Lifestyle

Lifestyle knowledge, covering a diverse range of topics and interests with ideas and insights to help you get the most out of life!

Choosing a school which nurtures the potential of your children, is important to all parents—but perhaps more challenging for those with special needs. Depending on the challenges impeding the learning of a child (be they physical: impaired mobility, vision, hearing, or neurological, as with autism and attention deficits) the search for schools with the capacity to cater for, and even specialise in overcoming educational hurdles, can become extremely stressful.

Emerging techniques and technology can help bridge this gap, and the more ubiquitous these tools become in the educational sphere, the more diverse our choices for learning are. This is the subject of a new book entitled: ‘Is My Child Ready for School?’ by Special Educator, mother and author, Karen Seinor. The narrative is primed for supporting parents in making an informed decision about their child education, with nuance for the expansive options in special needs learning. The pitfalls to avoid and the facilities and approaches which signify a school that is open to the potential of technology in optimising learning for all children (not just those with special needs).

Karen’s research and experience offers a glimpse at the future of learning, and an effective strategy for accessing your options right now. BE Journal asked Senior to paint a picture of what this might look like, and how it could be applied.

Technology has improved learning for students with special needs in many ways but recently technology has enabled the mainstream classroom and curriculum to be more inclusive and accessible. Students with special needs are better supported in a number of ways.

For example in the school that I teach at two children have a vision impairment, both study brail with the use of a braille keyboard and they regularly Skype with their braille teacher. In the past they wouldn’t have access to this in a mainstream classroom or they may have a specialist teacher visit once a week, now they are able to have personalised instruction in their classroom on a regular basis. Children with vision impairments are also better supported in a number of ways. Through the use of iPads, learning material can be accessed so the size may be increased so that are better able to read it, or they can use audio functions to listen to the material rather than read it. This also means they don’t require a teachers aide or specialist teacher to be attached to them all the time which is positive for developing their independence but also in a social sense as they don’t appear so different to the other students and equally as capable.

Children with hearing impairment are also benefiting from the increase technology in classrooms. Teachers simply wear a headset that transmits into there hearing aid so that the student is clearly able hear instructions and information. A simple device and modification enables hearing impaired students to operate in a mainstream classroom with virtually no extra support from teachers aids.

The increasing amount of apps or programs have also optimised potential for students with special needs. There are many apps/programs that assist students to record information and present their ideas in a way that may have not been possible in the past. For example a child that may be limited orally can now use an app to share their ideas, or design tutorials, animated stories, and presentations. The teacher can then mirror this to the Apple TV and this can be shared with the class. Tools such as these are particularly powerful when they are interactive and promote social exchanges with their peers and also when they highlight the capabilities of the students.

In my opinion the greatest change that technology has created is that it has supported teachers to explore new methodologies and philosophies about how children are taught. Teachers are moving away from the old industrial mode of teaching, where one size fits all or teaching to the middle. Educators are now realising that all students should have there learning individualised, the focus is not on what we teach but how we teach. When the interests, passions and abilities of our students
drive the learning only then learning is optimised for all students.

About the book: Is My Child Ready for School? (New Holland Books, 2018) is a guide for parents on all things school. Based on current research on brain development and insights from many years of teaching, it examines many aspects of development related to learning. Whilst based on theory, there are practical and simple suggestions to help parents make the important decision about when to start school and what skills and knowledge are required. It also provides tips on selecting a school, how to make a smooth and successful transition to school and, how to support your child in their first year of learning.

About the Author: Karen Seinor has been a passionate educator for over 17 years. She has worked as both a classroom teacher and an ESL teacher and whilst she has enjoyed her many roles as a teacher, her passion lies in Kindergarten, which she taught for many years. She has a focus on education in Australia as she examines key issues through the lens of both teacher and parent.

Self-confessed Herb Nerd, Reece Carter explores gut and brain health in his new book ‘The Happy Gut’. This recipe-rich reference is filled with tonics and elixirs from the garden along with the latest research into the gut-brain axis. Based on traditional naturopathic remedies, made using ingredients sourced from nature that anyone can make at home. Today’s lifestyle and nutrition choices can stress our digestive system, this book offers a holistic approach to restoring the essential foundation of good health… a happy gut!

About the Author: Herb Nerd Reece Carter holds a Bachelor degree in Health Science (Naturopathy) and has a lifelong passion for all things green. From the planter box to the pantry, Reece reveals how to turn leaves and petals into remedies through his web series ‘The Garden Apothecary’. His written work features in Bare Essentials Journal, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Fitness Magazine and GQ and numerous online blogs. He has appeared on The Morning Show and at a number of food and wine events. Reece has his own clinic and herbal product, Dose Vitality Tonic, and also works as a model with Chadwicks. Reece lives in Sydney.

Follow the Herb Nerd @ reececarter.com.au

The Happy Gut by Reece Carter (Harlequin Books, April 2018) ISBN: 978-1489254689

Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit, hops into theatres this Easter with all the hallmark characters rendered in CGI. The reimagined classic features an enticing plot full of slapstick mischief to enthral new audiences, and the right amount of tribute to satisfy fans of the original.

To celebrate the films release we have a delicious recipe inspired by Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Petter Rabbit’ excerpted from: The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young, courtesy of Harper Collins.

Then old Mrs Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through the wood to the baker’s. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter

Afternoon rain in Australia is often intense – it’s the kind that will drench you through to your bones in seconds. If I was caught in a deluge on my walk home from school, my backpack full of textbooks and sports kit, I could easily have reached for the umbrella underneath it all. In reality I almost never did. Instead, I took my shoes off, turned my face up towards the clouds and belted out ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at the top of my lungs. I jumped in puddles, and danced around, and sometimes even took the long way home. And when I finally walked through the front door, I had a hot shower, a toasted fruit bun spread generously with butter, and a cup of tea.

I still love being outside when it rains – especially when there’s the promise of tea, buns and a bath at the end of it. These are my favourites: dark, moist and full of flavour. The type of thing I imagine Peter would want after a tiring day stealing vegetables in Mr McGregor’s garden.

The recipe below makes wonderful hot cross buns each Easter, with a line of flour and water paste piped down the centre, but I love them unadorned through the rest of the year too. They’re ones I’ve developed from a Dan Lepard recipe: his Short and Sweet is a complete baking bible.87

Currant Buns (Makes 12)

Ingredients

150ml apple cider/hard cider (at room temperature)
2½tsp fast-action yeast
¾ cup rye flour
150ml double/heavy cream
4tsp mixed spice/pumpkin pie spice
3tbsp honey
2 eggs
2¼ cups dried currants
3 cups strong white bread flour
¼ cup cornflour/cornstarch
1tsp salt

Glaze

2tbsp sugar
5tsp water
1tsp mixed spice/pumpkin pie spice

Method

1. Tip the cider, yeast and rye flour into a bowl. Stir and allow to bubble away for 30 minutes while you put your feet up and enjoy the rest of the bottle of cider over ice.

2. Warm the cream, mixed spice and honey over a low heat. Remove from the heat, beat in the eggs, then pour into the cider mix. Add the currants.

3. Sift in the flour, cornflour and salt, then mix by hand to form a sticky dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface (grease it with a little flavourless vegetable oil first, so it doesn’t stick) and knead for 10–20 seconds until noticeably smoother. This really won’t take long at all, so don’t over-knead it. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour.

5. Once visibly risen (it doesn’t need to double in size here), weigh the dough, and divide into 12 balls. Roll each under a clawed hand until smooth, then place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Leave about 1cm/⅜in between each – you want them to join up while they prove, so that you end up tearing them apart after they’re baked.

6. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and leave the buns to prove until they’ve doubled in size: about an hour.

7. When the buns are approaching the end of their prove, preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15–18 minutes, until browned.

8. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, water and mixed spice. Reduce by half and remove from the heat.

9. Remove the buns from the oven, allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, then paint the glaze over the top. Serve warm, or toasted the next day.

About the Book: Paddington Bear’s marmalade, a Neopolitan pizza with Elena Ferrante, afternoon tea at Manderley… Here are 100 delicious recipes inspired by cookery writer Kate Young’s well-stocked bookshelves. From Before Noon breakfasts and Around Noon lunches to Family Dinners and Midnight Feasts, The Little Library Cookbook captures the magic and wonder of the meals enjoyed by some of our best-loved fictional characters.

About the Author: Kate Young is an Australian-born, London-based food writer and cook. After moving to the UK in 2009, she started her blog, thelittlelibrarycafe.com, which now has readers all over the world and is regularly featured in the Guardian.

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Loretta Napoleoni is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organizations on counter-terrorism. Her new book: North Korea The Country We Love to Hate exposes a nuclear chess game of leverage and politics in which, the threat of war between power players is fuelled by economic needs and ego.

People love to take sides, good vs evil—this predilection creates an addiction to war. Loretta suggests a third option…PEACE between North and South Korea.

Deft strategies and an appetite for power have kept us at a stalemate but could this creative solution nullify the nuclear threat?

Loretta Napoleoni asks: ‘Are we Addicted to War?’

In 2017, North Korea attempted to prove to it is a nuclear power and has the capability to threaten the United Stated. The US response has been mixed: while at times Donald Trump has used a strong belligerent language against Kim Jong-un, including threatening military intervention, the White House adopted a peaceful approach, it mobilised the international community to impose economic sanctions. So far this policy has not being effective for several reasons, among which the peculiarity of the North Korean regime and the impossibility to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

To many, North Korea is an aberration, the antithesis of democracy: a totalitarian regime, ruled by a dictatorial dynasty that successfully reinvented feudalism. Nicknamed the hermit state, it is so secretive that separating fact from fiction is often problematic. Indeed, the mystery that surrounds it has proven advantageous to depict it as the ultimate dystopian society, an evil benchmark against which the spreading of democracy always appears positive. Even Iraq or Libya are perceived as better regimes than North Korea!

North Korea is the enemy we all love to hate.

Yet, for all the comfort this statement may bring, it fails to comprehensively describe the Pyongyang regime or to address the fundamental question: how do we deal with a nuclear North Korea?

From a more accurate analysis it emerges that the DPRK is a unique and resilient nation. It has survived the implosion of the Soviet Union and the modernization of Chinese communism – its northern neighbours and historical sponsors – without even the slightest attempt to open up to the West. Because of that, it does not fit neatly into any political classifications even if at the same time, it displays features of several of them.

The failure to fully understand North Korea has played in the hands of its regime and in particular of its nuclear programme. Donald Trump is the fourth president of the United States who has unsuccessfully promised to end it. Bill Clinton signed a deal in which North Korea agreed to freeze its nuclear development in exchange for oil and a civilian reactor, but neither side fulfilled its commitments and Pyongyang outsmarted Washington. Why? Clinton convinced Congress to ratify the agreement because he was sure the regime would fall before the delivery of the reactor.

George W. Bush initially refused bilateral negotiations but then changed his mind and joined the Six-Party Talks. Barack Obama first appeared conciliatory then retreated into a stonewalling policy called ‘strategic patience’. Finally, during his first year at the White House, Donald Trump led the UN Security Council to pass several rounds of additional sanctions against North Korea, which made Kim Jong-un more determined to show off North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The young dictator is using the same strategy employed by his father. In the second half of the 1990s, Kim Jong-il used the nuclear program as a bargaining chip to get food, oil and other forms of assistance from the West. He succeeded in stringing along the US administration by playing the deterrence game. In the ultimate analysis, deterrence is a confidence game; to be effective, you need to convince people that, if they step over the line, you really will do the things you say you would do. Washington has to believe that Pyongyang will do to Tokyo or Seoul what it has said it would and Pyongyang has to believe that Washington will use the bomb.

How do we get out of this stalemate? Thinking outside the box. It is clear that becoming a nuclear power has been a game changer for Pyongyang, the regime has finally relaxed and is showing a conciliatory attitude towards South Korea, a nation with whom the DPRK is technically still at war. This confirms that nations seek nuclear capability not to use it but as the best form of détente against old and new foes, as proven by Pakistan, India, Israel and very soon Iran, countries that like North Korea have ignored the non-proliferation ban.

Against this scenario a revision of the international agreements is badly needed. By encouraging a peace treaty between North and South Korea, the United States and China could use such a diplomatic victory as a launching pad for a new nuclear protocol, one that allows proliferation, but only within very well defined parameters, and whose primary aim would be to empower the international community to contain and control nuclear weapons worldwide, including, of course, the US and China.

About the Book: In North Korea, The Country We Love to Hate, political analyst and bestselling author Loretta Napoleni challenges our Western preconceptions of North Korea. Napoleoni situates North Korea in context – historical and ideological – and answers questions central to our global future. This informative book is an account of a country central to world politics and yet little understood. Further, it presents insider narratives of its people, whose self-image is radically different to the image we have in the West. Released in Australia by UWA Publishing.

About the Author: Loretta Napoleoni is the best-selling author of Maonomics, Rogue Economics, Terror Incorporated and Insurgent Iraq. She is an expert on terrorist financing and money laundering, and advises several governments and international organisations on counter terrorism and money laundering. She is a regular media commentator for CNN, Sky News and the BBC, and writes for El Paris, The Guardian and Le Monde. Visit her @ lorettanapoleoni.net