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Why kids cannot hold pencils, pens

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Picture Source: acc-learn.com

By- The Times Of India

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/why-kids-cannot-hold-pencils-pens/articleshow/63090400.cms

Excessive use of phones and tablets is preventing children’s finger muscles from developing sufficiently, making it increasingly hard for them to hold pens and pencils, UK doctors say.
“Children are not coming into school with the hand strength and dexterity they had 10 years ago,” said Sally Payne, the head paediatric therapist at the Heart of England foundation NHS Trust in the UK. “Children coming into school are being given a pencil but are increasingly not able to hold it because they do not have the fundamental movement skills,” said Payne. “To be able to grip a pencil and move it, you need strong control of the fine muscles in your fingers. Children need lots of opportunity to develop those skills,” she said.

“It’s easier to give a child an iPad than encouraging them to do muscle-building play such as building blocks, cutting and sticking, or pulling toys and ropes,” Payne was quoted as saying by the ‘Guardian’. Mellissa Prunty, who runs a research clinic at Brunel University London investigating key skills in childhood, including handwriting, said that increasing numbers of children may be developing handwriting late because of an overuse of technology.

“One problem is that handwriting is very individual in how it develops in each child,” said Prunty.


“Without research, the risk is that we make too many assumptions about why a child isn't able to write at the expected age and don’t intervene when there is a technology-related cause,” she said. Although the early years curriculum has handwriting targets for every year, different primary schools focus on handwriting in different ways - with some using tablets alongside pencils, Prunty said.


This becomes a problem when children also spend large periods of time on tablets outside school.

posted Feb 27, 2018 by Gowri Vimalan

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Photo Source: YOUR THERAPY SOURCE

https://www.yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2016/01/20/gross-motor-skills-and-handwriting-3/

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS AND HANDWRITING

The gross motor skills involved in handwriting mainly refer to the postural control that is required for writing.  Efficient control of the larger muscle groups in the neck, shoulder and trunk is necessary to maintain stability in order for the fingers and hands to move to complete the handwriting task.  As children develop, control and stability begins at the trunk, progressing to the elbow, wrist and finally the hand.  With normal development, fine motor skills are developed from gross motor skills.  For example, a baby will first learn to swat, then reach, then grasp and then manipulate a toy.  Children need to develop the proximal muscles (closer to the center of the body) of the trunk and shoulder girdle in order to use the distal muscles (further from the center of the body) in the fingers and hands.  These proximal muscles develop in children with gross motor movements such as reaching, tummy time, rolling, all fours position, crawling, standing and walking.

Children also must develop the ability to plan and execute gross motor skill actions.  With handwriting tasks, this motor planning requires muscle groups to work together with the proper force, timing and actions to produce an acceptable outcome (ie legible handwriting).  For example, in order to write with a pencil, the brain has to plan and carry out the skill in the correct sequence.  Starting with the pectoral muscles, the trapezius and the rhomboid muscles coactivating with the proper force and timing to stabilize the shoulder in order for the fingers and hand to move the pencil along the paper efficiently.   Children with decreased motor planning skills exhibit poor legibility of handwriting compared to their peers (Tseng & Murray, 1994).

Eye hand coordination skills require the vision system to coordinate the information received through the eyes to control, guide, and direct the hands in the accomplishment of a given task.  Again, this direction requires the gross motor movements of reaching and grading the control of the arm.

DEFICITS IN GROSS MOTOR SKILLS AND THE EFFECTS ON HANDWRITING

As mentioned previously, proximal muscles function as a stabilizer during handwriting tasks.  Children with low postural muscle tone may have difficulty sustaining contractions in the proximal musculature.  Research indicates muscles that work primarily as stabilizers, display less variability than muscles that work dynamically (Pepper & Carson, 1999).  When the proximal muscles stabilize correctly, the decreased variability in the distal muscles has been shown to be associated with a faster handwriting speed (Naider-Steinhart & Katz-Leurer, 2007).

The act of forming letters requires many steps.  The more steps required to complete an action results in higher levels of motor planning.  Research has indicated that children with decreased motor planning skills exhibit poor legibility of handwriting compared to their peers (Tseng & Murray, 1994).

When the visual system does not send the correct message to the trunk, shoulders and hands on where to move, you are not able to produce coordinated motor actions.  Decreased eye-hand coordination abilities have been shown to be predictive of decreased quality of handwriting (Kaiser, 2009).

GROSS MOTOR SKILL ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS FOR HANDWRITING SKILLS

Gross motor activities that will improve postural control and muscle strength in the proximal muscles are beneficial when it comes to developing handwriting skills.  Suggested activities:

  1. Hanging activities – practice monkey bars, chins ups, pull ups or swing from the tree limbs to increase the muscle strength in the shoulder girdle muscles.
  2. Climbing activities – climb the ladders and ropes on the playground.
  3. Pushing and pulling activities – pull a heavy wagon or push a child on a swing. These pushing and pulling  motions help the shoulder learn to coactivate to produce the right amount of force and stability.
  4. Weight bearing activities through the arms – animal walks, wheelbarrow walking, crawling, and push ups/planks all help to increase muscle strength and improve coactivation of the shoulder and postural muscles.
  5. Yoga Poses – provide muscle strengthening and postural control
  6. Large art projects – hang some paper on a wall or use an easel. Children can reach up, left and right while painting.

Motor planning skills can be practiced with the following gross motor movements:

  1. Sky Writing – air write the letters using your entire arm describing each step as you go
  2. Obstacle courses – handwriting requires the ability to formulate a motor plan to complete multiple steps just like completing an obstacle course. Include activities from the list above.  For example, crawl to a scooter board, lay on your tummy and pull yourself along a line and wheelbarrow walk to the finish line.
  3. Body Letter Formation – children can practice making their bodies into letters to improve the imprint on the brain of how the letter is formed.  Activities like the Action Alphabet are beneficial.
  4. Coordination activities – jumping jacks, jumping rope, hand clapping games, etc all require extensive motor planning and coordination skills.  Need some ideas for coordination skills – check out 25 Bilateral Coordination Activities.

Eye hand coordination activities to help develop handwriting skills include any type of ball skills – throwing, catching and shooting balls in order to practice guiding the hands to go in the proper direction and location.

MODIFICATIONS TO HELP WITH GROSS MOTOR SKILLS AND HANDWRITING

  1.  First and foremost, children should be properly positioned for handwriting:

a.) the feet should have a stable base of support

b.) hips, knees and ankles should be bent at 90 degrees

c.) desk should be 1-2” higher than bent elbows

Proper Posture Functional Skills for Kids

You can download a free positioning poster for handwriting here.

2.  For proximal muscle fatigue while writing, try changing positions. Perhaps lying on the floor to complete the writing assignment or providing a slant board may help.  Try breaking up writing assignments into smaller chunks to prevent proximal muscle fatigue.

3.  Take frequent breaks to stretch the muscles in the shoulder, neck and back.

The best suggestion is to sometimes put down the pencils, take a break from routine handwriting practice and get children moving!

Check out Handwriting Stations – includes positioning poster, warm up activities and postural exercises.  Find out more.

Read More

 

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Photo Source:The Statesman

By- Jitendra Kumar Das

https://www.thestatesman.com/opinion/india-cant-hold-back-on-education-reforms-1502678755.html

By 2030, India will be one of the youngest nations in the world, with an estimated 140 million individuals in their 20s. In fact, one in every four graduates of the world will be a product of the Indian higher education system.

Education is an essential tool for achieving development and sustainability. In this context, the quality of higher education becomes increasingly important, as India strives to compete and integrate with a globalised economy where highly-qualified, innovative and creative professionals are required.

Our higher education system – be it government universities, private institutes or self-financed bodies – operates in a pincer-like grip of regulations. Broadly, it is only the IIMs and IITs – both effectively outside the traditional Indian university system – that have the autonomy and flexibility of decision-making, and both sets of institutions have done the country proud.

It is a matter of grave concern that a number of higher educational institutions in India have dropped abysmally low in quality delivery over the last few decades. For they have become rule-fulfillers and not deliverers of quality education.

This, typically, is the outcome in such organisations where decision-makers are not accountable for poor performance. Most universities neither get sufficient funds from the government, nor can raise funds to meet their development and research needs.

Therefore, the ability of most Indian universities and institutes of higher learning is unfavourably blunted due to extremely limited flexibility in their decision-making process; the reason, more often than not, is various governance issues. This creates a wide gap in what the desirable outcome is and what is actually delivered by these universities and institutes of higher learning.

To meet the huge, unmet demand for job-oriented education and training, the government must “free-up” public universities and institutions. In addition, it must encourage – through appropriate policy interventions – the private sector to actively contribute to higher education.

However, instead of encouraging the role of private sector in higher education, the public policy so far appears to be unfriendly and discouraging towards the private sector, with conflicting signals coming from various higher education regulating bodies of the government.

If we talk about management education in particular, one must note that there exist many renowned high-quality private institutions in India, providing world-class education. These private institutions are committed to educational excellence and are conscious of their responsibilities. They have quality infrastructure, admirable course curriculum and faculty, affordable fee structure and location, and, above all, remarkable placements.

Management education in India has traversed a long distance over the years and has established itself as a powerful force capable of bringing about a manufacturing revolution in the country. It provides the foundation to young managers to be part of the desired paradigm shift in the Indian growth trajectory.

Due to our vast customer base, businesses across the globe are eyeing the Indian market and are keen to start local operations. Also, a large number of business initiatives have been launched by the government recently in its endeavour to not only make the country a manufacturing hub, but also to make her economic growth more inclusive. These forces have increased the demand for professional managers manifold, making management education more important than ever.

It is thus essential for all concerned policy-makers, educational planners, administrators and regulators to revive the very thinking of parity in rules and regulations governing both the public and private sector higher educational institutions. A common corporate law that governs public and private business enterprises is a good example to cite.

Such a major reform in higher education might just prove to be even more productive than an open invitation to foreign universities to set up campuses in India – independently or jointly with local institutions. It is time to have a coherent policy framework that acknowledges the complementarity of public and private sector to contribute to the higher education system and ensure its sustainable development.

+1 vote

Here is a really cool development!

According to this piece by Tanu Kulkarni, in The Hindu (full story with original link below) parents of school going kids in Bengaluru are finally feeling the urge to splurge on 'learning Kannada. If you have been in Bangalore you have certainly heard the now famous, 'kannad gottilla' catch all phrase, that simply is the ultimate excuse for most people who will claim their passage on the basis of not knowing the language. But not any more if the state government decides to have its say.

Again we dont know for sure if this is a pure election gimmick by the state government angling for votes or a genuine attempt to breathe some life into one of the most fascinating ancient languages and culture vehicles of India: Kannada. 
Read on for more.

Why Parents in Bengaluru are in mad rush to learn Kannada

Unexpected fallout of the State government’s move to make language a compulsory subject in school 
After years of going about life without knowing Kannada, parents in Bengaluru are now scrambling to learn the local language and its script. From joining ...

Ispark Innovations has a solution for this.

It's great to know parents are rushing to learn kannada. We are delighted to present Ispark talking books kit including kannada learning book as part of the solution. Go to the following link for full details and purchase

http://www.isparkinnovations.net/product/basic-pack-3/

       

 

+1 vote

        

Photo Source: Motherly

By- Christina-Clemer

https://www.mother.ly/child/7-key-phrases-montessori-teachers-use-and-why-we-should-use-them-too-

Montessori can be hard to sum up in just a few words—it is a philosophy on education and child development that runs deep. It’s a way of seeing the world. I think one of the easiest ways to get an idea for what Montessori means is to listen to the language that Montessori teachers use.

Montessori teachers use language that respects the child and provides consistent expectations. Words are chosen carefully to encourage children to be independent, intrinsically motivated critical thinkers.

Here are seven common phrases you’d probably hear in any Montessori classroom, and how to incorporate them into your home life.

1. “I saw you working hard.”

The focus on process over product is a key tenet of Montessori. We avoid telling the children “good work” or “your work is beautiful” and instead comment on how they concentrated for a long time, or how they wrote so carefully and their work could be easily read by anyone.

Praising your child’s hard work, rather than his results, helps instill a growth mindset where he believes he can improve through his own efforts.

Instead of telling your child, “You’re a good boy,” tell him “I noticed you being kind to your little brother yesterday when you shared your truck.” This shows him you see his good behavior, without placing judgments on him. Instead of telling him, “You’re such a good artist,” try, “I noticed you kept working on your picture until you got it just how you wanted it.”

2. “What do you think about your work?”

In Montessori, the child is his own teacher. The teachers are there as guides to give him lessons and help him but he discovers things for himself through the carefully prepared environment and materials.

Self-analysis is a big part of that discovery.

When your child asks you, “Do you like my picture?” try asking her about it instead of just saying you love it. Ask her what she thinks about it, how she decided what colors to use, and what her favorite part is. Help her start to evaluate her work for herself, rather than looking for your approval.

3. “Where could you look for that?”

Independence is another key value in any Montessori classroom or home. Our goal as teachers is to help the children do things for themselves. So while it’s sometimes easier to simply answer a child’s question about where something is or how to do something, we often answer questions with another question such as, “Where could you look for that?” or “Which friend could you ask for help?”

If your son loses his shoe and you see it peeking out from under the bed, try asking leading questions, rather than just handing it to him.

“Where were you when you took your shoes off? Have you checked your room?” This may take a little more time, but it will be worth it when he starts taking more initiative and coming to you less.

4. “Which part would you like my help with?”

In a Montessori classroom, children are responsible for many things, including taking care of their environment. Children often take great pride in this responsibility, spending time arranging flowers to put on tables, watering the garden, and happily washing the windows and tables.

Sometimes though, a job is just too big and overwhelming. In these cases, we ask the child how we can help. We don’t want to swoop in and “save the day,” sending the message that the child is not capable, but we also don’t want to leave the child overwhelmed.

For example: If your child is tired, but needs to put her Legos away before bed, all of those pieces can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. Try “which color would you like me to put away” or “I’ll put away the yellow pieces and you put away the blue” to show that you’re in it together.

5. “In our class, we ….” (Or at home— “In our home, we…”)

This little phrase is used to remind the children of any number of classroom rules and desired behaviors. Phrasing reminders as objective statements about how the community works, rather than barking commands, is much more likely to elicit cooperation from a child.

“In our class, we sit while we eat” is less likely to incite a power struggle than “Sit down.”

Like all of us, children want to be a part of the community, and we simply remind them of how the community works.

If you have a rule about walking in the house, instead of “stop running,” try saying “we walk inside our house” and see if you get fewer arguments.

6. “Don’t disturb him, he’s concentrating.”

Protecting children’s concentration is a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. Montessori classes give children big blocks of uninterrupted work time, usually three hours. This allows children to develop deep concentration, without being disturbed because the schedule says it’s time to move on to learning something else.

It can be tempting to compliment a child who is working beautifully, but sometimes even making eye contact is enough to break their concentration.

Next time you walk by your child while he’s focused on drawing a picture or building a tower, try just walking by instead of telling him how great it is. You can make a mental note and tell him later that you noticed him concentrating so hard on his creation.

7. “Follow the Child.”

This last one is an important one. It’s something Montessori teachers say to each other and to parents—not to the child. We often remind each other to “follow the child,” to trust that each child is on his or her own internal developmental timeline, that he is doing something for a reason.

This reminds us to search for the reason behind the behavior. It reminds us that not all children will be walking by one or reading by four—they haven’t read the books and couldn’t care less about the milestones they are “supposed to” reach.

Following the child means remembering that each child is unique and has his own individual needs, passions, and gifts, and he should be taught and guided accordingly.

If you can’t get your child interested in reading, try watching what he does love—if he loves being silly, it may be that a joke book is what piques his interest, not the children’s classic you had in mind. Remembering to “follow your child” can help you see him in a different way and work with him instead of against him.

One of beautiful things about Montessori is that it is so much more than a type of education—it is a way of seeing and being with children. Even if your child does not go to Montessori school, you can easily bring the ideas into your home and watch your child’s independence and concentration grow.

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