Category Archives: Hamilton

Movie, TV and YouTube Ratings Guide for Parents

As parents, we are always trying to make informed and thoughtful decisions for the wellbeing of our children. We worry about what they eat, drink, read, study, and how they spend their free time. The list is endless. That’s why we welcome tools to make informed decisions especially when it comes to the television programming, movies and YouTube videos that our “digital age” children watch. Here is a quick guide to help you make the right determination for the age and maturity level of your growing child.


Film Ratings:

Film ratings are determined by the Motion Picture Association of America Rating Board. Its members are not associated with the movie industry, and no one has the authority or power to influence the Board’s decision on films.


  • Rating G – This film does not contain any offensive language or themes. While some language may not be viewed as polite by all audience members, it is frequently found in everyday use. There are no situations included that are inappropriate for children. Violence is minimal. And it incorporates no sex scenes, nudity or drug use.


  • Rating PG – This rating, as indicated by the title, requires Parental Guidance in choosing this film. Contents of this film could include profanity, some violence and brief nudity. However, the presence of these elements is not intense. There is no drug use content in a PG-rated film.


  • Rating PG-13 – Parents are strongly cautioned to consider this movie. In a PG-13 film, there is more violence, nudity, sensuality and inappropriate language or other contents than in a PG film, but these elements are not explicit enough to require a restricted R rating. Any drug use content will initially require at least a PG-13 rating.


  • Rating R – This level of rating indicates Restricted and may include strong language, violence, nudity, drug abuse, other elements and/or a combination of these elements.


Television Ratings

This rating system is a little more complex and is explained through the use of a code box usually at the top corner of the first few minutes of a show. The box indicates what age is appropriate, what the content may include, and whether the content includes sex, adult language, or suggestive dialogue.


YouTube Ratings

While millions of  free videos are added at regular intervals parents also have some level of control on this front as well. Google advises that, “You can only apply YouTube content ratings to paid content. To restrict free videos with mature content, use the Age-Restriction feature.”

A YouTube content rating labels the mature content in a video in several categories. Each category has three options that indicate the level of mature content:

  1. The first option (which is also the default) indicates no mature content in the category
  2. The middle option indicates mild mature content
  3. The third option indicates mature content that should be restricted to viewers 18 and older

The Benefits of Reading for Fun

When was the last time you read something for the pure enjoyment? Sure, your child has been keeping up with his/her reading for school assignments and you (as a parent and employee) have been reading emails, projects, and work related documents, but when was the last time you really chose something to read purely for the pleasure of it? Let’s examine closer why reading for fun is so important for both parents and children alike.


Academic Outcomes

Did you know that there is strong evidence linking reading for pleasure and educational outcomes? The more you practice a skill, like reading, comprehending and synthesizing information, the better you become! Even students who enjoy reading comics, or graphic novels increase vocabulary, causal relationships and character development. The rule seems to be that “Any reading, is good reading,” according to research completed by the Peter Sowerby Foundation.


Emotional Benefits

There is evidence that shows a correlation between reading for pleasure regularly and lower levels of stress and depression. Reading, especially that which is chosen by the reader for pleasure seems to increase well-being and happiness. Who doesn’t love curling up with a great book, magazine or website and finding out more about their favorite topic?


Social Benefits

Reading can also have immense social benefits for students. Reading, especially that which has characters who we can relate closely to, can help us develop our own identity. The middle school and high school years are critical for this type of development. Reading about characters who experience life differently than us can also lead to a better understanding of the people around us. Reading can also  improve empathy and gives us an insight into the world view of others.


What do you like to read for pleasure? Ask your student what they like to read for fun and encourage that self-motivated reading at home. Any questions, or looking for suggestion of interesting books, ask your child’s teacher at NSCS.


Kick off the New Year with Gratitude

Are you trying to follow your New Year’s Resolutions to eat better, exercise and live a healthier life?  Most of us made some sort of promise to ourselves to better our lives or the lives around us. If you are searching for a resolution that can help with your overall well-being and make you feel more connected to the world around you, we would like to suggest kicking the year off with gratitude. A recent article in Scientific American reported that, “the single best predictor of good relationships and emotional well-being is gratitude.” Here are some suggestions of how to show gratitude this year.

  • A Gratitude Jar – Keep a jar in your kitchen with paper slips readily available to write down things you are grateful for either spontaneously or every night while you gather for dinner. Each member of the family can add to the jar throughout the year. At the end of the year or when you need a pick-me-up, read the items that you wrote that will remind you of the wonderful blessings around you.


  • A Gratitude Journal – For a more personal and private way to take stock of the things you are blessed with, a journal might be more fitting. Write each night before you go to bed or even start your day with things that you are thankful for.


  • Get in the Habit of Paying it Forward – Once you have begun to notice all the things in your life that you are grateful for, it may be time to start paying it forward. Even little things like smiling at a stranger, holding a door open for the person behind you or even paying for someone’s coffee is a great way to pass on your blessings.



How do you show your gratitude? We would love to hear from you. Check out our Facebook page and add your messages of gratitude. Find us at NSCS Facebook or through the Facebook icon on our website.


Student Resolutions for the New Year

Hard to believe that the holiday break is here and that we all have some much needed time to spend with family and friends during one of the most special times of the year. We hope of our families have a blessed and holy Christmas season. Looking forward to the next time that we will see our students has us thinking about how each of us may resolve to make changes to our lives in the coming year. Here are some student resolutions that may help you create your own.

  • Get Involved – One way to make a difference in other’s lives is to get involved whether it is in your school, neighborhood, community or even broader than that; in your country! Get involved in a group or organization that is near and dear to your heart, something you are passionate about possibly?
  • Give of Yourself – Volunteer your time to help someone. Do you have a special talent like singing, dancing, sports skills, writing, or reading that could help someone else? Give of your time and you will be amazed at how it will be a positive experience for the giver and receiver!
  • Get Organized – What does your room, backpack, or locker look like? Could it use a quick cleaning and some organization? Give a few minutes every day to keeping things tidy and neat.
  • Avoid Procrastination – This is a common problem for students who like to put off doing work or would rather do something more fun. Make lists of things that you want to accomplish and check them off as you go. Set a time limit or schedule out longer projects so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Be Mindful – Sometimes in our busy lives it is too easy to get caught up in all the events and activities around us. Try to carve out a few minutes each day to be mindful, meditate, say a prayer or think of others.
  • Be Optimistic – Having a positive outlook on situations and experiences can really make a difference in your life. Try taking a new look at things that you may have been skeptical about in prior times. You viewpoint can make a huge difference.


Have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!


Balance School and After-School Activities

Are your children involved in a vast array of after-school activities from sports to dance or even volunteering? Chances are the answer is yes. According to the  Pew Research Center 73% of students are enrolled in some variety of after-school activity. Studies show that most of us are happiest when we are busy and doing the things we love. That means that students need to find the time to balance school work with the pursuits of their passion or talent. How can this be done without sacrificing academics, free time or, even worse, sleep? Here are a few tips to help you balance school and after-school activities.

Get Organized

The first step in being able to juggle school and the activities you love is getting yourself organized. For some it means mapping out where and when you need to be somewhere on a calendar whether on a physical calendar or in digital form on a phone or computer. This mapping can give you a good sense of how much time is being taken up and how much time is left for studying, hanging with friends and just relaxing. Knowing where and when all your activities are is an important first step to being able to balance things without getting stressed!

Review the Schedule

Now that you have a calendar, it is a good idea to review it regularly whether it is at the start of each week or each morning in order to know what you have coming up. Some people find it helpful to have alerts on their phone remind them of upcoming events while others just take a quick took at the calendar every night. Either way, do what works for you so you are not caught off guard when it comes to an activity or a school project that may be due during an especially busy time.


Parents and students should discuss what is important before the start of new after-school activities. When things get busy and balancing multiple activities becomes stressful, it is good to remind yourself what is important: school, family and your health. When students have to choose between a big game or studying, having set priorities from the beginning makes choices easier.

Fuel Up and Rest Up

Eating healthy and getting enough sleep can mean the difference between enjoying activities and going “through the motions.” Be sure to eat a good breakfast and get to bed at an appropriate time so you feel ready to face the day.
Balancing school and activities can be a juggling act at times but learning to prioritize and get organized are skills that will help you not only through your years at school but beyond into your future careers. If you are looking for after-school activities at NSCS check out our extra curricular offerings on our website and get involved!

Exciting News for 2019-2020

The North Shore Christian School Board is pleased to announce more good news about NSCS’s continued growth.

Beginning in September 2019, our Hamilton Campus Early Childhood Program will be offering a full day program, in addition to its current morning-only option.  Additionally, the Beverly campus will be adding a combined 7th/8th grade class in response to the strong desire of our Beverly parents and students to continue to receive a NSCS education through the middle school years. With this addition, NSCS will ensure that our entire student body is able to access a North Shore Christian School education from Preschool – 8th grade, whether in Lynn or Beverly.

Join us in celebrating all that God is doing to bless the School and for the commitment of our board, faculty, staff, and families to provide a Christ centered education to our students.

Key Benefits of Early Childhood Education

Did you know that Ninety percent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of their life? Young children are like learning sponges, they are absorbing everything around them at a rapid pace, especially during those critical early years. According to the Department of Education, current research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs and early childhood education programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to engage in learning. North Shore Christian School is proud to be a part of this learning on all three of our campuses from Lynn, to Beverly and our newest campus in Hamilton. Here are a few of the findings of the key benefits of an early childhood education.

Social Skills – Preschool and pre-kindergarten classes allow for many activities where children can acquire and practice vital skills that allow them to listen to others and express their own ideas, make friends, share, cooperate, and become accountable for their actions. Even the simple act of playing with a classmate can encourage all of these skills that will be fine tuned during the remainder of the early education years.

Exposure to Diversity – Early childhood programs may be a child’s first chance to meet someone of a different culture, religion or ethnicity. Learning about these other groups is an important part of learning that there is a big world out there. Early childhood education serves to guide children to appreciate and accept differences and become well-rounded contributors to society.

Building Self Esteem – Through activities where children can see their growth and success, self esteem is developed. Positive interactions with other children and teachers promote a positive and healthy view of themselves. This self esteem is critical as the years progress and children are faced with situations that they need to face with confidence.

Skill Building – Think of all the important skills that we all need to master in life that begin in the early childhood years. Patience, resilience, teamwork, concentration and respect are just a few of the skills that will carry us all through life. Simple things like taking turns, sharing toys, listening during circle time, respecting personal space, raising hands, having empathy for others all begin during these important early childhood experiences.

A Love of Learning – While many of us probably don’t remember what activities we took part in during preschool, you may remember that feeling of loving school and loving learning. Fostering that feeling is so very important when it comes to loving to learn and question the environment around us as we grow older.

Are you considering placing your child in an early childhood education class? Talk to our principals about a tour or a visit to our warm and inviting classrooms. Visit our website or call one of our three campuses around the north shore. Lynn Campus Main: (781) 599-2040, Beverly Campus Main: (978) 921-2888, and Hamilton Campus Main: (978) 921-2888.

Finding a Just Right Book

Reading can be such an enjoyable activity for young children, especially when it is coupled with snuggle time with mom and/or dad, or possibly spending time with a friend. Reading can take a child to new places, fantasy worlds, or events set in a different time and place. Reading can be chock full of the facts and details that children love adding to their “list of things they know.” Who doesn’t love to recite the name and size of every dinosaur known to man?! Unfortunately, for some children, reading is a struggle and a frustration. That is why it is important to understand how to help your child find a “Just Right Book” for their reading enjoyment. Here are a few suggestions of how to find books that match your child’s personality and reading level.

Read What You Love

Is your child hooked on collecting facts and information about their favorite topic? Then perhaps non-fiction books are the way to go. Or maybe your child loves animals or insects? Then find a series that incorporates them. Whatever interests your child has is what you should seek in reading material, even if it is not your type of book. Any reading is good reading, even if it is a graphic novel or a topic you as a parent don’t particularly enjoy. Remember to help them choose what they love, be it about outer space, horses, fantasy, history, travel, or any other topic that interests them. If they are reading about something they love, they will be more invested and stay with it longer.

Is it Too Easy or Too Hard ?

Once you have found a series or a stack of books that are sure to interest your child, try it out for difficulty level. The best way to do this is to open the book and have your child start reading it. Here are some things to consider:

  • 5 Finger Rule – Hold up a finger for each word your child has difficulty with. If you get to five fingers for a page then the book may be too difficult. No fingers may mean that the book is far too easy. Use your judgement on that.
  • Comprehension – After your child has read a page, ask him/her about what happened. Does there seem to be a level of comprehension appropriate to your child’s age? If so, then continue on.
  • Fluency – Listen to how smoothly your child reads the passage. Is there a struggle to sound out certain words, or does it flow well? If the reading sounds choppy or slow, then maybe the reading level is a little too hard for your reader.


Reading Together

Let’s say you have found a series that your child is dying to read, but the reading and/or comprehension level is a bit too hard. What do you do then? We suggest that you read with your child to help with sounding out and comprehension of what is going on. Reading with and to your child is just as productive. In fact, many educators believe that the positive feelings of reading with a child can be lifelong and help them gain a love of reading for years. If the passages are a little too difficult, share pages to give your little one a break. While reading, be sure to talk about vocabulary, cause and effect, and the flow of the story, including the climax and solution. Happy reading!


Helping Your Child Become a Better Writer

Is your child naturally a good writer or does s/he struggle with putting their thoughts down on paper? It is fairly common for young writers to lack the confidence and skills to write something coherent, especially on the first try. There are things that parents and teachers can do to help their students become better, stronger, and more confident writers. Let’s take a look at some of the suggestions from educators, professional writers, and business people that will help nurture the writer in your child.

Answer the Question – When Will I Use this Skill?

It is a common mantra with students who question the usefulness of a skill as they journey through their educational experience: “When will I ever use this skill?” While writing is a sought after and very useful skill in a huge number of fields, many students do not understand the value beyond the assignment at hand. Practically every field of business uses writing, be it a business proposal, a contract, emails, social media, or handbooks. Writing is not something that any of us can avoid. It may be helpful to explain to your student how writing is a part of your life so they begin to see the future value in the activity.

Give Writing a Purpose

Whenever a student begins a writing assignment, ask them what the purpose is? Is the assignment to persuade the reader, give a plot summary, explain a point of view, or maybe compare and contrast characters or situations? Knowing the purpose will help focus the writing.

Organize Thoughts

Even adults can benefit by organizing their thoughts before writing. Organizing can mean many things such as: writing in chronological order, using general terms and building to more specific statements, or using evidence from the text to prove a point. Some students find it helpful to create a visual organizer to plot out what they want to say, while others use bullet points or sticky notes to help. Whatever method works for you, use it!

Teachers and students alike support brainstorming as a way to get organized. This may include writing down quick blurbs of ideas and grouping them together in order to get thoughts to paper. Then, rearrange those thoughts and place them in whatever order seems most viable. Start by breaking thoughts into major paragraphs and then see what order makes the most sense to the purpose of the writing.

Give Evidence

Many writing assignments ask for evidence either from research or from a text. Have your child go back and underline specific evidence, whether it is a quote from the text or a specific reference, to be sure they are giving evidence that will help make their point.

Read Aloud

Most writers practice reading their work aloud so they can hear mistakes or gaps in the content. Practice reading the assignment out loud to your child so they can hear what they have written. Many times when the writer reads their own work, it is hard for them to pick up on mistakes because they know what they meant. Having someone else read it, whether it is a parent or classmate, can make mistakes in content and grammar become apparent.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Even Nobel-Laureates don’t get it right on the first try when they write. Practice writing whenever you can, even for fun. Give your child positive feedback on the aspects s/he is doing well on and help them see the areas where they are struggling.


Great Bedtime Routines

What is bedtime like in your home? Is it a peaceful wind down to a busy day or a little more on the chaotic side? Having a bedtime routine isn’t just ideal for children but for adults too!  Last week we examined creating a Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right; this week we are looking at how families can create a great bedtime routine for the other end of their day. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Decide on a Bedtime – When creating an evening routine it is important to decide what is an appropriate time to go to bed. Harvard Medical School reports that each age requires a varying amount of sleep. Based upon the time that your child needs to arrive at school and the amount their body needs, families can make an informed decision on what is an appropriate time for bedtime. Parents should take into consideration things like activities, lessons, playdates, sports and homework when deciding on a time. Here are the recommended amounts:

  • Infants: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
  • Toddlers: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
  • Preschoolers: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
  • Grade school-aged children: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens: 8 to 10 hours

Have a Power Down Time – Right before bed is not a good time to be playing video games, or using technology. Give your brain a chance to disconnect and relax before it is time for sleep. During this time children might enjoy reading with or to their parents or a sibling, packing up their backpack or deciding what to wear the next day. These simple routines can give your body a chance to prepare for sleep. Researchers have found that the blue light emitted from screens can wake up the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. This is particularly true for “small screens” such as phones or tablets that are held closer to the face. In addition to shutting down at least an hour before bed, it is advisable to have children and teens plug their devices in away from their room so they are not tempted to hop on to check something or answer a text they hear come in.

A Bedtime List – Just like a list can help in the morning, a list of items that should be completed nightly can be helpful to even for the youngest school age children. Create a visual that marks off all the things you would like your child to complete before lights out including: brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, putting on pjs, putting laundry in the basket and so on. Knowing what is expected is half the battle.

Have an Evening Ritual – This last part of a good bedtime routine may be different for every family. Choose an evening ritual that signals that now is the time for bed whether it is “tucking in,” reading a story or two, saying prayers or just snuggling and talking about the day. This ritual signals the body that sleep is near.

What is your bedtime routine in your home? Share these ideas with your child and design an evening that will be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Good night!