Monday, 25 January 2016

26 reasons to be proud to an Indian.

26th January is the day our “constitution” was created and it is on this day that we should remember that we are a great democratic country and revisit our own personal “constitution” of life.A “constitution” is a tool that helps us lay down what we feel we stand for, it helps uphold our values, beliefs, rights and freedom. Each child has a right and it is the right of every child to have a happy, stress free, safe and nurtured childhood. To nurture children, we adults need to be free of stress, feel safe, be happy with ourselves, and feel nurtured. And definitely do three things with your children on Republic Day.

  1. Watch the republic day parade on television with your child and family; if possible go and experience the live one in Delhi.
  2. Talk to children about Dr B. R.  Ambedkar the father and architect of our constitution.
  3. Introduce your child to the person who wrote our constitution too. The original constitution of India was hand written by Prem Behari Narain Raizada, in his impeccable calligraphy.
  4. Also mention about the artwork lavished in our original constitution is that of the most eminent painter Nandalal Bose.

How about making your own family constitution this Republic day? Maybe write it in calligraphy and have your children do the artwork and frame it and hang it for all to see. Your family constitution can be the rules and rights that you want for each family member. Try it, it can be fun.

And here are 26 reasons to be proud to be an Indian-
1.     India has never invaded any country in it's last 10000 years of history.
2.     India is one of the most ancient surviving civilizations. 
3.     India is the world's fifth largest economy. 
4.     India is the world's largest democracy. 
5.     India is the seventh largest country in the world. 
6.     India is one of the world's top ten industrial powers. 
7.      India has the world's largest film industry - bollywood - which produces about 1000 movies each year. 
8.      India has the third largest university system. 
9.     The fourth largest rail network is in india.
10.  India has the second most arable land. 
11.  The number system was invented in india. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. 
12.  The world's first university was established in Takshila (India) in 700 bc, where more than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects.
13.   The University of Nalanda built in the fourth century bc was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. 
14.  Ayurveda, discovered in India, is the earliest form of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2,500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast gaining its rightful place in our civilization. 
15.  The art of navigation was developed in the river Sindh 6,000 years ago.the very word navigation is derived from the sanskrit word Navgatih. The word Navy is also derived from sanskrit Nou. 
16.  Bhaskaracharya in the fifth century calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before astronomer Smart, to be 365.258756484 days. 
17.  The value of "pi" was first calculated by Budhayana before Pythagoras.he discovered this in the sixth century long before European mathematicians. 
18.  Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus came from India.
19.  Quadratic equations were made by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 1,053,91 0 to the power of 53 with specific names as early as 5,000 bc during the vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is tera 1,012,910 to the power of 12. 
20.  According to the gemological institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds in the world. 
21.  USA based IEEE has proved that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi. 
22.  The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra. 
23.  Chess (shataranj or ashtapada) was invented in India. 
24.  Sushruta is the father of surgery 2,000 years ago. He and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like caesareans, cataract, joining artificial limb, fractures, urinary stones removal, plastic surgery, and even brain surgery. Usage of anesthesia was well-known in ancient India, over 125 surgical equipment were used. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient texts.
25.  The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 bc. When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5,000 years ago, 
26.   India was one of the richest countries on earth until the British invasion in the early 17th century. 
Lets work together and bring up stronger, more confident and less stressed out children to once again become the best country in the world. HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY. 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

5 senses test for checking preschools

Test the early childhood center you are choosing for your child…a unique new senses test for parents to ensure they are choosing a quality care kindergarten/daycare for their child.

It’s that time of the year as parents make a frantic rush to enroll kids in the ‘best’ preschool or daycare. Some make a mad rush to remove their kids from an ‘unsatisfying’ one and reenroll at another ‘best’ center. So are parents looking for? Is it ambience, price, furniture, air conditioning, proximity? Well, all these put together will only impact 20% of the child’s socio-emotional and over all development. So instead of only the 20% lets help you focus on the other 80%, use this ‘senses test’ and ‘taste’ the center with your senses and experience the other 80% which is teacher strength, curriculum, teaching-learning practices, experiences of the child, emotional and social development and stress free learning. After all your child uses all 5 senses to experience too.

The first test- Use your eyes- and look for ……

·         Check for Peeling paint on walls and furniture, it means that they are not bothered about safety of kids as kids can touch, scratch, and eat the paint.
·         Look for cobwebs. Cobwebs mean there are spiders and spiders would only build cobwebs if there were insects, so that means there are insects at that center which is a result of lack of cleanliness.
·         Look at the fingernails of all the staff. No long nails and chipped nail polish on the staff, all the staff, especially those that will serve food or look after the hygiene of your child. Chipped nail polish can go into your child’s food and harm your child and long, sharp nails can hurt, scratch the delicate skin of toddlers.
·         Check the mops, (bacteria breeding ground) mops tell you how they clean the vomit, urine, and potty from the floors. Well, many young toddlers are not yet toilet trained so if the center has carpets…god forbid. And if they are using the same mops to clean the floors, OMG! And yet another horror, many centers use the same floor mops to clean the tabletops. Ask, are the bais trained to wipe vomit, potty from floors with paper, then put disinfectant and wipe and then mop. The same mop will not be used for other work, and see separate cloths for tables etc.  
·         And look at flannel board displays, you should see ‘children’s voices’ even in the  displays. There should  be drawings, paintings, worksheets, and loads of photos of activities. It all points to a great learning experience immersed in the 8 intelligences.

The second test- Use your ears and hear……

·         The sounds at the center. Are they about furniture clanging, teachers shouting, and screaming instructions to ayahs. Children  giggling, talking, enjoying or singing should be the sounds you hear.
·         Are kids constantly crying? A good center ensures that crying kids get settled within a short span of time by consulting and coordinating with the family.
·         Can you hear adults constantly ‘shushing’ shhh…. a child or reprimanding them, ‘don’t run, walk in a line’.   When staff shout at any center, it means the atmosphere is extremely formal and teachers are not trained in positive ways to get appropriate behavior.

The third test- Use your touch and…..
·         Touch surfaces around the center, are you getting dust on your fingertips?  If yes, its  because it is not cleaned regularly.
·         Check how the staff touch the kids , is their grip very harsh? Or is it gentle?  
·         Check how the toilet staff takes care of the kids, especially how they wash when a child has to be cleaned after potty.  
·         Touch the edges of furniture, are they too sharp? Furniture should be  well rounded.
·         Now a touch test for your child- what kind of toys are there for your child to  touch? Will your child get a multisensory experience? Are there soft, hard, plastic, wood, toys. Toys to build, toys to play, puppets, and role-play toys. Toys to dance, toys to exercise with and toys to share?  

The fourth test- Use your tongue…voice. And…

·         Ask what the qualifications of the center staff are. How many of them are trained teachers. They should not only trained in how to teach but also how to handle children with different needs, temperaments, and personalities.
·         How many hours of training do they get regularly in a week. Every week they should get trained for 2-3  hours
·         Who trains them?  Do they have educationists on board?
·         Ask about the curriculum used by the center. Ask about the educational philosophy.  
·         What are their safety and security guidelines. Do they have a safety and emergencies docket, and a training based on it for all staff?
·         Do they have a fire safety drill?
·         What about good touch- bad touch?  Are children told about good touch bad touch? How?
·          How are children assessed? With a simple A,B,C grading or with a detailed observation   that will help you understand your child’s stage of development.

The fifth test…Use your nose and ….

·         Smell the center. Is it smelling of food, urine? Because  young children are sensitive to smells.  
·         Does it smell of strong bleach? Bad. As heavy chemicals are bad for kids.  
·         Does it smell of fresh wall paint? Bad for kids.  
·         Does it smell of pesticide? Bad for kids.  
·         Does it smell of the local gutter smell. Many centers do, which makes kids crankier.  Smells have a direct impact on kids learning and focus.  
·         How often do they service their air conditioners? As kids can fall sick with subserviced ones.  It should be done each month.

All of the above have an impact on your child’s  brain development as their brain development is mainly based on sensory stimulation. This can result in children becoming cranky, frustrated and thus impacting their social skills, emotional, language, and cognitive skills. So it makes great sense to ‘taste’ your child’s center with your senses to ensure the right nurturing and stimulation for your child especially in the crucial brain development years.
Choose well for your child after all the first 6 years are when 98% of the brain develops. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Take a deep breath…

Vayu is one of the five elements of nature, so essential in our life, truly our life breath! But is Vayu really a part of our children’s lives today or are we giving them experiences that do not include this important element of nature?

Of all the five elements of nature, Vayu is everywhere in our homes and outside but rarely do we notice it or appreciate it! Maybe that is why we celebrate the festival of ‘Vayu’- Sankranti, kite flying, after all no kites can fly without Vayu and this festival reminds us that we need air in our lives to take us forward in life and to make it successful.

Our body needs Vayu or air because it has oxygen and oxygen is good for the brain! It keeps kids alert, attentive and active. So allow kids to take deep breaths after every activity. It helps break the monotony and gives a fresh burst of oxygen to the brain!

Vayu in our digestive system is not so good! So see that your kids avoid foods that cause gas! So too much of oily food or strong flavours are avoidable, keep food as natural as possible.

Yoga is an exercise form that helps make the best use of Vayu and ensures that air is taken in the right amounts and circulates in the entire body for its benefit. Take your kids outside early every morning and then take deep breaths, do yoga and see the difference in their health and over all disposition.

Keep a track of how much outdoor activity your child has in a day, because lack of outdoor activity means lack of fresh air and this can lead to all kinds of diseases and attention deficit issues. Ensure that kids have at least an hour of outdoor play (if not more!)  without fail everyday.

Are you keeping your child in air conditioned areas all the time? Then it is quite dangerous for the child’s growing immune system, so ensure that your child gets natural air environments, remember sweating is healthy!

A kite teaches us a lot about life and air, have you ever flown a kite? It is an exhilarating experience, the ability to make the kite catch the wind, then seeing the kite soar, keeping it away from all other kites and controlling its path with a small thread are all awesome skills that kids should learn. The concentration, planning and logic required in kite flying will help your child become a better learner and a better person in control of his/her decisions and plans. So it is safe to tell your kids- go fly a kite!

As one the most important elements of nature, Vayu also teaches us about parenting-

Vayu or air- What can this element cultivate in the personality of your child?

®  Air is everywhere. Everyone needs air. No one can see air
®  Air can soothe or air can become a storm and destroy
®  Similarly independence in children is like air.
®  Independence  can give them the ability to explore, gives them a zeal to venture
®  But too much independence can become a storm that destroys everything in its path. So be careful about it

How to gift your child vayu or air?
Give them  opportunities to feel the grass, play with sand, splash in water and hug a tree! When was the last time your child did this? These sensorial experiences connect directly with your child and help them become more grounded and confident. Let them  feel the wind with activities like football at the beach or kite flying, the different and varied experiences will definitely benefit them. !

So this January gift Vayu to your child.