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Caroline Dennigan

Caroline Dennigan Blog Posts

Quick facts about dyspraxia

Quick facts about dyspraxia   First of all, do you know what dyspraxia is? Dyspraxia, also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD), is a condition that affects physical co-ordination which causes those affected to perform less well than expected in daily activities for his or her age and appear to move clumsily. Dyspraxia is thought to be around three or four times more common in boys than girls, and the condition has also been seen to run in families. Dyspraxia does not affect intelligence, but it may make daily life more difficult. It can affect co-ordination skills – such as tasks requiring balance, playing sports and fine ...888
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Dyslexia signs to look out for...

Dyslexia signs to look out for... Dyslexia is probably much more common than you would initially imagine, with an estimated 1 in 10 to 20 people in the UK having some degree of dyslexia. If you think your child might be one of them, then read on to find out which dyslexia signs to look out for... What is dyslexia?  Dyslexia is a "specific learning difficulty", which means it causes problems with certain abilities used for learning, such as reading and writing. While dyslexia is a neurological condition, intelligence isn't affected. Identifying dyslexia can be difficult because specific dyslexia signs are not always obvious and ...888
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Interesting facts about Halloween

Interesting facts about Halloween    As Halloween approaches, learn a little bit more about this interesting celebration. You might be surprised at what you find out! Just as Christmas is associated with the colours red and green, Halloween is accompanied by the colours orange and black. The reason being, black represents death and darkness while orange, the complete opposite on the colour spectrum, a vibrant colour, signifies courage and strength. However, that being said, orange could also signify the Autumn harvest which is the time of the Samhain festival. Halloween was, and in many places still is a festival of the dead. Indeed...888
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Top tips for building reading skills

Top tips for building reading skills   Reading skills are among the most important and necessary learning skills, and as a parent, you have a huge impact on how quickly your child learns to read. Studies have shown that reading out loud to children on a regular basis produces significant gains in comprehension, vocabulary, and the understanding of words.  Reading opens up doors to a whole new world full of knowledge, adventure, culture and diversity. Here are 10 simple yet effective tips for building and improving your child's progress in reading, which will not only develop reading skills but also a curiosity and desire to lea...888
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Does your child struggle to make friends?

Does your child struggle to make friends?   If you are worried because your child is a bit of a loner and seems shy or reluctant to make friends, there are ways you can help and it's extremely beneficial too because as well as being fun, playing with friends is a way for young children to learn social skills. It needn't be a struggle! Many parents and child experts will agree that the key is taking small, modest steps which will encourage social interactions with other children without being too pushy. The aim is to give your child opportunities to experience beneficial social experiences that will leave them wanting more rather than fee...888
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How to build self-confidence in children

How to build self-confidence in children   Self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. This is a gift that will last from childhood throughout their adult life. Positivity and self-confidence help children try new challenges as well as deal with mistakes and try, try again! Read on to learn some ways to help build their confidence...  Here are 10 tips on how to raise a self-confident child: 1- Say less and let your child do more!  2- Don't get upset by your child's mistakes. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, professor of psychology encourages parents to make their own little mistakes on purpose. "Seeing you mess up an...888
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10 tips to prepare your child for secondary school

10 tips to prepare your child for secondary school   Moving up to Year 7 is a milestone in every child's life. I certainly remember my last day at primary school and the first at secondary! The summer holidays in-between were a long run up to the great unknown. These days the 'transition' is much carefully thought out, and it's highly likely your child will have made many trips to their chosen school already, engaged with staff and pupils, and even participated in several lesson. However, any change can still be traumatic, so with that in mind, here are 10 tips on how to help prepare your child for the transition from primary to secondar...888
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What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)?

  What are Special Educational Needs (SEN)? Section 20 of the Children and Families Act 2014 defines a child as having Special Educational Needs (SEN) if he or she...  ''(has)... a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.''  Or ''Their special educational needs may require extra or different provision in relation to thinking and understanding, as a result of physical or sensory difficulties, emotional or behavioural difficulties, difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people. Disabled children and young people may require extr...888
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Screen time for kids: How much is too much?

Screen time for kids: How much is too much?   First of all, what exactly is screen time? Well, screen time is the time spent in front of a screen, such as watching programmes on television, using computers, playing video or hand-held computer games, using IPads and smartphones. From a very young age, kids can get addicted to IPads, and research has shown children as young as two spending excessive amounts of time on their IPads which in the short term can lead to sleep disorders, inability to concentrate, aggression and the inability to communicate with others.  But what about long term damage? Can excessive screen time cause perman...888
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What's the right age for your child's first email account?

What's the right age for your child's first email account?   What age is considered appropriate for a child to have their own email account?   A growing number of schools do offer pupils school e-mail accounts. Not usually in infant school, but as they move through the education system into junior school pupils are generally assigned a school e-mail address and password. Teachers can monitor and scan for bad language and harmful content. Any e-mail that causes concern will be forwarded to the designated teacher.  This works because it's an email within an 'enclosed network'. Using email across the entire worldwide web is a diff...888
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10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child

10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child    Why hire a private tutor for your child? Here are 10 good reasons: The demand for private tuition is increasing, due mainly to the popularity of hiring a private tutor with parents who want to give their child extra support or prepare them for oncoming examinations. In no particular order, here are 10 reasons to hire a private tutor for your child. 1. C onfidence building Some children lack confidence in school and as a result, they can fall behind and find themselves struggling academically. Hiring a private tutor can build a child's confidence in next to no time and guide t...888
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When is it safe to leave your child home alone?

When is it safe to leave your child home alone?   Deciding when your child is ready to be left home alone (in a safe state!) is a decision not to be taken lightly.  There are a lot of factors to take into consideration and it's made all that harder because there are no rules or laws to follow.  The law doesn't say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it's an offense to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. (Suitably vague!) It all boils down to how comfortable you and your child are with the idea as well as how adaptable and mature they are.  While there is no determined legal age to leave a ch...888
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What were classrooms like 100 years ago?

What were classrooms like 100 years ago?   ​ Just how different are today's classrooms compared to 100 years ago? One hundred years ago, children did go to school, but the classroom and lessons were very unfamiliar by today's standards. The 1870 Education Act was the very first piece of legislation to deal specifically with the provision of education in Britain. However, the act still did not make education for children compulsory. It was not until the Elementary Education Act of 1880 which finally made school attendance compulsory from the age of 5 until the age of 10. In 1893 compulsory education was also extended to blind and deaf chi...888
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The importance of learning homophones

The importance of learning homophones What are homophones? Homophones are those confusing little words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings and usually different spellings. While there are literally hundreds of homophones in the English language, below are 10 common examples. Once you've grasped the importance of learning homophones, you'll be a better reader and writer. You can see from some of the examples that some do have the same spelling but a completely different meaning! Homophones are without a doubt the reason why so many of us misspell words on a daily basis. I would personally say that to, too and two are the ho...888
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Help your child to write better sentences

Help your child to write better sentences

 


​Is your child finding it difficult to write in sentences? Do they make correct use of full stops and capital letters? Read on for some tips and fun exercises that you can do with your child and help them write better sentences. 


(You'll have to tweak some of this depending on the age and ability of your child.)

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All you need to know about the 11-plus exam

All you need to know about the 11-plus exam   Have you ever wondered why despite many areas of the UK not using the eleven plus since the early 1970s there are still local authorities and private schools admitting pupils based on selection? It might surprise you to learn, there are even now, 165 remaining grammar schools in various parts of England and 70 in Northern Ireland (and many more independent schools), and so the eleven-plus examination continues to thrive. These days, the 11 Plus examination is taken by some pupils in their final year of primary school in order to get into their first choice grammar school. Private schools also...888
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Homeschooling is on the increase

  Homeschooling is on the increase While there are no exact figures, it is estimated that there are around 75,000 home-schooled children in the UK and this figure is increasing every year. One of the reasons why the figures are estimated is because children who never start school are not likely to be reflected in the statistics. Even more surprising, is that although taking children out of school for holidays is illegal, despite having an otherwise good attendance, and despite the possible educational content that travel allows, it is perfectly legal to remove your child from school and teach them at home, without any teaching qualificat...888
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10 ways to organise family life using Evernote

  10 ways to organise family life using Evernote So what exactly is Evernote? Well, some people will tell you that this tool is their digital brain! Others will tell you it's a cloud-based software tool which will keep all of your important things and store them in the cloud instead of locally on your mobile device or laptop (it can do that too of course). For both the professional and the casual, personal user Evernote is one of the best tools to help you stay organised. It will most certainly change the way you organise your personal day-to-day projects as well as business projects. Once you start with Evernote, you will probably find ...888
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10 Tips for Stress-free Homework

10 Tips for Stress-free Homework Do you have a tendency to hide when you see your children coming home from school with a bag full of homework? Rest assured you are in good company because it's a well-established fact that most parents dread homework nearly as much as children dislike it.  ​ Here are 10 simple tips and suggestions to help relieve the anguish of homework which you may not have thought of before. These suggestions will help establish a routine and make homework a positive experience, and stress-free! (For the whole family!) It's all in the prep... 1. Create an area just for homework. (My daughter's desk was the best presen...888
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How to get your children to do some chores!

How to get your children to do some chores!
How to get your children to do some chores!   Does this sound familiar? ''I'll do it later!'' or ''My friends don't have to. Why do I?'' Research shows "Children given household chores at an early age have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and have more self-reliant." HOORAY! However, as us parents know only too well, motivating or persuading a child to do a simple household chore can be a chore in itself, and often a 'nagging' scenario develops. So instead of the children using some clever delaying tactics, let's find some ways to make daily chores entertaining and fun. List of chores for children: This list of example chore...888
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Help Your Child To Learn Weekly Spellings

Help Your Child To Learn Weekly Spellings   Does your child have weekly spellings to learn? Chances are high that if they're still at primary school they will. And is it a source of great joy, or of great pain? :) If your heart sinks at the very thought of helping your child learn their weekly spellings, we have put together some fun games for you both. These will help support your child at home when they have spellings to learn. It's important to make spelling practice enjoyable and remember "little and often" is usually the best approach, that goes for kids struggling with spellings or those who pick them up quickly. While we wholehear...888
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Internet Safety For Kids [how to take back control]

Internet safety for kids

 

Allowing your kids to access the internet?  Of course you are! All of us parents are. And keeping young children and teenagers safe online is one of the first and main concerns for parents and teachers alike.

This is a very important issue, one that all parents would agree is becoming increasingly worrisome as the news throws more and more stories out about grooming and/or online bullying.

So we'd like to share some advice as well as a few links to useful free tools for online safety.

 
Child-safe search engine


When children need to research for school projects or just explore online for themselves, a child-safe search engine is an invaluable tool.


There are a number of search engines that are suitable for children which will help them find the information they are looking for, while at the same time, filtering the results so only child-friendly web pages and images will be shown.

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Family Party Games [your guide to a fun time!]

Family Party Games [your guide to a fun time!]

 

The family that plays together stays together! Hands up who wants to play some fun family party games? And Christmas and New Year are just about the perfect time to start!

 

Here are some ideas for games that are both entertaining and fun for all ages. Perfect for Christmas, New year, sleepovers, rainy days and birthday parties. These are all games that the children can all get involved in and even help prepare. Best of all, the games are totally free, and don't come with a huge amount of packaging you have to dispose of afterwards!

 


SHOOT THE CAMERA

What you will need

A cheap camera
Music

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How to say Merry Christmas in 18 Different Languages

How to say Merry Christmas in 18 Different Languages

 

Here's one for the kids! They love to say Merry Christmas in various languages - go on, ask them!

So, in no particular order, here are 18 ways to say Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas in different languages:



1- If you were in Denmark celebrating Christmas then you would say Glaedelig Jul.

2- In Finland, the greeting is Hyvaa Joulua.

3- Across the channel in France the greeting you would use is Joyeux Noël.

4- Heading to Germany for Christmas? Greet your friends with Frohliche Weihnachten.

5- If you were lucky enough to find yourself on a beach in Hawaii for Christmas it's Mele Kalikimaka.

6- In Italy Merry Christmas is Buon Natale.

7- Heading to Norway? Gledelig Jul.

8- Celebrating Christmas in the Philippines? Great your friends and family with Maligayang Pasko.

9- Polish is one of the most difficult languages to learn so you will be forgiven if you pronounce this one wrong! Wesolych Swiat Bozgp Narodzenia.

10- Portuguese is spoken in 7 different countries - Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe. Their Christmas greeting is Feliz Natal.

11- Spending Christmas in Spain or South America? You would say Feliz Navidad. (Thanks to Michael Buble, even I know this one!)

12- If you are in Sweden for Christmas, greet your friends and family with God Jul.

13- In Turkey, you will see yeni yiliniz kutlu olsun which literally translates to Happy New Year. Otherwise, you may see Mutlu Noel which means Happy Christmas.

14- In Wales, Merry Christmas is Nadolig Llawen.

15- In Estonia, the Christmas greeting is Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi.

16- If you find yourself celebrating Christmas in Ireland the greeting is Nollaig Shona Dhuit.

17- Celebrating Christmas in Malta, then Merry Christmas is Milied it-Tajjeb

18- Enjoying Christmas in Romania? Crăciun Fericit.

 

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Easy Recipe for Christmas Biscuits

Easy Recipe for Christmas Biscuits

 

What better way to say 'Merry Christmas' to friends or relatives than with a tin of homemade biscuits? These delicious biscuits are best shared but if you want to keep them all for yourself, we promise we won't tell!

 

And if you rope your kids into it, then they'll make excellent (and cheap!) Christmas gifts for relatives.

 

If you would like to make the biscuits into Christmas tree decorations, before baking carefully make a hole in the top of the biscuit mixture using a straw.

 

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3 fun and easy science experiments to do at home

 3 fun and easy science experiments to do at home

 

Here are 3 very easy, safe and fun science experiments that you can do with children at home. No special equipment is needed and most of the things needed you will already have at home.

 

1. Make your own crystals

Probably everyone's favourite experiment and there are many variations on growing crystals at home but this one uses plain table salt and is probably the quickest and easiest.

What you'll need

Table salt - sodium chloride
300 ml tap water
Clean glass jam jar
Piece of string

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Short story ideas and writing prompts

Short story ideas and writing prompts

 

Is your child often stuck for words and in need of some ideas? Sometimes it’s really difficult to start writing when you are faced with just a blank page.

Writing prompts are a great way to get the creative juices flowing again and even if they spend only 5 or 10 minutes on a prompt, it's often enough to divert their attention and get them back to working on their original piece again.

If they are using writing prompts, don't be too bothered about the direction in which they are heading or if what they have written is good or not. The whole idea is to get into the flow of creative writing.

Here are 5 writing prompts to stretch their imagination and help them put pencil to paper and write every day!

 

(These can be 'adjusted' depending on the child's age!)

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Teach Your Child How To Tell The Time

Teach Your Child How To Tell The Time 

 

Teaching children to tell the time has always been considered to be a bit tricky. True, it is not the easiest skill to teach, but it is by far one of the most rewarding.

 

Why is it so hard learning how to tell the time?

We spend years teaching kids about our number system based on '10'. Everything from 'Place Value' to 'metric measurements' follow the reassuringly logical premise that things come in 10s, 100s and 1000s and so on.

 

Then we suddenly throw in a system based on 5s, 12s, 24s and 60s! Where's the logic in that?

No wonder they get confused. In addition, we use various methods for saying the same time, we use Roman numerals, digital clocks, and sometimes don't even have digits at all. The whole thing is a mess!

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5 top ideas for outdoor learning

5 top ideas for outdoor learning 

 

Whatever the season, outdoor learning is a brilliant way to get everyone outside in the fresh air as well as engage children who are not so much into pen and paper learning.

So, here are 5 top ideas for outdoor learning that all the family can take part in.

 

Let it snow!

Snow offers a real hands-on learning experience for younger children and building a snowman teaches a number of skills including balance, coordination, thinking, maths, science and motor control.

Before you set off outside, involve the children in the preparation and ask them to gather together items of clothing they think will keep them warm in the snow.

Give younger children the opportunity to create sentences with new winter words such as- crunchy, slippery, icy, chilly, crackling, frozen, sparkling and numb!

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List of favourite resources for exam preparation

 List of favourite resources for exam preparation

Do you have important exams coming up or do you want to help someone with their studying? It's important to know how to prepare properly and set aside time for studying. With this in mind, we have put together a collection of some of our favourite and best online resources for exam preparation. However, before we get to the resources, we would like to share 3 top tips to help you on the way to achieving your study goals:


Tips for study success


1-Knowing how to prepare for exams is one of the key ways to manage exam stress. Bear in mind, as well as good exam preparation, always believe in yourself and remember that if you have prepared for your exams properly in advance you should do fine.


2-Start your revision early and don't leave it until the night before to study!


3-It is also a good idea to study in intervals and don't try to cram everything in. Split your study time so you give yourself a 5 - 10 minute break after you have studied for no more than 50 minutes.


Resources for exam preparation


The University of Leicester have put together an excellent study guide which includes revision and exam skills as well as memory techniques and how to test yourself.


Feeling stressed at the thought of upcoming exams? Check out this fabulous resource from the University of St Andrews which is all about managing exam stress and includes general exam stress-busting tips.


Between study periods you will most certainly need to relax. Here are 10 quick and easy ways to relax and reduce stress

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