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Connecting Signs: A Language We All Must Learn

Connecting Signs: A Language We All Must Learn

When you’re thirsty, you ask for a glass of water. What about those who can’t speak?

When you’re lost, you ask for directions. What about those who can’t make themselves heard?

When you’re worried, you call a friend and talk for hours at end. What about those who don’t have that option?

When you hear music, you can’t keep your feet from tapping. What about those who can’t hear?

Clearly, we need to bridge the gap and connect with the unconnected! And Connecting Signs does just that.

What is Connecting Signs all about?

It is about connecting those missing dots.
It is about making those unheard voices heard.
It is about breaking down those walls that keep us from communicating.

Connecting Signs is a way for us to reach out to those who need us the most, and in a way that has never been done before!

In our day to day hustle, we don’t realize that life is not as easy for those who can’t hear or speak. Even if we do take out the time to reach out, we do so with an air of sympathy or commiseration. The important realization, which we often forget, is that those with a speech or hearing impairment are truly gifted in ways that go beyond the ordinary. All they need is a little touch of magic from those of us who can encourage and help them.

International Week of the Deaf 2017: September 18 – September 24, and Connecting Signs is an endeavour, which will raise greater awareness around those who can’t speak or hear. The campaign will strive to signal the many challenges these people face, besides the many hardships they bear due to societal negligence and lack of effort.

The various activities and events will be a sincere attempt at bridging all gaps, and opening doors to effortless forms of communication. Besides educating the masses about sign language and its importance, Connecting Signs will also embrace the differences, give life to new friendships, and negate all forms of misconceptions and taboos associated with such impairments.

The power to change lives lies in our hands! Are you giving a thumbs up to this one?

Simple ways to cultivate happiness at school

Simple ways to cultivate happiness at school

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ”˜happy”. They told me I didn”t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn”t understand life.” ”“ John Lennon

Each one of us want our children to be happy, and while this is traditionally thought of as a homebound concern, everyone sends their kids to school with the hope that they will have an emotionally enriched and balanced life.

Unfortunately, the competitive atmosphere in schools has created a different definition of positive classrooms for many educators. For most, positive classrooms have come to mean places where students arrive at school ready to learn, work hard, go home, complete the homework, and return to school the next day to learn some more. Often, teachers are so focused on ensuring that students pass achievement tests, that they have little or no time to address the social and emotional needs of these young and curious souls. On the brighter side though, some educators are beginning to realize that overlooking the overall well-being of the students is a huge mistake. It definitely does not take rocket science to understand that happy children are likely to be less distracted and are more willing to learn . Here are a few simple ways to cultivate happiness in classrooms and schools:

1. Slow Down
When we slow down, we notice more, we appreciate relationships, learning, and goals. Everyone can benefit from slowing down, and that includes students and teachers too. In the classroom, this would translate into spending more time during the morning meet-up session, or taking those extra 10 minutes to engage kids with a fun activity or game prior to starting a ”˜serious” lesson in the class.

2. Going Out
Being outside, even for just a few minutes a day can heighten our state of well-being. We breathe fresh air, feel the natural elements — the warmth of the sun, the wind, the moisture of rain, all of which helps us introspect. Even if it”s cold outside, we can take our students for a quick walk, or indulge in silent reading sessions amidst natural surroundings, for example-parks, or sprawling gardens.

3. Move Your Body
Moving bodies=happy minds! Even if you can’t take your kids outside, you can incorporate activities into play sessions. For example, you could use popular, age appropriate music to break the monotony. Through this, happy endorphins are bound to rise, which ultimately leads to attentive minds, ears, and hearts.

4. Sing
Singing requires us to breathe deeply, and this in turn makes us happy.If you teach elementary school, then it’s easy to get your kids singing everyday. In fact, you could start the day with a simple and fun song! Find songs that connect with what you are teaching, as this will help kids have better recall with their academic lessons.

5. Smile
Try smiling more often, but aim for authentic, genuine smiles. However, if you are more of a ”˜serious” type, then go ahead and fake it. Fake smiles too can help you move along, and can have a positive impact on those who interact with you.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating a happy, jovial environment for the kids at school, but to start with some simple and actionable ideas is the best way. Try them, share them and let us know if you have different methods, which work for you.

If you are seeking instant inspiration and happiness, you can also read our blog on How to Create a Happier World Together.

How to get your kids to open up about school

How to get your kids to open up about school

Parenting is easier said than done. Ask parents of an infant, and they might tell you about the sleepless nights they have to endure. Ask parents of toddlers and they will tell you about being on their toes 24×7. Ask parents of teens, and they will tell you a hundred more things they have to worry about regarding their child”s future. No matter what age, sometimes it”s impossible for parents to get their children to talk. This situation is the most distressing part of parenting, where you sense something is wrong, but can”t put your finger on it. Children have a way of shutting themselves out and just zone out. Therefore, it”s important for parents to be open and talk to their kids in a non-judgemental manner. This approach helps the kids open up, feel safe and share their deepest of thoughts.

Here are a few parenting tips on how you can get your kids to open up about school

1. Don”t become an interrogator the moment your child comes back from school

No matter how strong the urge to know about your kid”s day at school may be, refrain from throwing a volley of questions at them. Instead, just say ‘Hi! Welcome home! I’d love to hear about your day whenever you feel like talking”. This shows the child that you are there for them whenever they need you. Also, it puts the pressure off the kid to give a detailed account of what happened at school.

2. If the child looks bothered, ask more open-ended questions.

Rather than simply asking “How was school today?” and getting a close-ended answer like “Fine” or “I don”t know”, try this!

– “What did you work on in your art class today?”
– “What do the kids actually do during recess?”
– “Did anyone get in trouble or do anything funny today?”
– “What was the worst thing about today and what was the best?”

But remember, don”t push too hard. Be patient and give your child some time to ponder and get back to you.

3. Resist the need to become a problem-solver.

When your child finally decides to talk, don”t overreact and jump to offer solutions. Instead just listen reassuringly without being judgemental. Make them feel understood, and show them you know how it feels being in their shoes.

Follow these simple techniques and you”ll be making some success in getting your kid to open up and communicate with you constructively.

Know about MBCN’s Continuing Rehabilitation Education (CRE) Program

Know about MBCN’s Continuing Rehabilitation Education (CRE) Program

“If a child can”t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

Bringing in new ways to simplify learning for special children, MBCN recently conducted a Teachers” Training Workshop on CRE (Continuing Rehabilitation Education) in collaboration with Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences. Approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India, the workshop was organised on the theme of ”˜Functional Curriculum”.

What is Functional Curriculum

Functional curriculum focuses on independent living and vocational skills, emphasizing communication and social behaviour in children with special needs. MBCN always makes constructive efforts to train its special educators in the latest learning techniques that fall under the purview of special education. The whole objective of this learning method is to impart skills that are essential for children to live independently in the society.
CRE Training at MBCN
Experts held some really insightful and informative sessions on different aspects of functional learning. Here are a few highlights of the CRE training program at MBCN.
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Dr. Alok Kumar Bhuwan, Director of Manovikas Charitable Trust, New Delhi, addressed the audiences on Independent Living: Advocacy and self esteem and independent living with disability.

Ms. Nitika Mendirata, Director of SASR, Faridabad, talked about ”˜Functional Numeracy”, what it means and where it is required.
CRE Program

Ms. Diana Lil Phillip, Assistant Professor at Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (AIRS), introduced MBCN educators to ”˜Functional Academic Writing”.

Dr. Amitav Mishra, Professor, School of Education, IGNOU, New Delhi, talked about ”˜Functional Curriculum & Inclusion: How to make IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), personalize IEPs and how to select goals”.

Mr. Saurabh Kumar Mishra, Assistant Professor at Amity Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences (AIRS), threw light on ”˜Functional Communication” and explained how meaningful it is in terms of building vocabulary for special children in a naturalistic way.
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Learning is a continuous process

As teachers and special educators, it is imperative to be able to identify the functional skills of special learners and intervene to bring improvements in them for a better life ahead. The underlying aim of such exercises at MBCN is to discover ways of using latest techniques to make learning simpler and fun for the children with special needs, while also offering inclusive education by accepting children with disabilities and focusing on their individual abilities.

5 fun ways to get your kids in action during the summer holidays!

5 fun ways to get your kids in action during the summer holidays!

Summer is that time of the year that every kid looks forward to. It’s the perfect time to plan activities that cannot be undertaken with regular school chores. Even for parents, summers are a great opportunity to strengthen the bond with their kids by spending more time with them. Here”s a look at 5 activities that can catapult your kids into action:

Gardening: Gardening is essentially a way of connecting with nature and one of its biggest benefits is that it enhances your child”s immune system. Besides, gardening is fun, both for adults and kids. There are so many gardening projects for kids over the internet that are sure to excite the young ones, like an inexpensive terrarium or a hanging planter with plastic bottles.

Camping: Camping offers kids a joy like nothing else. Take your kids for camping, where you can teach them how to set up a tent, light a bonfire, scout and much more. After exhausting the energy, you can relax in the best possible environment i.e. amidst nature.

Cooking: Another great activity to bring out your kid”s creative side is cooking. Kids love taking a swing at cooking every once in awhile and the joy of doing something with your kids is unparalleled. So go ahead, start with a sandwich and end with a delicious delicacy.

Theatre: Theatre has rapidly gained popularity as an extracurricular activity for kids. Much of its popularity is credited to its benefits, as theatre helps foster a sense of confidence and boosts creativity. There are several institutions that organise special activities for kids in the summers, such as mycity4kids, where you can find a plethora of activities for kids including theatre.

Treasure Hunt: The excitement of finding something unexpected is a sweet feeling. Plan an adventurous treasure hunt and encourage your kids to partake in it. Use the entire house to extend the excitement and fun. Your kids can also invite their friends to partake in the activity to make them even more exciting.

With a plethora of options available to have fun, you should definitely encourage your kids to explore the opportunities. Such activities are great for enhancing the skills of your kids such as communication, teamwork and creativity, to name a few.

Yoga- Restore. Rebalance. Rejuvenate

Yoga- Restore. Rebalance. Rejuvenate

International Yoga Day is just around the corner, and the enthusiasm around the globe is already visible. The fact that 72 students and teachers from the City Montessori School of Lucknow will be performing exercises at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the occasion speaks volumes about the popularity of Yoga in the modern day world.

Our lifestyle is such where humans struggle with physical and physiological stress in their lives. This is where yoga comes as a rescue and alleviates stress, both physical and mental. Based on the holistic principles of harmony and unification within body and nature, Yoga”s simple postures leave a powerful impact. Yoga is not only a great solution to stay fit, but has also emerged as an alternative form of therapy. Solutions of many chronic ailments like asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, arthritis have been found in Yoga.

The great thing about yoga is that there are very few limitations. While colorful yoga pants, support blocks, and fancy mats are nice, you don”t necessarily need any of that to get started. Instead, a basic yoga routine which comprises of beginner poses will help your body and mood change for the better in no time.

There are a lot of health benefits one can expect from yoga. Some of those are:

1) Better Flexibility: Yoga helps in loosening the body, and in increasing flexibility.

2) Better Posture: Bad posture has been linked to backaches, neck pain, joint problems, and muscle fatigue. Yoga is one of the best ways to fix poor posture as each pose helps lengthen the spine, and gives a steady, balanced posture.

3) Increases Strength: Yoga naturally helps in strengthening the muscles & joints, and prevents injuries.

4) Better Sleep: A good way to relax the nervous system, yoga minimizes stress and improves the quality of sleep.

5) Boosts Metabolism & Immunity: Yoga naturally boosts the metabolism which assists in weight loss. Yoga also stimulates the four main physiological systems; circulatory, digestive, nervous and endocrine, which is directly connected to the immune system.

7 Fun Activities To Do With Your Dad This Father’s Day!

7 Fun Activities To Do With Your Dad This Father’s Day!

Not all heroes wear capes…they are called DADS.
As the Father”s Day approaches, it”s time to celebrate just how awesome dads are. They like having fun with us, spoil us and their love for us is unconditional. Being a father is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs.

This Father”s Day, let’s turn the tables around. Instead of gifting your dad a personalized photo mug, a T-shirt or other endless supplies of gifts, celebrate this special day with some of these awesome activities we have jotted down for you.

● Take dad out and surprise him with a hobby-treat
Dads and parents in general get so engrossed in their children”s world that they often forget to have fun with themselves. Father”s Day is the perfect day to let your dad know that you appreciate how much his hobbies mean to him. Go for a sketching/painting class or fishing by the countryside to surprise him.

● Organize old photos sharing a special memory
Every photo has a story behind. It”s like a trip down the memory lane. If you are a craft lover, you can even make a simple photo book with your favourite memories with the best captions under each one of them. Gift your dad such cute handmade book this year.

● Take him out for his favourite sport
Ticket to his favourite sport is pretty much always a winning idea. He is surely going to enjoy the his time there. Also, it will be an amazing outing for him and a positive distraction from the daily office work.

● A car ride to his favourite destination
Plan a trip to his favourite destination. This will not only make him feel special but also it will break the daily monotony. Also, if you live in the plains, it is always a great idea to go to the hills and save yourself from the scorching heat this June.

● Volunteer to help someone else
Volunteering together is a great activity for Father”s Day. It gives you a chance to give back to the community and to spend time together. You can also get your relatives on board and spend the day serving meals or, spend time at the local animal shelter looking after them.

● Cook for him
Instead of going to a fancy restaurant, it is best you make something for him with your own hands. This will make him feel special in a different way. For example: you can bake him a cake and top it off with his favourite icing layer.

This Father”s Day, gift your dad the gift of time, the one thing in this world that is absolutely finite and cannot be bought or sold. Spend some quality time with him, create memories and make this day worthwhile.