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We Have Moved!

Yes, we have moved our blog to www.blog.thelearningcraft.com. We remain the same; bringing you suggestions and contributions that affect education as a whole in Nigeria.

As we move, The Learning Craft is organising a programme titled 'All Children Can Learn.'

It is a program best suited for all education stakeholders - parents, teachers, school heads, education administrators and advocates. See e-flyer for more infomation.

Thank you for reading and do join us at the new blog address, sign up for our newsletter to read up on more and to catch up with all our upcoming activities. 
See you there.


How Teachers Can Help Slower-Paced Learners

Teachers tend to give accolade or attach more importance to faster-paced learners in their classrooms. Certainly, they should not take for granted the importance of celebrating faster learners, but they must be mindful of their ultimate task which is to ensure that all learners are dutifully carried along and classes are always beneficial to all. It is often said that a great teacher's success is measured by the growth of their slower-paced learners.

There are some important simple steps that can be followed in order for teachers to ensure that they do not lose track of their main goals. 

1. Teachers should always go to slower-paced children to personally ask them whether they have understood the lesson. A teacher’s listening and asking approach matters a whole lot. It should be polite (not harsh or rude), of a listening nature and caring. 

2. Teachers should not for sake of wanting to cover all content within the curriculum, end up giving too many lessons too quickly (even though many school administrators keep teachers on their toes for this). The onus lies on the teacher to deliver good results. Teachers should always take an average of their class after each lesson to identify progress. If the scorecard is below 70% passmark of the entire number of learners taught after teaching/reteaching, we say.....change your approach and reteach once again. After which consistent practice must be given until expected skill outcome is mostly perfected.

3. Slower-paced learning also comes as a result of learners forgetting what they've learnt for various reasons. That’s why such learner loses confidence and may start differentiating themself from faster learners. The teacher’s duty here is to carefully give learners tips on how to recall what to do and how to work them out systematically. 

4. Spend ample time thinking about your student. If teachers can get into deeper thoughts on their students in trying to identify problem areas, they would most likely discover ways to help the student/s or identify who/what best to help them e.g using psychologists, counsellors, special needs tutors, mentors, therapists; especially if the situation goes beyond the make up of the classroom.

5. Teachers can often develop Individual education plans (IEPs) for slower-paced learners to help them complete achievable tasks while discovering the possibility of grasping a wider knowledge on a given topic or concept.  

6. Teachers should embrace assigning group work. Allow faster students to help slower ones. It is often said also that children learn best from each other. Teachers should apply 'project based learning method'. Have students suggest problems they'd like to see solved and guide them to find the solutions themselves. Again, people learn best by doing.......doing so consistently!

Finally teachers must embrace patience and consistency are their guiding paths. Consistent teachers achieve results.


Chibok Girls: One Year Gone! #NeverToBeForgotten

All they did was to go to school. Many of them loved to read. Many had bright hopes for their future and for their immediate families. That night of horror in the Chibok village! 

How do they feel wherever they are? Can we imagine their grief? How are their families coping? Where are they? Can they be rescued? Are they all alive? Is the trauma ever going to fade away? Will they ever be reunited with their families? What can we do to help them? Do we feel helpless at this point? Can we keep hope alive? 
So, so, so many unanswered questions yet. 

One year! An average of 12 monthly menstrual cycles! Hearts, souls, minds and bodies possibly tortured but keeping hope alive; praying that they may be rescued someday....somehow!
All of you will never be forgotten!  We feel so much pain....so much pain.




The Power of Poetry in Primary Classrooms

I found this eye opening piece on edutopia.org and I knew it was just right to share.

There are many modern poets saying valid and beautiful things about the world, but few people are buying their books. Walk around any book shop and you might struggle to find the typically tiny poetry section. The art of poetry remains something literary, academic, and removed from ordinary reading habits. Yet poets go to great lengths to demonstrate that poetry is diverse, accessible, and relevant. After all, song and rap lyrics are widely-loved forms of poetry. There is also poetry, as they rightly point out, in text and Twitter feeds.

Beyond Forced Rhyme

However, if you ask most teaching colleagues and parents to share memories of learning about poetry, they recall, often with pained expressions, intensely studying a small number of poets in high school, where they had to analyze poems word by word. They will also talk about the type of rhyming poetry learned in elementary school.

Rhyme is an excellent way for young children to develop an awareness of language, phonic patterns, and rhythms. The problem is that children's experience of poetry is so dominated by rhyme that when they come to write, they are distracted by the need to create rhyming couplets. It comes as a surprise to them that poetry does not have to rhyme.

Despite poetry being a required writing form in most curriculums, it is often rushed and sometimes abandoned altogether due to inevitable pressure on the timetable. This is a tragic shame given the many benefits of teaching poetry. Here are my top five:
Poetry broadens reading choices, as there are numerous excellent poetic picture books and poetry collections.
This distilled form of writing naturally focuses on sentence-level skills with its purposeful selection of adjectives, adverbs, powerful verbs, specific nouns, etc.
This makes poetry a perfect writing form to study immediately after holiday breaks when students typically show regression in the quality of written and spoken communication.
Being such a small amount of writing, poetry is less intimidating for writers new to English. Along with storytelling, it has given my English as an additional language (EAL) students their first opportunity to write English and orally share their writing.
Poetry can be written about any subject, imaginary or factual; about personal experiences or concepts; about emotions or facts.

10 Poetic Days

My poetry units typically take around two weeks of daily, hour-long poetry lessons. I teach free or blank verse forms that have no rhyming patterns and no special rules about numbers of lines or line breaks. My focus is on language choice and authentic, personal expression. I would break those two weeks down into the following flexible sections:

Days 1-2: Immerse students in studying model poetry texts. Children borrow poetry texts for home reading during the whole unit.

Day 3: Identify the writing skills to focus on (for example) similes, alliteration, imagery, etc. Begin practicing these skills with language games.

Days 4-5: Plan for this section by gathering ideas from around the world. Share work in progress with peers and with teacher-student conferencing throughout.

Days 6-7: Model how to develop the ideas into quality sentences with well-chosen language.

Days 8-9: Model forming the finished verses, thinking about line breaks, and reading with expression, while editing along the way.

Day 10: Share and celebrate with an outside audience, such as other classes and parents.

Matthew is an classroom teacher and literacy manager working in an International school in China.


Should Etiquette Be Taught in Schools?

Interestingly, this is always a good conversation starter among teachers and parents with both sides disagreeing to agree and finally coming to a conclusion that connects us all. 

An opinion goes, "Yes, etiquette should be taught in school. Parents obviously see no importance anymore in teaching their children how to be polite in social and domestic ways. So, its up to the schools to teach them." 

One opinion goes, "School is where you learn to do Math, English, Science etc. You should learn at school and be taught etiquette at home."

Another opinion goes, "Etiquette should be taught in schools. The nuclear family continues to deteriorate and children are raised not knowing the proper etiquette for many of the social situations they may be faced with throughout their lives.

While I believe it's ultimately the parents responsibility to ensure that their kids learn proper etiquette, in reality, children just aren't learning these skills at home. Schools can play a major role in building these very special skills.

Etiquette is a code of polite conduct. If you practice proper etiquette, you are less likely to offend or annoy people - and you may even charm them. Etiquette is basically behaviour that is polite and gracious in social situations.

Since the goal of education is to prepare an individual to be well adjusted for future life, it may be important to introduce weekly etiquette classes to growing children so they can learn to build proper behaviour.

Even though most people believe that etiquette and good manners are essential to any civilization, there is so little done to help children acquire these skills. We think that schools are an important place to teach etiquette because schools are the center space of learning for children. They are places where students share space, commonalities and differences as people, which makes for a wholesome learning experience. It also makes it easier for direct application of etiquettes learnt.
And let's face it! There are some etiquettes kids can't learn from home e.g. dance and dating etiquettes,  - things they are most likely to participate in as they get older. 

Things like boys would hold doors for girls, boys would allow girls to eat first if there was food in class, boys would offer to take a girl's bag before she sat down and boys would offer to seat the girl at her desk. Things as these can be taught and applied in the class everyday.

Of course, the girls may also choose to decline.

Things like girls must speak softly, walk in a certain manner and sit with legs closed or crossed depending on the situation etc. And these are to mention a few in the very broad topic - Etiquette.

There are many types of etiquettes. Family, social, professional, office and social media etiquettes. Let's share some.
Your child's school may not teach it as most do not in Nigeria, but you could try to help your children grow into enviable individuals. 

A great place to start with however is at home. Here are some family etiquette  you could teach at home. They include;

  • Respect each other’s personal space.
  • Respect each other’s belongings.
  • Don’t interrupt when someone else is talking.
  • Be on time for dinner.
  • Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • Don’t text or talk on your mobile phone during a family meal.
  • Chew with your mouth closed.
  • Don’t yell or call each other names.
  • Pick up after yourself so someone else doesn’t have to do it.
  • Listen to Mom and Dad and do what they say
In raising a generation of young Nigerians...where social media and communication technology is tending towards making students less people-oriented but more gadget-oriented, teaching etiquettes in school will allow us to do the needful. 

More examples of teachable etiquettes to come soon. 

We are moving our blog to a new site soon. We remain the same. We only want to be able to do more for/with you. Look out for the special giveaway season that comes with our movement. Thank you


Happy Valentine's Day - We are moving!

Happy Valentine's Day to all our readers. We hope this day brings you just what you want it to. Thanks for being the loyal readers you are. We love you. Cheers to a Valentine's Day filled with good wine, good food and good friends like you. I hope you feel loved and appreciated today - because you are. 

A big announcement from us today. The Learning Craft blog is moving....yay! We are excited about making this move because we'd like that our blogging experience with you is more engaging. Details will be given shortly.
Get ready to participate and win in the special giveaway that comes with our movement.
We remain the same but with the intent to bring you more. 

Enjoy your Valentine's Day! Share love with your loved ones. Make it a special one that is dedicated to family. I've planned to do the same!


Why We Need Employer-Sponsored Child Care Centers at Work

Employer-Sponsored child care centers are centers provided within the work environment to cater for very young children of staff members, relieving them of worries and costs of a safe place to keep their young kids as during work hours. Ultimately, these centres are developed to solve employees child care challenges.

Providing high quality, affordable, and conveniently located care enables employers to eliminate a significant source of worry, stress and distraction from their employees which helps them to benefit from engaged and committed workers who are in return, willing and able to put in their best performances.

Let's look at some interesting data gathered a few years ago by the Bright Horizons team. It highlights the broad impact child care centers have on employers and their organizations.


● 95% of respondents say employer-sponsored child care enables them concentrate on the job
● 93% say it enables them to meet job expectations
● 87% of respondents say access to child care enhances their productivity
● 79% say it enables them to volunteer for things not formally required of their job


● 92% of respondents say that employer-sponsored childcare would be important in considering a job change.
● 90% of respondents indicate that it makes them more likely to continue to work for their organisation
● 88% of respondents indicate that it was important in their decision to return to work after child birth or adoption
● 82% of male respondents note the center's importance in their return to work


● 84% of respondents who had children when they started at their organization say their employer-sponsored child care was important in their decision to join the company.
● More than half of respondents who did not have children when they started at their organization say the availability of child care was important in their decision to join the company
● 96% of respondents are likely to recommend their employers to other working parents


● 95% of respondents say employer sponsored child care positively impacts their ability to balance their work and family responsibilities
● 92% of respondents agree that it positively impacts their overall well-being
● 91% agree that it helps them to manage their stress levels


● 95% of respondents say employer-sponsored childcare provides them with added flexibility at work
● 85% say it is important to their job satisfaction
● 76% rank it as the best or among the best employer benefit (excluding health care )

☆☆☆☆☆ 93% of respondents agree that access to employer-sponsored childcare makes their employer an "Employer of Choice"

A good number of people were able to view the video that went viral a couple of months ago; one that captured a caregiver abusing a child to near death. Sadly, this happens to be the case in similar ways; in many homes. The memories of that video will forever stay in the thoughts of the people who saw it. Unfortunately, we cannot share this video here.

About one-third of parents with children under 6 have childcare arrangements that fall apart within an average of 6 months. The method of availing oneself with a good caregiver in Nigeria is neither convenient nor dependable especially as their aren't available systems that offer specific training for such jobs. Home-based caregivers are largely recruited under a guised system that is now known to cause more harm than good to our young children.

An employer-sponsored child care centre offers massive economic benefits to any country because it promotes higher productivity at work which brings about increased financial rewards. According to a study in Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to work for, organisations that offer such efforts have been known to have an average rise in their stock value of 37%, versus an average rise of 25% for the general stock market.

The truth is that the turnover of absenteeism has a direct cost to businesses. Savings that are attributed to employer-sponsored childcare are realised in reduced cost of recruitment and derived from improved work performance.

The Learning Craft offers consultancy on the development of Employer-Sponsored Child Care Centers. Contact Us for more. 
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Why Teachers Should Be Readers

A discerning parent once said..."any teacher who does not practice a personal culture of 'reading' may never be able to leave a lasting impact on my child." Do you agree?

I think that teacher trainees should be encouraged to read for pleasure as part of their personal development. A research project found that teachers who read for pleasure have better book knowledge and feel more confident, calm and stress-free in the classroom. 
I also think that teachers who read themselves and share their love of books in the primary classroom will eventually encourage children to read more.
Such teachers not only have a wealth of ideas to give their students as examples during investigation of a new topic, they are able to also light the fire of imagination and wonder, taking their students to world's unknown in a vivid manner; because they have become so knowledgeable.....many thanks to their reading habits! Teachers who read have the added advantage of a really wide vocabulary; and are not easily bamboozled by newly found words. Hence, they are able to use them appropriately and maximise their potential use for clarity of any topic taught.

Great ideas are borne everyday, many of them come from written texts.
The mark of a great teacher lies in the impact felt by their student now and in many years to come. 

I know for certain that teaching is a stressful occupation. More research has highlighted that reading for pleasure can remove stress. Helping teachers escape into the pages of a book at the end of a busy, stressful day, can help and support teachers. Making them look forward to another day of joy with their students! 

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What Discourages Kids From Helping Around The Home

Our lives as parents are increasingly busy these days and sometimes it's hard to find time to accomplish everything around the house. As work-home flow of activities become more challenging, one way to balance work and playtime  is to combine them and involve the whole family in doing household chores.

If we understand what gets in the way and what may help when it comes to doing chores, then we can have a better chance of having children be participating family members.

What Discourages Children from Helping?

Unclear expectations

Children need to understand what the chore is and what we expect of them. Be clear about what is considered a job well done - doing the dishes or simply a "good try"? Be clear about everyone's job expectation, the results expected to be achieved.


When it comes to chores, any previous effort to establish expectations can get derailed by inconsistency. Think carefully before saying, "I guess you can skip feeding washing the dishes this morning - I'll do it." And if parents or caregivers don't agree on what is expected of children, when to make exceptions, or aren't equally adept at refusing to give in to child procrastination or defiance, children usually figure out how to divide and conquer.


It takes time to teach children how to do chores and to establish expectations. Busy parents and children can easily use lack of time as a rationale for either adults doing the chore or leaving it undone.
Siblings. Siblings can become really good at subverting parent expectations. "It's not fair" can become a mantra of older siblings when expectations for them increase with their growing competence. Try to set clear expectations that are appropriate and fair for each child. Discussing the chore plan as a family can give children an opportunity to voice concerns and help set a plan that works for everyone. 

You can inspire your kids by even twisting the language used to jeer them up. How about saying, "let's do our daily shares"... not chores! Cheers to beautiful beginnings!

Source: brighthorizons.com

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5 Powerful Questions Teachers Should Ask at Every Class

Many times, teachers find themselves answering most of the questions they ask their students. They do this of course with good intentions especially to help students get to the hook as quickly as possible. The down side to this is that the teacher does most of the talking possibly with little engagement of the students. The importance of student engagement is that it helps the teacher discover what, where and how to help in cases of need. It also creates a connected classroom that is fun filled and socio-emotionally connected.

Here are powerful questions that teachers could ask to get themselves engaged and connected to their students.

By Rebecca Alber @ edutopia.org

#1. What do you think?
This question interrupts us from telling too much. There is a place for direct instruction where we give students information yet we need to always strive to balance this with plenty of opportunities for students to make sense of and apply that new information using their schemata and understanding.

#2. Why do you think that?
After students share what they think, this follow-up question pushes them to provide reasoning for their thinking.

#3. How do you know this?
When this question is asked, students can make connections to their ideas and thoughts with things they've experienced, read, and have seen.

#4. Can you tell me more?
This question can inspire students to extend their thinking and share further evidence for their ideas.

#5. What questions do you still have?
This allows students to offer up questions they have about the information, ideas or the evidence.

In addition to routinely and relentlessly asking your students questions, be sure to provide time for them to think. What's best here, three seconds, five, or seven? Depending on their age, the depth of the material, and their comfort level, this think time will vary. Just push yourself to stay silent and wait for those hands to go up.

Also be sure to vary your tone so it genuinely sounds like a question and not a statement. When we say something in a declarative way, it is often with one tone and flat sounding. On the other hand, there is a lift in our voice when we are inquiring and questioning.

To help student feel more comfortable and confident with answering questions and asking ones of their own, you can use this scaffold: Ask a question, pause, and then invite students to "turn and talk" with a neighbor first before sharing out with the whole group. This allows all to have their voices heard and also gives them a chance to practice their responses before sharing in front of the whole class.

I have had my moments with this especially as a new teacher many years ago - quite quick to tell all in the class. Please share your thoughts and experiences on this and your strategies in the comment section below.

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Happy New Year dear TLC Readers - Join us in the Save-a-Classroom® Project

One of my passions is beautifying classrooms. A beautiful classroom tells a thousand stories. It builds dreams, it adorns the future in colors of possibilities, and brings the entire world into one room. Most importantly,  it incites a deeper love for lifelong learning. There! That is how powerful a beautiful classroom is!

True! Every classroom should be beautiful. Whether your school is in an old Victorian mansion or along a hidden community market or in the living room of a home, the environment should create a simple harmony. Uncluttered and well-maintained, the environment should reflect peace and tranquility. The environment should invite the learner to come in and explore. This atmosphere is easily seen in the attitude of those working there, both the child and adult...an atmosphere of inspiration.

Sadly, in many of our schools, more can be done and help is needed. Just recently, the Nov/Dec WAEC results were released and under 30% of the students passed with 5 credits including Math and English Language. It is rather unsettling that this is the case.

There is a direct relationship between the way a classroom looks and the grades that come out of it. There are many educators who understand the impact a beautiful classroom has on a child's school work and life. 
The traditional notion of a classroom is any space where one learns something or gains experience. In gaining experience, or taking a child from a place of wonder to possibilities, it is of great importance to present all of the possibilities in visual forms.

Here are some important facts to note. Research has shown that;
• An instructor or teacher generally says 100-200 words in a minute and a student only hears 50-100....half!
• Students retain about 70% of what they hear in the first 10 minutes of class and 20% during the last 10 minutes.
• In a typical class lecture,  students are attentive to just 40% of the time.
• Adding visual aids increases retention from 14% to 38%.

When we speak about visual aids, we mean any and every thing a learner sees and touches that should be connected to the learning process within the classroom. When we speak about auditory and kinesthetic aids, we mean anything a child hears and feels or does in terms of movement within the classroom.

A very big part of the task of beautifying a classroom rests on the visual displays around it. Usually, it is expected that all teaching aids needed during classes will make up 90% of it for usefulness. The aim is to help learners use and familiarize themselves with the sort of language and ability needed to learn something or anything; and open their awareness to multiple ways of applying them.

A disorganized, unkempt, or clutter-filled classroom sends the message to your students that poor behavior and middling work habits is acceptable—regardless of how often or how forcefully you say otherwise. An attractive classroom draws students in and makes them want to be part of what is going on inside.
Every classroom environment has such a strong bearing on how learners perceive themselves and the expectations the society has for them.

Another part of beautifying the classroom is in the comfort and convenience of the learning environment. 
There are far too many kids learning in poorly ventilated classrooms, using under-equipped laboratories, working under leaking roofs, using near empty or nonexistent libraries, broken blackboards, rough flooring etc....and the list goes on. 
We could go on about what the government needs to do to help save our children's education OR we could play a part by giving back to our immediate communities. 

The Save-a-Classroom® project is a call for everyone to help increase the number of literate and hopeful young Nigerians by supporting some children around you through their classrooms. How about actively joining to support your old school associations to redecorate classrooms, donate furniture and provide teaching aids for teachers. We can do it! 
What about gathering a forum targeted at building better classrooms while providing school administrators many options to aid their sustainability? These sort of activities are bound to keep many hopes and dreams alive!

As more children learn in comfortable classrooms, we know that there will be an increased level of literacy and a broader sense of responsibility among young Nigerians. When students have an exciting place to call their learning home, they always return....and guess what...the number of school dropouts will potentially reduce.

Save a classroom, inspire a child! Let's kick off the year to a great start. 



The Right Age Kids Should be for Instagram, Facebook, and Other Social Media Platforms

As the year comes to an end, and your kids get older, some of you may have kids who are beginning to ask for your permission to get on social media. So, this calls for careful decision making in the right balance. 

How old your kid should be before he or she starts using social media with your permission is really up to you. However, most social media websites and apps require that kids be 13 to sign up. Despite what many people think, the reason isn't to limit kids' exposure to inappropriate content but because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which prevents companies from collecting certain information from kids under age 13. Rather than create an environment that protects kids from data tracking, Facebook and some other websites/apps choose to restrict access to those under 13.

Besides this, 13 is generally the age when kids start developing a broader understanding of the world around them which includes the possibility of learning proper decision making. Along with that, they are also developing a better sense of what's appropriate to share online with your help. As young teens, kids also are developing a desire to control more of their activities as well as the maturity to handle that control.

If your kid is expressing interest in joining a social network, discuss the pros and cons. Do your own research so you fully understand the implications of joining a particular network. If you want your kid to wait to sign up, consider pointing him or her toward more age-appropriate sites such as:

Yourspherea social network that authentically represents the voice, interests, talents and aspirations of young people, and provides a positive alternative to social networks that were created for adults.

Kuddle is also a quality Instagram substitute. It is a new photo-sharing social media app geared towards children and adolescent teens. It aims to create a safer digital environment where they can learn about and explore the ever expanding world of social media.

You could possibly rally your kids' friends' parents to restrict their kids from Facebook, so you won't get that "but everyone is on it!" argument. Always put up the argument about the age limit and why it is totally inappropriate to lie about their ages only to have a presence on social media. Explain in detail why it is not advisable. Tell that a good parent should stay with the rules as often demanded from kids.

If your kid does end up joining a social network -- whether they're 10 or 16 -- here are some ground rules that work for many parents:

Use privacy settings

Privacy settings aren't foolproof, but they can be helpful. Take the time to learn how privacy settings work on your kids' favorite sites and apps, and teach your kids how to control the information they make public or private. Encourage them to check privacy settings regularly, since sites' policies often change.

Tell your kids to think before they post
Remind them that everything can be seen by a vast, invisible audience (otherwise known as friends-of-friends-of-friends), and, once something's online, it's hard to take back.

Be a friend and follower
Each family will have different rules, but, especially for younger kids, it's a good idea for parents to have access to their kids' pages, at least at first, to be sure that what's being posted is appropriate. Parents can help keep their children from doing something they'll regret later.

Keep private information private
Don't share your home address or other sensitive information online.

Be respectful of others
Kids may use social media to act out because they feel anonymous and that their actions are consequence-free. Make sure they understand that the Internet is a giant community that works best when everyone respects each other.

Visit www.commonsensemedia.org. for much more.


Merry Christmas to you, TLC readers!

Merry Christmas to all our esteemed readers! The Learning Craft (TLC) wishes you a fulfilled holiday in this period of merrymaking. Let the joy of the season stay with you and your entire family now and always!

Thank you for reading and stay glued for our special give away as the new year approaches! 


Celebrate: International Day of Persons with Disability

Today, we mark the International Day for Persons with Disbility. We like to view them not with a disability but people with some ability, hence we say 'This Ability'. The world has become digital such that almost all that concerns humans are driven largely by technology.

ICTs have indeed changed the way people live, work and play. However, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the higher standards of living. This is mainly because not all people have access to new technologies and not all people can afford them.

Today, there are over 1 billion people living in the world with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal barriers and this further contributes to increased poverty levels.

A major focus of the Day is a practical action to highlight how technology can impact the inclusion and contribution of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. To highlight best practices, innovative technological solutions for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in their societies.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities can be used to draw attention to the available technologies and measures that can be adopted to create school environments that are open, inclusive and accessible to allow persons with disabilities to fully participate and develop themselves in the future. 

We look forward to seeing more inclusive schools. It is the right of every child to have access to schooling regardless of their 'ability'.


What to do when your child is fixated on TV - It can be harmful

Studies have found that violent and obscene programming, including cartoons, have a significant negative impact upon children especially those with violence and indecency. 

Violent ones can:

1. Make your child become insensitize towards violent acts.
2. Create nightmares and increase a child's fearfulness.

3. Encourage aggressive behavior.

4. Undermine imaginative and cooperative play with peers.
5. Encourage the acceptance of gang behavior.

Obscene ones can make your child easily prone to developing unwanted sexual pleasures beginning from an early age.

We know that watching TV is not entirely bad for your kids because there are a wide range of good programs that not only broaden children's use of vocabulary but exposes them to a wider world of creativity. However, those can be learnt from watching specific TV programs. 

So, what steps should you take to protect your child? 

1. Be a positive example. Let your children see you watching informative, non provacative, educative and entertaining programmes. Take away obscene and violent programmes from your TV timeline.

2. Check your child’s developmental level and encourage the selection of worthwhile programs. Decide with them which programs to watch.

3. Always be apt to comment when you agree or disagree with the values portrayed by the actors.

4. Watch television with your child. Explain the difference between fact and fiction. If any violence or obscenity occurs, comment that although the actors are pretending to be hurt and/or derive unusual pleasure, such violent and obscene acts in real life result in pain, immorality and suffering. Discuss ways to deal with problems other than by hurting people.

5. Turn the television and other objectionable media off when the material is contradictory to your family values. Explain to your child why you disapprove. Consider using a television lockout device to prevent exposure to “adult” programming. If possible, play soft music or practice silence during family meals that contribute to friendly conversation. Furnish a calm place where your child can relax or read.

6. I insist that you should resist the temptation to put a television in your child’s room. Instead locate it where viewing can be monitored. If your family is on the internet, keep the computer in a central location.

7. Encourage your child to become involved in activities. Foster participation in hobbies, imaginative play, music, art, crafts, gardening, household tasks, yard work, cooking, and other worthwhile projects. Invite your child’s friends to play at your home or apartment. Do more reading, walking, talking, listening, and playing together. Get your child involved in programs that promote healthy development like sports, scouts, clubs, dance, camps, and/or religious groups.

8. Be an advocate for quality television programming. Join forces with other parents and teachers to set television viewing guidelines.

Thanks to Leah Davies for giving us permission to publish  and for being friends with us here at The Learning Craft


15 Reasons Why Children Steal & How You Can Help

From my last blog post, here are some insights into why children steal and what parents, teachers and caregivers can do to help.

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Stealing is taking things that belong to others without their permission. The act is common in young children because they tend to be self-centered and feel that it is all right to take what they want from others. A child’s true understanding of the concept of stealing usually occurs between the ages of five and seven. By this time, children can understand the idea of ownership and realize that taking things that belong to others is wrong.

Motives for stealing can differ from child to child, and any one child can steal for a variety of reasons. Children may steal because:

1. They have poor impulse control and want instant gratification.

2. They want an adult’s attention.

3. They have not been taught that stealing is wrong.

4. They have observed the adults in their life take and keep things that did not belong to them -- for example, dad bringing home office supplies or mom keeping incorrect change when the store clerk made a mistake.

5. They lack family closeness and feel neglected; a stolen object might serve as a substitute for love.

6. They are suffering a form of abuse and need help.

7. They are expressing displaced feelings of anxiety, anger, or alienation resulting from a major life change such as parental divorce, moving to a new school, or being rejected by peers.

8. They want revenge for the pain they feel others have inflicted on them so they steal to get even or to hurt someone.

9. They crave what others have but they cannot buy -- for example: food treats, popular name-brand clothing or electronic equipment.

10. They want to appear tough, bold, and important.

11. They desire to fit in with a peer group that steals.

12. They like the thrill that comes from stealing.

13. They think they can get away with it.

14. They are rebelling against authority.

15. They need money to buy drugs.

Children who frequently steal tend to exhibit the following characteristics: impulsivity, loneliness, detachment, insensitivity, boredom, anger and low self-esteem. They often have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships. When school personnel demonstrate regard for all students and provide a mutually supportive school environment, theft is less likely to occur.

What can teachers do?

1. Explain that stealing means taking something that belongs to someone else and that it is wrong, unacceptable and dishonest. Clarify that when an individual takes something without asking or paying for it, someone will be hurt. For example, if a child takes someone¹s pencil, he will be unable to do his work. If girl’s bracelet is stolen, she might get in trouble at home.

2. Teach the concept of ownership and how it makes others feel to have something stolen from them. Use examples and ask children questions like, "How would you feel if someone liked your new coat, took it, and said it was his?"

3. Compliment and reinforce honest behavior in students.

4. Ask the guidance counselor to teach lessons on honesty.

5. Invite a police officer as a guest speaker to explain the ramifications of theft.

When a child is caught stealing, an adult’s reaction should depend on whether it is the first time or if there is a pattern of stealing. When it is the first time, the focus should be on the reason for the theft rather than on the deed itself.

How to Handle a Stealing Situation for First Offenders

1. Remain calm. Deal with the situation in a straightforward manner. Show your disapproval, but do not interrogate, lecture or humiliate the child.

2. If you are sure who took an item, talk to the child privately. Do not ask, “Did you take the money?” Instead say something like, “I know you took the money. I am disappointed because I thought I could trust you.” Then you might ask, “Is there a reason you needed the money?” Then listen and try to understand the problems the child may be having.

One teacher reported that she talks discreetly with a child who has been caught stealing. She said that she points out that as a class everyone depends on everyone else. She said that she tells the student that he or she is a fine person and if he takes things from others, they won`t know just how great he is. Then she expresses confidence that the student will not steal again. The teacher also makes it a policy at an unrelated time to put the child in the role of being responsible so that she can compliment him in front of his peers.

3. Students who steal need to experience a consequence such as apologizing, returning or replacing the item or making restitution in some other way, as well as losing a privilege. You need to decide what will happen if the child steals again and let him or her know what the consequence will be.

4. If you are not sure who took an item, provide an opportunity for the “taker” to return it and save face. For example say, “Whoever found Adam’s hat needs to return it.” Or say, “Everyone look in your backpack to see if Adam¹s hat was accidentally put in it.”

5. Do not label the child “bad” or a “thief.” Let the child experience a “clean slate.”

6. Take time to ask yourself why the behavior occurred:

What personal problems could the child be having?

Is the child stealing to call attention to him or herself?

Which of the reasons listed above fit this child?
Then decide on a way to get to know the child better. Examples are eating lunch with him or her and one or two other children, talking with the child on the playground, or meeting with him or her before or after school.

7. Limit the opportunity for theft to occur by locking up valuable items and by closely observing the child.

What if the above methods are ineffective, and the student does not express remorse, continues to steal, or has other behavioral problems?

• Follow the school guidelines.

• Contact the school administrator.

• Make sure the parent is aware of the concern.

• Involve the school counselor or school psychologist who can help the child learn appropriate ways of behaving.. An evaluation by a child psychiatrist may be necessary.

Habitual stealing in children and youth is a major social problem because it can lead to other unlawful behaviors. However, if the underlying problems of frequent offenders can be addressed at an early age, further anti-social behaviors will be less likely to occur. Teachers have a responsibility to deal constructively with the child who steals, to follow the school rules regarding theft, and to seek assistance from other professionals when considered necessary.