Best of the Web: Start Classes Later, Dance as Important as Maths, and Getting to Know My Child’s Dyslexia

The benefits of starting school later in the morning, why dance makes such a difference, and understanding dyslexia.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Should schools start later in the day?

(Life Matters, Radio National)

If you think teenagers sleeping late is just old-fashioned laziness, this fascinating discussion on school starting times will make you think again. It’s actually biology at work – when our children hit adolescence, there’s delay in the secretion of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. That’s why they don’t get sleepy until late and struggle to get up. It leads to the question of what time school should start, and why 8.30 am or 9 am might be too early.  The program includes an interview with Sarita Ryan, Head of Campus at Alice Miller School, where classes start at 10 am. The school is an Independent Schools Victoria Member School.

Learning salsa just as important as maths, education expert says

(Henrietta Cook, The Age)


Sir Ken Robinson is a rock star of the education world. The guru on the role of the arts in education has built a formidable reputation as a challenger of conventional thinking. His 2006 TED talk Do Schools Kill Creativity? is the most popular TED talk of all time, having been viewed more than 50 million times. So when he says that learning dance is just as important as mastering mathematics, people take notice – and crank up the music with a beat you can dance to. This report covers his recent visit to Melbourne. You can also read an extract on the subject from his new book at

Existing between the lines: getting to know my daughter’s dyslexia

(Angie Fox, The Guardian)

This is a powerful and moving personal account of what it is like to have a child with dyslexia. Sunny is 11 and has the comprehension ability of a 17-year-old. But it took 400 hours of one-on-one private intervention to get her reading to the level of her Year 5 peers, while on a good day, her spelling is Year 3 level. The article explores the nature of dyslexia and the misunderstandings that surround it.  In the face of boundless advice on what to do to fix what’s ‘wrong’, there’s a decision to focus on the positive.

Are Today’s Teenagers Smarter and Better Than We Think?

(Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times)

There’s been plenty of concern about our teenagers growing up with eyes glued to smartphones and screens. This piece looks at the young people who have made their voices heard following the 17 shooting deaths in February at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in Florida. The author writes that ‘the stereotype of a disengaged, entitled and social-media-addicted generation doesn’t match the poised, media-savvy and inclusive young people leading the protests and gracing magazine covers.’

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