Foods That Stimulate Development for Your Child

Foods that Stimulate Development for Children

The intellectual and neurological development of your child can be impacted by many things. Genetics, lifestyle, geographical influences, and even hormones can make a difference in how they grow.  But, nutrition can also play a major role. Physical wellness is crucial to intellectual growth, and that starts by eating a diet that stimulates development, rather than hinders it.

Most people understand the basics of healthy eating. But, you may not understand that certain foods are better than others for developmental health. It’s especially important to choose the right foods for your child if they are dealing with nutritionally-based diseases, such as diabetes or prediabetes. Finding a balance between foods that will help their body while stimulating neuro-developmental growth.

Even if your child is the picture of perfect physical health, there are ways to manage their diet that will help to stimulate development and make getting through school easier for them. So, next time you get ready to make your grocery list, keep these ideas in mind.

Understanding “Brain Food”

The years your children are in school are crucial for their intellectual development. The food they eat during that time needs to function as fuel for their brain. We often think of food as fuel for the body, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just as important to feed your child’s mental muscles as their physical ones.

Different foods work in a variety of ways to improve neuro-developmental growth. Some of the best “brain foods” to include in your child’s diet include:

  • Eggs – Boost concentration
  • Greek yogurt – Keeps brain cells strong so they can send/receive information efficiently
  • Kale – Helps brain cells to grow
  • Fish – The Vitamin D protects the brain from memory loss
  • Apples – Boost energy naturally while fighting mental decline

As you can see, these are very basic ingredients, but they go a long way. You might have to get creative with some of the ways you cook and serve them. And, this list certainly isn’t exclusive. Things like nuts, seeds, oatmeal, and berries are also great brain food options. The more you research different foods, the easier it will be to incorporate ingredients your child already likes into their daily diet more frequently.

Knowing What to Avoid

There aren’t necessarily any foods that need to be “off-limits” for your child. Building a healthy nutritional foundation for them lets them understand why healthy eating is important and can help them to turn it into a lifelong practice. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a piece of candy or a cookie sometimes. Deprivation rarely works in adult diets, and it can certainly be more difficult for kids.

But, that doesn’t mean those “treats” should be eaten regularly.

As you saw above, some foods can stimulate intellectual growth. As you might expect, some can hinder it. Some of the worst foods for brain health include:

  • Sugary drinks and sodas
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Highly processed foods
  • Aspartame

Notice a pattern? The more process and filled with sugar something is, the worse it typically is for the brain. So, while you might think a sugary snack or energy drink will boost your child’s productivity, think again. They’ll be likely to “crash” later from the sugar, and if those are continued components of their diet, it could have long-term effects. Instead, introduce productivity-boosting foods like complex carbs, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins.

Healthy Eating Should Be Part of the Routine

While a diverse diet is a wonderful way to stimulate intellectual growth, it should only be one piece of the puzzle. When you make a healthy diet for a child part of their everyday routine, it becomes a handy component in their wellness toolbox. But, there are other “tools” in there that will make a big difference in their overall well-being and neuro-developmental growth, too.

Those components could be things like getting enough sleep each night, spending time with friends and family, and incorporating self-care into their everyday routine. Yes, kids need to practice self-care, too! It could be something as simple as taking a break in a quiet room or spending a few minutes outside to relax.

As a parent, this kind of routine will do several things for your child. First, it will provide them with a sense of comfort and familiarity. They’re less likely to be overwhelmed by stress, which can negatively impact their mental well-being.

A healthy routine will also set them up for positive lifelong habits. They’ll carry the basics of their routine with them well into adulthood, so you can feel confident that they will continue to value their mental and physical well-being throughout life.

There are plenty of healthy ways to feed your child. But, the next time you shop and prepare meals, keep more than just their physical health in mind. Start including ingredients that will stimulate their intellectual development, as well.

Block Programming and Developing Computational Thinking

Block Programming and Developing Computational Thinking

Faced with the new multidisciplinary challenges posed by the Information Societyeducation must continue to act as a guide so that children and young people can manage in an increasingly complex environment. And it is in this context where computational thinking, driven by the development of new digital tools, has become the backbone for the acquisition of valuable skills.

Therefore, today we want to make a practical approach to this concept through block programming, as it is an ideal option to develop some of these skills, such as creativity or communication of ideas. It is also an enjoyable way for students to learn difficult concepts.

Block programming, from theory to practice in computational thinking

To facilitate the learning of computational thinking at an early age, it is advisable to develop its theoretical concepts through didactic activities that serve to reinforce what has already been learned. Thus, ProFuturo‘s resource ‘Introduction to block programming’ has been created and designed so that teachers can explore with their students the practical applications of this problem-solving methodology.

Starting from the base, programming is an instrumental competence that is linked to the cognitive ability that is computational thinking. For its development, codes are used that, correctly structured and organized, give rise to applications that have the ability to execute commands and carry out tasks.

However, these codes are written in specific complex languages that are difficult to assimilate. Especially in primary education, although fortunately we have the block methodology to iron out these edges.

The practical and fun solution to take the first steps in programming.

Block programming compacts codes into logical and ordered sequences of instructions (blocks). That is, it creates figures that embody individual events or functions and that have the ability to connect graphically with each other, to generate one or more logical sequences of actions; and, therefore, to end up giving rise to simple programs. In this way, this methodology allows to handle, in a tangible and practical way, something as abstract as code; and it does it through fun and entertaining exercises that encourage further discovery.

This is something that students appreciate, because through this simple learning process they can see in real time the results of their work and evaluate the incorporation of new parameters. And also the teachers, because, even in cases where they have little or no skills in the subject, they can easily assimilate the concepts of basic programming involved in this solution, and therefore also the core area of computational thinking that is explored with it.

What does ProFuturo’s block training proposal consist of?

In its commitment to innovation and development processes in teaching, ProFuturo makes the  resource ‘Introduction to block programming available to teachers.

But what are the aspects that make this unit unique? Here are some of its key features:

  • It has been designed using the visual block language Scratch. This is specifically designed for children to learn to how to programme.
  • It also makes a small approximation to other options available in the market, such as Pocket Code and Blockly.
  • Its contents are aimed at students between the ages of 8 and 12, who have experience in the use of computers and who have basic knowledge of computer language, logical thinking and the use of programming in playful environments.
  • Its development is progressive, as it progresses step by step, from the basics to the approach of a final challenge. In it, students can put into practice everything they have learned about block programming through Scratch.
  • It provides the fundamental concepts of block programming from a fully creative approach, as it invites children and young people to make the animation of a character and encourages them to share their ideas using this simple language.
  • It generates memorable and fun experiences, which are a constant motivation to adequately face the resolution of problems that arise in class.
  • Not only does it provide specific skills, but it also sets goals to achieve transversal competencies that are basic for the personal and human development of the students.

In short, the unit ‘Introduction to block programming’ allows to take a step further in learning the keys to computational thinking. Its great advantage is that it simplifies the most complex programming concepts and frames them in a visual and attractive context, so that children feel stimulated when developing their skills.

A Guide to Tablets In 2022 For Schools

Tablets for Schools

These days you don’t need a full laptop for the purposes of education. A lot of the educational software that your child will use is delivered over the Internet as Software-as-a-Service, meaning all they need to access it is a browser. As a result, the lighter, smaller form factor of a tablet makes a lot of sense as the companion to their classwork.

The excellent battery life and comfortable user experience of tablets make them an easier choice for education. However, there are a number of considerations to make when shopping for a tablet for school use – cost, durability, performance, and versatility are all core considerations. With that in mind, here are some of the top tablet picks for Australian students moving into the new year:

Amazon Fire HD 10

The Amazon Fire HD 10 is a few years old now – the model was first released back in 2019, but it remains one of the best choices for any application. It offers solid performance, a good battery life, and a high-quality screen, which makes it ideal for reading and the kind of lengthy study sessions that students get up to.

The only downside is that the device has a mediocre speaker and camera – which can be an issue for video calls – especially if your child is working from home, or in group projects with their classmates – and has a limited app selection (though that’s less relevant into the device’s value as a study device).

It’s important to note that if you purchase a tablet that has an operating system that is specifically for kids, then you may not be able to run apps like Netflix or Disney Channel for their after work entertainment. However you could solve this issue with a streaming device if you wanted to.

Apple iPad/iPad Mini

The gold standard in tablets for a reason, the Apple iPad and iPad Mini have it all-powerful processors, pristine displays, excellent security, a massive range of apps and they’re incredibly easy to use and well-supported with accessories like pens and keyboards. The iPad Mini in particular is also as light as a feather.

The only downside to all of this is that these devices are expensive and, depending on how rough your child is with their school equipment, you might not want to be replacing these frequently.

Lenovo Tab 4 8

Lenovo is a brand synonymous with work computing, and Tab 4 8 lives up to those expectations. It’s not the most flashy device, but it is affordable, offers good performance, and, most critically, has excellent battery life. Students need their devices to be genuine all-day workhorses, and Lenovo has focused on delivering that in its products. The cons to the Tab 4 8 are that it has poor camera quality and lacks dual-band Wi-Fi, so it’s not up to the most demanding online applications, but then again, your child won’t likely need to worry about that.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1

Samsung is running second only to Apple as the prestige brand for tablets, and the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 is a good example of why. It’s much more affordable than Apple products, but features a long-lasting battery, makes use of lightweight metal to keep the weight down, and has a luxurious 10.1-inch HD display.

Additionally, unlike many other tablet manufacturers, Samsung knows its cameras, and the Tab takes excellent photos. The only downside is that it only has 2GB of Memory, which will make higher-end applications like video editing a challenge for your child.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

Another Lenovo! This one makes the list because its unique features are almost perfectly aligned with school work. The big “trick” of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is that it has a projector integrated into it. That means that your child will be able to do classroom presentations directly from the tablet.

It’s also a robust device designed around multimedia, which is useful in modern classrooms with the amount of video and imagery they work with. The only downside is that it is quite heavy thanks to all that technology built into it.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Microsoft’s tablet is an expensive one, but that makes sense when you consider what it offers. It’s the full PC experience with a tablet form factor, and even has a “cover” that doubles as a keyboard.

The Surface Go 2 has all the power that your child will need for work and for play (just watch the hours spent gaming instead of working!), comes combined with pristine clarity on the screen, and has some powerful chips underneath that can handle any task thrown at them. It’s also built by Microsoft for the working environment, so has all the collaboration and cloud tools that your child will need to succeed.

Final thoughts

There is an almost endless range of tablets to choose between, to suit every budget, however, it’s important to find the right one that will help your child with their own specific educational outcomes. It’s a good idea to talk to teachers to learn exactly how computers are used in the classwork and then, armed with that knowledge, search out a tablet with a feature set that best matches those workloads.

Free Learning Apps to Help Students Develop Critical Thinking

Free Educational Apps to Help students Develop Critical Thinking

We are excited to share two new learning apps in development for teachers. These educational apps are available for use now through any browser and have been created to assist in developing critical thinking in students. They are also ideal for parents, or anyone interested in learning about logical fallacies.

The apps are Foolacy and FactOpy. Both apps are in Beta Preview to get suggestions, find bugs and expand content.

As an early adopter you can contribute while teaching kids critical thinking.  Before we present these educational tools and resources, let us first review why teaching these concepts to kids is so important. The study of critical thinking and logical fallacies equip anyone of any age to ask questions before they make a statement of fact or form an opinion about a subject.

It’s easy for us to look at the world five hundred years ago and ridicule a societies lack of knowledge about science, the world and our place the universe. But let’s not be too hasty to look down on past cultures for their naivety.  We have enough problems of our own.  Our world today is very polarized and divisive. One could argue that this is due to a lack of training in critical thinking and even less teaching about logical fallacies.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is essential for research to make an informed decision. It evaluates multiple sources of information objectively. Critical thinking is vital to make kids better global citizens. It empowers them to be sounder in their thinking and strong in their ability to distinguish between what is proven and that which is unfounded.

Logical Fallacies

Separate from critical thinking, but still related, logical fallacies are mistaken beliefs based on unsound arguments. While critical thinking equips one with the necessary tools to evaluate information, a study of common types of logical fallacies can enable those who wish to persuade an audience.  This is done by using the appearance of logic, which ends up in an incorrect conclusion.

Educational Tools that Engage Students

The new educational apps we’ve referenced were born out of a need to fill the gap for educators. There just isn’t much out there within this area of teaching.  The goal is to reach young minds before they develop insufficient methods of forming opinions about especially critical issues.

One  issue is that people do not read enough. This includes a lack of discipline by most to not gather information from multiple news sources when researching subjects. Beyond reading, we also need to develop critical thinking skills to properly reason for ourselves when facts to not seem clear.

These apps are safe and free to use.  Anyone can access them to educate themselves.  At the very core, they teach skills that provide proper thinking to solve any problem. Each app features a teacher login in order to assign tests.  There is no need for students to login to take the tests.

1. Foolacy

The first one is Foolacy. It teaches logical fallacies. The app has quizzes and drills to practice analyzing arguments. It has over seven hundred sample arguments. Foolacy solves the problem to the question:  Why Change Fallacies? It offers various levels of difficulty and includes themes such as Cherry Picking, Out of Context, Common Sense, Herd Mentality and Scare Tactics.  There are many more areas to explore.

2. FactOpy

What is fact and what is opinion? FactOpy provides a straightforward way to quiz your brain about how easily you can determine fact from opinion. One might think that FacOpy would not be a challenge for adults.  However, in today’s world of divided opinions and conspiracy therapies it is a good test for any age. It is a simple, yet powerful tool to help us develop our critical thinking skills, as well as teach younger minds.

While brain games are common for the development of children of all ages, it is not so clear how to teach critical thinking.  There are limited resources in this area, so these apps fill a great gap for teacher, as well as parents.

These learning apps were created by David Hundsness from Jupiter Ed.  He is also the founder of the Critical Thinking Project.

The Critical Thinking Project

Critical thinking is very important to make better decisions and to tell when someone is trying to manipulate us, such as a politician, salesman or advertisement.  But how exactly do we teach that?  Skills in other subjects are clearly defined.  For example, in math you start with counting and work your way up.  However, the building blocks for critical thinking seem unclear. It’s not as simple as starting with a discussion with the goal of arriving at critical thinking, especially when you have a classroom of students – all with their own unique sets of preconceived notions.

The critical thinking and logical fallacies teaching featured in the Foolacy and FactOpy apps feature specific skills to help teach these concepts.

Critical thinking skills include;

  • Correlation versus causation
  • Assessing credibility and bias
  • Understanding logical fallacies
  • Detecting deceptive use of statistics
  • Knowing the experimental method versus anecdotal evidence

For more information about critical thinking skills, visit criticalthinkingproject.org.  You’ll find more detail and data about critical thinking, as well as the development of free curriculum apps for specific skills.  The mission of this project is to improve K-12 instruction of critical thinking and logical fallacies. The launching of the learning apps introduced are an excellent way to begin for teachers in school and parents at home.

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