Preparing for NAPLAN

Deep in concentration ...
Deep in concentration ... 

Children around Australia in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are brushing up on their reading, writing, language and numeracy skills this week in preparation for NAPLAN.

Since the introduction of the My School website, that allows parents to see student results in comparison to other schools with students of similar socio-economic backgrounds, the pressure has been mounting for children to excel, schools to out-perform each other and parents to help their kids get the best results possible.

While NAPLAN creators have continuously stressed that excessive test preparation is not useful due to the focus on testing numeracy and literacy skills, not content, the pressure to perform continues to push many parents to invest in tutors and teachers to spend class time in revision.

That said it is a good idea to allow students to engage with examples of NAPLAN tests to help them feel more confident and at ease with the layout of the material when they sit the exams. You can find these examples on the NAPLAN website. 

It may be tempting to offer your child extra help through tutoring but perhaps the best thing you can do for your child’s preparation is to ensure they are eating a healthy diet high in Omega 3 fish oils.

It may be tempting to offer your child extra help through tutoring but perhaps the best thing you can do for your child is to ensure they are eating a healthy diet ...

A recent study by the Department of Child Psychiatry in Sweden has shown that increased levels of Omega 3 (the primary component of Fish Oil) resulted in clinical improvement in attention and reduction in hyperactivity in children aged 7-12 years. As such a healthy diet including regular amounts of fresh fish can certainly provide the recommended 500 mg/d of Omega 3, however, a study released from University of Wollongong found that 8 to 9 of 10 Australian children do not consume fish and/or seafood – and concluded that Australian children do not consume enough Omega 3 for optimal health.

To increase the levels of Omega 3 in children’s diets, and in particular DHA which is directly related to brain and retina health, Australian children will need to increase their consumption of oily fish such as Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Herring and Anchovies, to name but a few.

Introducing more fresh fish and seafood into your child’s diet can be fun and simple. Creating your own version of fish fingers, cooking tuna casseroles, or tuna meatballs are all delicious ways to increase their Omega 3 intake. While this may be simple for some there are many children who are incredibly picky when it comes to what they eat. For parents of fussy eaters there are plenty of fish oil supplements available that will provide the recommended daily dose of Omega 3 DHA.

Tips to help children perform to the best of their ability include:

  • Healthy diet
  • Sleep
  • Omega 3 DHA
  • Plenty of water
  • Support from family and teachers

NAPLAN will be held across the country from Tuesday May 15th to Thursday May 17th, 2012. You can find the complete exam timetable here.