During summer, children may stay up later, eat less healthy, and increase their screen time. While summer vacations are great times for children to relax and families to spend more time together, without planning, a summer break quickly fills with inactivity. If left unattended, children miss opportunities to develop. Below are some ways you can encourage children to grow during the summer!
It may be challenging to get your children excited about, but exercising the brain is critical during summer. Before you go buy a stack of workbooks to go through, you can try finding more rewarding activities or events for your children to participate in. For example, look for summer reading programs offered by your local libraries. Children can read books they like and earn prizes throughout the summer with opportunities to eat at partnering restaurants, visit museums or explore theme parks. Encouraging learning may require adding structure to summer vacation, but helping your children maintain and increase their knowledge will yield benefits for years in advance.
With all the ice cream consumed in the summer, finding enough exercise can be a problem. Sports camps are effective ways to encourage physical activity, however, family-oriented activity is also highly beneficial, especially in late evenings after dinner. Taking walks around the block or playing catch in the park can help your children spend less time on other sedentary entertainment sources. Additionally, working on projects together around the home like building a garden, encourages healthy exercise too
Ranging from educational camps to sports-themed camps, summer camps are highly customizable. While summer camps may require a large amount of planning dependent on time and cost, many children benefit greatly from attending. Through these opportunities, children can meet new friends and spark passionate interests that fill their days outside of the camp.
If you are looking for a summer camp to sign up for, consider joining the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School’s Summer Camp. Our camp runs from June 25 to August 10 and includes opportunities to explore art, archery, music, circus arts and nature. For more information on how to register, please visit our Summer Camp page!
|Posted by on 4/24/2018 11:44 AM|
One of the oldest forms of entertainment and creativity is music. Discovering pitches, tones and rhythm patterns have been an integral part of civilizations throughout history. Naturally, music has countless benefits, from increasing energy, uplifting a mood, or relieving stress. Beyond listening to music, the process of creating music has proven to stimulate cognitive development in young children. The repercussions of playing instruments and understanding music lead to unlocking further potential for future growth.
Processing Brain Waves
Large scientific studies have focused on the benefits that come from learning to play instruments. Doing so, helps children develop neurophysiological distinction, cognitive development to “hear and process sounds that [children] couldn’t otherwise hear” (Time, 2014). This helps children process information they hear across various forms of education, from conversing with friends to listening in math class. But what does that really do for children?
One notable research partnership is between the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University and the Harmony Project, a nonprofit after-school music learning program for children in low-income neighborhoods. The project has helped 93 percent of their high school seniors to graduate in four years and continue their education in colleges like Dartmouth, Tulane, and NYU (NPR, 2014). Researchers and project coordinators attribute the academic success of their students to their flourishing musical journeys.
While other factors play a role in a child’s development, including strong relationships from teachers and an esthetically, beautiful environment, learning to play music has lasting benefits for children. Miranda, who has been with the Harmony Project for three years testifies of its significance in her life. When she feels overwhelmed from studying, she usually starts playing her violin, helping her to relax her mind and focus better afterward (NPR, 2014).
Musically Balanced Curriculum
As a fundamental component of Waldorf Education, our children embrace their innate musicality. From pentatonic flutes to advanced repertoires with stringed and wind instruments, our curriculum encourages musical development for every student. If you would like to learn more about music at the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, please contact us today!
|Posted by on 3/30/2018 1:28 PM|
Seeing children play outside has become infrequent in today’s culture. Yet researchers continue to learn more about the benefits of play on childhood development. Meanwhile, educators and policymakers scramble to address concerns of growing rates of childhood obesity and mental disorders. Although play may not solve every concern, its enormous potential to powerfully influence growth and change in children must be considered.
Benefits of Play:
At all ages, the experience of play is a critical component of development for children. Researchers have long observed play in other animals in addition to humans thinking play was only useful for training young animals to hunt or fight. However, researchers have recently discovered that instead, play builds pro-social brains, allowing for interaction and growth in various animals and humans alike. Some critical benefits of play to consider are:
Improved Physical Health: Active play allows children to move around, engaging in sensorimotor development and exercise.
Brain Stimulation: Outdoor play increases blood flow to the brain, delivering oxygen and glucose for improved alertness.
Social Development: Learning through unstructured play, without formal rules and regulations, allows for exploration, creativity and experimentation. Children also learn to resolve conflicts and relate with others at a higher capacity; a lasting skill and a strong indicator of future academic performance.
Even with unstructured play, researchers have some parameters to include, like physical activity, social interaction and exploration. Additional caution is advised for other forms of entertainment involving video games and TV. These activities can promote sedentary lifestyles among children, simultaneously creating isolation in their recreational time from others as well. With a little creativity, you can design other activities for children that are often more rewarding and stimulating!
Across the nation, children spend considerable time in school. School systems aim to improve standardized testing performance, often cutting into play time. With long hours in school, extra-curriculars and homework in evenings, the opportunity to play has significantly declined. At the same time, sharp increases in anxiety, depression, and suicide have also been reported.
A Different Approach:
Facing difficulties and hardships is part of the process of growing up. When children learn to handle challenges, they show signs of maturation and development. With more research and initiatives to allow children to play, there are abundant resources to help parents. At the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, we incorporate play into education, from early childhood into adolescent years. Outside of the classroom, we also have recommendations for media consumption and electronic device usage for children, set in place to further assist their development. We hope our students will acquire a passion for life-long learning, a characteristic that will bring success in more areas than academics.
|Posted by on 2/7/2018 8:53 AM|
A holiday filled with lavish feasts and extended family time, Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on blessings with gratitude. But often only a few moments may be spent in actual thanksgiving between frantic cleaning, cooking, and shopping! For some, shopping for enticing deals has even eclipsed their stomachs’ longing for roasted turkey and pumpkin pie. In a matter of days, the weekend passes by and there might not have been time to be thankful.
In the back of our minds, we may know that being thankful should not only happen on Thanksgiving Day. Being thankful has been the focus for many scientific studies, including one from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. With over two decades of research, studies consistently find that practicing gratitude in daily life leads to fewer symptoms of illness and depression and fosters stronger relationships and more generous behavior. With a grateful attitude children can better prepare themselves to face challenges and difficulties ahead.
The process of cultivating a thankful heart is a gradual one. Encouraging your children to shape their thinking begins with how you choose to live as well. Below are a few suggestions for ways to begin.
Say “Thank You”
Acknowledging the service and care of others teaches children to treat others with respect without taking others for granted. This could be verbally expressing thanks or writing a thank you note to your child’s teacher or friend.
Find projects through organizations and charities you can support with your child. Teaching your child about the gift of giving offers them a wider perspective on the hardships people face all over the world. Regularly giving back to the community and people in need is an invaluable gift, given to others.
Seek Moderation in Possessions
Giving your children everything they want, whenever they want it, weakens their grateful disposition. Setting limits allows for greater appreciation for the gifts they receive and the possessions they already have.
Remember, encouraging your children to become more thankful requires patience, perseverance, and consistent modeling. It can take years to grasp what it means to be thankful. At Housatonic Valley Waldorf School, we value building character in your children so they can live purposeful lives. Our teachers emphasize the importance of helping others beyond merely seeking personal gain. Help your children become more thankful so they can appreciate people for who they are instead of what they give.
|Posted by on 11/30/2017 4:15 PM|
|TANYA AND JOSEPH, FUTURE HVWS PARENTS|
The nurturing environment of the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School early childhood program provides plenty of opportunity for learning and social engagement through exploration, creative play and meaningful work. We believe Waldorf reflects so many of the same values that we have as a family.
Tanya and Joseph
Leo is enrolled in our early childhood program. He will begin in the Fall.
|Posted by on 8/21/2017 5:13 PM|
|KERRI AND PHILIPPE, CURRENT HVWS PARENTS|
I don’t want Niko to have the same negative experience that I had in the public school system. He is so creative, alert, and interested. He is always exploring and asserting his independence. I want his future to be realized and be an eager learner as he grows older. I want him to be in a school that is both brain-building and emotionally stimulating. I like the small class size where he can grow in a non-judgmental, not-materialistic, environmentally conscious school with his peers.
I feel that a Waldorf education will guide him as his own person in developing his coping skills to deal with the larger differences in life and society. I don’t want him to lose the spirit that he beams so brightly. I hope that he can be one of the humanitarians that help make the world a better place.
Niko and his mom began at HVWS in our parent-child classes. He is now a 1st grader in the Class of 2025.
|DANIELA AND DAVI, FUTURE HVWS PARENTS|
Some of the things we are interested in are the holistic attitude toward a child’s learning, focusing on development and long-term learning on an emotional, spiritual and intellectual level. We like that children learn through experiencing the outdoors, musical and artistic expression, home responsibilities, and being part of a community. Our goal is to provide our children with the necessary environment and tools that will enhance their learning capabilities and their creativity so that they will be excited to learn new things as adults.
Dimitri is enrolled in our early childhood program for the Fall.
|ALISON AND PETER, CURRENT HVWS PARENTS|
|Posted by on 7/18/2017 2:44 PM|