compromised if the tutor and student do not connect. Tutors also should know how to present materials in ways similar to how it is being taught in school so that lessons are in sync. Tutoring has helped many children gain confidence and succeed in school.

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dults who think back to their time in the classroom may remember arrangements of rows of desks and industrial-looking seating. Classroom design was built around students facing the chalkboard, and teachers typically placed their desks at the front of the room to keep an eye on their students.

Such arrangements have steadily been on the way out as classroom environments are changed to promote learning. According to the education resource The Professional Learning Board, different classroom arrangements have their own benefits and drawbacks. But the liberty to alter classroom layouts means teachers can experiment with what works for their teaching styles and which arrangements benefit their students. While rows may enable educators to see all students and keep them focused, students in the back may miss out and/ or lose focus. Circle arrangements work well for class discussions, enabling all students to congregate around the teacher and participate in the conversation. “Circle time” is a frequent component of preschool and early elementary school lessons because it directs focus on the teacher and feels more intimate than laying the room out in rows. Group seating is another arrangement teachers may explore. Desks are arranged so they form small tables. Students can work collaboratively and discuss assignments. However, maintaining focus may be challenging when students are facing other students and may be more likely to chit-chat among one another.

A study involving fourth graders in Germany investigated whether certain seating arrangements promoted greater student participation. Traditional rows and a semicircular layout were studied. Children in the semicircle asked more questions, but in both layouts, ZONE TWO

children who occupied central seating locations asked more questions and participated more per lesson. Another study conducted in 2015 and published in the journal Building and Environment found that changing some elements of classroom design can increase student learning outcomes by 16 percent. Air quality, lighting and students’ sense of ownership of their classroom impacted the students’ abilities to learn more than seating arrangements,, advises the study. Giving children choices, including flexible seating options, such as bean bag chairs, mats or cushions, standing desks, sofas, or individual workstations, can help students find arrangements that are best for them. Furthermore, teachers who rearrange furniture so that classrooms are cozy and inviting may see their students thrive.

Lighting also is an important factor, particularly when glare can impact the ability to see smartboards or personal tablets, which are now widely used in classrooms. Natural light is preferred in classroom environments. In fact, students in classrooms with big windows and daylight progress more quickly in reading and math than those in darkened rooms, according to a Heschong Mahone study cited in ScienceDirect. Overhead fluorescent lighting may interfere with student learning.

Educators are urged to see their classrooms from students’ perspectives to evaluate how design may be impacting learning. A few easy changes can add up to big gains for students and teachers alike.

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Profile for South Bay's Neighbor Newspapers

Back to School | Zone 2: North Massapequa & Farmingdale  

Back to School | Zone 2: North Massapequa & Farmingdale

Back to School | Zone 2: North Massapequa & Farmingdale  

Back to School | Zone 2: North Massapequa & Farmingdale