School & Career

Tips for Moving to a New School

Moving to a new school is always scary, whether you’re moving from primary school to high school or into a new school in a different area. What can you do to make it easier?

My kids are old hands at this because they’ve moved school so often, even going into schools in a new country where they haven’t known the language. We’ve lived in Germany, Switzerland and UK and they’ve been to local schools speaking German, French and English. It wasn’t ever easy but they’ve made great friends who they still keep in touch with now that they’ve moved on.

I asked them for their advice on moving to a new school.

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Travel

Adventure in Uganda

On my second day in Uganda, we went white water rafting on the Nile, near a town called Jinja. The rapids are just Screenshot 2013-10-14 at 10.50.13down river from Lake Victoria, which is where the Nile starts.

The rapids are caused by the force of the water as it crashes over rocks and around islands in the river. There used to be more rapids there, and the famous Bujugali Falls. However, a couple of years ago a dam was built across the river, which has made part of it more like a lake and has increased the water levels, wiping out lots of the rapids, including Bujugali. However, below the dam, the rapids are still just as scary! The rapids are a favourite for rafters and kayakers all over the world. 

The rapids are caused by the force of the water as it crashes over rocks and around islands in the river. There used to be more rapids there, and the famous Bujugali Falls. However, a couple of years ago a dam was built across the river, which has made part of it more like a lake and has increased the water levels, wiping out lots of the rapids, including Bujugali. However, below the dam, the rapids are still just as scary! The rapids are a favourite for rafters and kayakers all over the world. 

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Home, Health & Style, Written By You

Lots of Socks for World Down Syndrome Day

Do you sometimes wear non-matching socks? When you can’t find ones to match or just because you want to?  Well on the 21st March you have the perfect excuse to and Agi is going to tell you why.
Agi has been making videos about her life with her little sister, who just happens to have Down Syndrome, for many years. We asked her to tell us more about this condition, and about life with Magdalena and to share some of her videos with us.

 

Firstly though who am I?

I’m called Agnieszka (Agi for short) and I am home educated with my little sister Magdalena, who is 7 years old. I have a website which I blog on about our life together and anything else I am interested in. I want to be a filmmaker when I’m older, and you can view lots of films that I’ve made on my website, and Magdalena wants to be an artist. She is one of my best friends. We have loads of fun together, and I don’t treat her any differently or treat her ‘specially’, even though she happens to have Down’s syndrome. Which is where the lots of socks come in…but first, let me explain.

I would never have known this unless my little sister, Magdalena was born with an extra 21st chromosome.

Have you worked out yet why World Down Syndrome day is on the 21st of March?

It’s because people with Down syndrome have three chromosomes on chromosome number 21, instead of the usual two. This is also known as Trisomy 21.

Why is it Called Down’s Syndrome?

So why call it Down’s syndrome? No, it’s not because people with Down’s syndrome are ‘down’ or grumpy, it’s actually because Dr John Langdon Down discovered the condition, and it was named after him.

Lot’s of people my age don’t know what Down’s syndrome is, (actually lots of adults don’t either) and that can make them scared of what they don’t know about, so they ignore Magdalena or talk ABOUT her instead of TO her or say something unkind thinking she won’t understand or be hurt by it. So before I get onto the socks, I want to tell you a bit about what Down’s Syndrome is and what it isn’t!

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Home, Health & Style, Sports

Move Over Girls, and Make Space for Ballet for Boys

DANCE is for EVERYONE!

When did people begin to dance?  No one knows for sure, but dancing has been around for as long as there have been people!

Dancing provides people with a wonderful tool to express their emotions and thoughts.  They can communicate to others what they are feeling and their state of mind.  Dancing connect people.  All around the world, there is dance.  Over many centuries, every country and culture has developed typical dances of its own.  They are part of peoples’ traditions.

Aside from these cultural dances, dance developed for performance.

People have always passed on their old dances from generation to generation and always enjoyed dancing them.  In addition there were also modifications, changes,  new steps and other dance moves.  More dances evolved.

We will, in this series of articles, look at the different styles of dance and find out how you can get involved.  We shall start with BALLET and ask the question ‘Is ballet for boys too?’

 

What is ballet?

Ballet Class

 

Ballet was created in the courts of Italian princes about 500 years old.  A royal dance school was later founded in France by Louis XIV in 1661. 

Many positive benefits are associated with learning the art of ballet.  Besides learning the traditional techniques of ballet, ballet lessons can also nurture a positive self image.  Ballet teaches skill, grace, poise, self-discipline and confidence.  If your dream is to become a dancer, you must practice a lot in order to master the many challenging poses and steps of ballet.  You will begin by learning the rules and traditional techniques of ballet.

 

Why should I learn Ballet?

 

Ballet2

 

Ballet lessons have three major benefits.  First of all, a dancer expands their vocabulary through learning the French names of the steps and hearing the musical terms.  Secondly, they develop their musicality and rhythm through coordinating their bodies to the music. A third benefit is that memorising new steps and dances improves the memory of young ballet students. 

So, Ballet makes you smart!

 

Dance offers a greater range of motion, coordination, endurance and strength than most other physical activities.  If you have an interest in any kind of future in dance, you’ll need ballet because that’s where you learn the basics.  But even if dance isn’t the ultimate goal, ballet lessons improve posture, flexibility, coordination, strength and grace.  They also provide an opportunity for you to be active regardless of the weather outdoors. 

So, Ballet makes you fit and strong!  This IS looking promising.

 

Ballet lessons can also be good for a kid’s development by improving their social skills.  It’s been suggested that ballet classes encourage kids to form new friendships. Dancers also get to interact with positive role models in their dance teachers.  In ballet class, you need to follow directions closely and discipline yourself to not run around the space of the dance studio!  Your confidence will grow as you develop new skills and perform in front of an audience.  My dancers love to perform for their friends and family.  After working hard all year, my students feel a sense of accomplishment while performing on stage in awesome costumes. 

So, Ballet can make you a more confident person!  What’s not to like?!

 

Is Ballet just for girls…?  No, definitely not!  More girls than boys do ballet, but the ballet that girls do is very different from ballet for men and boys.  Male ballet dancers have to be strong and athletic.  When scientists tested male ballet dancers against sportsmen, they found that the dancers were fitter and able to keep going for longer.  Lots of sports clubs invite Ballet teachers in sometimes to give the players a lesson!  It’s great for their balance, agility and core strength. 

So, Ballet is great for boys too! Sign me up.  

 

 

Naomi is an AISTD trained dance teacher, has been teaching since 1994. As well as a long career in dance schools, she has also been Head of Dance in a sixth form college. She runs a small, encouraging dance school offering classes for children and young adults in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Linedancing, as well as Dancing Hands which uses songs and signing to introduce Ballet to pre-school dancers. The school is based in Bassingbourn and Litlington, on the border of South Cambridgeshire and North Hertfordshire, UK.  Naomi has a particular love for working with children and young adults who have learning difficulties – dance is for everybody! Find out more on www.dance-matters.co.uk

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