students.

Introduce Buddhism to your child!

Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Buddha was a sage who started to impact thousands of lives in sixth and fourth BCE (Before Common Era) with his profound spiritual wisdom. The word ‘Buddha’ means the enlightened one or the awakened one. No matter what religion you follow what culture you have been born and brought up in, Buddha’s teachings are universal. His teachings have the strength to awaken people to reality and make them introspect themselves. Lord Buddha’s teachings have not only given a deeper insight into one’s existence but also made a significant contribution in liberating one from the day-to-day conflicts in minds.
Here are the best books to introduce Buddhism to your children, usually they get to know about Gautama Buddha through a chapter in history but there is definitely more to know, learn and practice from his teachings. Introduce any of these books to your child and let them, explore Buddhism and add positivity to their personality.
The Story of Buddha by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Lovely illustrations and an ease to follow the story about the life of the young Buddha. A great introduction for all ages, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso was born in Tibet and is a fully accomplished meditation master and internationally renowned teacher of Buddhism. Resident in the West since 1977, he is the author of 21 highly acclaimed books that perfectly transmit the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to our modern world. He has also founded over 1100 Kadampa Buddhist Centres and groups throughout the world.

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hahn
A Handful of Quiet presents one of the best known and most innovative meditation practices developed by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the Plum Village community’s practice with children. Pebble meditation is a playful and fun activity that parents and educators can do with their children to introduce them to meditation. It is designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Practicing pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions. A Handful of Quiet is a concrete activity that parents and educators can introduce to children in school settings, in their local communities or at home, in a way that is meaningful and inviting. It includes four full-colour meditation cards with short mindfulness poems that are recited during the meditation. Any adult wishing to plant seeds of peace, relaxation, and awareness in children will find this unique meditation guide helpful. Children can also enjoy doing pebble meditation on their own.

Is Nothing Something? By Thich Nhat Hanh
In Is Nothing Something? Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh answers heartfelt, difficult, and funny questions from children of all ages. Illustrated with original full-colour artwork by Jessica McClure, Is Nothing Something? This will help adults plant the seeds of mindfulness in the young children in their lives. Beginning with the most basic questions, what is important in life? And why is my brother mean to me? And progressing through issues that we all wrestle with, such as how do I know if I really love somebody? , How long am I going to live? , and what does God look like? , each page presents a question with a short answer from Thich Nhat Hanh, appropriate for beginning readers to work with on their own. The back of the book has practices adults can use with their children to go deeper into the answers and the first complete children s biography of Thich Nhat Hanh. Both humorous and profound, is Nothing Something? is the perfect resource for kids with questions, adults looking for how to answer them, and anyone with questions of their own.

Buddha at Bedtime Tales of Love and Wisdom by Dharmachari- Nagaraja
Growing up in the modern world, our children have to cope with the ever-increasing amount of stress, which can hinder their development. The ancient wisdom of Buddhism, with its emphasis on peace, love, and compassion, is the ideal basis for helping any child to face these challenges with inner confidence and calm. Building on the age-old art of storytelling, this beautiful book re-tells 20 ancient Buddhist tales in a way that is thoroughly fun and accessible to children. Featuring superb, full-page illustrations, the stories will transport kids into an imaginary world of enlightenment and discovery where they will meet delightful characters and discover an easy-to-understand Buddhist message, one that will help them think about how they can apply values such as patience, perseverance, honesty and generosity to their own lives. Designed to be read aloud by a parent or read by older children on their own, these compelling narratives provide a pleasurable, soothing transition into sleep.

Sitting Still like a Frog by Eline Snel
Mindfulness—the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment, just as it is. Is gaining broad acceptance among mental health professionals as an adjunct to treatment. This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout. Included with purchase is an audio CD with guided meditations, voiced by Myla Kabat-Zinn, who along with her husband, Jon Kabat-Zinn, popularized mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) as a therapeutic approach.

Wide Awake: A Buddhist Guide for Teens by Diana Winston
Many of today’s teenagers are tired of the pressure to compete and consume and are looking for a different way to live their lives. This book offers an alternative, the 2,500-year old practice of Buddhism, written in a style that will have immediate appeal to young “seekers” and those wanting to understand the ancient teachings. This book addresses such relevant topics as peer pressure, emotional difficulties, stress, fostering peace and even protecting the environment. For everyone looking for self-help, self-esteem, and self-awareness, this book offers advice on Discovering truth in a world of hype, Accepting ourselves, Working with difficult emotions, Dealing with temptations and making the right decisions about sex and drugs and advice on volunteering, working for peace and protecting the environment.

The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales adapted by Sherab Chodzin
The Buddha taught that life is like a dream, yet real. The ways in which we may fruitfully engage with this mystery are playfully explored in numerous tales from the folk traditions of countries including India, China, Japan and Tibet.

As a child, Siddhartha the Buddha was troubled by some of the same thoughts that children today have. They wonder about birth and death. They wonder why they get sick and why grandfather died. They wonder why their wishes do not come true. Children also wonder about happiness and the beauty in nature.
Because the Buddha knew what was in the hearts of children and humankind, he taught everyone how to live a happy and peaceful life. Buddhism is not learning about strange beliefs from faraway lands. It is about looking at and thinking about our own lives. With these books on Buddha may be your child gets many queries settled, many doubts resolved and many questions answered.

Advertisements

Keep-your-classroom-senses-alive

“School is a building which has four walls with tomorrow inside.” A child starts his journey with an innocent heart, a creative mind and number of dreams in his eyes. School plays a major role in moulding the student’s character and personality. A child spends a major chunk of his years in school inside the classrooms; these rooms make their future and give wings to their dreams.

Choosing a school for your child is a crucial task, there are various factors which you need to keep in mind and judge the school accordingly. Classrooms play a vital role in making or breaking a student’s interest in studies. Children are lively soul they love creativity and want to explore. While building a classroom one should think from student’s perspective and watch out for the things which a student would love seeing in a classroom environment.

Here are some tips on how to use the five senses to guide your classroom environment making it inviting for the students.

Sight – See Your Classroom through Fresh Eyes

Students enter a class with various thoughts in mind; they are excited, full of enthusiasm and burning with energy. They need the right direction and the correct destination for this energy to deliver fruitful results. A well thoughtful sight drafted for the students help in developing their interest and engagement in the class. When a student enters the class a neat blackboard, a well displayed smart-class projector, beautifully decorated bulletin boards and well-laid interiors makes them comfortable in no time. Sight has a major impact in a student’s mind, a classroom can leave a lively impact on a student but a little miss of basic ingredients can change it to gloomy as well. So, be careful and make your classroom interesting, engaging and comforting for your students.

Smell – The Scent of School Spirit

The aroma of a place plays a vital role in setting up the mood in the right direction. A bad odour or an acrid smell can put off the mood and is considered to be an unwelcoming sign. Students are fascinated with a good smell and a well-kept classroom. Remember cleanliness is a must, every day the dustbins should be cleaned and properly maintained. A good room freshener is a must which will help to keep the student’s mood fresh and light. Make sure that the moment students enter the classroom they feel at home!

Sound – Creating a Classroom Soundtrack

Once a student is inside the classroom they need to be engaged and involved so that the purpose of them sitting there is sorted. Teachers should be careful that they are audible till the last bench. It shouldn’t be a lecture-centric class rather the theme of the classroom should be conversational. Make sure the volume during the presentations and smart classes should neither be too high nor too low but just the perfect for the students to stay involved and intact.

Touch – Mix Textures & Add Colours

As it is said ‘Look and Feel’, we achieve the look factor by paying heat to the sight of our classroom but the feel also matters. So be careful while drafting the internal infrastructure of the classroom, the furniture should be well placed and in proper condition without any wear and tear. If there are some tables or chairs which have being distorted over the time, they should be replaced. The windows, doors, and ventilators all should be well maintained, any electronic gadgets in the classroom like projectors, Tv screen, fans, lights etc all should be kept in good condition with neatly tapped wires.

Taste – Sweeten the Back to School Transition

Keep your classroom tastefully done, a well kept and neatly drafted classroom is appreciated by both students and parents. Once a student enters a classroom he/she should feel comfortable and get homely vibes. Add some celebration to your classroom, birthdays or good performance of the students can be a call for a little party with some chocolates and sweets in everyone’s pocket.

Knowing that your classroom is a place where a student should feel comfortable to learn and take risks gives you an added bonus right from the get-go!   You should have a classroom that screams out “Welcome to our learning this year!”

How to Make Your Child Responsible?

As a parent you always have that habit to teach your child endless things – How to be caring, to be honest, to be a hard worker, to listen to elders and many more. But one trait that is high up on that list is how to be responsible!

Being responsible includes many learning’s in itself; somewhere it helps to enhance your Childs personality and moulds him/her in an appropriate direction

Raising a child with good manners is not that difficult, all you need is to be is a little careful, pay a little more attention and develop early good habits which help your child achieve a fruitful future.

Here are few guidelines, which if you follow can help you in the process:
Start Young

You can’t make sudden changes and raise immediate expectations from a teenager to act and behave responsibly. Children are carefree and take time to understand the seriousness of things. You need to start instilling in them the habits of responsibility at a younger age so that their personality is developed accordingly.

Let Them Help You

Don’t grumble and be annoyed while doing the usual housework. Invite your child to help you, may be simple dusting or a little help in the kitchen. This will make your child feel valued, maybe it makes your job a little longer but don’t worry your child would learn a lot from it.

Show Kids the Way

Play with a child’s skill level, you need to understand where they are missing and figure out how to teach them the same. If your child never enters kitchen involve him/her in simple tasks like washing fruits, laying the table etc. You first need to observe your child well to conclude on their habits.

Praise Them

Kids love to help, they want to help! To them, chores don’t feel like work. Keep up positive ambiance by offering specific praises for actions. “You hung your coat on the hook and I’m proud of you!” Or, “Thank you for emptying the garbage in your room!” Children will develop a sense of ownership for any repeated action. And this constant communication helps them take initiative in other situations as well.

Manage Your Expectations

Don’t raise your expectation too high! They are still children and won’t be able to deliver work to perfection, so don’t criticize or discourage them rather motivate them and recognize their work. Teach them how it is to be done and then let them grasp it with time.

 Provide Structure and Routine

Kids thrive on order, instead of offering rewards to get them to meet responsibilities, set up a morning routine with a positive end result. The small tasks like brush your teeth before going to bed or wish everyone good morning once they are up in the morning, should be part of their daily schedule.

Avoid Rewards

At least at first! Don’t assume a reward system has to be in place for your child to learn responsibility. While a reward chart can be effective for some kids, others respond just as well to praise, spending time with you and feeling the boost in their self-confidence. Save rewards for tasks that go above and beyond what you expect to be your child’s normal household responsibilities.

When your child says, “I forgot to bring my book home again,” he’s really saying, “It’s not my fault that I didn’t meet my responsibility.” You need to respond by saying, “We’re not talking about whose fault it is, we’re talking about whose responsibility it is.” In that way, you can shift the focus onto the child’s responsibilities and you won’t get stuck in an argument about the nature of the excuse. Just a little attention and your extra efforts can really make your child turn responsible.

Let’s break the monotony of New Year Resolutions!

As we begin to roll towards January, we start to think and plan our coming year. With a new year come new opportunities, new ideas, and a new beginning to start afresh. Children are usually more excited for such events; New Year for them is a good party, some celebration and a list of goals to accomplish in the coming year. As parents, mentors and guides it’s our responsibility to make them stress free from the burden of the huge enlisted goals and the forthcoming disappointment from them. Why not make them start off with small things that they can do to not only improvise their lifestyle but also to keep them encouraged with instant success.

Here is something you can pen down to your child’s list of to do’s from New Year.

Add a little spirituality to their daily life

Create a new tradition for celebrating birthdays or anniversaries; make them visit the prayer room on regular basis. Teaching habits like saying a small prayer each morning, thanking God for the day and making them realise that they are lucky and fortunate to have such a life will not only positively modulate their lifestyle but will also build up their trust in the Almighty.

Teach them to be organized

They need to manage their things well, be it preparing for exams, last minute revisions, drafting a project or maintaining their wardrobe, they need to be organized. They should keep their things in place and should avoid last minute rush.

Teach them to be expressive

It’s too easy to forget to tell people that we care about them. This year, make it a special promise to yourself that you’ll tell at least one person, each week, that you love them and that you’re grateful to have them in your life.

Develop Nature love

Buy a plant for them and ask them to maintain it. Not only will they be creating better air quality for your home, but nurturing a plant can help them emotionally as well. They will get to know the importance of Mother Nature.

They should know how to manage money

Although, they are young and are not directly involved in much of financial things but still they should know the importance of managing funds. Monitor how they use their pocket money and try and develop some saving habits in them.

Spend time with your best friend

A one-hour lunch, a movie, a walk in the park, it doesn’t matter what you do together, as long as you spend time with each other. Not only will they get a sense of companionship and love, but they’ll be going a long way towards stress relief.

Health is Wealth

Develop habits like morning work, some exercise in the morning, some jogging etc for them to follow the path towards good health. They should know that staying fit and healthy is the biggest gift they can give to themselves, their family and friends.

Ask them to take a self-test

Tell them the best way to analyze their past year is by taking a self-test. Nobody can judge them better than they themselves; they should analyze their failures and success, their weakness and strengths. They will not only learn from their past mistakes but will also get the energy to strive better the next time.

Help your child to start their new year at a positive note, filled with enthusiasm. Don’t let them burden themselves with big goals and New Year resolutions let them start with smaller steps which will lead them to bigger achievements.
Happy New Year to All!

This is to remember while finding an ideal school for your child!

A school is a place where your child will spend the next 14 years of his/her life.

Is the school your child is going to, offering the best of resources?

Is it helping your child learn outside of textbooks?

More important, is it equipped to meet the future?

After all, the choices you make early on can have a significant impact later.

For many parents, getting admission in the school with the best facilities and a good transport system is paramount after all, passing out from a good school is a ticket to future success.

Parents may not appreciate the gravity of the decision they’re making – after all, the child will spend the fourteen most formative and crucial growth years in a person’s life in the institute they select.

For most parents, a choice of school for their children is driven by perception, word of mouth (reference from other parents), and infrastructure provided by the school. But, it’s just not enough parents need to discover more and realize how important these coming 14 years would be for their child and make a wise decision.

Here are some points enlisted which parents should keep in mind while searching for an ideal school for their ward:

How future ready is the school?

It is more important to know how the school is prepared for the future than its past pedigree. Your child will be in this school possibly for fourteen years. The world will be a totally different place by the time she/he is ready to go to college. It is important to equip children with skills in this context, skills that can help them navigate the uncertain future and succeed in the jobs and workplaces of that era.

How skilled are the teachers?

Very rarely do parents who go school hunting ask to meet the teachers of the school. This is a mistake because these are the people who will mould your child. Your son or daughter will spend over one-third of his/her life with them for the next decade and a half.

Ask to speak to a teacher or two, a short conversation can give you tremendous information on the teacher community in the school.

In this age and time, good schools focus on having a good program for their teachers and make them learners as well.

Does learning happen outside the classroom?

What percentage of the school week is typically spent in the classroom and what percentage in labs and sports?

Do children go on field trips or visits to local museums?

Do they meet achievers in various fields?

Making real world connections to what children learn inside the classrooms are becoming very important. Classrooms are the most artificial of places in the real world. Many schools have started designing programs to ensure children see the purpose of their learning, by being exposed to the real world.

How is the technology used in the school?

Most schools have a computer lab at the very least. Classrooms fitted with digital and ICT aids (smart classes) are fast becoming the norm. In these classrooms, teachers use a variety of digital aids like images, video, and PPT presentations to augment their teaching. Are children being exposed to the application of technology as opposed to just being taught features and functions? How a school uses technology and involves your child in this realm can be a big differentiator for life and careers in the 21st century.

How are children assessed?

Ask to look through a few textbooks. What will children learn in the different subjects?

How are they assessed for what they are learning?

Do assessments consist of observations, interviews, journals and anecdotes beyond the usual battery of pen and paper tests?

Are guidelines for assessment still mired in marks for different subject silos? Usually learning within schools focuses on subjects (90% or more) and every other element of reporting consists of cursory reporting of several ‘co-scholastic’ parameters.

Are involvements and achievements outside academics encouraged and supported?

Children who participate in tournaments and competitions outside school especially children who are gifted in sports or performing arts often miss classes. While schools are willing to give them ‘attendance’ credit, the children are still expected to play catch-up with their peers upon their return and ace the required tests and exams. Is the school supportive enough to provide some kind of extra class or additional aid for such students to manage their studies well.

What is the value system of the school?

Many schools incorporate orphanage visits or community drives or a weekly ‘Value education’ or ‘Moral science’ class to help children imbibe a good value system. Values must be practiced day in and day out within the school — from the management and principal who address the children at the podium, to the teachers who interact with the children for one-third of the child’s day, to even the support staff. Unless value education is driven in a well-structured program in a consistent manner, values will not become integral to the character of the student.

It’s not enough if the school has a great building, play areas, air conditioned classrooms, activity labs, and computers or tablets. There is more to learning than just an infrastructure, real learning lies in creativity, discoveries, and practical approach.