Something is amiss in Canada. A 2014 UNICEF report compared the health and development of children in Canada with 28 other wealthy nations. In spite of being a G8 country, Canada's children rank number 17th, a status that has not budged in the last 10 years. The question is, why are these problems still so widespread?
If the "Lake of Fire" fiasco that cost the Wildrose the last election is any indication, Albertans overwhelmingly vote against a party that smells of promoting homophobia, so there is no need to seek a "safe middle ground" on this wedge issue. In fact, the "middle ground" is not so politically safe for right wing parties. In two years, it will be far less safe. So why is Prentice talking tough but actually equivocating on an issue for which he clearly has overwhelming public support?
So when the traditional North American holidays roll around, don't expect me to sanitize them. I don't expect my brother-in-law to dial down Hannukah thinking I'd find it offensive. I don't expect my mayor to skip Eid because I don't celebrate it. I look forward to the Chinese New Year parade and so do my kids. They shouldn't stop it because I'm not Chinese.
Some parents, my husband and I included, are eager to ship their kid off to school. But some children need more time to get in the proper mindset of heading back to the classroom. I think with the right preparation most kids can feel eager to head back to the schoolyard. Here are some tips for parents and kids alike to get excited about the school year.
Research in pedagogy shows that children learn much better in smaller classrooms. Tim Hudak, if elected, has promised to increase classroom sizes and the student-teacher ratios. The Ontario elections could very well be a vote on the learning outcomes for millions of school-going children. Tim Hudak, the leader of the Ontario's Progressive Conservatives, is campaigning to increase the classroom size by two to three students and the student-teacher ratio, in addition to numerous other proposed cuts to the Ontario's education system. This may require parents to learn more about learning before they vote on June 12.
When a child's stress levels are too high various systems for thinking and metabolic recovery are compromised. The signs of when this is happening show up in the child's behaviour, or mood, or attention, or for that matter, physical well-being. Canadian children are dealing with far too much stress today.
The fact is our student populations are becoming more diverse, though that's barely mirrored in the staff make-up of most urban schools. And while there is recognition of a need to hire teachers that better reflect the student population, reaching that goal remains a long way off considering the comparably low number of teachers who self-identify as visible minorities. In the meantime, we need to foster culturally sensitive and inclusive schools where student engagement leads to higher graduation rates, the de-glamorization of gangs, and the nurturing of productive citizens of all backgrounds.
I was raised on a dairy farm in Belledune, a small community on New Brunswick's North Shore. By the time I showed up to school in the fall of 1968, the schoolhouse was bordered by a smelter on one side and a fertilizer plant on the other. I started hearing a little voice inside me saying, "Do something!"
A British couple has been fined 1,800 dollars (approximately) for taking their two kids to Greece for one week during the school year. Their vacation contravened a new British law that forbids missing school for a vacation. I have no issue with pulling your kids out of school for vacation. I think kids learn a lot more from experience than they do from sitting at a desk.
Nobody ever tells you about lice. Seriously, though, there should be a handbook that they give you when your child goes into any kind of childcare or school facility warning you of the perils you will face as a parent. Then, at least, you will be fully educated and may actually decide that the person homeschooling their child on your street may just actually have the right idea. Kids are gross.
For children and youth with learning disabilities, school is complicated and back to school can be very different. Academic performance is interrupted by any number of difficulties, and for some students, expectations of social etiquette and self-sufficiency frequently create an environment ripe for true catastrophes.
It's senior kindergarten. My son is five. We don't need calculators or binders. Heck, we don't even need pencils or paper. So why have I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've forgotten something? And now I'm writing this post as my to-do list as we ease back into the routine in which most kids thrive and most parents rejoice. Maybe it'll help you, too.
Our son graduated from high school in June. He's grateful. Living in North America with access to public school is a luxury that we will never take for granted. As he walked across the stage, I thought about the 60 million children in our world who are not getting an education. An education is the way out of poverty and the ultimate peace weapon to end war.