How to get the most out of Grocery Shopping with Children

Grocery Shopping can actually be an enjoyable experience for you and your children if you keep a few things in mind before planning a trip to the supermarket.
Also, it is a great way for you to introduce your older child to the concept of money and practice his calculation. For younger kids, it’s just fun to be out and about!
·         Take a walk- avoid using the automobile, it is good for health and gives you time to talk with your child.
·         Carry shopping bags and make sure you take a smaller one along for your child. Your child will be proud to carry one along and you are saving environment from plastic and yourself some money
·         Before you start, affirm to the child that he /she can buy only one item of his choice.
·         If the child is old enough give him/her a budget. This not only saves you from a cribby child, but also teaches the child to choose the best option and also manage his money.
·         If your child is old enough, send the child by himself to buy one or two items, which will teach them some independence. Always ask the child to calculate the difference in the amount to be paid and actual amount paid.  This is the best way to teach math for real life.
·         Also take the child to the mall and to the local market, and make him aware of the difference in the prices and explain to the reason behind this disparity. Children pick up very early about such concepts if we introduce it to them.
·         While shopping for vegetables and fruit, ask your child to choose. This will help the child to look for size, measurement and also weight. What’s more, he/she will know what is cooking for dinner!
·         Help the child to prepare a shopping list before starting. This helps the child to know the ingredients of a favourite dish and the quantity that has to be used. While shopping, if an item on the list is not available, teach him the alternatives that could be used. Choices - a big life lesson that the child will learn and give him/her a sense of ownership 
·         Talk about seasonality of fruits and vegetables and how they could be used and the difference in the prices of seasonal and non- seasonal fruits.
·         While buying packed foods, ask the child to read the ingredients, MRP and nutritional facts, preservatives, etc on the back of the packet. This will help practice reading skills and also give them a little knowledge about the ingredients used. 
·         Teach them about expiry dates and how mindful they should be about these.
Grocery shopping with children is usually looked at as a torturous activity. Preparing the child and engaging him in the activity of shopping teaches them ownership, financial responsibility and reasoning.  
It will turn out to be one of the best opportunity for you to teach the child real life problems and their solutions.
Good Luck Moms!

Sharing of knowledge leads to immortality - Pratima, Co-ordinator at MLZS_HSR

“A teacher who establishes rapport with the students, Becomes one with them, learns more from them than he teaches them.”  - Mahatma Gandhi.
I remember once Vasa Sir shared that there was language which was only spoken by a particular community, but they were not generous enough to share their language with others, as a result of which their language perished with them.
Sharing knowledge has helped mankind to survive and evolve into the intelligent and productive species we are today.  But why do people don’t believe in sharing nowadays?
There could be many reasons for not doing so, we are often too slow to recognize how much and in what ways we can assist each other through sharing expertise and knowledge. Sometimes our pride acts as a hindrance for not seeking advice from others and also from discovering new and better ways of doing things. Sometimes lack of trust and time comes in the way of sharing knowledge. Factors such as individualism, inadequate technology, top down decision making etc. can also cause people to refrain from sharing their knowledge.
In many languages the verb “to know” has two first person forms:”I know” and “we know”. “I know “refers to the possession of knowledge by an individual whereas “we know” refers to knowledge that belongs to a group (shared knowledge). Shared knowledge is systematic in its nature and the product of more than one individual.
It changes and evolves over time because of its continued application; on the other hand personal knowledge depends crucially on the experience of a particular individual. We all have witnessed many successful projects and targets and celebrated and congratulated our peers for that, but how many of us took time to share or learn the knowledge our peers gained?
Perhaps, it is time now to learn and to share our best practices with each other, because knowledge is most useful when liberated and shared.  Unless you try to do or learn something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
It has been observed that exchange of ideas with colleagues/peers often result in improvisation which may not have been part of the earlier plan. It is always useful to invite suggestions from  different people who can contribute with their own perspective and experiences which in turn enhances results. I would like to conclude with the following quote-
“Sharing will enrich everyone with more knowledge”.
By Pratima- Co-ordinator MLZS_HSR

Checklist for First Day of School

With school reopening next week. We are sure you are busy preparing yourself and your child for the first day of school. So we decided to come up with a generic list applicable to all parents that will help you along the way.

  • Check if your child’s registration papers are in order. Make a folder and keep all school related paperwork here.

  • Make sure you note the time the school starts and co-ordinate with the transport for the same

  • Note down your child’s class teacher’s name in case you need it. Make your child memorize his/her teacher’s name

  • Ask about the first day’s schedule in advance. Most schools follow a different routine on the first day

  • What time does the school break for lunch and snack? Pack the tiffin accordingly

  • For young children, ask if you need to pack an additional set of clothes too

  • What kind of stationary is required on the first day?

  • Make sure you fill up the diary with all health related information along with emergency contact details for your child

  • If your child needs medication, inform the class teacher in advance about it and remember to pack all necessary medicines along with written instructions for the teacher

  • Know about the drop schedule in advance and be there on time to receive your child

And lastly, talk to your child about the first day of school in a very light and positive manner before the school reopens. With all the above points in place, we are very sure that the first day of school will be a breeze for you and your little one!

Parent Teacher Communication – How to get the most of a meeting

Research shows that children do better in school when parents get involved in what is going on in the school and communicate frequently with the teachers. We, at MLZS welcome all parents to communicate with the teachers, especially earlier in the academic year to help our teachers understand your child and his developmental needs.

Here’s a quick list of points that will help you to make a parent teacher meeting fruitful for your child and the teacher.

·         Keep the appointment of every Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM): MLZS regularly organizes parent teacher meetings. Make sure you never miss these. This is a great time to for you to discuss your child’s problems with the teacher. It also helps when you share your home environment with the teacher so that she is better equipped to understand where the child is coming from.

·         Keep your agenda ready: when you arrive for the PTM, make sure you have jotted down your questions and observations that you wish to discuss with the teacher. If possible, take notes about what the teacher has to offer.

·         Be positive and courteous: Teachers are a dedicated lot. All MLZS teachers are extremely dedicated and work really hard. Even during vacations! So have a positive outlook when interacting with the teachers. If you have some issues or problems, try using kind words like “Please, could you..." and "Thank you for all you did," instead of “"You should have..." or "You must be mistaken."

·         Accept differences: Sometimes you may really “click” with a teacher and other times it may seem a struggle to keep the lines of communication open. Listen to the teacher to get a sense of who she or he is. Hear what the teacher has to say about his or her expectations, classroom, and your student. Don't argue with or criticize the teacher in front of your child.
Be our partner: Thirty years of research shows that children do better in school when their parents are involved. Some of the most important things you can do are to: 
  • Help with homework as needed and appropriate. 
  • Help your child learn the skills needed to manage time and stay on task. 
  • Ask teachers for clarification on instructions and assignments as needed. 
  • Talk about school matters with your student at home. 
  • Ask teachers what you can do to help your child at home.

And finally, be open to the teacher’s suggestions. Sometimes, they are able to point out the correct way forward as a third party. Believe in us, because we will safeguard your children and lead them towards being 21stcentury leaders. That is, and always be our priority.

Importance of Co-curricular Activities in Education System

Can children learn everything from a class room? Are classrooms able to simulate real life situations so children learn from them? Sadly the answer is no. Class room education needs to be supplemented with Co- Curricular Activities or CCA.  These co-curricular activities are organized to propel students’ emotional, social and moral development which otherwise are limited in a classroom setting to group work.
Mount Litera Zee School has diversified into various domains to enrich the student learning and student engagement. Domains like sports activities, NCC, field trips are some of the co-curricular activities (CCA) which are emphasized to complement and supplement the academic curriculum taught in the classrooms.  
Importance of Co-curricular Activities for school children:
*Develops values of cooperation, sense of belonging, respect others views and feelings, collaborate for team work.
*It motivates learning as opportunities for out of the box thinking are encouraged.
*Enables to express their thoughts and opinions without the fear of being graded.
*Enhances their psychological, civic, ethical and social understanding.
*Inculcates skills like decision making, self-esteem, leadership abilities and organization.
*Facilitates identifying child’s abilities and potential and showcase their talents like singing, speaking, drawing, dramatic skills.
*Provides child to introspect their actions and thoughts to develop required socialization and emotional balance.
*Appreciate and encourage peer learning.
Aruna Sridharan, our Academic Consultant for Pre-Primary section of all MLZS schools has a vast amount of experience in this field. What she has routinely observed in children when they are outside the classroom will astonish you.
·         Promoting awareness: Co curricular activities promote interests and awareness in an existing topic
·         Interlinking with classroom education: Children have an amazing ability to interlink co curricular activities with text book education. You will be surprised at how quick they are to find cross references and links.
·         Personality development: The true personality of every child emerges when he is taken out of the classroom.
·        Sense of ownership: Belonging to a club increases a sense of ownership and brotherhood among the members of that particular group. Young minds are then encouraged to dig deeper in the given field and gain specialized knowledge
·         And finally, having fun is good for the brain! Co-curricular activities and clubs are a great way for children to have fun and learn at the same time. Something, that can never be replaced by classroom education.

School Tiffin Ideas For Moms

It is school time again for most of you and the early morning routine has already begun! And we know just how it goes. The alarm goes off at 6 am, you dash to make your morning ablutions (all the while planning about what to pack for your child’s tiffin), wake up your child and get him ready and trying to finish your first cup of tea unsuccessfully!
But did you know that a little bit of tiffin planning will take you a long way in easing this hectic morning routine. Our Nutritionist, Parul Bhatnagar has put together a few tiffin ideas that are not only nutritious but can be made quickly with some forward planning. You can get in touch with her if you wish to discuss your child’s nutrition habits in detail.
So here’s the list!

1)  Paneer Wrap - A wheat flour chapati rolled with sautéed paneer and vegetables. Paneer is the richest source of protein in diary and good for overall growth and development of the body. It provides calcium and vitamin A which is good for bones, eyes and increase concentration.
2) Tomato Pasta – This easy recipe can be prepared by mixing Pasta with homemade tomato puree and finely chopped vegetables. Pasta made from durum wheat provides carbohydrates for energy. Vegetables add vitamins and minerals to it. Tomatoes are rich source of lycopene, which maintains eye health.
3) Pumpkin Poori- Pumpkin puree mixed in dough to make pooris. Pumpkin is a nutritionally rich vegetable. Pumpkin is richest source of Vitamin A, in addition to Vitamin C and E which helps in increasing concentration and attention span of children in school.
4) Carrot Idlis- Idlis are something children eat without too much fuss. Adding vegetables into the batter will increase its nutritional value. Carrots are an exceptionally rich source of carotenes ,vitamin A and minerals like copper , calcium, potassium , phosphorous. It helps in maintaining good eyes health, epithelial integrity, growth and development.
5) Nutrella Parantha- Boiled Nutrella granules stuffed into wheat dough and prepared as paranthas. Nutrella is a power house of protein, essentially required for growth and development of child. It also helps in formation of new cells in the body.
6) Home Made Nutri Bars- Prepare this by mixing almonds, walnuts, oats with jaggery syrup. It will turn out as a bar with lots of nuts and healthy oats. Nuts are very good for brain development as they are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Jaggery will provide them carbohydrates and oats fulfill the need of fiber in young bodies.
7) Fruit Pancakes – Home made fruit puree can be mixed in wheat batter and cooked on flat pan in ghee.  Fruits are rich in antioxidants which help in boosting their immunity and resistance to fight against diseases. Ghee provides important fats which is important for brain development.
8) Spinach and corn cheese toast- Whole Wheat Bread stuffed with spinach corn and cheese mixture. Spinach, corn and cheese all are good sources of Vitamin A and Calcium which is very necessary for strong bones. And whole wheat bread gives the children a good dose of carbohydrates, much needed to keep their energy levels up!
9) Vegetable Paneer Pulao-Rice mixed with lots of vegetables. This dish provides carbohydrates and protein for energy and growth. Vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals which helps child to fight against diseases, increasing concentration and attention in class.
10) Methi Thepla- It is prepared by mixing wheat flour with gram flour (besan) and fenugreek leaves (methi). Fenugreek leaves contains fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese. They are very good for children suffering from anemia, loss of taste, stomach disorders. 
The best thing about this list is that you can plan ahead and get a lot of things organized beforehand, so you don’t spend too much time on cooking in the morning. Eg: You can prepare the theplas dough at night and refrigerate it, you can even make the batter for idlis and fruit pancakes well in advance and so on. 
 So go ahead and plan your child’s tiffin without worrying too much about nutrition, we’ve got you covered J

Easing Back into School Routine – A Bag of Tricks and Tips for Parents

For children, going from days of lazing around, sleeping late, waking up late to stuffing themselves with ice-creams and mangoes, to having to rise with the sun and keep a smiling face for the first day at school can be a major shock.
Here’s how you can help them to make this transition easier, if not enjoyable.
Reset their body clock. Chances are that your children are staying up till late and sleeping only when their eyes can no longer stay open. You can help them by starting to put them to sleep earlier than that. It has to be gradual. And no. Don’t except it to be easy either. They will resist, give excuses and generally give you a hard time about it. The trick is to shift all their activities to half an hour earlier, so that their bodies learn to recognize the pattern before sleep. Gradually keep increasing this time till you get them to their usual sleeping time. Ideally, this practice should start 2 weeks before schools reopen, but if you have missed that mark, then never mind. The sooner you start the easier it will be.
Dealing with “I don’t want to go to school”. Some children may start off like this. It usually happens because all human beings resist change, unless the change is perceived to be more fun. To deal with this, you will need to gently probe to find out why your children don’t want to go to school. Generally, there is no clear answer, but if they genuinely have a problem, make sure you lend it an ear and help them sort it out.
In other cases, like the ones listed below, it is best to be non negotiable and yet empathize with them wherever possible.
·         I don’t want holidays to end! Well who can blame them? Don’t we feel the same way towards the end of a vacation? The best way is to remind them about the good things at school like clubs, theatres, their best friend or favorite teacher.
·         I’ve heard my friends say school is going to be very boring. Point is your child feels it is going to be boring. He just wants to put the blame on someone else. Be emphatic and remind them that they will find out only once they go to school. 
·         I don’t want homework. The first few weeks at school are revision time. Remind them that it won’t be hard work at all and that their teachers understand that and are always going to be there for them whenever they need help.
·         I’m worried I will have no friends. Social worries are difficult to address. There may be real reason behind them. They may have felt left out during the last session. Try and arrange with his best friend’s mother for them to have lunch together. Or meet them after school so that your child has enough time reconnecting with his old buddies
Going back to school after a long hiatus can be very trying for children. But you can help them get on the right track with the suggestions given above!

Why Humor is Good for Kids

Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine – Lord Byron
How does a child develop a sense of humor? Is it inherent or is it learnt through observation or is it a combination of both? We will deal with this aspect later. But what is known and scientifically proven beyond doubt is that humor and laughter play a crucial role in the development of resilience and well being, and can help children navigate through and cope with the different stages of life.
Nature vs. Nurture
It is widely believed that no one is born with an inherent sense of humor, a lack of sense of humor or even a poor sense of humor. A sense of humor is learned, just like all other skills we possess. But how is this particular skill learnt? Well, it is mostly by observation. And parents are the greatest influencers.
When a child’s humor development is encouraged, meaning praised and appreciated by words, it will flourish. But this does not mean that parents have to feel unduly pressurized. Children, though not born with a sense of humor, can appreciate funny instances (mostly physical in nature). So even if you consider yourself to be a somber parent, there is no need to stress.
The only way to help your budding comedian is to laugh along with him in things that he feels are funny, without letting him go overboard. It is also up to the parents to steer their children in the right direction if humor starts getting cruel or unpalatable.
The benefits of laughing
Franzini says a keen sense of humor is linked to:
  • Higher intelligence.
  • More extensive creative abilities.
  • Flexible thought processes.
  • Greater sociability.
  • High self-esteem.
  • Better self-control skills. McGhee says it is also widely believed that having a good sense of humor can make kids more resilient.
Here’s an age-appropriate humor guide during the comedic formative years of six months to seven years.
  • The first year: The first belly laugh comes from something primary carers do, such as pulling silly faces.
  • Ages 1-4: Littlies can find using objects "wrongly" – such as wearing a bowl as a hat – hysterical.
  • Ages 2-5: With a growing grip on language, naming objects or people silly names – like saying your nose is your belly – often gets a giggle.
  • Ages 3-5: Word play and making up nonsense combinations is very funny.
  • Ages 6-7: This age loves a "knock, knock" joke – and they will laugh their heads off at their own jokes.
Children use humor to dispel stressful situations quite naturally. Maybe you could take a leaf out of their book and adopt the same strategy next time you feel stressed. Happy Laughing!

Teaching Kids About Good Touch and Bad Touch

Teaching your kids about Good Touch and Bad Touch is the single most important item in any mother’s to-do list today. Only a mother will be able to explain to her child that difference between a Good Touch and a Bad Touch without letting the child feel that the world is an unsafe place.
So we decided to speak to a few mothers (just like you) and ask them how they teach their children (ranging from 18 months to 10 years) about this difficult subject. Let’s hear what they have to say….
Teaching them what each part of the body is called. Anitha, mother to 18 month old Suriya says that as soon as Suriya grew curious about his body during bath time, she taught him the correct names for his anatomy. She says, “I really think it helps him to have knowledge incase he ever wants to tell me about anything”.
Give them ownership of their body. From an early age Sarveen started telling her daughter (now aged 3 years) that her body is her own and certain parts are private that nobody has a right to touch. In fact even when it is something like holding hands or hugging, Sarveen allows her daughter to have the right to say NO if she doesn’t want to.
Keep conversation around private parts light and easy. If children feel that it is taboo to speak about their private parts, they may never open up to you in case they want to tell you something. Komal, mother to 4.5 year old Sanand has always kept conversation light and easy. Just as one would be if one was talking about their hands or fingers.
Think beyond the swim suit rule. Lisa, a child psychologist, was taught about the swim suit rule when she was young. The rule is whatever part of body is covered by the swim suit is private and no one should be seeing or touching that area. Now a mother to 2 and 6 year olds, Lisa says,” Most criminals have constant contact with the children and develop a relationship with them over time. Sexual molestation begins by rubbing backs, stroking the hair of children and then move onto sensitive areas so there is no warning. Instead the child should be taught to repel or complain against any touch that makes him/her uncomfortable.”
And finally, Don’t force affection. If your child doesn’t want to give a hug, don’t coerce him/her into it. A loving hug from an adult isn’t a bad thing at all. But it should definitely not be forced.

The Real Value of Education by Anitha, HSR Extension

The Real VALUE of Education

It’s alright for us as parents, teachers and educators to instruct our children to become good human beings, kind and considerate to all, to refrain from fabrications and prevarications, to be just, to respect elders in the society and family, to always be ready to serve for the common and greater good. We seldom actually provide a road map to develop, practice and perfect a set of virtues to our children. In the real world these values are honesty, integrity, conduct and behavior.
Theodore Roosevelt pronounced that, To educate a person in the mind but not in the morals is to educate a menace to society. “ Well, maybe not a menace, but certainly, a misfit. What is equally glaring and hard hitting is that beyond school success is no longer guaranteed by grades. While technical education undoubtedly has its place, what is gaining greater significance is the establishment of values in children during their growing up years, both in school and at home.
It is understandable that values cannot be taught, but can only be imbibed. Any child, who is exposed to an environment where there is constant reinforcement of values and morals, will stand a better chance at internalizing these values. The responsibility of the teacher today is not simply about guaranteeing excellence in academics, but also, a commitment to create a role model for students to follow.
At Mount Litera Zee School, the entire methodology of imparting education is based on teaching core human and social values and principles. The effort is always towards achieving that balance between academics and real world values.
New and modern educational institutions should seek to integrate value-based education together with mainstream subjects.  Our children, today, are more in need of an education which stresses on building personal characteristics along with bookish knowledge.
Of course, the way ideologies are imparted and values are instilled depends on the educational institution.  
At MLZS, we believe that the best way is by setting the right maxims and examples, which makes it possible for our students to emulate and follow.
This article has been the work of Ms. Anitha, our Moral Values Coordinator at MLZS HSR Extension branch. This article reflects her thoughts and her follow up actions that she has planned in the new academic year for all our children.