Category Archives: Education

Musicals in Primary Schools

The Lion King – Canadian Lead

My child is fortunate enough to attend a school that holds a major school production every second year.  It was amazing watching the transformation of my child into the character he was to play. Opening night and closing night were the same night, and I was there in the very highest seat crying with pride when he came on stage looking strong, and confident.

I was so proud of the entire school that night, all the performers were incredibly talented and passionate. To engage an entire school takes a lot of effort and inspiration (and hard work) and so I send out a huge thank you to the entire teaching staff who helped make it a magical night. One that me and my son will cherish for a very long time.

I think the Arts, especially the Performing Arts, are essential to producing children who are resilient and confident. It takes them out of their own heads and worlds and introduces them to the magic of make believe.

 

 

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Words as a tool of change

An inspirational speech from Angie Thomas:

Raising a low tech child

My son is low tech, has been since he was born. He’s not plugged into anything apart from an hour of computer games in the morning on his school holidays – which he uses to play Age of Empires or Minecraft.

Apart from that, he plays with his lego, army dudes, dinosaurs, toys or he reads books. Real books – ones that you lay on your bed, couch or in your beanbag to read. He’s a reader, because we’ve modeled reading to him. It’s not hard, ever since he was born, he’s been read to, and we’ve sat and read with him. In the early days it would be simple picture books, and he would sit cuddled up and watch as I read to him. His dad would sit and read to him, and we would discuss the books.

We didn’t set out to teach him his alphabet or his numbers before school, but when he started primary, he was equipped with a love of learning. His reading was helped by his decision to participate in the MS Readathon when he was aged six. He set his goal for 100 books in a month. He achieved that, by sitting and reading up to six picture books a night, and interspersing that with longer Geronimo Stilton books that took several nights to finish. But he did it, and it was amazing the leap forward that made across his subjects.

His ability to read has helped across all of his subjects. There is a direct link to literacy and learning in the research being published…. He’s the kid who gets excited when the teacher says it’s quiet reading time, and to get out your books. He carries books with him to read when he’s having to wait anywhere – and he’s not attached to a screen to be entertained. He’s following in my footsteps, I’m the person who you see on public transport happily reading a book, and not immersed in the digital world, but actually reading a hard copy book…..

It is possible to raise children who are literate and still able to navigate the future world. He’s having to use an ipad this year as part of the school program this year, and this I hope will not mean the end to hours spent reading his awesome collection of books. I don’t want to see him sucked into the empty vacuum that exists where there is an overwhelming urge to be connected to the net 24/7. Because there is life in the low tech world, and it’s one that values the communities we live in, where little children can help raise funds for charities through reading…..

 

Low tech child raising in a high tech world

I’m upfront here about my wish to install in my own child a very low tech childhood. Yes I do let him use the computer once a day on school holidays to play computer games for an  hour, or research his favourite television shows – under supervision. But he doesn’t have access to a smart phone, an Ipad or any of the other devices that a lot of other children his age appear to have. (We have a PS2 but that’s rarely used too).

We’re the rare family, who when we go out, we all sit together and talk. No one has a screen at the table, and I don’t babysit my child with a screen. We do have a take away bag filled with drawing paper, pens, textas, crayons, and books to read. So if he does finish early and wants to draw, then we do let him – it gives us that extra few minutes to catch up with him, and finish our meal.

However I look around and see the number of children propped in front of a screen – the parent sits immersed in their digital world and the children each have a screen each. There is no or limited conversation going on. I wonder if they perform this ritual in their own homes and if so how much of the quality face time they give each other. (Or is updating their twitter or facebook posts that important?).

We’ve also read to our child since he was born. Passing to him the greatest opportunity ever – the written word. He thrilled me last year when I walked passed his room and he was sitting on his bed with a book in his hands devouring the pages. This to me was hitting the goldmine.

Call me old fashioned but the book is the ultimate entertainment device. It needs no electricity, no batteries, but it fuels the imagination like nothing else. Transporting you to ancient worlds or far flung universes – it will take you where you want and back again.

I also feel that the jury is still out about what happens when we expose young brains to the high tech devices too early. I want to raise a child who can use his imagination when he’s bored, to pick up a book, play in the sandpit, chase the dog, to transport himself into his imagination. Not be fed worlds to him by a screen. So far my son seems to be enjoying the fact he can entertain himself, and the children who approach our table when we’re out eating, attracted by the child who sits drawing elaborate worlds, who ask if they can draw please, reinforce my belief that we’re on the right track.

Life churns on

So here I am again, working on the assignment – and yes I know, am I really working on an assignment when I’m writing this?

Well yes I am – because I’m allowing my old sub conscious to churn away, I’m trying to get my word count down, which I think is harder than writing it, as I’ve lovingly crafted each and every word, and now I have to cut them down, without losing the complete picture I’ve drawn…..

 

Gloomy winter day

So I’m back working on that assignment – and yes I’m now hitting the coconut oil. Yep the coconut oil.

I’d been reading a lot of hype about it in Sarah Wilson’s I quit Sugar book and then lo and behold what did I turn on while folding the washing but this from Doctor Oz.

Strange as this might sound, for me it’s working. Cravings for sweet stuff while I write – have gone….and I’m feeling more satisfied with what I eat (lots of veggies and protein) that I’m no longer craving.

We’ll see how long this lasts and whether I see any improvement in my battle with my menopausal symptoms too!

how to make your own almond milk

This is a must for those of us living with dairy intolerances

The Muffin Myth

how to make almond milk // the muffin mythWhen I first moved to Sweden I had a list of foodstuffs I needed to source out in order to ensure my happiness. Among other things, tofu, nutritional yeast, and soy milk were must haves. I’ve always been a soy milk girl when it comes to non-dairy milks, though I know that these days it isn’t particularly in vogue and people are slurping back almond milk like nobody’s business. I still treat myself to soy milk from time to time, but I don’t often buy it. My gripes with most store-bought nut milks are threefold. First, I find the protein : fat ratio is usually not what I’m looking for, second, there is usually a lot of added sugar, and third, most are loaded with all kinds of thickeners, stabilizers, and preservatives.

how to make your own almond milk // the muffin myth

I’ve come around to almond milk lately, especially when it’s home made. Soak, blend, strain, and boom! You’ve milked those…

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