Frequently Asked Questions

" I am not a teacher, but an awakener. " - Robert Frost

School Selection

Preschool is the first step on the academic journey of child. It can serve as the foundation for all the future learning. A child not only leanrs the basics like the alphabet and numbers from preschool but also social skills like how to share, how to interact with other kids, how to follow directions. When you decide your child is ready for preschool, finding the right preschool can be a tiring process. Preschool can start as early as 2 depending on the program you choose.
Preschool admissions may be throughtout the year. Some may start in January and may hold open houses even sooner. So its better you start looking for preschools in September i.e a year before your child will be attending the preschool -- in many cases this is when the child is 2. Search preschool in your location on www.schoolcircuit.in and then shortlist the school based on the eligibility and your requirement.
• Every application for the admission of child belonging to weaker section shall be accompanied by an income certificate of parent, issued by the Revenue Officer not below the rank of Tehsildar. • Every application for the admission of child belonging to SC, ST, VJNT, OBC, and SBC shall be accompanied by a caste certificate issued by a revenue officer not below the rank of Deputy Collector or any other competent authority, in the name of child or his parent or guardian. • Every such application shall be accompanied by a proof of residence of the child or parent or guardian, such as, Aadhar Card or Passport or Election Photo Identity Card or Electricity bill or Telephone bill or Water bill or a House Tax receipt.

Preschool is a term used to refer to a setting or place which children under statutory school age attend to learn through play with the help of age related toys and activities. There are six common types of preschools. A brief description of each of these preschools is given below:

Montessori: Montessori program was suggested by Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. Montessori approach is based on nature and creativity with an emphasis on hands-on learning. Children are allowed to do structured activities guided by teachers and each child is expected to develop skills and make progress at his / her own pace. Every child is considered as one individual with his / her own capabilities. Montessori schools are designed for toddlers. Many such schools have primary and middle school grades. Very few include high school grades.

Waldorf: Waldorf approach was developed by Rudolph Steiner, an Austrian writer. He believed that only education could bring about a change in the society. According to him, a person has three aspects namely spirit, soul and body. The teaching style offered by him strives to develop these three areas of a child. Children are engaged in creative free play rather than computer or TV related activities. Its aim is to generate a true enthusiasm for learning in kids and to bring out their natural talents. Instruction is led by teachers who have a certification of waldorf.

Reggio Emilia: Reggio Emilia schools were originally formed in Italy but many schools now-a-days follow their idea. Like Montessori and Waldorf, these schools were aimed at educating children from poor families. This method encourages the children to explore and focus on the community as well as self-expression. There is no formal curriculum for reference as Reggio Emilia is just a theory which can be put into practice.

Progressive Schools: The above three mentioned (montessori, waldorf and reggio emilia) schools are often categorized as progressive schools. There are hundreds of preschools which are not following any of the above preschool programs in its true essence. They make use of methods, techniques and philosophies which are a mix of different types of progressive schools.

HighScope: HighScope program is based on the idea that children need active involvement with people, events, ideas and materials. This approach has a shared style curriculum where children and adults learn together. It is very close to montessori in its belief that children learn best when they are involved into something which is of interest to them. They are allowed to choose activities and teachers support their independence.

Bank Street: Bank Street approach is proposed by John Dewy,. It emphasizes the importance of social, mental, physical and emotional growth of a preschool child. In this program, child is engaged actively in different situations to learn about the world through experience. Every child is expected to learn at his / her own pace where teachers provide full guidance and support. Instead of learning through play, children are encouraged to do hands-on activities such puzzles, building blocks, clay etc.

 Deciding when to start the academic journey of the kid is a difficult task – finding out if my kid is ready to go to preschool – spend 2 hours – learn, talk, share ...

Preschool is 2 years before the child goes to kindergarten. Generally, the criteria of preschool is 3 yrs old children. But a preschool may take child as young as 2 yrs old. Totally depends on individual preschools.

Its ok to send your child to preschool at 3 yrs old or a little late – may be next semester.

What matters is whether he is ready?

  1. Is he potty trained ?

Some preschools require that the child is potty trained or atleast is in the process of learning it. He should atleast know when he wants to visit the toilet. He should be little independent in terms of wearing his own shoes, taking care of himself – like wiping his face, washing hands.

     2. Does he follow instructions?

Next important point is whether child can understand what you speak and follow it – like walking in a line, sorting the stuff, keeping books in its place, cleaning after he has finished playing. You can start assigning small stuff at home to your kid and see he understands your instructions. He will be happy to help you in your daily stuff.

     3. Can he talk properly and express himself ?

Does he talk and are you able to understand him ? The child should be able to hear and talk properly. He should be able to form short sentences and should be able to describe his experience. If you think he is not speaking much, check with your paediatrician.

     4. Can he stay away from you for few hours ?

Its difficult for child in first few weeks of preschool – to separate from their parents and stay in preschool. The transition is easier for child and parents if he is used to staying for few hours without parents. If your child hasn’t been used to it, start with half an hour or so. You can start by asking for help from a friend or family member to baby sit while you go out for sometime.

No more standing in long queues for the admission form, keeping track of admission dates. Here are some practical guidelines to select a good school for the child. This is not a magic formula but will definitely help you to select a good school –

  • First things first – what suits best to your child and family ? What kind of environment is preferred ? A visit to schools and talking to parents will help. Or alternatively, you can visit schoolcircuit.in and check the website with the school info and reviews and comments about the school. Its an iterative process but as you find out more, you will better understand your requirements.

For eg. Does your child work well in a government school or a private school? More emphasis on academics or a school with extra-curricular activities like swimming, football, dance ? Co-ed or boys or girls school ?

 

  • What school curriculum you prefer ? CBSE or ICSE or IB or State board. Check them to understand the model these boards follow.

 

  • Teachers and the staff

Quality of the staff and teachers of the school is very important factor in the success of the school and students. Talk to other parents whose kids go to that school - to get an idea of the qualification of teachers and the experience level. Please check the details about the school Principal - a good principal can drive a school to good heights.

  • Student-teacher ratio

Lower the better i.e. more teachers for a fixed class of students. Specially in lower classes, a lower student-teacher ratio is desirable.

 

  • Teaching methods and assessment

What teaching method is applied in school? Children are taught by textbooks or workbooks. Are there class discussions and projects?

How is child assessment done ? Exams, weekly/monthly tests, quizzes, continuous assessment or general assessment.

How much homework do the kids get ?

How are the children promoted to higher class?

 

  • School safety

Check what level of security is applied in school. Who all are allowed to enter the school.

What is the sick-child policy? How children safety is ensured in the school?

What is the visitor policy? Child dispersal policy ? Do they provide escort cards for kids ?

 

  • School Timings

What are the school timings? Does it match your requirement – you may be looking for a day school when you can drop your kid to school while going to office and pick while returning. Or does it have bus service – with times matching your requirement.

  • School Infrastructure

Does the school have good playground? Does it have basketball ground? How are the sports facilities, building, playground, open areas, classrooms, labs ?
Is the school clean – check the bathrooms. Do they have appropriate staff to keep the facility clean?

 

  • Parent Teacher Interaction

How can parents interact with teachers on a regular basis? Find out if there is any forum for discussion. If there is any online community the school has where they communicate with parents. Some schools have online forum for discussion. They also send circulars and reminders to parents by emails and sms.

 

  • Distance/Travel time to School

How far is the school from your home? Are you going to drop the kid to school and pick him up? Or you will be needing assistance. Generally schools do not entertain parents who stay far – for the fact that then the kid will have to travel far to attend the school.

 

  • School Fees and your budget

What is the school fees? What all things the fee includes? Some schools include school uniform, books, all other expenses like food, picnic, annual day expenses in the fees and some just include the tution fee. So, its better to ask what all is covered in the fees and whats not.

 

After all the research, think about what you liked the most about the school. Your gut feeling will help you decide the right school for your child.

 

Typically the interview for nursery school admission will involve the following –

  1. Interaction with parents of the child – their educational background, working hours, hobbies and how they spend their weekend.

  2. Interaction with the kid – to evaluate if the kid can communicate, identify colors, shapes, numbers and body parts.

  3. Your financial strength

A talk with the parents is to guage the general well-being of the parents, their intellect, professional, social and economical background. The parents background tells a lot about the environment of the kid at home. The interview also finds out how much time the child gets with the parents and grand-parents – whether the child goes to day-care if both parents are working. Some schools do not admit kids who have working moms.

Very few nursery schools have a written test for kids. Do not panic if your child is unable to answer some questions or is shy. The teachers who are involved in the admission process are experienced and can identify whether kid is good for admission to the school.

Another important criteria is the distance between school and your residence. Most of the schools require that the child doesn’t need to travel more than 10kms to school everyday. So they do not entertain families who stay far from school.

A typical interview with kid is as follows –

1. What is your name? 

A. My name is Eva

 

2. Where do you live?

A1. I live in Mumbai

A2. I live in India

A3. I live in Aryan Building.

 

3. Do you love ice-cream?

A. Yes.

 

4. Which one is a square ? (From a bunch of shapes)

A. Child points to the square shape.

 

5. Do you know ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little star’ ?

A. Yes. Starts singing

 

6. Shows fruit basket and asks to name the fruits.

A. Child names them – Apple, banana, orange

 

7. Do you have friends ?

A. Yes. Ashi, Gayatri, Palak ...

 

8. What do you play with them ?

A. Doll game, hide and seek, lock and key.

 

9. Do you watch TV?

A. Yes.

 

10. What do you watch on TV?

A. Chotta Bheem, Doraemon, Krishna

 

11. Can you fix this (4-6 pieces) picture puzzle ?

A. Child puts the puzzle pieces together.

 

12. How many marbles are there in this box ?

A. Child counts 1,2,3..6 and answers.

 

13. Do you like animals ? Who is your favourite animal?

A. I like dogs

 

14. How do you eat rice ?

A1. I eat with a spoon.

A2. My mummy feeds me with a spoon.

A3. I eat with my fingers.

 

There are four Education Boards in India. Every board has its advantages and disadvantages so it is totally one's preference which education board they choose for their child. Here are four education boards of India:

 

  • SSC (Secondary School Certificate)

  • CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education)

  • ICSE (Indian Certificate is Secondary Education)

  • IB (International Baccalaureate)

 

SSCs (Secondary School Certificate) are state boards. After completion of at least ten years of school, students appear for this public examination from the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Goa in India. SSC is equivalent of GCSE in England. SSC is followed by Higher Secondary (School) Certificate known as HSC. The syllabus for these state boards is limited and easier as compared to other boards. It is good for children whose parents have no plans to move around or out of the country. State language is a compulsory subject too. However, to go for competitive examinations like IIT, CAT, IIM etc., these students need extra time and coaching.

 

CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) follows the curriculum designed by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and prepares syllabus for students up to Class 12. It then conducts two nation wide examinations known as 'All India Secondary School Examination for Class 10' and the 'All India Senior School Certificate Examination for Class 12'. Many schools in big cities are affiliated with CBSE thus allowing parents to move around the country easily. Curriculum is good but syllabus is very lengthy. However, students of this board are better prepared for examinations like IIT, CAT, IIM and other national level entrance exams.

 

ICSE (Indian Certificate is Secondary Education) was established by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. It conducts two all India exams for Class 10 and Class 12 known as 'Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE )' and 'Indian School Certificate (ISC)' respectively. The syllabus followed by ICSE is good in terms of general subjects and knowledge but is quite lengthy. It helps strengthening basic concepts.

 

Lots of emphasis is on language and literature which enables students to make careers in fields involving writing, reading, talking, debating, arguing, surveying. This board also prepares students for exams like IIT, CAT, IIM but requires extra coaching. ICSE is suitable for children who prefer to pursue the higher education abroad. Their verbal ability helps them score higher on GRE, TOEFL and GMAT. This board is also suitable for students migrating from abroad to India as syllabus is very close to the standards of international boards.

 

IB (International Baccalaureate) board schools are internationally recognized schools. They are most suitable for the children of parents who move around the world because their children are easily accepted and get admitted in IB schools all around the world. There are very few students in each batch so every child gets individual attention. All modern techniques and methods are used to teach children with access to all kinds of equipments. However, these schools are quite costly. 

CBSE and ICSE are two of the most popular education boards in India. CBSE stands for Central Board of Secondary Education while ICSE stands for Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. Below is a comparison of these two boards in terms of similarities as well as differences:

 

Similarities:

 

CBSE

ICSE

CBSE prepares syllabus for students up to Class 12 based on curriculum set by National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

ICSE follows 'basic' and 'additional' syllabus for students up to Class 12 and was established by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate.

CBSE conducts two nation-wide board examinations in India known as:

  • All India Secondary School Examination for Class 10

  • All India Senior School Certificate Examination for Class 12

ICSE conducts two all India examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 known as:

  • Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) for Class 10

  • Indian School Certificate (ISC) for Class 12

CBSE has a vast syllabus but is it good in terms of general knowledge and general subjects.

ICSE has unnecessarily vast syllabus but it is good in terms of general knowledge and general subjects.

CBSE gives better chances for appearing in Armed Forces Exams.

Armed Forces Exams can be prepared even after ICSE board.

 

Differences:

 

CBSE

ICSE

Many schools are affiliated with CBSE. All the major cities of India have CBSE schools. Therefore, parents of students studying in these schools move around the country easily without affecting the studies of children much.

ICSE is suitable for students planning to study abroad for higher education. It is also good for those students migrating from abroad as curriculum is close to the standards of international boards.

In CBSE syllabus, students experience subjects without going deep down into them.

In ICSE syllabus, students strengthen basic concepts with lots of focus on language and literature.

CBSE prepares students for competitive exams like IIT, CAT, IIM and other national level entrance examinations.

ICSE is also good for competitive exams like IIT, CAT, IIM and other national level entrance exams but needs extra time and coaching.

In CBSE schools, lots of focus is given to participation in extracurricular activities. Most of them are compulsory thus assuring an overall growth of the students.

In ICSE syllabus, importance is given to projects which form the basis of marking scheme. This strategy makes the students extremely active and improves their thinking ability.

 

Sex education for kids

Parents often avoid the topic of sex education. However, it's better if you teach your child about it rather than your child learning it from other people or sources. If you have a young child, it is not necessary that you are off the hook for a long time. You should go with the pace of your child. It can be judged from your child's questions.

As your child learns to walk and talk, so do they start learning about their bodies. You should grab the opportunity to start teaching about sex education. During his / her bath time, if your child is interested to know the name of different parts of his / her body including sex organs, tell him / her what it is. When your child asks questions about his / her body, neither laugh or giggle nor avoid the topic by being embarrassed. Answer the question keeping in mind the age of your child. If he / she is not satisfied, he / she may ask more!

 

Toddlers and young children should be taught about awareness of their body and body parts. They should have an understanding of private parts of the body. After that, teach them no one is allowed to touch their private body parts without permission. They should be able to differentiate between a normal touch and a sexual touch known as 'bad touch' and 'good touch' respectively. Ask them if something of the sort happens, they should tell the parents straight away.

 

As a child grows older, he / she begins to realize that girls and boys have different bodies. This is where natural curiosity kicks in and the child wants to explore more. Often you may find young children pretending to be a 'doctor' and examining other children's bodies including sex organs. Such exploration through play is totally harmless as far as young children are involved. However, as a parent, you may want to keep an eye to make sure that play remains within limits.

 

You cannot teach your child about sex in a single day. It is an ongoing process, and each stage of child's development brings new curiosities and discoveries. You should make use of everyday opportunities to give him / her small concepts. For example, if someone is expecting a child in the family, tell your child babies grow inside the tummy of mother. If your child wants to know more by asking how baby got there, you can forge an age-related little story.

 

With the development of your child, be ready to come across more-detailed questions, and get prepared to respond with more-detailed answers. Always try to use the correct terminology while answering your child's questions. If you do not feel comfortable using certain terms, think ahead of appropriate alternate terms. Keep in mind that you are providing your child with an open forum for discussing such delicate issues in the years to come.

Helping my child

In order to keep a check on how your child is doing at preschool or kindergarten, you need to get involved with all the relevant people including your child (first and foremost), teachers and other parents of his/her class fellows.

Interaction with the Child:

  • Everyday talk to your child about his/her day at school. Make a time, for example, after dinner or during bath time when you engage your child in talking about day's events and let him/her talk of his/her experiences.

  • Always show interest in whatever your child wants to tell you about school. Let it not be just his/her studies or achievements. Let your child talk about his/her friends, relationships with teachers, extra-curricular activities etc.

  • Ask about the good as well as bad parts of the day at school. For something bad which might have happened, listen carefully and try to analyse the situation so you should be able to identify the problem and then advise your child accordingly.

  • If possible and required, you should arrange a meeting with your child's teacher to discuss any of the problems you discover your child is facing.

  • Be aware of the classroom work and help your child with the similar activities at home so that his/her learning is reinforced and he/she should make a connection that home is an extension of whatever he/she learns at school.

 

Interaction with the Teacher:

  • Keep in touch with the class teacher of your child on a regular basis. You can keep a diary as a mode of communication between you and your child's teacher.

  • Try to write down small notes on a daily basis. Tell them of anything which interests your child or ask about a problem which your child is unable to explain.

  • If you encounter some serious problem, do not wait for the teacher to call you. Call and arrange a meeting straight away. Before meeting, think about all the possible points to discuss and write them down on a piece of paper so that you do not miss any.

  • If teacher arranges a meeting to report about something; be open-minded, listen carefully and ask questions so that you get an idea of your child's difficult behaviours at school. Think of an appropriate solution with the help of teacher so that you both work together solve the issue.

 

Interaction with other Parents:

  • Try and keep in close touch with parents of other children in your child's class. Parents should be part of the network which their children are building.

  • You may find out about some incident (involving your child) from the parents of one of the class fellows of your child about which your child did not feel comfortable to talk to you.

  • Being in touch with other parents and keep discussing all the activities going on in your child's class as well as school will keep you better informed of what is happening rather than being out of the loop.

One of the prime concerns for a parent is to see whether the child is happy and settled at school or not. Since a child spends a good deal of time in school every day and his / her learning is associated with it, so it is important that he/ she should be happily settled in the school environment.

 

When it comes to school, teachers are at the top of the list. Teachers play a key role in a child's life because they are responsible for teaching them in formal and informal ways. Formal education is actual studies in the form of courses in different subject areas whereas informal education means teaching etiquettes, manners and proper behaviours etc.

 

Parents should talk to the child on a regular basis to see if things are going all right in the school and he / she is happy with school staff especially the class teachers. If you notice any changes in the mood and behaviours of your child, you must check what is going wrong and where. In order to find out if your child is having a bad teacher who is affecting his / her personality, look for the following signs:

 

Lose of Interest: If your child seems to lose interest in studies, and does not like to talk about it; it's possible there is a teacher involved. Maybe the child is treated is such a way in the class that he / she has lost interest in studies and does not feel like talking about it.

.

Lose of Confidence: If you notice that your normally confident child is losing confidence and is afraid to do things he used to do comfortably; then again there could be a teacher involved. Maybe the child is punished in the class for doing little things and now he has stopped doing anything altogether.

 

Avoiding School: Another sign where a child is having to deal with a bad teacher everyday is when your child tries to avoid going to school. Every morning if he is upset and complaining that he does not like school and does not want to go, then you must call and check with his / her teacher if everything is fine.

 

Abrupt Reactions: Also, look out if your child is reacting to small things. This behaviour shows that he / she is disturbed and blows up even on small matters. In this case too, you should check if he / she is having a bad relationship with the school teacher.

 

Bad Results: A bad result on your child's part is also an indication that there might be some bad teachers with whom your child is not able communicate properly. In turn, he / she cannot discuss problems of studies with anyone. As a consequence, he is not making progress showing bad results.

 

If you keep a good and healthy relation with your children's teacher, children also feel good and confident when they see adults talking about them and their welfare. There are a number of ways to build and maintain a good relationship with your child's teacher. Consider the following points:

 

  • Try and connect with the teacher and rest of the staff before the start of school year. One way to do this is to contact these people via email. Tell them you are looking forward to act as their partner in educating your child.

 

  • After the school year starts, keep involved. Maintain a regular communication with your child's class teacher. Show interest in activities and events. Participate in such events e.g. fund-raising events, sports day, cooking competitions etc.

 

  • Always show a positive attitude whenever you meet your child's teacher or other school staff in general. Greet them with a smile and ask how they are doing. Kind words and gestures build long-lasting relationships.

 

  • Whenever you have a scheduled meeting at school with your child's teacher or you are off to attend some event, try and be on time. Never keep the teacher waiting for you. It will project a negative image of you among the school staff especially the class teacher.

 

  • Always volunteer for class events. If there is no event, you can simply volunteer to offer an extra helping hand during morning or afternoon. This allows you to spend time with your child and see how he / she does in the class. On the other hand, it shows to teacher that you are very much interested in your child's school and education.

 

  • Try and contribute to class room as much as you can. These contributions can include things for kids to do fun activities, something to eat like pack of chocolates, or egg packs during Easter time. Sometimes, you can contribute some money on cards to the class teachers so that she can buy fun things for the class.

 

  • Remember that teacher is a human first. Hence, do not forget to give card and gift on her birthday. She will surely like it. You can also give her a present at Christmas time. Little gifts help to develop mutual love and friendship.

 

  • Share your positive thoughts about the class teacher of your child with rest of the people at school. These people include teaching assistants within the class as well as administration staff and other school personnel.

 

  • At the end of school year, send notes of 'Thank You' to the teacher as well as other staff in the classroom like teaching assistants etc. Tell them you are grateful for every little thing they have done for your child and helped him / her make progress.

 

  • Last but not the least, make a habit of not just dropping your child off to school in the morning but handing it over to a responsible designated person who is your child's teacher.

 

Exams are an important part of any student's life and so do your child's. In today's competitive world, a child has to sit for uncountable number of exams. Preparing for exams is a tough task so give your child all the support he / she needs. Here are some useful tips while helping your child to study for exams:

 

Make a Timetable: Planning ahead of time is very important. Make a timetable to go through the course of all subjects at least once. Do not forget to include ample time for revision. Make sure that your child follows the timetable strictly and become fully prepared.

 

Allocate a Study Space: Allocate a separate study space to your child who is going to have exams. Especially if he / she shares room with a sibling, make a temporary arrangement so that he / she gets full peace of mind. Only then your child will concentrate on studies to his / her full extent. Also, keep the environment of house calm and quiet in general.

 

Break from Household Jobs: If you assign little household chores to your child during normal days, then give him / her a break during his exams' preparation and actual exams days. His clothes and shoes etc. should be ready so that he / she does not have to worry about little things getting done. This can help to ease off load from his / her mind.

 

Encourage Healthy Diet: Healthy diet is essential for children in general. However, it becomes important during exams time in particular. Healthy eating helps boost energy levels which results in increased attention and concentration. Unhealthy snacks should be avoided. Healthy snacks should include fruits, milk, juices etc.

 

Regular Rest Breaks: Ask your child to take regular rest breaks while studying and revising for upcoming exams. Rest breaks at regular intervals give rest to brain and it is refreshed for another session of study. During the break, sit with your and have a little chat or ask him / her go for a short walk outside. This will help him / her become relaxed.

 

Good Night's Sleep: A night before your child's exam, make sure that he / she gets a good night's sleep. When he / she would wake up in the morning, his / her mind would be refreshed and he would perform well. A tired mind is likely to make him / her drowsy in the examination hall leading to poor performance.

 

Many of the students participate in sports like volleyball, football and soccer, gymnastics, and tennis etc. It helps in building self-esteem and overall health and fitness. While preparing for the sports season, student athletes should bear the following things in mind:

 

Optimize Training Time: It is important for athletes to realize that they are not supposed to play and practice too hard for a long time. This results in burning out all the energy during practice sessions thus making the athlete less able to perform well on the actual day of the game. It is advised that training plan should be designed in such a way that it allows plenty of time for athlete to take rest and restore his energy. He should also focus on his nutrition level to equip body with all the required energy for the upcoming event.

 

Balanced Diet and Plenty of Fluids: For student athletes, it is beneficial for them to have a balanced diet including different kinds of vegetables, fruits, grains / beans, fish, meat and other sources of protein than a diet containing all junk food. It is extremely challenging for athletes to learn how to control their intake of sugars.

 

Athletes should also start drinking plenty of fluids. The fluids not only include water but also a recommended sports drink enriched in carbohydrates, potassium, sodium and other nutrients. On the other hand, drinks like soda and sugary energy drinks should be avoided strictly.

 

Go Green: Dark and green leafy vegetables are particularly good for student athletes. Spinach and Romaine Lettuce are the prime examples of such vegetables. They contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is crucial for athletes because it cleanses the blood and supplies plenty of oxygen. Ample oxygen in blood results in high performance because of increased endurance and reduced fatigue.

 

Avoid heat-related Illness: High temperature indoors or hot weather outdoors increases the risk of heat-related illness. The symptoms of heat-related illness include headaches, nausea, confusion, cramps, drenching sweats etc. If an athlete experiences any of these symptoms, he should contact his doctor immediately to seek medical help. The best way to avoid heat-related injury is to increase intake of fluids. Athlete should start drinking enough fluids before and throughout the practice sessions and exercise.

 

Build Muscular Strength and Endurance: Athletes are required to build muscular strength and increase endurance. This can be achieved by long workout sessions and regular muscular exercises. There should be an extensive plan for such sessions and exercises. Athletes should be committed to their plan so that they can prepare to excel in upcoming sports season.

 

Coach's Corner: Student athletes should be made aware of the importance of coach's advice and orders. Tell your child (who is an athlete) that he must listen to his coach and act upon his advice. Coach plays a role of mentor and trained professional. He should educate athletes on sport-related nutrition, hydration and calorie requirement of the body. They are responsible for teaching to set goals and show commitment to the sport.

 

Eating right and regularly helps to boost energy levels. During exam time preparation and study, a student should keep it in mind and must not put food intake at some where lower in hi / her priority list. Here are some useful tips for a healthy exam-time diet:

 

Eat Smarter: You should take your daily recommended intake of Vitamins and Minerals. This will help you do best at studies without much effort. 'Iron' and 'B Vitamins' are needed to keep up physical and mental energy levels. Foods such as red meat, cereals and spinach contain iron. Sources of B vitamins are whole-grains, wheat germ, eggs and nuts. Fish and soy also boost your brain.

 

Don't substitute Meals with Supplements: Supplements cannot replace the actual meals. Avoid doing that! Supplements should be taken along with foods and drinks but never replace food with them. Pack a bag of healthy snacks e.g. apples, nuts, bananas, carrots and cucumber sticks if you are planning to go to a library.

 

Eat Regularly and Often: Eat at regular intervals to maintain a stable level of energy. This also helps in less cravings for unhealthy foods.

 

Small Meals instead of Big Meals: Consider eating small meals in place of regular big meals. Big meals will slow you down making you lazy and sleepy. Instead, try small well nourished meals.

 

Breakfast: Breakfast is a must! When you wake up in the morning, since our body has not taken anything for a long time, so now brain really needs a boost to start a long day. Eat a healthy breakfast like cereals with fruits.

 

Eat Fruits: Fruits always come at the top of list of healthy foods. You should eat plenty of fruits. Natural sugar in fruits provides you the real energy as opposed to refined sugar after which you experience a crash.

 

Choose darker Vegetables: Dark vegetables are higher in nutrient levels as compared to light-coloured vegetables. For example, Spinach is higher in food value than iceburg lettuce because it provides mind and body with more nutrients.

 

Smart Snacking: Choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, yoghurt, nuts, dried fruits etc. to keep you going through the day. Avoid unhealthy snacks like chocolates, biscuits, sweets, cakes etc. They might make you feel energized for a short time followed by a feeling of loss of energy afterwards.

 

Keep yourself Hydrated: Dehydration causes you to feel tired and irritable. This in turn affects your concentration level while studying. Stay well hydrated. Better choices of drinks are water, fruit juices and herbal teas. Keep them in your reach and drink regularly. Avoid drinks which contain caffeine like coffee, tea and some beverages as cola.

 

Work, Rest and Play: Last but certainly not the least, rest is very important. Take regular short breaks during long hours of study. Go for short walk or have a chat with your siblings. A good sleep a night before exam is essential to keep you relaxed and awake during examination.

 

What is an Allergy?

Allergy is a reaction of immune system to an external agent / substance when it is touched, breathed or eaten. Some people have sensitive immune systems so they react to substances which are normally harmless to other people. Substances which cause allergy are called allergens. When allergens react with a hypersensitive immune system, 'histamines' are released. Histamines cause allergic symptoms like sneezing, rashes, itchy and watery eyes etc.

 

Common Allergies in Children and Natural Remedies:

 

Firstly, most effective remedy is prevention. Try to find out which foods or substances trigger your child's allergy. Now try not to expose your child to these substances as much as you can. However, if allergy is due to an airborne material like pollen then it is impossible to eliminate it fully.

 

Skin Allergies:

 

The skin of your child may appear as red, itchy and swollen in case of an allergy. Common causes of this type of skin allergy are poison ivy, nickel in jewellery items, latex in the form of balloons or toys etc. Another type of skin allergy is hives, which are raised itchy welts. Common causes include insect bites, cat dander and some medicines. If you think these substances do not cause symptoms, then it might be food allergy. Besides skin rashes, food allergies also cause symptoms like dizziness, fainting, or a tingling in the mouth. If the symptoms appear within a couple of hours after having food, then figure out what your child had eaten.

 

Natural remedies to sooth skin reactions are Aloe Vera gel, Calendula cream etc. Bathe your child in warm water (not HOT) with a mild soap. Putting baking soda in child's bath helps and child feels good. To treat hives naturally, place a wet and cool cloth over the affected area. Some people dip it in ice water while others in cold milk. Moreover, do not expose your child's skin to avoid insect bites, no pet animals should be allowed in the house and avoid rings / earrings containing nickel. In case of food allergies, all you can do to prevent is to avoid it completely. Most common childhood food allergens are peanut, milk, eggs, wheat and tree nuts.

 

Respiratory Allergies:

 

Respiratory allergies are caused when the child breathe something such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and mould spores floating in the air. These allergens are found both indoors and outdoors. Like skin allergies, symptoms of respiratory allergies include an itchy feeling in the mouth, sneezing, runny / stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes. It also clogs sinuses.

 

As stated earlier, complete avoidance of airborne allergens is impossible. As a precaution, keep kids indoors especially when pollen counts are high. Make sure you control the indoor air by letting fresh air to cross-ventilate through the house. Also, hay fever relief products can be bought over-the-counter. It reduces nasal and eye irritation. Sinus congestion is relieved by nasal washes and breathing over a bowl of hot water.

 

 

Washing hands matters because it prevents the spread of infections transmitted through germs. Some of these infections cause serious illnesses. You should make a habit of good hand washing in your home and encourage your kids too. Germs spread through dirty hands in the following cases:

  • after using a toilet

  • after changing nappies

  • after handling dirt / garbage

  • touching anyone's dirty hands

  • touching a dirty / contaminated surface

  • sneezing in your palms thus contaminating hands

Kids love playing outdoor in the mud and touch animals. They are at a high risk of catching an infection and becoming ill if they do not wash hands properly afterwards. Especially when they touch eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands, germs are transmitted instantly. Kids should be constantly reminded of washing hands so that they understand its importance. Lots of infections can be avoided if hands are washed properly in the following situations:

  • before cooking

  • before eating meals

  • after using a toilet

  • after changing nappies

  • after working in the garden

  • after touching pet animals

  • after coughing or sneezing

  • after handling garbage / rubbish

 

To wash hands in a proper way, teach step-by-step instructions to your child as follows:

  • Wet hands with warm (not HOT!)

  • Apply a little soap to wet hands

  • Rub hands together to make a lather

  • Do not forget rubbing back of hands

  • Reach between fingers and under nails (germs hiding place)

  • Rinse under warm running water for about 15 sec. to remove soap thoroughly

  • Pat hands dry with a clean towel

It is also important to note that washing hands with a soap removes germs much more effectively than washing hands with water alone. Hand washing education should be promoted in preschools / schools to make children aware and safer. Access to soap and encouragement to good hand washing can result in a improved attendance at schools. Teaching good hand washing early in life will go a long way and even improves the development of a child in some cases.

 

Science experiments at Home

Scholarships in India

National Talent Search Examination known as NTSE is a national-level scholarship examination in India. The purpose of this exam is to search for bright / brilliant students who have a higher intellectual ability and are academically strong. It is considered to be the toughest and most prestigious scholarship exam in India. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students appear in this examination. Only 1,000 scholarships are awarded. This scholarship is for students of Indian Nationality only. Students of Class 10 are eligible to apply for this scholarship. It is conducted by an official body called National Council of Educational Research and Training also known as NCERT. In the past, selection criteria for awarding the scholarship consisted of three components: 1. Written Examination (Science Aptitude Test + Essay on a scientific topic) 2. Project 3. Interview Then it underwent changes and was extended to Social Sciences, Engineering and Medicine as opposed to only basic sciences. Selection criteria also changed and students were required to take two objective type written tests, namely the Mental Ability Test (MAT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The students who qualified in these two tests were interviewed and then awarded. The scheme was subject to partial decentralization in mid 80s. Selection of students to be awarded became a two-tier process. States and the union territories were responsible to conduct the first-tier exam thus providing a stipulated number of candidates from each state to appear for national level exam conducted by NCERT. National level exam consisted of three components for potential candidates to be awarded: 1. Mental Ability Test (MAT) 2. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) 3. Interview At present, the scheme is not much different. Students short-listed by the state level examination are eligible to appear for the national level examination.