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Nov-Dec 2023 Reminder 

Does organic food always have nutrition?

Written by: Registered Nutritionist (Public Health) (UK), Ng Pui Yu

Many families choose to consume organic foods such as fruits, vegetables, and eggs. When asked about the reasons for purchasing organic food, most people respond with, “Because organic food is safer and more nutritious.” In this issue, the author will educate everyone about what organic farming is.

What is organic farming?

Organic farming refers to agricultural practices that replace synthetic substances with methods involving agriculture, biology, or machinery. It avoids using chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified crops and instead relies on local natural resources while adhering to the laws of natural ecology. The scope of considerations is broad, for example: an organic production area on a farm must be at least 2 meters away from non-organic areas to prevent crop contamination.

Crop and Variety Selection and Diversity:

 

  • Seeds or propagating material used for organic cultivation should be certified as organic.
  • Farms must practice crop rotation and intercropping while striving for diversification to avoid monoculture.

 

Nutrient Management:

  • Fertilization should be applied appropriately to prevent nutrient excess and environmental pollution.
  • The sources, quality, quantity, and application methods of fertilizers used on the farm should be ecologically benign.
  • Soil fertility should be restored through fallow periods.

The use of chemically synthesized fertilizers, human excreta, sewage sludge, and chemical waste is prohibited.

Management of Pests, Diseases, Weed, and Crop Growth:

  • Implement appropriate fertilization and irrigation management.
  • Utilize physical methods, including manual techniques, fencing, light, sound frequency, heat, etc.
  • Plant crops that have pest control properties (including pest repellent and attracting natural enemies).
  • Prohibit the use of chemically synthesized herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and other pesticides.

From this perspective, organic farming emphasizes ecological conservation in the cultivation process. However, when it comes to nutritional value, there isn’t a significant difference between organic and non-organic foods. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that children who consume organic foods are healthier or more intelligent. Of course, due to the environmental friendliness and reduced use of chemical pesticides in organic farming, I also encourage everyone to make more organic choices!

Conventional Farming vs. Organic Farming

 

Conventional Farming

Organic Farming

Safety

More commonly uses chemical pesticides and fertilizers

  • Fewer chemical pesticide
  • Emphasizes ecological environment
  • Uses non-genetically modified materials

Nutrition

No significant difference

Health

Also need to pay attention to the principles of a healthy diet: low fat, low sugar, and low salt.

Three sentences of family life: Love warms within the home

Written by: Education expert, Principal Cheung Jok Fong

 

Have you ever heard the theme song of a certain TV drama called “Embrace Love”? I really like a few lines from it, as these few words capture the essence of “family.” A family is a place that provides shelter from the wind and rain, your “support.” When you’re feeling “weary,” the door of your home will always be open for you. The mentioned “love” refers to the deep-rooted bond of kinship that’s destined from the moment you were born, stronger than blood. Indeed, what could be more important than family ties? When you’re feeling down, your family will share your burdens, willing to listen to your worries and accompany you through difficulties. When you’re sick, your family will take care of you unconditionally. When you achieve success in your studies or career, they’ll genuinely rejoice and take pride in your accomplishments. This kind of “love” can’t be bought with money.

We all hope that parents and students understand the value of family love. Sadly, this love might come too easily, acquired from birth, and as a result, some don’t fully appreciate it. Sometimes, we see in newspapers that some teenagers would rather linger on the streets than go home; some families argue all day long, turning the home into a battlefield; some even resort to violence over trivial matters, leading to tragedies. The examples mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg, and sometimes I can’t help but feel saddened that a once peaceful home can turn into such a situation.

 

The Three Sentences of Family Life

How can we build a harmonious family? Pope Francis once proposed the “Three Languages of Family Life” when talking about family, which are the three phrases that should be spoken more at home: “Thank you,” “Please,” and “I’m sorry.”

“Thank you” represents gratitude towards family members. Many times, children are taken care of by their parents from a young age, and they may start to take it for granted. Consider this: do parents have to prepare three meals a day for you? Who washes your clothes and cleans your shoes and socks, providing you with a cleaner living environment? When you’re sick, who takes care of you tirelessly, even getting up at night to give you medicine? Classmates, while your parents are taking care of you, why not say “thank you” more often and help with household chores when you have the time, sharing the workload with them? In fact, when children complete household tasks for their parents, parents can also say “thank you” to them. In today’s society, the notion of elders being on a pedestal is no longer appropriate. You should know that in building a harmonious family, everyone has a responsibility. Don’t think that certain tasks are necessarily assigned to specific family members. Even when you receive help from others, even family members, you can still say “thank you.”

“May I ask” represents respect for family members and polite behavior towards others. Some may think that since we are family, there’s no need to be overly polite in our speech and we can just speak straightforwardly. However, “May I ask” doesn’t just encourage us to speak politely; it reminds us to consider the feelings of our family members in our words. Sometimes, people tend to get heated over trivial matters and believe that they should argue their point forcefully in all situations, even with their family members. But is it really worth it to act this way? As the saying goes, “Winning an argument but losing the family.” Even with close family members, it’s better to choose our words carefully.

As for “I’m sorry,” it represents seeking forgiveness from family members. When you make a mistake, it’s only natural to have the courage to take responsibility and say “I’m sorry” to the person you’ve hurt. At the same time, “I’m sorry” also signifies an opportunity to mend relationships with family members. Sometimes, right and wrong are not easily judged in a few words. Or perhaps, there is no clear right or wrong, but rather differences in values among individuals. Unfortunately, many conflicts arise from such differences. If no one is willing to compromise, relationships can become very tense. As the saying goes, “Give in a little, gain a lot.” Putting down your pride doesn’t mean you’re surrendering, nor is it about compromising on the issue. Instead, it creates a new opportunity to resolve the problem in a better way.

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News

Sep-Oct 2023 Reminder

How to enhance children’s resilience?

Source: Education expert, Cheung Jok Fong

 

I attended a lecture by “Warrior of Regeneration,” Miss Yeung Siu Fong, earlier. She shared her experience of losing both hands in an accident at the age of nine. However, she did not give up and instead equipped herself more actively. With hard work, she not only became a swimming athlete in the Asian Games but also started art creation by using her feet in place of hands. She successfully enrolled in the Hong Kong Academy of Arts and became an inclusive artist. In 2011, she was selected as one of the “Ten Most Touching Hong Kong Figures” and became a “Hong Kong Spirit Ambassador” in 2013. After the lecture, I asked some classmates for their opinions, and they all expressed that if they encounter difficulties in the future, they will no longer be afraid because they believe that there is always a way to solve things and they want to face difficulties as positively as Sister Siu Fong.

Cultivating resilience from an early age

In the journey of life, we will inevitably encounter adversities. At that time, how should we face them with the right mentality and approach? Nowadays, parents often invest a lot of effort in their children’s academic performance, hoping that they can “win at the starting line.” However, while pursuing academic excellence, it is equally important to cultivate a spirit of perseverance. Unfortunately, some people choose different ways to escape when faced with difficulties, and some may even be so disheartened that they end their precious lives, which is truly regrettable. As educators, we have a responsibility to help students enhance their ability to cope with adversity, and this resilience needs to be cultivated from an early age.

Three key elements to enhance resilience

Experts point out that there are three key elements to enhance resilience: “optimism,” “efficacy,” and “belongingness.” “Optimism” is easy to understand literally; it means having hope for the future and believing that there is always a way to solve problems. This is the attitude one should adopt when facing difficulties. “Efficacy” includes how to manage emotions and establish problem-solving methods when facing challenges, which represents the ability needed to overcome difficulties. “Belongingness” refers to the care and support from people around the individual in question.

For children, the roles of family members and teachers are especially important. For example, when a child faces academic difficulties, if they can feel the care and support from their parents and teachers, and not be treated with disdain, scolded, or spoken to harshly because of low grades, but instead walk alongside them and seek ways to improve their academic performance, it will make them feel that their family and school are a place of “shelter from the storm.” In short, “belongingness” is the cornerstone for establishing “optimism” and “efficacy,” and it serves as the motivation provided to those facing challenges.

Cultivating resilience starts with small things

So, how can we cultivate children’s resilience in daily life? Should we wait until they encounter setbacks to teach them? In fact, we can start with some small things. Take skipping rope as an example. No child is born knowing how to skip rope. At this time, parents can encourage them and let them believe that they are capable of learning, which is the aforementioned “optimism.” Additionally, parents can assist from the side or demonstrate the correct way to skip rope, making them feel that their parents are accompanying them and going through difficulties together, which is the “belongingness” mentioned earlier. After the child experiences a taste of success after a few attempts, they can try to figure out how to coordinate their body and master the technique of skipping rope on their own, which is the “efficacy” mentioned above.

In conclusion, we can teach children from an early age to face difficulties with an optimistic and positive attitude and provide them with opportunities for self-challenge. More importantly, let them feel the support and care from the people around them.

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Parents Zone

Parental Relationships and Child’s Physical and Mental Health

Written by: Marriage and Family Therapist, Child Play Therapist, Lee Wai Zi

 

Whenever a child is born, it brings about changes to the family. Many times, parents, caught up in taking care of and disciplining their children, can easily overlook the quality of their own marital life. Over time, marital life becomes reduced to a pile of responsibilities and pressures. I once heard a friend say that when he comes home from work every day, it’s like an assembly line of checking his children’s homework, supervising their studies, while his wife takes care of their meals and routines. By the time the two of them can rest, it’s often late at night. Even if there’s still energy left to exchange a few words with his wife, the topic tends to revolve around their children’s academic performance and achievements. Sometimes, there isn’t even enough time left for their own rest, let alone considering their spouse’s needs.

Many couples facing difficulties in their marriage tend to attribute the problems in their relationship to the birth of their children. Generally, people believe that this is due to differing expectations and parenting methods between parents, or unequal distribution of roles and responsibilities in raising children, leading to conflicts in the relationship. However, the vast majority of couples express that they don’t necessarily need their partner to agree with their thoughts or actions. The key issue is that when they face the stress of parenting and various life pressures, they often don’t feel valued, supported, and accepted by their spouse. This leads both sides into a state of loneliness and helplessness, gradually eroding trust and emotional connection.

Differing educational philosophies and methods between spouses are ordinary and natural. However, during the process of parenting, parents are prone to repetitively using ineffective and destructive methods to deal with their differences, inadvertently creating a negative cycle of interaction within the relationship. For example, a wife might complain in front of her husband that the child doesn’t listen, and might even reproach her husband for not helping to share the responsibilities of household chores and parenting. The wife’s expression of dissatisfaction is aimed at making the husband understand her concerns and troubles, and hoping to receive his support and comfort.

However, husbands often only receive criticism and blame from their wives. In order to protect themselves from getting hurt, they might remain silent or explain and defend themselves repeatedly, hoping for understanding and acceptance from their wives. The more husbands explain, the less valued and understood their wives might feel, leading to more accusations. And the more wives accuse, the more helpless husbands might feel, causing them to further evade and defend. Both spouses are participants in this negative cycle of interaction and victims of this cycle as well. If parents don’t promptly address and resolve the deadlock in their relationship, not only will the problems persist and worsen, but it could also ultimately impact their children.

The well-being of the family and the children relies on a strong emotional connection between the spouses. Therefore, for the sake of themselves and their children, it’s worth spending more time nurturing the love between partners. As long as the marital relationship is harmonious, children can naturally grow up healthy and happy.

A good son is not hard to find, but a good mother is difficult to come by

Written: New Horizons Development Centre, Registered Educational Psychologist, Pang Chi Wah

I once overheard a conversation between two mothers, and I wonder if the readers can relate to it. One of them said, “You’re so lucky! You have a well-behaved baby, but I wasn’t that fortunate…” Some mothers may believe that a child’s behavior is largely determined by their innate qualities. However, the truth is that postnatal nurturing is equally crucial, and a mother’s ability to grasp effective discipline techniques and maintain a stable emotional state can have a significant impact on their child.

When a mother wants to criticize or teach her child, she must first ask herself if she truly understands the underlying reasons behind the issue. Is there any room for improvement on her part, or can she find alternative ways to address the problem, rather than attributing everything to “good luck” or “bad luck”? There’s a saying, “When there is a master, there will be exceptional talents.” Many parents hope their children will achieve great success, but in reality, helping an ordinary child to thrive is not difficult, especially in today’s society, which advocates diversified development. Children have more opportunities to showcase their talents. While the past society revered “prestigious” professions like doctors and lawyers, as society transforms, people also appreciate excellence in design, arts, and other fields. Most importantly, as a mother, whether you seize the chance to carefully discover your child’s strengths is crucial.

However, good children also need good parents to nurture them. Although today is an era of gender equality, mothers still play a crucial role in the parent-child relationship. If a mother wishes to effectively educate her child, she must invest more time in participating in relevant parenting courses, listening to different experts’ opinions, such as educational psychologists, social workers, or other educators, to learn how to analyze the child’s situation and provide the most appropriate educational methods and assistance. Additionally, parents can join some parent support groups, or take the opportunity to stay in touch with other parents, exchange ideas and observations, share experiences and methods of educating children, which will be of great help to mothers in how to teach their children.

Therefore, if you want your children to succeed, as a mother, you must lead by example, strive to do what you should do, and actively learn disciplinary skills for children. Please remember: children come not to “take revenge” on you but to “repay kindness” to you. In the process of learning to discipline children, a mother can learn even more than what she teaches her child. While imparting knowledge and learning to educate children, she herself also benefits in knowledge. Moreover, the challenges encountered in the process are a test of patience and inner qualities for the mother, contributing to life experiences and understanding of life.

The title at the beginning of the article was “Good children are not born that way,” so in conclusion, I summarize with one sentence: “Good mothers are not born that way either.”

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Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone Parents Zone

Long bathing time, eczema will become problematic and requires a long time to heal

Written by:YEUNG Ming Ha, Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner

Recently, a parent uploaded pictures of their daughter suffering from eczema on a social media platform. Looking at the little girl’s red and swollen hands and feet, and her skin all irritated, indeed, it’s heartbreaking. As a result, parents all over the city are now sharing their secret remedies to deal with eczema because many of them or their children are also affected by eczema, and they often suffer during seasonal changes.

Eczema is a common allergic dermatitis and is not contagious. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), eczema is referred to as “wet sores” and is a prevalent skin condition in Hong Kong. The internal factors contributing to eczema include the individual’s constitution, emotional state, and dysfunction of the body’s organs, while external factors involve wind, dampness, and heat obstructing the skin. When a person has a weaker constitution and a lower immune system, wind, dampness, and heat pathogenic factors may invade the skin, resulting in eczema or exacerbating existing eczema issues. Eczema can occur on any part of the body, such as the ears, head, face, hands, navel, and lower legs, but it usually appears symmetrically. Patients often feel intense itching, and scratching can lead to skin abrasions, oozing of pus, and even infection. The condition tends to recur, making the skin rough and the scabs raised. To deal with eczema, it’s essential to start by addressing these three small habits:

Shorten bathing time.

When eczema flares up, patients often can’t resist scratching. Hands are the most susceptible to bacterial contact and harbor the most microorganisms. Therefore, it’s important to avoid the habit of frequently touching the face to prevent exacerbating skin inflammation. Additionally, patients should refrain from using products with high alcohol content frequently, as the chemical components can irritate and weaken the skin’s natural barrier. Furthermore, due to the itching sensation on their skin, patients tend to wash their hands and take long baths, mistakenly thinking it can relieve itching and provide a sense of cleanliness. However, excessive cleaning can actually damage the skin’s sebum layer and stratum corneum, compromising the skin’s natural protective barrier and worsening eczema problems. Therefore, it is recommended for patients to shorten their bathing time, ideally not exceeding 3 minutes. At the same time, they should choose hypoallergenic skincare and bathing products to minimize irritation to the skin. For severe cases of eczema, it is suggested to only cleanse the armpits, lower body, and areas prone to sweating.

Here, I am introducing an anti-allergic formula: The ingredients include Fang Feng (防風) 6 qian, Ku Shen (苦參) 6 qian, and Sheng Gan Cao (生甘草) 3 qian. Boil them with strong fire for 30 minutes, then use it to rinse the sensitive areas. It has excellent moisturizing and itch-relief effects.

Good lifestyle and hygiene habits.

Patients’ living environment needs regular cleaning, and they should frequently change bedsheets and close-fitting clothes. Moreover, patients should wear loose and cotton clothes, avoid wearing tight clothes made of wool, and ensure no chemical residues like detergents remain on their clothes. Regarding daily routines, patients should go to bed and wake up early, avoid staying up late, maintain a balanced diet, exercise adequately to boost their immune system, and reduce the chances of triggering eczema. After exercising, they should immediately wipe away sweat and change into dry clothes to keep the skin clean and dry. Of course, the most crucial aspect is maintaining a positive mindset to reduce stress.

Dietary Restrictions Effectively Prevent Eczema

The onset of eczema is closely related to certain food sensitivities, so dietary restrictions are essential in the treatment of skin sensitivity. During the treatment of skin diseases, patients should avoid consuming “triggering foods.” “Triggering foods” are those that can induce rashes and worsen the condition in skin disease patients. These triggering foods mainly include seafood, beef, sweets, spicy foods, and alcoholic beverages. Skin diseases are often caused by the accumulation of “dampness” and “heat,” leading to the formation of “toxins.” Patients with skin conditions usually have a constitution characterized by congenital weakness of the spleen and stomach. When they consume excessive amounts of spicy foods, shrimp, crab, seafood, and other highly stimulating foods, or when they consume a large amount of raw and cold food during the summer, it can lead to the accumulation of damp toxins in the body. This can easily cause abnormalities in spleen and stomach functions, increasing the likelihood of developing eczema.

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Jul-Aug 2023 Reminder

1) 1/7 香港特別行政區成立紀念日假期

2) 22/7 K3畢業暨頒獎典禮

3) 26/7-4/8 暑假

4) 18/8 7,8月份生日會暨結業禮 

How to use music to learn a language?

Source: Speech Therapist, Miss Carley

In order to help children learn a language, parents use various methods. Have you ever considered singing as one of the methods? Music is an international language and is highly engaging for children. We also have many different ways to use music to assist children in language learning.

One simple method is called “lyric filling.” This method can be used for children who may not yet be able to speak or can only say a few words. Parents can try using this method. Choose a familiar song that the child knows, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” However, instead of singing the entire song, use a single syllable to sing the entire song, for example, “ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma.” Then suddenly stop and wait for the child to hum or sing the remaining syllable. Parents can encourage the child to vocalize that particular syllable.

The second method is to sing action songs with children, which involve movements. For example, the well-known song “If You’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” You can sing this song with the child while performing different actions. Through this, children can learn different movements and some nouns and vocabulary.

Interestingly, music can enhance children’s memory. Have you ever noticed that there are many songs we heard when we were young or many years ago, and even if we haven’t sung them in years, we can still remember the lyrics? Therefore, we can simply sing the ABC Song with children to teach them basic English letters. We can also learn numbers with children, for example, “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians.”

If we want to teach children the English names of the days of the week, we can sing “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday” with them. By incorporating vocabulary into music, it makes it easier for children to remember the words.

The fourth method is to try singing out certain phrases, similar to singing. We can also use props to assist, such as simple flashcards. For example, if we want to say, “Chan Siu Ming is eating an apple,” we can sing it out using a musical approach, which enhances the child’s motivation and interest in communication.