Education And Health – Learning Is Good For The Brain And The Body

Never underestimate the benefits of a good education. Thomas Jefferson would have hit the nail right on the head if instead of putting, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, he instead penned the words, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health and Education.”

Education, health and happiness are inextricably linked, according to an increasing number of studies pointing to a direct connection between education and quality of life. A conversation about quality living would most assuredly have to include references to strength, stamina, vigor… all by-products of good health.

The highway of education is paved with a fundamental and far-reaching approach to learning that forges knowledge in a variety of subjects, including health. Once you have the knowledge, it then becomes much easier to make the right decisions throughout life about health and everything else.

“Knowledge is power,” wrote author Veronica Roth. Knowledge opens doors, breaks down barriers and levels the playing field. Without it, we wander through life unaware of the possibilities around us and unsure of the decisions in front of us. With it, we are able to recognize the good and bad in things and make decisions based on observation, intelligence and informed judgment.

After learning about the concept of healthy living, and as happens with many of life’s daily responsibilities when accompanied by knowledge, a process of education ignites within us. Because our brain has absorbed information important for being healthy, we begin the process of learning how to be healthy. The cycle continues.

To answer the questions introduced from this new awareness, we then focus on those things which help us accomplish our goal of achieving and maintaining wellness. Suddenly, our brain prompts our body to make the necessary adjustments which can promote a healthy lifestyle in us. In a short amount of time, health becomes something you think about more than only when you must.

Health is primarily defined as ‘a state of complete emotional and physical well-being’. Achieving optimum health and wellness is a challenge for everybody, educated or not. However, having the knowledge necessary to attain and maintain good health, is a perfect example of how learning can positively affect every aspect of your daily existence.

Dr. Seuss had it right, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more things you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Ideally a life-long process, learning stimulates the brain, triggers a physical response, and helps to identify almost unlimited avenues of education. Education, in turn, creates a foundation for life which translates, almost unconsciously, across limitless aspects of life, including health and wellness.

Numerous studies have established the importance and long-term benefits of early childhood education on a person’s well-being. According to the Economic Opportunity Institute, “Early childhood learning plays a crucial role in primary education. By focusing early in childhood on prevention and protective factors, quality care and information can help children to grow up healthy.”

The report went on to state, “… quality early learning and care before the age of five has found it is associated with improvement in a range of educational and social measures, some of which have been documented many years after the care.”

While it has been proven that genetic characteristics structured in our DNA do certainly play a role in health and longevity, addressing the core issue of education – early and continued engaged learning – can provide a wide array of positive benefits for the brain, the body, and for society in general.

A Lesson in Education Technology From a Very, Very Old Tradition

In Okinawa, Japan, women have been diving for pearls for more than 2,000 years. Traditionally dressed in only a loincloth, they would dive to depths as deep as 120 feet to find the oysters and mussels that produce pearls. This work was largely done by women because they were better able to endure the cold of the depths they were diving (Women’s bodies distribute fat more evenly then men.) The work was very dangerous, as you might expect, exposing them to predators, harsh environments and shallow water blackouts.

In the 1960s, they were approached by a firm selling scuba gear. The company demonstrated that one person with the right gear could gather as many oysters as an entire village of women in a day. The results were enticing, but they also raised a number of very significant questions including which women would use the gear, and how would the profits be divided. A town counsel was called and everyone discussed the pros and cons of buying scuba gear. In the end, the decision was made reject the use of scuba and continue with their tradition.

Today these Ama Divers, as they are called, still dive for pearls, though largely for the benefit of tourists rather than for the pearls they gather. Even scuba divers couldn’t compete with the advancements in pearl culture, where thousands of oysters could be grown in shallow depths and tricked into growing pearls in a confined area where they could be easily harvested.

So what does this have to do with education? Look just about anywhere in the education industry and you will find wholesale attempts to introduce as much technology into the classroom as quickly as possible. There are even watchdog groups that report on the school boards that are acting the quickest to engage in these technologies. Blog after blog extols the virtues of employing the latest technological masterpiece, while those who are slower are looked down on as archaic and anachronistic. Some of these programs have good empirical data to back them up, many do not. Some programs are developed by wonderful people with altruistic motives, but many are being promoted by new non-profits that are little more than shells for large corporations who stand to make fortunes if their particular technology becomes the new standard.

With all the hype and hyperbole that is flying around right now, it is virtually impossible to find a voice that will ask the tough questions about whether or not these technologies make good sense. Unlike the Japanese Ama Divers, there are few town council meetings to carefully consider what makes sense and what does not. One of the reasons the Common Core standards, good as they may be, are getting such resistance at the grass roots level is because the proponents have A) used a top-down approach, and B) have not been completely forthcoming about who the stakeholders are and who will profit when these technologies are adopted.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with coming up with something new and making a profit on it; it’s the American way. However, using healthy political contributions to get the support of legislators in bellwether states in exchange for support for new programs is certainly less desirable.

This doesn’t mean we need to be reactionary; it just means that we need to examine the new technologies that are introduced, checking the validity of their claims carefully before we purchase them. It also doesn’t mean we need to reject a promising new technology, as the divers did, if that technology can produce better results at a lower cost. What it does mean is that teachers and parents alike should ask the requisite questions to make sure we are getting the best bag for the buck.

Progress and technology are wonderful tools when balanced with careful consideration and forethought. Let’s do the due diligence before we head down a rabbit hole that could take years to escape. It’s our future we are betting on here, and that is certainly worth our full attention.

Right Brain Kids – Art Activities for Toddler Education and Parenting

It was an eye opener to me when my friend show me how her toddler is able to read at young age of 18 months old! Her son is attending enrichment school on right brain training. I’m not sure the popularity for this in other countries, but I’m sure right brain education for toddler is hot now!

I always wander what other methods to train toddlers’ right brain? After I have done many research and reading, I found one of the best way is providing some art and craft tasks for them. Here, I share some of my parenting tips from my experience and research.

Tips #1 Decorate your home with colorful posters

Display lots of strong colorful posters or cards, striking color is the best. This is to train the observation and focusing at home.

Tips #2 Flash at least 100 pcs of colorful flash card everyday

Plan a fix schedule of the day to flash at least 100 pcs of flash cards to your toddler. The best timing is after the child having milk or meal,and happy to play any games with you. This is to train the brain to be sensitive to different color.

Tips #3 Motor skill training for basic art and craft skills

Take note that all the motor skill is critical to allow your children to learn how to draw and control an art brushes. Activities such as pouring water from big cup to small cup, bead threading, tearing paper, practise how to hold children plastic scissors, but must be accompany by parents, train how to use chock-stick besides using spoon while feeding, train how to hold different type of pen, pencil, brush, thin, thick, long, short, big or small.

Here simple craft activities for you!

Craft #1 Finger drawing using water color or poster color

Take a piece of paper, poster color, and let your toddler using their both hand to scribble, scribble and scribble…

Craft #2 Pasting stickers

You can buy from any stationery store and super mart for children sticker and let them paste sticker on an old daily.

Craft #3 Egg painting

You need to keep some egg shells without breaking the whole egg during cooking. This can be done by punching a small hold on top of the egg, and pour out the egg into a bowl. Securing the egg on a wooden stick and let your toddler color the egg using poster color.

Craft #4 Self or family portrait

You need to prepare family photos or your kids photo for this. Other material needed such as recycle color paper, newsletter or folder divider etc, seashell, hand made clay, paper glue, different colors of marker or color pencils. Ask your child to cut out the family members or self photo, paste it on color paper, then decorate the surrounding of the color paper with marker or color pencil, paste so other items such as seashell, clay etc to make the art work 3D looks.

Above tips are basic methods to train potential genius child in art at young age of 13 – 18 months old. It can be continue used for children above age of 1.5 years later with more complex activities and art and craft projects. Enjoy right brain parenting!

Education: The Foundation Of Everything

As learning is the basis of knowledge, education is the structure from which knowledge flows.

Accumulating information is like having a marble connection, what do you do with it once you have it? The byproducts of education – awareness of varying concepts, appreciation for ideas, understanding divergent philosophies – all are powerful foundations for growth and change.

Intelligence contains within itself the ability to listen and reason, the knowledge to act within reason and the power to create. From education comes wisdom and from that wisdom, solutions are born that propel us forward, whether constructing a building or nurturing an idea.

With Knowledge Comes Responsibility

True knowledge is fearless, made strong by the absence of doubt and fortified by pillars of information. Cultivating it simply requires an open mind and a desire to learn. Channeling knowledge towards meaningful expression is always the challenge.

As William S. Burroughs, American writer and visual artist, once stated, “The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values.”

Every physical structure, every scientific achievement, every philosophical advancement, all have one thing in common; they were brought into existence by educated opinions based on knowledge. The evolutionary path of civilization would have been dramatically different had experiments and new ideas been based on ‘guessing’ or ‘gut feelings’, rather than analytical observation.

Scientific Facts Shape Our Future

A great example of education-based evolution is Darwin’s well-known Theory of Evolution. It is one of the most substantiated theories in the history of science. Hard to imagine such a ground-breaking and historical hypothesis being put forth without the benefit of informed analysis from knowledgeable professionals.

During the beginning of his research, Darwin was much more an observer than a geneticist. He could document the pattern of evolution, but did not possess the scientific training to understand and subsequently translate his observations. Without the corroborative knowledge to support his theory, it would have proven difficult to answer the inherent questions of ‘how’ or ‘why’ it happened.

Evidence gathered from various scientific disciplines, including paleontology, developmental biology, geology, and genetics, enabled scientists to advance Darwin’s stream of ‘theoretical consciousness’ into mainstream discussion. Questions were raised and explanations were given. It is easy to imagine Darwin’s groundbreaking theory never becoming more than coffee-table talk in the absence of fact-based science.

Where Learning Leads… Wisdom Follows

The dictionary defines ‘foundation’ as the basis or groundwork of anything. Education is defined as the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge (in conjunction with) developing the powers of reasoning and judgment. Together, they form the bedrock of learning-based understanding… the path to wisdom.

Wisdom is the grand enabler. With it, all is possible. Without it, nothing is achievable. Wisdom created the pyramids and thrust us into space. It taught us to fly and how to come back down to Earth safely. Wisdom is the evolution of education and architect of our reality.

As a child learns and develops a foundation for life, so too, does learning bring forth the knowledge needed to explore the foundation of the universe. Step by step and lesson by lesson, studying the various aspects of life in all its natural and man-made grandeur, establishes a base of knowledge impervious to self-doubt and distraction.

The infrastructure of human existence will forever depend on the strength and wisdom forged from our educational structure.

The Strength of Education

Strength comes in different forms. A person who displays and utilizes physical attributes is considered to be strong. Someone who demonstrates calmness in times of stress or trouble could be thought of as emotionally strong. An individual exhibiting an above-average intellectual capacity could be classified as mentally strong. Educational strength, though not as widely acknowledged, is a life-changer capable of helping anyone who develops it.

Quality education produces the kind of strength life can be built upon. Its foundation is reinforced with the fortitude of knowledge, its pillars erected from the support of wisdom, and its structure solidified with the cement of confidence. Without it, the winds of chance and circumstance can blow through one’s existence like a hurricane in a treehouse.

Reading today’s reports on the challenges facing public schools would leave readers shaking their heads and thinking, why bother? Poverty, classroom size, family issues, technological inadequacy, bullying – physically and online, student attitudes, student health – obesity at epidemic levels, parental under-involvement or over-involvement, funding… when taken together, it’s no wonder such a bleak and negative picture presents itself.

Education is the Bedrock of Our Future

The truth is, we have to care because our future depends on it. The power of education is enduring, and it forms a bedrock for understanding and addressing the critical issues facing our country and the world in the 21st-century. Contrary to pessimistic headlines emanating from critics of public education, success stories are rampant in schools struggling to overcome the ever-present challenges and obstacles to daily learning.

Education, particularly in our public school system, has received a bad, and some would say unfair, rap. Accentuating the negative is, unfortunately, what makes news headlines far more frequently than positive stories which occur daily in classrooms across the country. Teachers labor intensively every day to build academically strong students who will be able to apply that strength throughout life.

Students from all walks of life are being provided quality education that will make a profound difference in their lives, and in their communities. Learning the three R’s and discovering their connection and meaning to the world outside school walls, is creating the kind of strength only literacy can provide.

Educational Strength Gives Birth to New Ideas

Educational strength gives birth to ideas and options crucial for dealing with some of the most serious issues facing the United States, and the entire planet. Discovering sustainable solutions to address present and future concerns, can only be accomplished through ongoing public education development, and a dedicated commitment to interactive instruction, engaged learning and quality graduates.

More than ever, societal issues are impacting our students and their search for a meaningful and productive life. Poverty continues to be a major contributor to academic failure. Among children under the age of 18 in the United States, 41 percent are classified low-income and nearly 19 percent – one in five – are considered poor and living in poverty.

Statistics like these represent sobering, and in many cases, insurmountable factors in the near-term, for achieving the kind of scholastic success needed to permanently reverse the continuous trend of ‘disadvantaged disengagement‘ in our schools. However, through education we find knowledge, and through knowledge comes hope. Hope for the future, and hope for a better life. We find strength.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou