Keep calm and NAPLAN on.

Welcome parents of kids in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 to NAPLAN week – where the very mention of the acronym inspires every reaction from white hot anger to high-level anxiety to utter indifference.

Your kids will troop off to class later this week to take part in a nationwide effort to work out how – and if – our education system is working as they sit a series of standardised literacy and numeracy tests.

Notably: there are no standardised tests for sporting ability or creative flair or having an EQ that’s off the charts. But that’s for another newsletter.

The important thing to remember if you do have a child undertaking a NAPLAN test this week is to just chill. It’s just a test. It’s not the end of the world.

This article from our friends at The Conversation offers up some really useful advice on how to keep things calm in your household if you do have a small person who’s overwhelmed by this sort of testing.

And this Squiz Kids Shortcut on Learning Disabilities is a cracker if you’re looking to put this week’s NAPLAN tests into perspective. It explains how 1 in 10 Aussies have a learning disability and how some of the greatest, most creative and inventive people in history had one too.

But the final word belongs to Pepe King – a Canberra man who failed maths when he was at school but is now set to break a world record for multiplication.

Because as I’m always saying: every flower blooms in its own time

Why listening to words matters 

When Squiz Kids was first conceived over four years ago, one of the main ideas was to create a resource that kids listened to. Something that extended their listening comprehension skills, because so much of their time was otherwise being spent on screens.

It’s a decision that seems to have been justified with the release of new research that shows that screen time is having a detrimental effect on our kids’ language skills, simply because they’re exposed to fewer words.

According to the research, which involved 220 Aussie families, ‘for every extra minute of screen time, the three-year-olds in the study were hearing seven fewer words, speaking five fewer words themselves and engaging in one less conversation.”

Words is kind of what we specialise in here at Squiz Kids. Hell, I’ve even been accused of being verbose on more than one occasion. Don’t act surprised …

But one of the main reasons teachers have found the Squiz Kids Today news podcast essential listening every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday is because it develops listening comprehension skills – while expanding their vocabulary.

The quiz at the end of each Squiz Kids pod is expressly designed to sharpen kids’ listening comprehension skills and engage that part of the brain that screen time has a tendency to dull.

So, look, yeah – being an inveterate chatterbox might be annoying to my friends and family, but it’s helping your kid not only learn about the world around them, but doing them a little bit of good too. You’re welcome 😉.

This week on Squiz Kids …

This week’s Squiz Kids Shortcut is on The Gold Rush  …  because we know it’s part of the primary school curriculum, because we love creating curriculum-aligned resources to help out kids and teachers and because there’s a lot in this period of Australian history that speaks to the country we’ve become today. The pod drops first thing tomorrow.

The Squiz Kids Today podcast – your thrice-weekly dose of kid-friendly news – drops Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. As per usual. Four years and counting …

And of course, every Friday morning, you can test your wits against the small people in your life as you take part in our Kids vs Adults Weekly News S’Quiz. I’m thinking of introducing a guest question each week. Stay tuned for that one.

This week on the Big Squiz …

The big news at the Big Squiz this week is all about Meta (aka the owners of Facebook and Instagram) and whether they might pull news off their platforms.

There’s a bit to it, which is why Kate and Claire are diving right into it in News Club this week. It’s a good time to think about where/how you consume the news, and what a world could look like if it’s not in your social feeds. On that note – get a weekday news wrap by signing up to The Squiz Today newsletter here, or get onto the Squiz Today podcast on Apple or Spotify.

And while we’re here: it’s a big ol’ happy birthday to The Squiz. It’s been 7 years since founder Claire first hit send on The Squiz Today newsletter, which in turn gave rise to Squiz Kids. Happy Birthday to us – and happy Squizzing to you all.

On our radar …

We’re up to our eyeballs all day, everyday in all things kids and parenting. So when we see an article or come across a topic we think you might be interested in, we’ll post it here.

Old skool … it’s perhaps timely given the NAPLAN testing that’s going on this week, but this article from the SMH casts a spotlight on a recent study that found year 7 students who experienced ‘explicit teaching’ were four months ahead in their learning by year 9.

ADHD on the rise … this fascinating article was the cover story of the Good Weekend, examining how while diagnoses of ADHD are soaring, figuring out why is not exactly straightforward.

Smile on your dial … 

As you stare down the prospect of grinding through another week of parenting, take heart from the Hardwood Classics – a group of fifty and sixty-something dancers who provide half-time entertainment at Golden State Warrior basketball games in San Francisco. Proving – one dance step at a time – that age is only what you let it be.

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