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  • 7 Ways to Help Kids Develop Creative Thinking

    by LearnEd

    Boy in a box prentending to fly

     

    Fostering Creative Thinking

    "Creative thinking is a skill that is very important for success in college and career," says Emily Lai, Director at Pearson's Center for Product Design Research and Efficacy.

    Emily says creative thought is essential for cultivating a child's love of learning—and equipping them with the skills they need for success in life.

    Where High Achievers Falls Short

    In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant wrote about how child prodigies who excel early in education may not perform so well later in life. He says in doing everything that they're supposed to do—and doing it well—early achievers are not necessarily developing the creativity that comes with coloring outside the lines.

    7 tips for creative thinking

    "What holds them back," writes Adam, "is that they don't learn to be original."

    "They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers."

    7 Ways to Help Kids Develop Creative Thinking

    Emily Lai offers these strategies to parents and teachers to help encourage kids to use creative thinking strategies and adopt creative thinking attitudes:


     


    You can find more resources for parents at ParentToolkit.com. Please visit our Facebook page to share tips and information on what's most relevant to parents and families when it comes to kids and learning.

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  • 3 Ways to Prepare Your Child for the College Application Process

    by LearnEd

    Students at the start line

    The Graduating Class of 2025

    It's possible that students who are in third grade today will make up the largest-ever pool of U.S. college applicants when they graduate high school in 2025, according to analysis by the Pew Research Center.

    Readiness Box

    Dr. Kimberly O'Malley, a senior researcher at Pearson, says it's important for students to start preparing for college or career success early.

    "Our research shows that learning lessons about things that go beyond academic achievement, like motivation or behavior, are key factors in a student's preparation for college," Kimberly says. "The good news," she says, "is that we can measure these factors as early as middle school, when there's time to intervene and help students get on track."

    Parents and College Readiness

    Parents play a fundamental role in their child’s education, especially as a partner with teachers and schools. Seventy-eight percent of parents acknowledge their role and say they sometimes unfairly blame schools for things that should be their responsibility, according to a 2015 national survey of parents conducted for NBC news.

    Here are three ways parents can develop their child's learning skills at any age:


     

    Seek out grade-appropriate tips for helping your child strengthen their learning abilities at every stage—in categories ranging from academic achievement, health and wellness, and social and emotional development. Parent Toolkit, produced by NBC News and supported by Pearson, provides benchmarks for students in these areas for each grade from pre-K through 12th grade.


     

    College Ready Box2

    Choose educational games to make learning fun. There are a number of options for parents to choose from in this area, including FunBrain, which offers more than 100 free educational games, online books, and comics suitable for kids in preschool and up to the 8th grade.


     

    College Ready Box 3

    Constantly seek opportunities to enhance your child’s learning. Parents can help their child set future goals, like, for example, college graduation. Discus the benefits of college and support their child’s passions by emphasizing on a regular basis how math, science, and social studies – or whatever subject interests them—can be a college major and/or a potential career track. Parents can take their child on college campus visits and for information sessions in order to bring a level of grounded reality to their goals and aspirations.

     

    You can find additional resources for parents at ParentToolkit.com. Please visit our Facebook page to share tips and information about what's most relevant to parents and caregivers when it comes to kids and learning.

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  • How Character Traits Can Make Learning Better

    by LearnEd

    Photo of a green shoot

    Predicting College Readiness

    “It’s important to educate the whole child,” says Dr. Kimberly O’Malley, a senior researcher at Pearson.

    trait quote box

    “This year we did a study with middle school-aged students," Kimberly explains. "We looked at student achievement, but also motivation, behavior, social engagement, family circumstances and school characteristics. We learned that motivation and behavior together are substantially more important predictors of college readiness than achievement alone.”

    The Most Admired Character Traits

    Parents were asked in a 2015 Pew Research Center survey about the character traits they considered most important. Honesty and ethics topped the list that year. One year before, it was responsibility. Another study, the 2015 State of Parenting survey, found respect for others was the number one quality parents sought to cultivate in their children.

    Here are some practical ways parents can foster a child's character development as it relates to their learning:

    Character Traits


    Trait Box 1

    Ninety-four percent of parents in a 2014 Pew Research Center poll listed responsibility as an important trait for their child to possess. One tool that parents can use to teach and instill responsibility is the Talking With Trees online resource hub, which offers downloadable coloring pages that teach good character traits using illustrations and real-world examples.


    Trait Box 2

    Sixty-two percent of parents in a 2015 Pew Research Center poll said it’s extremely important for their child to be hardworking as an adult. One of the first steps to teaching the value of hard work is increasing the opportunities for children to do some work themselves.

    A suggestion: Start small by assigning simple chores and allowing your child to work alone to complete tasks.


    Trait Box 3

    Seventy-one percent of parents in the 2015 Pew poll cited honesty and ethics as important values.  Check out this tips guide from Making Caring Common, a project of Harvard University’s graduate school of education.

    A suggestion: Pick one day of the week and make notes of how honest you and you child were that day. Discuss your notes together. What are the things that surprise you?

     

    You can find additional resources for parents at ParentToolkit.com. Please visit our Facebook page to share tips and information about what's most relevant to parents and caregivers when it comes to kids and learning.

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  • Five Puzzling Tips for You and Your Kids

    by LearnEd

    Puzzle on a table

    puzzles

    Read on to find a puzzle challenge ....

    With the latest and greatest technological gadgets, it can be puzzling how to entertain your kids. Sometimes the simpler toys, like board games, cards and puzzles can be just as entertaining as the gadgets.

    They can also be beneficial for your child’s growth and development.

    In celebration of National Puzzle Day, a national early childhood literacy non-profit called the Parent-Child Home Program has these tips on how to engage the family in puzzles to use motor skills, practice problem solving and work on task-oriented goals:


    1. Use Your “Magic Finger”

    Before beginning to piece the puzzle together, ask your kids to point out things they see and recognize. Depending on their age, ask them questions about the puzzle. For younger kids, ask them what kinds of items they see (animals, buildings or cars) or what kinds of colors or shapes they see (circle, hexagon, green or blue). For older kids, engage in some math problems asking how many puzzle pieces there are or by dividing the puzzle pieces by the number of people putting the puzzle together.

    Younger children may find it difficult to fit the pieces into place, and that’s okay! Be patient and adapt the activity to suit your child’s needs and skill level.


    conversation

    2. Create Conversation

    One of the most foundational supports for cognitive and social-emotional development is language use and conversation. While pointing out colors, sizes, shapes and numbers, ask open-ended questions to strike up more conversation. Ask questions like: What objects in this room are the same color or size as that puzzle piece?


    3. Keep In Mind the Purpose

    Use every opportunity to help your children consciously attend to the activity at hand. This will support their cognitive development and promote language use. If they seem distracted, start a conversation around what they are instead interested in, perhaps connecting it back to the activity. They will likely come back to the puzzle on their own. When they do, help them reengage and make choices by asking if a puzzle piece you put down seems like the right fit.


    4. Think Outside the Box!

    Puzzles don’t have to be conventional, so get creative!

    • Mix all of the puzzle pieces in a bag or bowl and take turns pulling one out and naming it – this can easily be turned into a game of charades! This game works great with a farm puzzle.
    • Play a memory game by laying out all of the puzzle pieces and giving your children time to examine all the pieces. While they have their eyes closed, take one piece away and see if they can figure out which one is missing. Then give your child a turn to stump you!
    • With paper and writing utensils, invite your children to trace the puzzle pieces, and then color it in with their own details.

    You've come to the puzzle challenge! Congratulations. (Scroll down below the image for the answer.)

    ANSWER: Throw the ball straight up in the air.

    The Parent-Child Home Program’s (PCHP) nationwide network of program sites provides low-income families with the necessary skills and tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Together we are strengthening families and communities, and preparing the workforce of the future.

     

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