Talking to Children about Disabilities

Explaining to your child what a disability is can be quite challenging. It is a sensitive topic, you need to choose your words wisely and create an open dialogue with your child so they feel free to ask you anything. What you say in this conversation directly influences how your child will perceive others with disabilities. Here are seven things to keep in mind when you talk to your child about people with disabilities:

Children with disabilities are like all children, they have feelings they want friends, respect and to be included.
Life can be tough and everyone is trying to find themselves, especially children. They are easily impressionable and often wear their hearts on their sleeves. Words and actions can hurt, all children have the same wants to be included and respected. Teach your children to include all children including children with disabilities in conversation and games, they are no different than typical children and deserve not to be left out due to a disability.

354870-PAPUF2-370Children can be born disabled or become disabled from illnesses or an accident. You cannot catch a disability.
A person does not choose to be disabled something had happened that is out of their control.

Just because someone has a physical disability does not mean they also have a cognitive (thinking) disability.
There many many different types of disabilities each affecting the body in different ways. Some may just be physical meaning they bodies may have problems when moving, others can affect their brain making speaking, school work and thinking difficult for them and some disabilities can be a combination of both. Children with disabilities can do most of the things other children do, it may take more assistance and more time. Be patient and help them!

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Children with special needs are different and that’s not a bad thing.
Everybody is unique it is what makes us all so special in our own ways. If everyone was the same life would be pretty boring!

It’s okay to ask questions about disabilities. Knowledge is power!
Learning about different disabilities can help a child understand a personal situation better. Knowing how a disability can affect someone can allow you to help them more and be more empathic about situations.

Choose your words wisely   When talking to your child choose your words wisely. The way to describe children with disabilities will influence the words your child uses to also describe disabilities. Make sure they are accurate and sensitive. Teaching them the correct words like special needs, disabilities, or even the names of specific disabilities like autism and down syndrome.

Be a friend. The best thing you can be is a friend.

Childhood lessons Taught in the Garden

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The garden, a wonderful place to learn and grow! (Pun Intended)
Growing a vegetable garden with your child can teach them many life lessons. Planning, planting, growing and harvesting shows them the many steps our food takes to get from farm to table.

We often don’t think of the many life lessons our activities teach us. Learning to garden at a young age exposes us to many great life lessons, morals and values rooted in us that take with us into adulthood.

Prepares Us For Adulthood 

Adulthood is can be an emotional rollercoaster. Like a garden, everyday something is new, there are so many challenges ahead and garden can teach us those many life lessons we need to live and grow into a successful life. 

Getting Intouch With Nature

ladybug-54311_1920The garden is full of exciting creatures! When your child is working on their own garden, they are bound to run into a creepy crawly or two. Introduce them to the many different elements gardening has to bring.
These encounters can be so inspiring to a young child when they are done in the garden encourage them to write and draw about their experience.
Gardens are a great example of the most basic forms of life it shows the fundamentals of the food chain and how the environment works.

Bigger Isn’t Always Better 

Having a garden you can manage with little stress is much more important than having a large garden you cannot manage. 

Everything in moderation, creating and planning a garden that is manageable will allow for a plentiful, stress-free life. 

Replanting tomatoes

Growth Doesn’t Happen All At Once
A plant goes through many stages before it flowers. Each of these stages has a purpose and are important for the plant to grow, some stages take longer than others. Just like a plant, we have to go through stages before we bloom. You cannot just go straight from a seed to a perfect watermelon in a day good things come to those who wait.

In life when you get frustrated about the long road to the finish line (like graduating college) think back to the garden and the many steps it takes to get to somewhere worthwhile.

Accept Help When You Need It 

Sometimes we can be stubborn and feel like we can do everything on our own. It is important to know when to put our pride aside and accept help, for the greater good. Don’t wear yourself thin trying to do everything, work as a team and accomplish more. 

Persistence Is Key

In a garden, sometimes no matter what you try a flower may refuse to grow. Don’t let failures stop you from trying. Access what you did, study, ask for help and come back with a better game plan.   quote-if-at-first-you-don-t-succeed-try-try-try-again-william-edward-hickson-54-34-92

Be Flexible Life Changes 

Life changes, and sometimes it changes fast, for good or bad. Being able to adjust and adapt to new conditions only makes you stronger. 

Beauty Comes In All Shapes And Forms 

No two flowers are the same, yet each one is pretty in its own way. A garden full of identical flower would be boring, wouldn’t it? There is beauty in being unique.

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Clear Out The Negative To Make Room For Positivity 

Weeds can grow all over they can take over a whole garden and ruin your precious plants. Just like in life you need to cut out the negativity and not give it any room to grow. 

 Take Time To Smell The Roses 

Life happens fast, always take a moment to enjoy the present. When we’re constantly planning for the future and living in the past, we often miss beautiful moments right in front of us. 


Things Grow Then You Take Care of Them
Last, but not least! One of the biggest lessons a garden can teach a child is that through hard work and planning come great rewards.  All things in life last when you put effort, hard work and love into it, relationships, items, yourself everything in life follows this rule.

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Feeling inspired to grow your own vegetable garden with the children?  Roll up your sleeves, get dirty and have fun in the garden! These are the top 10 easiest vegetables to grow from seeds. Get in touch with your roots! 

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  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Spinach

 

 

Unique Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas Pickles

 

pickleOn Christmas Eve, once the children have gone to bed, many parents around the globe sneak downstairs to help Santa deliver the gifts, as well as hide a Christmas pickle in the tree!

In the morning before anyone can open gifts, someone must find the pickle! By doing this, children can explore and appreciate all the ornaments on the tree. The colour of the pickle makes it quite hard to locate and can sometimes take a while to find.

This wonderful tradition teaches children teamwork, patience and to enjoy the moment. In a lot of households, children rush to the tree and start tearing open presents. By placing the pickle in the tree for a scavenger hunt, children are forced to stop and appreciate the moment, be patient and work together to find it.

This tradition, originally from Germany, has been adopted and modified by many different cultures. The person that finds the pickle is usually rewarded by receiving a special gift from under the tree, or they are allowed to open their present first.

Hide Your Broom! 

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This is quite the tradition to spark your imagination! It’s not common in North America to associate brooms and Christmas, but this Norwegian dates back centuries to when people were much more superstitious than they are today. They believed the evil spirits such as witches and ghost would come out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride on. This is still a very popular tradition in Norway. Most people hide their brooms in their houses to avoid them being stolen.

Operation Christmas Child Boxes! 

Tis’ the season of family, cheer and giving. Operation Christmas Child is a tradition started in Canada by the Samaritan’s Purse organization. They work with the community to create boxes full of goodies and personal products that children in difficult circumstances could use.

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Christmas is different for everyone around the world not everyone is able to have a holiday full of gifts, family, feasts and festivities. These boxes bring so much joy to children in need and are quite fun to put together and wrap.

Get into the Christmas spirit with your family and friends and come together to create a couple of boxes. You can order packing party kits from their website, which include shoeboxes and other supplies.

OCC-pictureWhen creating your Christmas box choose a gender and an age range you would like to make the present for. Find a shoebox and fill it with presents, wrap it (make sure the lid can still be removed), place an age range and gender sticker on it and drop it off at the closest donation location.

Helpful Items: 

Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.

School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, colouring and picture books, etc.

Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.

Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.

Crafts: Make your own items such as hair bows, finger puppets, and friendship bracelets.

A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself, your family, or group. If you include your name and an address, the child may be able to write back.

For more information visit Operation Christmas Child.


Fill your Best Shoes with Hay and Vegetables

St.Nicholas day is the first major event in the advent calendar across many European countries. Celebrated on December 6th by Western European countries and Romania, December 5th in the Netherlands and on the 19th in Eastern European countries.

The evening before the feast of Saint Nicholas, children gather their favourite shoes and place them by the door or on a windowsill for St. Nicholas. Often filling their shoes with hay and vegetables for St. Nicholas’ horses. Traditionally, children would wake up to shoes filled with coins, fruit, sweets or smalls gifts (Shoe Sized).

13 Trolls of Christmas 

This is very similar to the last one but with a very unique twist. In Icelandic folklore, there are 13 Yule Lads (Mischievous Trolls) of Christmas, each of which visits children for the 13 days before Christmas.

Each night of Yuletide, children place their favourite/best shoes by the window. Each night a different Yule Lad visits, leaving presents for good boys and girls and rotten vegetables for the naughty children. 

They all have different personalities and backstories, along with some interesting names.

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Stekkjastaur – Sheep-Cote Clod
(Bugs sheep and has pegs legs)
Giljagaur – Gully Gawk (Hides in the gullies, waiting to scare cows and steal milk)
Stúfur – Stubby (Short and will steal pans to eat leftover crust)
Þvörusleikir – Spoon-Licker (Steals Spoons)
Pottaskefill – Pop- Scraper (Steals leftovers from pots)
Askasleikir = Bowl-Licker (Hides under beds waiting to steal bowls)
Hurðaskellir = Door Slammer (Likes to slam doors)
Skyrgámur – Skyr- Gobbler (Yule lad addicted to Skyr Yogurt)
Bjúgnakrækir – Sausage Swiper (Hides in the rafters and steals sausages)
Gluggagægir – Window-Peeper (Looks through windows for things to steal)
Gáttaþefur – Doorway-Sniffer (Has a very large nose)
Ketkrókur – Meat-Hook (Uses a hook to steal meat)
Kertasníkir – Candle-Stealer (Follows children to steal their candles)


Santas_LandingSantas Runway (Luminaries)

Organize with the neighbours for children to cut and decorate brown paper bags to create a runway for Santa to land his sleigh on your street.

Once the bags are beautifully decorated, Christmas Eve place them at the bottom of your driveway before going to bed.

Spider Webs in the Christmas Tree 

Ukrainian Christmas trees are traditionally decorated with a fake spider and web. The custom, which is said to bring good luck, stems from an old wives’ tale about a poor woman who could not afford to decorate her tree. She woke up on Christmas morning to find a spider had covered it in a glittering web.

Remember: There is no better present than being present!

Happy Holidays!

10 Best Motivational Quotes for Students

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All of us have a teacher, parent, friend or quote that inspired us to achieve more and believe in ourselves.  Sometimes all it takes is hearing a motivational quote to spark our passions and achieve more!

 

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9 Ways Learning Music Benefits A Child

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Learning music at a young age can help to sharpen senses, spark creativity, encourage learning, ignite a passion for music and so much more! Here are just some of the many, many benefits of learning music from a young age.

Sparks Creativity

This is pretty obvious, creating music sparks creativity and imagination. The possibilities when creating a song are endless, with so many different instruments and sounds, how could you not be inspired. Encouraging children to embrace their creativity and imagination will allow them to grow with an open mind.  As an adult, a pure sense of imagination is a quality most of us most of us lose as we grow up.

Two girl relax playing guitar and sing a song

Memory

Research has shown that both listening to music and playing a musical instrument stimulate your brain and can increase your memory.

354918-PAPUIW-790Recent studies have shown that people who are musically trained have better working memory skills, helping them to remember things even while their minds are busy with other matters important aspects of mental arithmetic and reading comprehension. Learning music also requires significant levels of concentration, training children to focus their attention for sustained periods.

Confidence Booster 
Learning new skills, meeting new people and experiencing something new builds confidence. Picking up an instrument and being able to play is something to be proud of.

Sharpen Your Skills 

Listening Skills

Along with concentration and coordination skills, listening skills flourish when a child learns an instrument. When playing along with others, you need to really pay attention and listen to others playing as well.

Concentration Skills

Playing music requires a high amount of concentration, focusing on reading sheet music, rhythm, tempo, pitch, sound and so much more. Watching your timing, as well as listening to others, keeping up with their timing and tempo. It takes a lot of effort and skill to blend in with others as while as stand on your own.

371256-PB8R6J-934Social Skills

As a child, how many of us made bands with our friends? Learning an instrument opens many new conversations and communities for your child to join. Working together with groups on something creative can be empowering and so beneficial to a confidence and self-esteem.
Many people that join bands or orchestras become best friends, often becoming like family. Many lifelong relationships found their roots through musical activities.

Coordination Skills

All instruments take a lot of concentration and coordination to play. Depending on the instrument you choose a lot of hand-eye coordination may be necessary. Many instruments like piano and string instruments require you to use both hands promoting ambidexterity, where others such as percussions require coordination from hands, arms and feet.



Meditation & Relaxation

Music is a universal language, and everyone has their preferred genre, but one thing we can all agree upon is that music is a great source of relaxation. It has been scientifically proven to calm the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine and the psychological stress response.

Fun fact! These ten tracks are scientifically proven to be the most effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

1) Marconi Union – Weightless
2) Airstream – Electra
3) DJ Shah – Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4) Enya – Watermark
5) Coldplay – Strawberry Swing
6) Barcelona – Please Don’t Go
7) All Saints – Pure Shores
8) Adele – Someone Like You
9) Mozart – Canzonetta Sull’aria
10) Cafe Del Mar – We Can Fly

Perseverance

Learning an instrument takes time and effort, no one picked up a guitar and instantly knew how to play it. It takes commitment and many days of practice to become moderately good at an instrument. In fact, many professional musicians will practice a difficult piece of music multiple times before they can play it correctly.

We at W5Go believe music is such a vital part of learning and life, we’ve created an interactive app for children 4-12 about the Who, What, Where, When and Whys of Music!

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Download available now! 

Google Play

App Store

Slide Me

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Why Puzzles are Good for Children

Puzzles can be so much fun for children and adults, they come in all shapes and colours, with many different themes. It is no wonder children absolutely love playing with puzzles. Not only do they provide hours of entertainment they are also a valuable source for educational development.

Sharpen Cognitive Skills 

Cognitive skills are the core skills your brain uses to think, read, learn, remember, reason, and pay attention. When playing with puzzles a person needs to utilize these skills, practicing and sharpening them, all while having fun.

Playing with puzzles increases their visual spatial awareness and develops a deeper understanding of these themes and topics.Cute asian little girl is trying to connect couple jigsaw puzzle

Develop Fine Motor Skills

When children play with puzzles, they are required to pick up, grasp, pinch and move pieces around, sorting them into the correct places.

Hand-eye Coordination 

Along with developing fine motor skills puzzles are a great way to help in developing hand-eye coordination. Often puzzles require a lot of trial and error, requiring a child to move and manipulate the piece into place. This requires a lot of hand-eye coordination.

Problem Solving

What is the point of doing a puzzle? To complete it of course! Whether it be a 12 piece puzzle or thousands of pieces puzzles are all about trial and error.

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When children are playing with puzzles, they must think and develop strategies on how they will complete the puzzle. This process requires cognitive skills such as reasoning and problem-solving skills, developing solutions. These are life skills they will take with them to their adulthood.

Persistence & Patients 

Puzzles can take a lot of time, effort and concentration. With some puzzles being over a thousand pieces and very complicated, being able to push through and complete the puzzle teaches a child that with persistence and patients they can achieve any goal.

Social

Puzzles are a great way to bring people together. Working together to develop a strategy, and cooperating together to complete a puzzle helps to develop many social skills. Nothing brings people together more than completing a common goal.

Self Esteem

Nothing boost self-esteem and self-worth more than accomplishing a goal. For children having something tangle-able to look back and say “Hey I did that” provides such a great sense of pride and achievement within themselves.  Working around issues and overcoming challenges boost their self-confidence and self-esteem, preparing them for other challenges in life.

Puzzles are not only a great source of fun but provide so many educational benefits! Have fun puzzling!