Category: Parenting

The Power Of Play
The Power Of Play

Play is the primary way that children learn. Through play children explore their bodies, their relationship with parents, friends and the world around them. 3-5-year-old children love imaginary play and they love to sing and dance. They love to make up stories and act them out with other children. They love to hear stories told or read by an older child or adult. They love to draw and play with clay and craft materials. For children in this age range, “play”is a more developmentally appropriate channel of learning than formally structured learning.

For the 21st Century child, critical thinking and creativity are some of the key skills your child needs.

Here is a list of toy ideas to help your pre-schooler PLAY and LEARN

•Problems solving-Things like puzzles (with 12 to 20+ pieces), blocks that snap together helps the children come together for solutions

• Pattern creations-  Collections of small objects to sort by length, width, height, shape, colour, smell, quantity, and other features; e.g., plastic bottle caps, plastic bowls and lids, keys, shells, small coloured blocks

• Child’s development- For pretending and building  blocks for building complex structures, transportation toys, construction sets, child-sized furniture (“apartment” sets, play food), dress-up clothes, dolls with accessories, puppets and simple puppet theatres, and sand and water play toys

•Crafts- Things to create with like  crayons and markers, paintbrushes and finger-paint, paper for drawing and painting, coloured construction paper, preschool-sized scissors, chalk, modeling clay and play dough, modeling tools, paste, cloth scraps or other materials for collage

• Musical instruments -Things to make music with  rhythm instruments and keyboards, shekere , tambourine etc

• Picture books – Picture books with more words and detailed pictures than toddler books

• Fine motor skills- Using their muscles large and small balls for kicking and throwing/catching, swings, ride-on equipment including tricycles and wagons, tunnels, wheelbarrows, plastic bats and balls, plastic bowling pins, targets and things to throw at them

• Computer access- If a child has access to a computer, programs that are interactive (the child can do something) and that children can understand (the software uses graphics and spoken instruction, not just print), children can control the software’s pace and path, and children have opportunities to explore a variety of concepts on several levels

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15 Ways to Use Instagram to Increase School Enrolment
15 Ways to Use Instagram to Increase School Enrolment

As a parent looking for a new school for my child, there are two places I usually check -the school’s website and Instagram page. You can gather a lot of information from these two. I personally love to check Instagram because the pictures say what words can’t.

Recently, I was at an event where a school owner talked about how she gained new students after their parents visit to their Instagram page. So, let’s ask some basic questions;

Do you have a website?

Do you have an Instagram handle?

Do you have a Facebook account?

Even if you don’t have a website, start with Instagram or Facebook. There are over 100 million people in Nigeria on Instagram. Your potential customers are most likely on Instagram. Its free and doesn’t need any technical expertise to set up.

Here are few tips on how to use Instagram to increase school enrolment:

  1. Your school’s account bio must state clearly the uniqueness of your school. This is a place to sell yourself with a few words.
  • Content is key -have different contents and themes for each day of the week you post -funny, humour, educational, inspirational and of course pictures and videos that showcase the beauty and value of your school.
  • Decide on the colour theme and layout of your page. The look and feel of your post should align with School colours (don’t forget to ensure your logos are on all your posts).
  • Before inviting people to follow you, ensure you have at least 6 to 9 post, so they have something to see when they get to your handle.
  • Build initial followers by encouraging parents, teachers and friends to follow. Send messages to people on your contact list to follow your page.
  • Ensure you post at least thrice a daily. Best times to post are 6-1am, 12-1pm and 5-7pm.
  • Use hashtags for each of your post e.g. #school name, #events tittle, etc.
  • Hype achievement of your school and students, post school trips, extracurricular activities.
  • Videos are more engaging than pictures and tend to get more likes and comments. It is important that you post only good quality videos and pictures.
  1. Instagram is a social platform so your relationship can not be one side. You need to follow back but make sure your followers are way more than those you are following.
  1. Like and comment on your followers’ posts to active engagement (remember reciprocity is key to building engagements and growing your number of followers).
  1. Comments are king on Instagram. So be sure to like and respond to comments on your posts.
  1. Encourage followers to like your post, comment on your post and share your post within their networks.
  1. Engage your followers through contest, quizzes and giveaways.
  1. Use other features of Instagram like Instagram stories and highlights to help spread your school’s post and page.

With Instagram, you can do more than just to tell followers how great your school is—you can show them.

Want to learn more? Click here to sign up for updates and more interesting articles for School Owners.  

9ijakids – the Fun Learning Company.

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10 Ways to Keep Your Pre-schooler Safe At The Playground
10 Ways to Keep Your Pre-schooler Safe At The Playground

My 4-year-old son came back from the playground with a cut on his forehead. He had decided to leap off the swing while in mid-air. After the initial wail, he was off again on some dangerous moves. Every parent worry about the safety of their child. I was tempted to shield him, put in a safety bubble to protect him from every possible danger/injury. But the more objective part of my mind knows that is not the best solution. In the end as parents, we should try and keep their environment safe but more importantly, we need to give them more independence and teach them how to keep themselves safe.

Playgrounds are places where pre-schoolers are physically active – they run, jump, play, etc. This means a lot can happen. The Centre for Disease Control estimates that 45% of all injuries from playgrounds are severe, including fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and dislocations. Accidents do happen. But there’s a lot you can do to prevent them.

So, here are a few tips to keep your pre-schooler safe at the playground

1. Ensure the playground and equipment are age appropriate

2. Check your child’s clothing. Make sure there are no drawstrings or other cords, which can get trapped in equipment.

3. Before you let your kids step foot on the playground, be sure to lay out some ground rules. Also, the consequences of breaking the rules

4. Encourage good manners, sharing and taking turns. No shoving, pushing and leaving things on the way where someone can trip over them.

5. Avoid playgrounds with lots of concrete. Soft surfaces absorb and cushion their fall

6. Before letting your child use the equipment/playground, do a quick check for broken equipment, missing bolts, unstable surfaces and other dangerous items like broken glass, etc

7. Ensure platforms have railings to prevent falls

8. During hot weather, always check the surface of slides and swings to prevent burns

9. Never leave your child unsupervised. An adult should always be present to watch and supervise children younger than 5 years old.

10. Make sure that your child uses the equipment safely and correctly.

Children are always thrilled to hit the playground. Even in this age of tablets, smartphones, and toys, the happiness on a child’s face on the playground is incomparable. But let’s also remember they can be dangerous as well. Keep your eyes on your kids and set the rules in advance, to ensure each visit to a playground is a safe and fun one.

Like and share our article with a parent who really needs this.

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8 Ways To Boost Your School’s Brand
8 Ways To Boost Your School’s Brand

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through Instagram and I spotted the school my friend chose for her son. I was curious to know more about the school because my friend is always talking about it. Going through their social media page, I was impressed by the array of activities and achievements of the school. The pictures and videos reflect the different activities the children engage in and I was impressed – judging from the pictures.

If I am to choose a school for my son, I would shortlist this school as a potential school based on what I saw on Instagram and their website. I decided to do a comparison with my son’s school social media pages and website. They did not do a good job of showcasing their facilities, students and achievements.

One of the things that drive school enrolment is the ‘brand”. Every school needs to create and nurture their brand. When it comes to standing out in a competitive school environment, branding can make a significant difference. Apart from increasing school enrolment, it would also allow you to charge a premium.

Here are few tips on how to boost your school’s brand and help you increase enrolment:

  1. Share stories of your school’s history, vision, values, etc
  2. Encourage your students to participate in different competitions e.g. spelling bees, Maths competition, Arts competition, Music competition, Inter-house sports, etc.
  3. Showcase your school’s’ facilities -classrooms, technology room, sport equipment, etc.
  4. Celebrate students’ achievements – at competitions, external and internal exams, etc. Share their transformation and success stories.
  5. Celebrate teachers’ milestones, achievements and success -trainings, teaching methods, etc.
  6. Showcase your students’ extracurricular activities -interhouse sport, price giving day, field trips, fun activities, summer internship, excursions, etc.
  7. Showcase your students’ co-curricular activities e.g. creating new products, community programs, STEM experiments, robotics, science fair, art works, CODING activities, etc.
  8. Post pictures of “students of the week” title to increase parents’ engagement.

To ensure your school brand stands out, contents and communication must always be top notch. Ensure your school’s logo, fonts, imagery, and slogans are consistent across various communication and branding channels – newsletters, social media, newspapers, etc

Remember to clearly convey why any parent would be proud to have their children receive an education in your school.

9ijakids educational games can help your school showcase how it is using technology to enhance learning. Visit our www.9ijakids.com to learn more or click to download our games catalogue – KS1 & KS2, Pre-schoolers.

Wishing you all an amazing school year from all of us at 9ijakids.

9ijakids – the Fun Learning Company

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Is Your School Safe Enough? 5 Ways to Improve School Safety.
Is Your School Safe Enough? 5 Ways to Improve School Safety.

Few weeks ago, Mrs Adeboye received a call from her son’s school that he had been rushed to the hospital with a head injury as a result of falling on the playground. As parent, when your child goes to school, you feel that he/she will be safe because they are entrusted in safe hands. And this includes when your child takes the school bus.

Accidents can happen at anytime and anywhere – school, home, church, mosque, playground, swimming pool, etc. However, we can put some things in place to avoid them. Back to our question – Is Your School Safe Enough?”

Every school and teacher should realise that keeping a child safe is one of their top priorities. A safe learning environment is not only preventing accidents but also keeping a child safe from bullying, cyber bullying, victimisation, assaults, sexual abuse and drugs.  

Here are 5 ways to improve school safety.

  • Have a school safety policy and ensure regular updates: Does your school have a documented and communicated safety policy? Every school must have safety policies and procedures that cover all activities that happen in the school including the school bus. New incidents and considerations will likely come up during the school year and updating your plan to reflect this information ensures you’re considering the best safety measures for your school. Don’t forget safety resources and supplies and staff training, too.
  • Ensure staff, students and parents are aware of all safety policies: School safety rules should be readily available to every person who enters your building. Teachers and students must be aware of all policies. Use a combination of written rules, pictures, videos, staff meetings and assemblies to share safety policies. Ensure communication of safety rules happens frequently
  • Have an emergency response plan: How should teachers, students and other staff respond during an emergency? – fire, health, accidents, etcAny emergency response plan should include how to prevent emergency, how to prepare for emergencies, how to respond in times of emergencies. Every school must have fire drills and teachers must know how to perform CPR, revive chocking child, etc.
  • Set and Monitor Safety Targets: It’s not enough to have safety policies, it’s more important to ensure they are adhered to.Everyone needs to be aware of the safety target for the school and it should form a key part of everyone’s appraisal. All safety incidents must be reported, and lessons learnt and shared on how to prevent reoccurrence.  Behaviours that promote child’s safety in the school must be recognised and awarded to buttress the commitment to safety.
  • Make learning about Safety fun: When learning is fun, you can be sure that children will be engaged and will more likely remember the rules. Have safety theme and decorate the school to make it visually appealing. Organise a Safety Week packed with fun activities (plays, dress up, field trips, talks, talent show, parade, etc) to educate the children about safety rules. Also play fun games like 9ijakids Safety 101 or Protecting Our Body to teach about safety.  Visit our website to learn more

Educating every child about safety can never be too much. Every child needs to know about general safety rules at home/school, stranger safety, internet safety, road safety and about protecting their bodies.

We have put together a checklist for school safety. Click here to download 9ijakids School Safety Checklist. Don’t keep this to yourself. Share with other school owners and Heads of School in your network.

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17 Essential Home Safety Tips Everyone Must Know.
17 Essential Home Safety Tips Everyone Must Know.

Home safety is a serious business that must not be handled with levity. It was reported that at least 27 children were killed after fire broke out at a religious school in Liberia on Wednesday. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, minor electric spark when power is restored is mostly the causes of fire outbreaks in Nigeria. In 2015, Ebeano supermarket in Lekki gutted fire due to this reason and imagine the enormous size of this supermarket, not a single fire extinguisher was available to avert the tragedy. More recently, there was a major fire outbreak in satellite town Lagos state which consumed the entire building killing a woman and her two babies.  Same reason mentioned above led to this as well.  The purpose of this is to remind us that we must take safety in our homes very serious.

Did you know that if fire erupts in your house today you may have less than 2 minutes to escape? Did you know that most unintentional injuries and deaths occur at home? Did you know that most of them often happen unexpectedly and are avoidable?

Safety is one area of our lives that we often neglect unconsciously. Most times, safety materials barely find their way into our shopping list and safety culture is mostly unpopular in our homes.  For instance:

  1. Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home?
  2. Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher?
  3. Do you have smoke detector?
  4. Do you have a fire alarm?
  5. Do your kids know what fire alarm signifies?

If you manage to answer yes to at least three out of the five questions, then you are halfway better than 85% of Nigerians.   Everyone should be aware of safety measures and precautions to prevent dangers in and outside the home.  The most common causes of accidents at homes leading to injuries, death and loss of properties are:

  1. Fire and Burns
  2. Drowning
  3. Falls
  4. Poisoning
  5. Choking and suffocation

Here are our few essential tips to help you keep safe at home

  1. Ensure that all electrical appliances are switched off when leaving the home.
  2. Be certain that all electrical appliances are in good condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs
  3. Don’t run electrical wires under rugs.
  4. Prevent kids from using kitchen appliances by themselves and supervise any art or science projects that involve electrical devices.
  5. Install fire and smoke alarm at the appropriate places. E.g. Kitchen, Injunction box, Air condition station. Etc
  6. Teach kids what to do in an emergency or when they hear fire alarm
  7. Don’t leave your kids alone around the pool if you have any in your house
  8. If your kids must learn swimming, ensure that they are in a capable hand and most importantly, it is often advisable to be personally present.
  9. Think of installing a fence if you have a home pool.
  10. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water, therefore, empty all bathtubs, containers, kiddie pools or other devices used for swimming or bath time immediately after use. Store them upside down so they do not collect water.
  11. Avoid spills on the floor
  12. Discourage kids from climbing fence or jumping on the bed
  13. Keep all cleaning products and detergents away from your kids:
  14. Leave detergents in their original pack or container
  15. Don’t place medicines within kids reach
  16. Be familiar with basic measures to take in emergency situations.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility . Take a walk around your home and make a few smart changes to ensure your home is the relaxing, comfy, and safe abode it should be. Our top 10 General Safety Rules for Kids  might interest you, click here to read .  Don’t forget to share this with your network . Click the button below to share.

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11 Tips for Increasing School Enrolment.
11 Tips for Increasing School Enrolment.

It’s the new academic year, currently the burning issue for most school owners and administrator is about increasing school enrolment. The Nigerian private school industry is highly competitive and saturated. How does a school start out and attract its target parents/children?

“Business has only two functions – Marketing and Innovation” (Peter Drucker)

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Healthy Tips for Your Child’s Lunch Box
Healthy Tips for Your Child’s Lunch Box

One of our followers on Facebook suggested a topic on healthy food components to be packed in the lunch box for kids and we have decided to put together our thoughts on this area.  Packing lunch boxes daily for three months multiplied by three terms yearly can be a very difficult task. Even if you are the kitchen whiz woman, running out of idea of what to pack is inevitable. And the truth is most of us don’t have time. I see those “super women” on social media cooking up artistic and creative meals but if you are like me, we really want something we can quickly put together or throw into the snack box.

For many, it is not about what to pack rather what is healthy, so resist the temptation of just giving them junk food every day. And lastly, you still want to send something that the kids would enjoy.

So, we need snacks that are:

  • Easy to prepare
  • Healthy
  • Kids would love
  • Can be eaten cold

And here is my list of snacks ideas for our school lunch

  1. Fruits – if your child loves fruits, this is a sure snack. And you can vary it from day to day – oranges, tangerine, banana, apples, pineapples, pears, watermelon and grapes.
  2. Popcorn
  3. Yogurt
  4. Sandwich
  5. Biscuits and cookies: Try as much as possible to limit sweet treats. If you want to include add something sweet, a sweet plain biscuit and cookies or oatmeal bar should suffice.
  6. Chips
  7. Nuts
  8. Pastry- donuts, pizza, but keep this minimal. Maybe once a week

Remember to keep it healthy, vary the snacks, limit junk food and pack reasonable portions.

I hope this helps. Don’t keep it to yourself, click the share button below and help other parents in your network, share on your Whatsap groups and Facebook pages .

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Is Your Child Playing With Your Phone Or Tablet?
Is Your Child Playing With Your Phone Or Tablet?

My 3-year-old seem glued to screens, either watching TV, playing with phones or tablets. And i’m not the only one – all around me are little kids even younger than 2 years on one device or the other. For a lot of us busy Mums, it’s the easiest solution to keep them captivated and “quiet”. And when we see how easy they are able to navigate through the apps, we are amazed – they are truly digital natives.

Is screen time really bad for children? Why limit their screen time?

Screen time in itself is not bad. What is more important is the need to create a balance. The need to ensure children spend time outside playing where they get to exercise as well interact with other children and build social skills. And when they do spend time on screens like TV, mobile phones and tablets, ensure the programs are age appropriate, interactive and educational.
Here are a few tips to make time spent on screens as productive as possible:

  • Schedule plenty of non-screen time into your child’s day: Unstructured playtime is important for building creativity, so young children should have time to play away from screens every day.
  • Be with young kids during screen time and interact with them: Be there with them when they are playing educational games or talk about something you see together in an age-appropriate TV show or video.
  • Research games and apps before getting them for your child: There are thousands of apps and games that claim to be educational, but not all of them are. So ensure that the games and videos watched on the screen are appropriate for your child.
  • Keep devices with screens out of your child’s bedroom after bedtime, and don’t allow a TV in your child’s bedroom as this can distract from sleep and sleep is very important for a child’s developmental growth.
  • Be proactive as parent: Proactive parents identify how to use screen time as fun tool that teaches the child reading, nursery rhymes, numbers, counting etc. Educational apps like 9ijakids is one way to merge the love for devices with learning and fun. However, this must never replace outdoor play and other social relationships that are critical for your pre-schooler.

On a final note – today’s child is drawn to phones and tablets like a bee to honey. But remember the big question “What are they doing on the tablets and phones? Use their love for devices to help your child learn without realising. Using fun educational games like 9ijakids is one way to ensure that their screen time is both FUN and EDUCATIONAL.

Download 9ijakids games today and kick off FUN LEARNING.

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13 Preschool Buzzwords Every Parent Needs to Know
13 Preschool Buzzwords Every Parent Needs to Know

I remember attending the first PTA meeting when my child was a preschooler and I felt lost with all the new words being thrown around – fine motor, gross motor, cognitive, etc. So, you don’t feel the way I did, if you are newbie parent and your little angel will be off to school at the of this summer, here are a few common preschool terms to get you started

  • Preschool: A preschool, also known as nursery school, playschool or kindergarten, is an early educational program where children combine learning with play. Children are most commonly enrolled in preschool between the ages of three and five.
  • Montessori: Montessori is a method of education that is based on child directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. In Montessori classrooms , children are allowed to choose their work while the teacher serves as a guide.
  • Student centered learning: A philosophy that revolves around the idea that students learn better when they are the ones driving the learning with the teacher acting more as a guide. In a traditional classroom, a teacher would assign a book and children were given no choice, In a student-centered classroom, children are given a choice of what book from a list they can read.
  • Development milestones: There are general guides on what your child should be able to do at different ages. The development milestones look at what your child has achieved in terms of movement (gross and fine motor), cognitive, language, emotional and social. Its important to remember that children reach developmental milestones at different times.
  • Gross motor skills: Are skills your child needs to move and coordinate their arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. So, crawling, running, jumping and going up and down stairs are gross motor skills
  • Fine motor skills: Fine motor skills are movement using smaller muscles of the fingers, hands, and wrists, and, to a lesser extent, toes, feet, and ankle. When your child picks things up between his finger and thumb, buttoning his shirt, he’s using his fine motor skills. When your child uses fork or spoon, twist doorknobs, unscrew containers and holds a pencil, these are all fine motor too.
  • Cognitive skills: refers to mental capacity your preschooler acquires to think, make decisions, and solve problems. The key cognitive skills for preschoolers are: asking questions, problem solving, color and shape recognition, understanding fact and fiction, understanding cause and effect and simple reasoning
  • Sensitive period: This is a period when a child’s interests are focused on developing a particular skill or knowledge area. This means this is the time the child is most receptive to learning a particular thing and it’s the best time to teach it. E.g. the sensitive period for reading and writing is between ages 3-6yrs.  
  • Constructive play: When children use blocks, LEGOs, or other materials to make buildings or towers. A teacher might say: “Fatima made a pretty complicated castle during her constructive play today!”
  • Dramatic play: When children pretend to be someone else, such as a firefighter or doctor, and they make up scenes and dialogue. A teacher might say: “We’d love to have you bring a few items related to going to work for the children to use in their dramatic play.”
  • Exploratory play: When children discover how materials work. For example, when playing with water or sand, children explore how to fill and empty buckets. A teacher might say: “Today Osaze discovered how to use a bucket to build a sand castle during his exploratory play!”
  • Self-regulation: How children learn to control their feelings and their bodies. For example, if a child wants to play with a toy her friend is using, she asks for a turn rather than grabbing it. A teacher might say: “I’ve seen so much grown in children’s self-regulation. At the beginning of the year children sometimes just take a toy they want even if another child is using it. Now I hear them ask if they can use it.”
  • Social and emotional development: How children learn about feelings. It helps them feel good about themselves and helps them understand the feelings of other people. A teacher might say: “We are supporting children’s social and emotional development by reading books about friendship.”
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