Friday, July 30, 2010

Can secondhand smoke hurt kids' grades?

Children and teenagers exposed to secondhand smoke at home may get poorer grades than their peers from smoke-free homes, a study of Hong Kong students suggests.

Secondhand smoke is a well-known health threat to children, being linked to increased risks of asthma, as well as bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Studies have also found a connection between smoking during pregnancy and higher risks of childhood behaviour problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Some research has also found that children exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or at home may trail their peers when it comes to cognitive abilities like reasoning and remembering. But whether secondhand smoke itself is to blame remains unclear.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Personality takes shape at an early age

By Misty Harris, Postmedia News

Time machine notwithstanding, report card comments may be the best way to preview who your child will be as an adult.

So suggests compelling new research that shows teachers' evaluations of youngsters' personalities 40 years ago still hold true today, with the now middle-aged subjects behaving in ways highly consistent with their childhood assessments. The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Read more here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Give helicopter parents a break

Adriana Barton, Globe and Mail

It’s tough to go online these days without seeing a diatribe against helicopter parents.

After all, they’re the germaphobic, nanny-cam-using, teacher-stalking mothers (and fathers) everyone loves to hate.

News reports have been scathing. Time magazine called the overparenting trend “insanity;” CNN warned of chopper parents who “fly into school in attack mode,” and USA Today profiled summer camps that give overprotected kids a “parentectomy.”

Read the full article here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeping kids safe on cellphones

How to stay on top of the dangers for kids with constant connectivity.

By Claire Courtney,

Colorado mother Sharon Hamilton thought she had a close eye on her son's technology use. The 15-year-old turned in his cellphone every night at 10 p.m. One evening, Hamilton became suspicious when he frantically deleted text messages before giving over his phone. Her worst fears were soon confirmed.

Click here for the full story.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making the Grade - Fraser Institute Results are published

Testing is complete and the results of the Fraser Institute's standardized tests are tallied. Find out how Calgary and southern Alberta schools compare in the key measures that reveal the quality of education our children are receiving.

Click on graph to enlarge.

(The annual school report card is created by the Fraser Institute, a conservative think-tank based in British Columbia and is based on provincial standardized tests written in 2009 and school graduation rates. It has generated controversy over concerns of ranking schools based only on test results. Schools with only a handful of students writing these tests are not included in the report card.)

Click here to visit the site.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Living with children linked to less exercise

Article from the Canadian Press

Study conducted at the Montreal Heart Institute finds children make it hard to follow an exercise regimen

A study conducted at the Montreal Heart Institute has yielded a surprising result — living with children is linked to a reduction in physical activity.

Concordia University professor Doctor Simon L. Bacon led the study which included 756 participants.

The study assessed the impact of social networks on exercise, revealing that people with heart disease who live with children exercise less than those people who don't live with children.

The researchers were trying to figure out why the majority of heart patients don't succeed in following an exercise regimen, even though its advantages are widely known.

Click here to read the full story.

'Health Police' crack down on seemingly healthy children

Araminta Wordsworth, National Post, with files from news services · Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

Grace Hill is an active five-year-old who loves to swim, dance and ride her bike, while her mom, Laura, makes sure she eats a balanced diet. Now the elementary school student in Derby, England, has been branded overweight and at risk of a host of illnesses including cancer.

The problem is that the finding is according to one measure — the Body Mass Index — while other ways of calculating obesity show Grace as being well within the healthy guidelines for her age, weight and height.

Read more here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Engage your kids in dining experiences

By Shannon Proudfoot, Canwest News Service

As foodie appreciation goes mainstream, more parents are bringing even the smallest diners along for high-end meals, where they're as likely to request such exotic fare as foie gras and duck confit as they are to turn up their noses.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lead by example to get kids off the couch

By Jill Barker, Canwest News Service

In my day, summer meant cycling around the neighbourhood, playing in the park and hanging around at the pool. Parental supervision was from a distance and kids spent most of the day outside.

Today, unstructured and unsupervised play is rare. If left on their own, kids are more likely to spend their summers playing video games than playing outside. Current statistics suggest children age eight to 13 spend nearly six hours a day in front of a screen.

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An email reply from Minister Hancock

(A reply from the Minister's office to an email I sent voicing my concerns regarding funding cuts)

Dear Mr. Newton:

Thank you for your recent e-mail about education funding for the Calgary Board of Education.

As you noted in your e-mail, education funding for the 2010/2011 school year has not been cut by government. In fact, since 2000/2001, funding to education has increased by $2.7 billion, or 73 per cent, while student enrolment has increased by three per cent for the same period.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alberta teacher salary bump gets funding

From the CBC website

The Alberta government has reversed its position and will cover a jump in teachers' salaries this fall, Education Minister Dave Hancock announced.

"In light of the better-than-expected year-end results for the past fiscal year, government has determined that it is prudent to provide funding for the 2.92 per cent increase in this year," Hancock said in a statement posted on his website Wednesday.

How do you rate education in Calgary?

Click here to have your opinion heard!