Don’t forget to change your clocks: Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts today!

Clocks ‘spring forward’ this weekend, 110 years after they first did in Port Arthur in Ontario.

Some Interesting Facts About Daylight Savings Time

  • Port Arthur in Ontario was the first town to use DST in 1908.
  • Germany was the first country to adopt DST, on April 30, 1916. A few weeks later the UK adopted it as well.
  • In Canada, DST is a provincial matter. Regina was the first to implement it on April 23, 1914. The province of Sasketchewan and even some regions in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nunavat do not follow DST.
  • The USA standardized DST in 1966.
  • Less than 40% of the world follows DST. China and India don’t follow it and Russia does not follow it as of 2014.
  • Originally proposed as a way of saving energy, a 2008 study found that it may not be true. It showed that there is a tradeoff the demand for electricity for lighting and that for heating/cooling.
  • The concept of DST was first raised by entomologist George Hudson in 1895, who wanted more daylight hours to study insects.
  • Some say the idea was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, but apparently he mentioned it as a joke.
  • It was raised again in 1905 by Englishman William Willett (the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin) in 1905 who proposed it to Parliament.

How Daylight Saving Affects Your Sleep And How To Make it Easier To Adjust To

People generally don’t happily give up an hour of sleep, so if you’re feeling down about it, you’re not the only one.

Stuart Fogel, assistant professor psychology at the University of Ottawa, who studies sleep, says that experiments he’s running now are showing that otherwise healthy people, even when slightly sleep-deprived, have slower reaction times and are less able to concentrate.

According to Fogel, studies have shown that “there are increases in accidents, workplace, motor-vehicle accidents and the severity of them is greater following the time change.”

There are 5 stages we go through when we sleep. Stages 1-4 are ‘non-REM’ sleep and Stage 5 is ‘REM’ sleep.

Stage 1: Light Sleep – Eye movement and muscle activity slows. We drift in and out of sleep and you can easily be awakened.

Stage 2: Preparation for Deep Sleep – Eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with occasional bursts of activity. Heart rate slows and body temperature drops.

Stage 3: Beginning of Deep Sleep– Brain waves become extremely slow (called Delta waves). Some smaller faster waves. Stage where sleepwalking, nightmares, talking and bed wetting happen.

Stage 4: Continuation of Deep Sleep – Brain waves primarily Delta waves. We become disoriented if woken in this state.

Stage 5: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep – Brain waves mimic activity during the waking state. Eyes move rapidly from side-to-side. Intense dream and brain activity. Important for learning, memory, mood regulation and cognitive function.

When we sleep we go through various ‘sleep cycles’ where each cycle goes through the above stages. REM sleep dominates the latter part of our sleep. So, Fogel says, getting up an hour early means that you cut into that stage of sleep, and get less time to go through these mental processes. Although Fogel doesn’t think that losing an hour will affect your memory or mood regulation too much, he does think it will have an effect on your brain.

Here are some tips for adjusting to the new time:

  • go to bed 15 min earlier the previous four nights before the time change.
  • keep a consistent bedtime and wake time once the time has changed to allow your body to get used to the new routine
  • keep your room dark to prevent light from disturbing your sleep
  • drink a small cup of calming tea before bed
  • listen to meditative music before bed

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2017 Results show 50% of Students Don’t Meet Grade 6 MATH Standards

Yet again Ontario Math scores fail to improve! Over the past seven years students tested in Grade 3 and 6 have not shown any improvement in Math proficiency. An astonishing half of Grade 6 students continue to not meet the provincial math standards this year according to the latest results released on Aug 30th, 2017 by the Education Quality and Accountability Office. Grade 3 students showed a decline as well. Many blame the new curriculum introduced 11 years ago.

Below is a summary of Math results over the last decade or so:

The provincial Education Equality and Accountability Office or EQAO is an independent government body that develops and oversees reading, writing and mathematics tests that Ontario students must take in Grades 3, 6, 9, and 10. See the key highlights of this year’s results below:

Overall EQAO Results 2017: Key Highlights and Trends

These graphs include both Primary (Gr.3 ) and Junior (Gr. 6) Divisions.


  • Half of students fail to meet the standard in Gr. 6.
  • There is a general downward trend in math for the past 7 years. 


  • Reading results have increased by 2% points for Gr. 3 and both age divisions have seen a general upward trend.


  • Writing results have decreased by 1% points in both age divisions.

Grade 9 Mathematics

  • The majority of students in “Academic” Math courses meet the standard.
  • More than half of “Applied” math students fail to meet the provincial standard. 

What are the implications of these results?

  • Students that do not meet the provincial math standards in early years, are much less likely to catch up in Gr. 6 and especially not in high school. Academic math courses are required to apply to many competitive and STEM-based university degrees. 
  • Small gaps in math performance can lead to substantial difference in further education and future career options.

Parents and Educators Reactions and Criticism:

Many parents have been echoing the same concern for years and blame the education system and educators. Some parents say to do away with the discovery math instruction method completely as the downward trend in math performance continues.

Educators say that more time is necessary to see positive results from the new curricula. 

At the end of the day, more children now than 7 years ago, are struggling in math at even earlier ages. In Grade 6 and Gr 9, the gap widens between students that succeed in math and the ones that are behind.

What can parents do to help their child’s math?

  • Take matters into your own hands.
    • Don’t wait for promises from education ministers and get your child practicing math after school to catch up or further excel in their math performance.
  • Start early to fill gaps in understanding to solidify concepts.
    • If your child’s grades are slipping or their confusion grows when doing math, it is time to get outside help from dedicated after-school programs or tutors.
  • Building children’s confidence in math early-on is crucial.
    • The way to build confidence is to practice it, have fun, and engage in the work. Getting tutoring or enrolling in math programs will allow children to learn new concepts in multiple and effective teaching approaches.
    • This outside help will allow your child to go at their own pace rather than waiting for classmates and becoming bored.
    • The key to long-term confidence is for your child to SEE RESULTS and improvements in math.
  • How to see results? Use programs, math education resources, or tutors that are researched-backed and have good reviews! 
    • If your child doesn’t respond to the math exercises at school or progresses slowly, know that your child can do much better.
    • There are online social media groups that share these tips such as KW Parents for Education on Facebook and even the resources that we’ve recommended that are tried and tested to get kids engaged and actually learning math.

Check out our 7-step Math Curriculum, Robotics and Coding Courses, and Enrichment Math Programs.

Also, call or email us for a Free Math Assessment for your child at 519-781-8810 or

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Book Lists by Age


Have you checked many books off of your summer reading list? Have your kids kept up with their reading this summer? Reading through the summer can help reduce summer learning loss.

Don’t worry if your kids haven’t read as many books as you planned. Now is a great time to get them reading with our list of books by age level! These must-read books are a mix of classics and contemporary works that your kids can read.

Benefits of your kids reading books:

  • Increase reading comprehension
  • Advance their vocabulary
  • Improve concentration
  • Understand cultural references
  • Prepare for future English classes
  • Relax and enjoy reading

Age 3-5 (Parents will enjoy reading these to your kids)

  1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – by Judith Viorst
  2. Amelia Bedelia – by Peggy Parish
  3. Beezus and Ramona – by Beverly Cleary
  4. The Cat in the Hat – by Dr. Seuss
  5. Clifford the Big Red Dog – by Norman Bridwell
  6. Curious George – by Hans Augusto Rey
  7. The Giving Tree – by Shel Silverstein
  8. Green Eggs and Ham – by Dr. Seuss
  9. Horton Hatches the Egg – by Dr. Seuss
  10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – by Dr. Seuss
  11. The Lorax – by Dr. Seuss
  12. Love You Forever – by Robert Munsch
  13. Oh, the Places You’ll Go – by Dr. Seuss
  14. The Paper Bag Princess – by Robert Munsch
  15. The Polar Express – by Chris Van Allsburg
  16. The Tale of Peter Rabbit – by Beatrix Potter
  17. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs – by Jon Scieszka
  18. Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book – by Eric Carle
  19. Winnie the Pooh – by A.A. Milne

Age 6-9

  1. Because of Winn-Dixie – by Kate DiCamillo
  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – by Roald Dahl
  3. Charlotte’s Web – by E.B. White
  4. Harry Potter Series – by J.K. Rowling
  5. Holes – by Louis Sachar
  6. James and the Giant Peach – by Roald Dahl
  7. Jumanji – by Chris Van Allsburg
  8. A Light in the Attic – by Shel Silverstein
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – by C.S. Lewis
  10. Little House Series – by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  11. A Series of Unfortunate Events – by Lemony Snicket
  12. The Trumpet of the Swan – by E.B. White
  13. The Velveteen Rabbit – by Margery Williams Bianco
  14. Where the Sidewalk Ends – by Shel Silverstein

Age 10-13

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass – by Lewis Carroll
  2. Anne of Green Gables – by L.M. Montgomery
  3. Bridge to Terabithia – by Katherine Paterson
  4. A Christmas Carol – by Charles Dickens
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox – by Roald Dahl
  6. The Giver – by Lois Lowry
  7. Harry Potter Series – by J.K. Rowling
  8. The Hobbit – by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. The Jungle Book – by Rudyard Kipling
  10. Little House Series – by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  11. Narnia Series – by C.S. Lewis
  12. The Secret Garden – by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  13. Treasure Island – by Robert Louis Stevenson
  14. A Wrinkle in Time – by Madeline L’Engle

Print the  full list by clicking on the image below.


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10 FREE Educational Resources

How we learn has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. While institutional-based learning is still mainstream, there is more focus than ever on learning at home and using the Internet for the glorious information tool that it is! Many online resources are gamified and research shows that this increases learning amongst users.

The Internet provides access to many wonderful resources but how does a parent know which ones to choose for their children?

We’ve compiled a list of effective FREE resources you can access right now to get your kids excited to learn without frustrating your kids or yourself!

If you want faster access to FREE educational resources like these, join the KW Parents for Education Facebook Group now. It’s an online community for parents to share ideas, resources, tips and any useful information to enhance the education of the next generation. 

We wanted resources that are:

  • accessible
  • engaging
  • easy-to-follow and easy to understand
  • get the best bang for your buck, in terms of time


    The most well-known online tutor with over thousands of lessons in all subjects and levels. For math, you can pick lessons by subject, grade level, and test prep for older students.
    Looking for some worksheets to print out for your child? Try this site to get math worksheets for grades 1-6.
    This is a popular one with schools and kids. It incorporates math with a video game. If your kids are into games, this one’s for you! You’ll need to create an account to use it.
    Get your kids writing early and improve their penmanship with these tracers. Site can be confusing to navigate but lots of great resources. I’ve been using their tracers for years!
    Do your kids like their TV characters? Here’s a great site that incorporates learning with their favorite shows. Note: the videos don’t work in Canada.
  6. is a great hub for kids to watch lessons for math concepts and get access to fun math games. The site is affiliated with (a teacher favorite and popular with the kids) and
    Jumpstart is great for picking math worksheets, plans or activities that your kids can do at home. It’s great for filling in gaps and areas your child struggles with. My favorites are the Homemade Ruler and the Math Sticks. Hours of Math fun!
    For parents with younger kids (J.K. to Grade 6)! 
    This site is an Ontario-curriculum based online game to enforce basic math skills and is fun for your kids!
    You will find lots of quality educational content. Some of the content requires a subscription but still plenty of free stuff!
    Use this tool for easy exploration of our world. Kids love to travel around the globe and explore different countries. It’s extremely easy to use and kid friendly. 

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Back-to-School Shopping List by Grade

In the midst of long, warm summer days filled with visits to the beach and sipping umbrella-ed drinks by the poolside, it’s not likely many of us are thinking of going back to the S place. But to avoid the last minute rush and missing out on what your child needs, now is a good time to start preparing for the big return. Make sure you don’t miss anything by using our ultimate back-to-school shopping checklists! These lists are guidelines and you generally only need to buy what your child uses and what is not already provided by your school.

We made it convenient for you to print the list you want by grade level so you can take it on your next trip; just click the image. If you know someone who could use a list too, please share!

Happy Shopping!

JK – Grade 3

Grades 4-6

Grades 7-8

Grades 9-12

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The 6 Benefits Early Music Education has on a Child’s Brain Development


Musicians’ brains look and function differently

There are a large number of scientific studies that prove that Early Music Education in children can…

  • improve their cognitive function
  • help their memory
  • help them to learn language
  • moderate their emotional states
  • help their brains to be healthier
  • help solve complex problems

How does early music education greatly improve brain development?

Learning music is like a full body workout because it works the entire brain. It works three different parts of the brain: the motor, visual, and auditory cortices.

Music helps us to become comfortable with discomfort, and learning is uncomfortable. Music increases our tolerance to power through difficult problems and helps us to solve problems creatively.

Think on a bigger scale: 

Music education can have a big impact on our society.

Imagine having a generation of children with early exposure to music with higher IQ and cognitive capability. 

Imagine children with learning disabilities, ADHD, and kids struggling in math being able to bridge the gaps in their learning by having a healthier and more effective brain!

All this data was extracted from “What if every child had access to music education from birth – Anita Collins”. Check the full TED talk video below to hear the details of how music education improves brain development and the implications of having a smarter generation in our society.

Video: What if every child had access to music education from birth?

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Opinions on the Ontario Math Curriculum, Falling Test Scores, and Experts’ advice

There is increasing criticism on the fairly-new Ontario math curriculum which focuses on teaching through discovery-based learning and delaying arithmetic to later years.

We compiled a list of News Articles with Summaries highlighting the differing opinions on the curriculum by parents, teachers, and math and education experts from local to international news. Let’s hear what the experts have to say!

News Article Summaries

Article 1: Ontario’s math system is broken. So why isn’t the government fixing it?

  • EQAO 2015/2016 math results should give parents reason to worry. The math standard for the Grade 3 division fell from 68% to 63% and is worse for the Grade 6 students, where only 50% met the provincial standard.
  • This isn’t new News. Parents and mathematicians have been calling for change since 2011.
  • Experts say the policy changes are to blame because the discovery-based learning is confusing.
  • There is a misconception that basic skills and deliberate practice interfere with understanding math.

Article 2: Ontario’s math scores are declining as kids took the new curriculum, according to EQAO data

  • Math education experts blame the curriculum, provincial ministry and lack of parents’ involvement.
  • ½ of Ontario Grade 6 students failed to meet provincial standards
  • The Discovery-math trend has spread across the country and teachers are unfairly blamed.
  • Quote: “We have a very good tradition in North America of reading to our kids at home but how many of us do math with our kids at home?”. Math phobia exists in parents and spreads to our kids.
  • The solution is to do both memorization and mastering basics while decreasing discovery math.

Article 3: Local families see hope in math despite tumbling scores

  • Math scores are plummeting as students scores much lower than the Ontario average.
  • Math needs to be talked about in Kitchener-Waterloo.
  • Controversy with the new Discovery-Based curriculum.

Article 4:  Half of Grade 6 students in Ontario failed to meet provincial math standard

  • There has been a continuous decline in math test scores over the past seven years.
  • Math educators are divided. They are debating whether students benefit more from traditional methods, e.g. rote learning, or a mere discovery-based problem-solving approach.

Article 5: No, teaching math the old-fashioned way won’t work

  • “If you fall behind in math you stay behind.” This is why is it crucial for children to have a strong foundation in math.
  • Parents blame the new curriculum of discovery based learning, claiming it’s weird and the old method is better.
  • “In math, you can’t have a rule for everything. Modern curricula recognize and try to teach flexibility”
  • What to do?
    • Ontario should support teachers by sharing best teaching practices.
    • Support students by giving more practice time.

Article 6: Frustrated professors convince elementary schools to step back from ‘new math’ and go ‘back to basics’

  • “Manitoba is rolling out a revised curriculum for elementary schools that explicitly require students to learn times tables, math ‘facts’ and standard algorithms.” The province is taking a step back from discovery-based learning and are explicitly using standard algorithms.
  • Not going totally back to old method but to create a basic foundation at an early age
  • “Don’t neglect one side in favour of another.”

Article 7: Possible reasons math scores are dropping in the US

  • Children’s math scores have been declining since 2009. Possible reasons:
    • “A school structure that doesn’t work with changing family life”
    • “Psychotropic medication inhibits cognitive function”
    • “Lack of nutrition”

Article 8: US STEM education market declines China invests heavily

  • US recent political changes are compromising STEM education despite the US being the largest producer of STEM goods & services.
  • However, the global education market is thriving as European and Asian students rank highest in STEM subjects.
  • “Preparing today’s youth for dawning autonomous revolution is the only method for equipping the future workforce to manage the innovation that will encompass industry. And STEM-focused programs and products best cultivate the skills necessary for our children to compete against international markets.”

At Crania Schools, we have a balanced approach. In our blended learning environment, students are allowed to gain a deep understanding of mathematical concepts while mastering basic math facts.

Learn how Crania Schools and our 7-step curriculum can help your child get the benefits of a balanced approach to math education.

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How does Waterloo Region Rank in Math?

How can I check my child’s school and district board ranking?

All 2015-2016 rankings are available at:



How are the current elementary schools performing in Kitchener-Waterloo? Is my child’s school falling behind?

Kitchener primary schools rank at an average of 5.6/10 which is lower than the Provincial Average.

The numbers are alarming. Approximately 1/3 of schools (16 out of 51) are ranked in the BOTTOM quartile of the entire province, with school scores go as low as 2.3/10.

Bottom five Kitchener schools:

  1. Rockway 2.3
  2. Howard Robertson 2.4
  3. J F Carmichael 2.8
  4. Trillium 3.1
  5. Queen Elizabeth 3.3

Waterloo primary schools’ average rank is 6.9/10 which is higher than the Provincial Average. However, several schools still fall significantly under the average.

Bottom five Waterloo schools:

  1. Lincoln Heights 4.2
  2. Cedarbrae 4.3
  3. Sandowne 4.7
  4. Keatsway 4.8
  5. Winston Churchill 5.0

How are the overall EQAO results?

Now, let’s compare not only between the schools but take a look at the province as a whole and the 5-year progression.

Results of the EQAO in the past 5 years have seen a downward trend in Mathematics in both the Primary (Gr. 3) Division and Junior (Gr. 6) Division. Also, there was a decrease in Writing at the Primary level last year.

The chart below shows the Percentage of All Grade 3 Students at or Above the Provincial Standard.

Primary Divison


The chart below shows the Percentage of All Grade 6 Students at or Above the Provincial Standard.

Junior Division

Since several schools in Kitchener and Waterloo fall below the Provincial averages coinciding with students falling behind the Provincial target results overall, more of our kids are being left behind and the gap is widening.

Full results are available at:

How are Secondary Schools in WRDSB stacking up?

Seven out of 16 secondary schools fall below the provincial average of 6/10.

However, if you look at the rankings for 2015-16, nine schools are ranked in the bottom half of the provincial rankings. That is more than half of the high schools!

In the News

Most articles try to put it gently.

With one article from CBC News titled,
“Waterloo Region District School Board EQAO results below provincial average, vows to do better”

And some articles’ standards of “scoring well” are biased and report on the well-performing schools while casually mentioning the many schools whose students are falling below the provincial standard.

Schools are not a one-stop solution!

The public education system in K-W is not a one-stop solution for your child’s learning development. Children’s learning is not limited from 8am-3pm. The learning must be extended after school and in the home for your child.

Consider this quote from a local article, “We have a very good tradition in North America of reading to our kids at home, but how many of us do math with our kids at home?”

SOLUTIONS to help bridge the gaps in your child’s education

  1. There are tons of resources online available for free to supplement the current school curriculum. Whether your child is looking to satisfy their curiosity and exceed in class or struggling to catch up, these resources will help their learning.

For all subjects, age levels, and completely free!

Specifically for math starting from Algebra to Calculus.

  1. Enroll in an after-school program with passionate teachers to develop children’s core skills such as Mathematics and to stretch new cognitive abilities through subjects like Coding and Robotics.
  2. Join community groups centered around supporting your children’s education. Support each other in your community by sharing ways you enhance your child’s education. Some local community groups include KW Parents for Education.

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