Showing posts from August, 2012

Before They Can Read & Write...

Children are not born able to hold a pencil, tie their shoes, zip and button.  It takes time and practice to develop the fine motor muscles and brain pathways required to succeed.  While many children will naturally begin to develop those muscles through play and other every day actions, there are activities that further promote fine muscle development.  When setting up a play area or spending time inside on a rainy day, keep these tips in mind: Easel work develops more muscles than using a table to paint, draw or write.  Moving the arm up and down in an outstretched position helps to develop the muscles that lead from the arm into the hand.   It takes more muscle activity to hold the arm out than lean it on a table or have it at your side.   An easel, hanging dry erase or chalk board, or even paper hung on a wall will provide your children with a fun artistic space and gross motor development.Cross lateral movements force both sides of the brain to communicate and are the precursor t…

Teach, Don’t Punish – The Lessons of Positive Discipline

Teaching children about acceptable behavior is one of the most difficult challenges for parents and teachers.  Children can learn that for every action, there is a reaction.  For every mistake, there is a consequence.  After every consequence, there is a chance to do better.  Discipline is an opportunity.  Given the opportunity, will you be instructive or punitive?
In his book Lost in School, Dr. Ross Greene asks the question, “Why is it that when a student that struggles with reading or math… we support… yet when a student struggles with behaviour… we punish?”  The greatest lesson that a child learns from being punished is how to avoid punishment in the future.  They do not learn why their action was inappropriate.  They do not learn the life lesson that will forestall similar behavior in the future.  They learn that they need to be more careful so they don’t get caught next time.  When we yell, children learn that to solve a problem, you must become emotional and angry.  They learn…

What Does Learning Look Like In Preschool?

Learning in a preschool does not look like children sitting at a table for 30 minutes of workbook activities.  Learning does not look like rote memorization and repetition of facts, words and sounds.  Adults tend to look for evidence of learning that we can see.  We look for sheets with smiley faces, stars and 100% circled in red.  Learning in a preschool classroom looks like children making choices.  They may choose to write on paper.  They may also choose to play with blocks.  Some are wearing dramatic play clothes.  Others are finger painting.  In a preschool classroom, learning looks like play because children learn best when at play.  The lessons learned are not always evident to the naked eye – unless you really look closely.
Building blocks are a favorite in preschool classrooms.  Children gravitate toward them.  Preschoolers build the most amazing structures.  The feats of architecture are evidence of learning.  Children who build learn about spatial relationships, balance an…

Dealing with Your Preschooler's Separation Anxiety

It’s almost back-to-school preparation time.  There are backpacks to buy and clothes to select.  Parents also have the important task of helping their children to adjust to a new school year.  Facing a new experience can be daunting for children as well as adults.  Parents bringing their children to preschool or kindergarten often worry about both how their young child will react and how they will feel if their child tries to cling to them.  Here are some hints for getting through separation anxiety:
Remember that separation anxiety is a common experience that can start and reoccur anytime during the early childhood years.   Separation anxiety is not only normal but is your child’s first opportunity to deal with fear and coping.  It is a healthy learning experience.  It can start on the first day of school or any time after that.  Some parents and children slide through the first few weeks of school anxiety free just to find that their children suddenly don’t want to leave them in Oct…