Our Book Recommendations

Hello, hello, hello!

Here at GROWHOUSE, we hope to recommend the young very different books to pleasure the mind and imagination. Our collaboration with The Junior Standard has helped us to expose children to different books with distinct worlds. Above, you can see that we have some themed collections featuring British comedian/author David Walliams, books by Malorie Blackman, and classics by T. H. White and Berlie Doherty.

Checkout our other media collaborations here.

To familiarise yourselves with our enrichment programmes, go here.

Raising Kids Who Think

We all want our children to form inquisitive minds, but sometimes it’s not always the strict critical thinking we hear about in school. Sometimes we need to step back and let them really process what has happened and what they have been learning lately.

According to MaryAnne, the blogger who runs MamaSmiles.com, there are five steps involved when it comes to raising kids who think.

  1. You have to listen, sometimes very patiently, before jumping in and offering your opinion or solution. MaryAnne reminds us that “sometimes they’ll bring a subject up again long after I’ve forgotten it, and sometimes I’ll ask them again after waiting a while, and they will have an answer ready. Other times it’s a matter of waiting a minute or two, just long enough for them to gather their thoughts.”
  2. Schedule free time in order to allow their minds to process and cultivate “the random thoughts that make their way in when you spend a morning digging in the sand, drawing on paper, or making mud soup.”
  3. Ask curious questions to let your learner know you are sincerely interested in what they’re doing or saying.
  4. Let them hear you think aloud, even when your thinking leads you astray. This illustrates that even parents make mistakes and work their way through them, and when they need to solve a problem, “they will be able to think resiliently themselves.”
  5. Spend time in nature and leave distractions by the wayside. Go outdoors and “create a space where kids feel free to talk and ask questions.”

To learn about these five steps in greater detail, read the full article here.


How Mindfulness and Storytelling Helps Kids Heal and Learn

Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Rest.

Some children are not able to do so right away, and according to neurological research, the inability to concentrate can be linked to early experiences of trauma. This trauma, which stems from things like abuse or neglect, can prevent learners from feeling safe enough to pay attention in class, as reported in an article by Julie Fraga at Mindshift.

Fraga describes how one school in Oakland, California called upon mindfulness expert Laurie Grossman to help its students with emotional and psychological support. Mindfulness practices include meditation and breathing exercises with intentional focus on being present. The results were incredible. As reported by Fraga,

“Before the children began practicing mindfulness, the teachers had struggled to help the students recognize their emotions, pay attention in class and communicate their feelings verbally instead of using their fists. After beginning the practice, a sense of serenity entered the classroom, and the teachers and school administrators recognized how much mindfulness had changed the school climate.”

While some students struggled at first, they eventually became comfortable with the exercises, so much so that the students became the leaders of the exercises. They also felt led to write a book about mindfulness for students, by students.

To read more about the effects of mindfulness on these students, read the full article here.


Critical Thinking: How to Grow Your Child’s Mind

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD in Human Development, poses the following questions in her article on RootsofAction.com:

“What kind of thinker is your child?  Does he believe everything on TV?  Does she always figure out how to get what she wants? Does he ask questions?  Does she go along with what her friends suggest?”

Price-Mitchell then identifies three common ways in which primary school students think, as well as how to encourage positive thinking behaviors. Whether in school or on break, the suggested parent-child activities can be wonderful tools for helping your learner to flourish!

Included are videos to watch and discuss with your child and five standards that can help your child to think critically. Click here to read the original article.


The Importance of Teaching Children Critical Thinking Skills

A favorite question parents often ask is, “If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Unless straddled with the proper equipment, the answer is usually no! It is the most notable attempt at teaching kids how to decipher when to stop and think about what their friends are doing and whether it’s a good idea to follow suit.

Though the example is extreme, the notion is completely valid. What parent doesn’t want their child to critically think about something before taking action?

This article by Steam Powered Family explores why critical thinking is such an important skill to practice, especially in the internet age where fraud, scams, and viruses seem to be lurking around every corner. It also explains how to practice critical thinking with your child.

It’s tremendously important for parents to educate their children about safely navigating the virtual world as well as the physical world.  Read more to learn how to “arm your child, protect them, and teach them how to think critically while analyzing the world around them.”


Teaching Children to Think

We all know it’s easy to teach children what to think, but is it easy, let alone possible, to teach children how to think? With so much emphasis put in IQ and child “giftedness,” parents can sometimes believe it’s not possible to teach their child how to be a creative, critical thinker.

William R. Klemm, a senior professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University and writer for Psychology Today, challenges that notion and explains why students may not be showing thinking skills as high as what they are capable of:

“Many students lack the confidence to think for themselves and are actually afraid to try. The reality is that students are natural-born creative thinkers, but the conformity of schools has drilled students into a submission that precludes analytical and creative thinking.”

Though it seems that the only place “thinking outside the box” is excluded is in the school, there are other ways to teach insightful, criticial thinking. Click here to read more about it.



Three Things Top Performing Students Know That Their Peers Miss

“Every class has students who excel and those who don’t.”

Why is that? The writers at Mindshift shared useful information from Elevate Education explaining that there are three things top-performing students know to be true that others are not necessarily aware of. The article explains that 50 to 90 percent of students believe IQ is the biggest factor in getting good grades and ultimately reaching success, when in reality, there are many other elements at play.

It talks about the effects of studying in ways that go beyond mere memorization and cramming. For example,

“One of the biggest differences between top students and everyone else was that when they study, they take practice tests. Only 11 percent of students do this.”

Read the full article to learn about other habits your student can practice in order to excel in school and beyond. You might also learn some tips and tricks about time management and healthy habits along the way, which could lead to a journey of success for the whole family.



Critical Reading v. Critical Thinking

What’s the difference between critical reading and critical thinking? Is there a difference? Daniel Kurland, author of various academic books and journal articles on the subject, not only explains the difference, but he also goes on to talk about how the two seamlessly intertwine. In order to think critically about a text, you must read critically to ensure you understand the text. As he puts it,

“Critical reading refers to a careful, active, reflective, analytic reading. Critical thinking involves reflecting on the validity of what you have read in light of our prior knowledge and understanding of the world. …We need to solve problems, build roads, write legislation, or design an advertising campaign.  We must evaluate what we have read and integrate that understanding with our prior understanding of the world.”

How do we distinguish the difference between critical thinking and critical reading, and in what ways can we learn to incorporate that in our everyday lives? Click here to read more.



Helping your child through exams

Do you have children who always seem to be stressed out about some exam or another? Are you thinking about simply bribing your child to give them incentive to do well? Think again! This article published by the BBC suggests different ways parents can healthily assist their learners while they are preparing for and taking exams. For example,

“Make sure your child knows you’re interested in their work and that you’ll be proud if they do well. Although bribery isn’t advisable, it’s fine to provide small treats by way of encouragement – perhaps a piece of cake or some biscuits after a chunk of revision has been completed.”

If you’re at a loss when it comes to assisting with revision, planning study schedules, or providing all-around support to encourage your student to do well, we suggest you read this.


How to teach all students to think critically

All parents praise their children for being able to think critically, but the ways they learn critical thinking can be a bit vague. Can educators devise a course that is based explicitly on critical thinking? This article by Peter Ellerton explores the idea and the implications of requiring university students to take a compulsory maths course to teach critical thinking.

As Ellerton puts it,

“The problem is that critical thinking is the Cheshire Cat of educational curricula – it is hinted at in all disciplines but appears fully formed in none. As soon as you push to see it in focus, it slips away.

If you ask curriculum designers exactly how critical thinking skills are developed, the answers are often vague and unhelpful for those wanting to teach it.”

He then comes up with four areas of thought that are often used in any set of critical thinking values: argumentation, logic, psychology, and the nature of science. Though critical thinking itself may be difficult to teach, these four disciplines are very concrete subjects that Ellerton believes are worthy of attention and thought.

Read more about how  argumentation, logic, psychology, and the nature of science play a major role in critical thinking in the original article here.