Importance of Environmental Education in Children

Advancement in science and technology has also seen the disadvantages: Deforestation, burning fossil fuels, emission of industrial wastes, mining, oil spillage are some major causes of man-made disasters. We ruin Mother Earth for food, shelter, and comfort, etc. When will this stop?

“The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago – had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.”

– Havelock Ellis

We are not able to breathe fresh air or consume organic foods that our great-grandparents used to relish. However, we can ensure that our children don’t continue the inevitable path of man-made destruction.

Here are few tips to bring your child closer to nature through evoking the sense of social responsibility:

Dedicate some time for exploring nature

Even in a crowded metropolitan city, there will be oases – a pond, park or a beach. Avoid the distractions of the internet and simply relax. Encourage your child to absorb every moment in the silence. The waves, shapes of clouds, birds chirping, sea shells on the shore or birds and squirrels in the park. You and your little one will surely appreciate the experience.

Build a Nature Collage

If your child has the hobby of collecting stamps or coins, then this one is for him. Ask children to collect leaves, twigs, flowers, and more from each trip and visit you make to a beautiful place. He can later put them together in a nature journal or scrapbook. Recollecting the memories from the journal will fill him with excitement as he grows older.

Tend to Kitchen Garden

If you are lucky enough to have a garden at home, then get set for a wonderful family bonding activity. Ask him to take care of your kitchen garden. Let him maintain each plant himself – protecting it from insects and birds, pruning dead or infected twigs, watering, etc. but make sure you are there when he needs help.  

Start a Home Garden

If you don’t have a garden, then start a small garden today! Find a space to develop the garden – a rooftop, balcony or even the space near the windows will allow you to grow a few plants. Take your child to a nearby plant nursery and ask him to choose seedlings for the garden. Help him pick the right ones that will fit your space and are suitable for the climate. Teach him to transfer the seedling into the pots and how many times it has to be watered. Let him observe the growth of the plants and nurture them. This entire process will teach your child to be patient, caring, responsible and also create a sweet bonding with nature.

Take him to an organic grocery shop

Picture courtesy: Blossom Chutti Playschool, Chennai.

Take your child for grocery shopping. Point out a fruit or vegetable that he has not seen before. You can then answer his questions about them. This gives him an opportunity to see and learn about a wider variety of foods. You can also discuss about various healthy foods, differences beteen where they grow and how they are packed and transported, etc.

Many foods, animals and even trees are slowly becoming extinct due to callous human behaviour. By giving your child proper environmental education, you can build their interest in environmental and community services. This also expands their knowledge and makes them responsible about conserving our resources.

LetsPractise provides ICSE & CBSE students easy and interesting resources for their education. Check them out at cbseinfosst.


Five Tips for Effective Parent Teacher Meetings


five tips-for-effective-parent-teacher-meetingsDid you miss the last Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM)? The usual complaint from the teachers is that parents don’t take the Parent Teacher Meetings seriously.

The PTM is a monthly or quarterly meeting organised by the school administration to connect the teachers with parents. This meeting provides the parent(s) a few minutes, exclusively with the teacher to discuss the academic and non-academic performance of the child. Positive PTMs build a rapport between the parent and the teacher and improve the chance of the student’s success.

Here are five simple tips for an effective Parent Teacher Meeting:

Tip #1 – Talk to your child before the meeting.

Children are often frightened by the term ‘Parent Teacher Meeting’. They have an impression that the teacher may complain about them. Ask your child if he has any issues with class lessons or classmates so that you can discuss it with the teacher. Make him understand that the meeting is held for his benefit. Let him know that you will stand by him if he is right!

Tip #2 – Prepare a list of questions to ask the teacher.

The Parent Teacher Meetings are pre-scheduled and you will only have a limited time with your child’s class teacher. Having a list of questions prevents you from missing important points in the discussion. Ask relevant questions:

  • Is he attentive in class?
  • Did he miss any unexcused classes?
  • Can he retake the missed class test?
  • Can something be done to alleviate his homework stress?

Tip #3 – Discuss your child’s problems, if any.

A mother is aware of her child’s behaviour so it’s important that you share insights about the child in the meet. This may help the teacher to work with him better. Also, let the teacher know if your child is facing any emotional disturbances viz. relative’s death, medication, etc. If the teacher is aware of the child’s problems, she will be more sensitive to his needs.

Tip #4 – Welcome the teacher’s suggestions.

Though you know your child well, remember that the teachers also spend a lot of hours observing him. Also, your child may behave differently in school than at home. Therefore, ask for suggestions from his teacher. If his teacher points out any negative qualities in your child; don’t lose your temper. Stay calm and try to understand what she has to say. Take her suggestions for helping your child at home – with homework, reading, projects, etc.

Tip #5 – Be on time.

Another important factor to consider for an effective PTM is time. Remember that the PTM is pre-scheduled and there will be other parents waiting to meet the teacher. If you are late for the meeting, you will have less time to communicate moreover, you may even miss your turn. Keep a reminder for the meeting the previous day. If you are unable to join the meeting for any reason, inform the teacher beforehand. You can also request the teacher to re-arrange the meeting for you at a convenient time.

The Parent Teacher Meeting is not only helpful for the teacher, but for the parents too. Effective PTMs can help parents and teachers to work together for the child’s benefit. Follow the above tips in your next parent-teacher meeting and share your experience with us.

Five Tips to Reduce Homework Stress in Children

Five Tips to Reduce Homework Stress

Frequent headaches, stomach problems, lack of sleep, and fatigue are common in today’s children. These are symptoms of stress. If you find any of these in your child, then, your child may be facing some kind of stress.

Which one?

‘Homework stress’ is a frequent occurrence among school children. Excessive homework and the stress to complete it on time can have negative effects on your child’s health.

What are the exact problems that stress your child?

Does she lack the homework skills required to finish the homework by herself? Or is the homework too much to be completed on time? Once, you have identified the reasons you will know how to help her out.

Follow these five simple tips to make this happen:

  • Don’t restrict the study time and place

Every child has a unique way of studying. Some prefer a quiet place to concentrate on their homework, others may feel sleepy if left alone. Children may also need your presence to prepare well. Don’t force her to stick to the study table for finishing the homework. Every child can study well in a particular part of the day. If she prefers finishing her homework after dinner then let her do that. Give them the liberty to choose the time and place to complete their homework. This will keep them relaxed. Tip: Serve dinner earlier than usual!

  • Give them a break after each homework session

Continuous hours of study can be tiring for children. Let them take a break while doing their homework. Give them nutritional snacks; talk to them about the day’s class or let them simply relax. Continuing homework after such breaks can be refreshing. You can reduce your child’s stress by simplifying the homework or increasing her productivity.

  • Encourage your child

Academic achievements are very important, but don’t let it overpower her routine lifestyle. Encourage every small accomplishment of your child. Be it a class assignment or a hobby she has learnt. Gift them their favourite toys or take them out to a movie. Happy times spent with family have positive effects on the child’s mental health.

  • Get her enough sleep

Lack of sleep affects growth hormones and may have adverse effects. Ask your child to finish homework much before bedtime. Don’t let the homework stress disturb the child’s sleep. At times, the child’s brain is too tired and she may not be able to concentrate. Let them sleep as long as it does not unduly affect their regular sleep routine.

  • Seek help of tutors, if necessary

All children are unique. Their ability to grasp concepts however differ. One child may understand complex science or math problems quickly while others may need extra focus and explanation. If your child misses a particular class, then she may not understand follow-up classes and this may lead to more homework stress. No one can understand your child better than you. If they need extra attention, then you should hire good tutors or enrol them in online courses. 

So, what are governmental agencies doing to solve this problem? The National Education Association (NEA) and the National PTA (NPTA) support a standard of “10 minutes of homework per grade level.” Accordingly, a 1st standard child should not be given homework that takes more than 10 mins to complete. The question however, remains – “Are the educational institutions following this rule?”

We just shared five tips from our experts for parents to reduce the child’s homework stress. What do you think? Write to us about other useful tips that you follow to reduce homework stress.

Importance of Communication between Parents and Kids.

CommunicationIn a world where emoji’s are beginning to replace words and expressions — conveying a message to someone has taken on a new meaning. Public settings have become a little less chatty. It’s not uncommon to find rows of people in the bent-neck, plugged-in posture. As a result a very little human-to-human communication, no eye-contact and minimal speech. As a child who grew up in the late 90s, playtime consisted of board games, toys, friends, parents and a lot of human-to-human interaction, while today’s playdates commonly consist of groups of toddlers playing on tablets or smartphones, not communicating with each other.

Verbal communication provided by human-to-human or parent-to-child interaction is critical for learning and language development. Since electronic devices have started to take on the role of pacifiers, it’s important for parents to become more aware of their child’s communication health.

Communication is a crucial way to ensure you form an ongoing relationship with your child. There are many benefits to regularly sharing your thoughts and ideas with your children. Giving your children an opportunity to voice their opinions improves your bond with them. It encourages them to listen to you and therefore it helps them to form relationships and to build self-esteem.

Improving their verbal competency
Speaking to your child regularly will ensure that they are continually absorbing a wealth of language. A parental modelling may mean that they improve their grasp of sentence structures. Children regularly expressing their views to their parents can translate to a better ability to present their ideas in a classroom context.

Enhancing emotional literacy
Children who are unable to express how they feel at any given time may become frustrated. Consequently children lash out in other ways. If children can match their emotions to words and express them clearly to adults and children alike they will be more likely to resolve their problems through discussion.

Understanding your child
Talking to your children so that they can share their hopes, dreams and fears will mean that you gain a more in-depth understanding of your child. Though many parents lead busy lives, carving out a small amount of time to talk with children on the school run or round the dinner table will mean that they feel heard and valued.

Understanding instructions
Children are continually being given instructions both at home and at school, which can be overwhelming at times. Communicating short, direct instructions at regular intervals may be easier for children to digest. Therefore regular communication will mean that children can query anything they don’t understand.

Keeping track of your child’s development
As children move through key stages, their workload and competencies will change. Talking through children’s targets, homework projects and exam results will furthermore mean that parents have a good idea of how their children are progressing.

Behavior at school
At school children are expected to interact with their peers and teachers in a polite and courteous manner. Practicing these skills in regular communications with your children will help them to establish firm boundaries for their behavior.

As parents it is vital that we hold a positive vision of our children and express the same so that they work towards them. Communication is an on-going process, and therefore families can work together to develop openness between the generations. Communication is one key for harmonious parent-teenager relationships. Why not start communicating with your children today?

This article highlights the tips for communicating with your children.