Welcome to the December 2015 issue of The Learning Brain.

The year is nearly over. I expect you are looking forward to the break. I’m certainly ready for a rest. In many ways it’s been an interesting year – lots of new research from the neuroscientists, and new tools and approaches to help students learn.

In this issue, the last for 2015, you can read about sugar and learning, attention, working memory, and student anxiety. Kind regards,

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PS: Keep an eye on your inbox for the January Learning Brain newsletter.

PPS: Find out how you can use the holidays to prepare your child for better learning experiences in 2016. Take a look at the Brain Builder BootCamp in What’s On. Also, do you have a child due to start school next year? Download the 34 Questions School Readiness Checklist (in Free Downloads) to see a list of the language, social, emotional and thinking skills your child will need at school.

Is there a link between breakfast and educational outcomes?

A new study at Cardiff University in the UK confirms that a good breakfast helps students learn better. The study of 5,000 students aged 9 to 11 found that the odds of an above average educational performance were up to twice as high for pupils who ate breakfast, compared with those who did not. Read more.

The Learning Capacity Podcast

Film maker Damon Gameau talks sugar. Could it be harming our kids?

A light hearted conversation about a very serious issue. As well as the general health effects of too much sugar, you can hear about what it might be doing to your children’s mood and ability to learn. It’s a controversial topic, but you may be surprised by some of the facts Damon Gameau mentions – like how much sugar is actually in our diet, and why we generally don’t notice how much we are consuming. Listen to the Podcast.

Working Memory

Working Memory of preschoolers predicts teenage dropout

Preschoolers who score lower on a working memory task are likely to score higher on a dropout risk scale at the age of 13, researchers at Université Sainte-Anne and the University of Montreal recently revealed.high school dropout “Dropout risk is calculated from student engagement in school, their grade point average, and whether or not they previously repeated a year in school. Previous research has confirmed that this scale can successfully identify which 12 year olds will fail to complete high school by the age of 21,” added Linda Pagani, co-senior author. Read more.

34 Question School Readiness Checklist

Answer these questions to see how ready your child is to start school for the first time. It covers social & emotional maturity, language & pre-reading skills, numeracy, and thinking skills like memory, attention and sequencing.

Book of the Month

Generation Stressed – Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety

Generation Stressed explains the causes and effects of anxiety in children and gives parents some play-based tools to help their anxious child. Written by counsellor and parenting columnist Michele Kambolis.

School Readiness program

Want to make sure your child has a really positive start to their formal schooling? our child starts school only once. Make their first year the best it can be with the Fast ForWord Reading Readiness program which develops much more than just pre-reading skills. It also boosts working memory, attention, listening and other skills needed for a good start at school.