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The Whole Child, Issue #032- Join our Preschool Activities eGroup
October 30, 2006
The Whole Child e-zine brings you free preschool activities each week to maximize your child's potential, build skills and parent-child relationships in just a few minutes per day. Useful tips, quotes, resources, opportunities and articles will added for extra value!
If you enjoy this e-zine, please pay it forward and send it to a friend.
29 October 2006, Issue #032
Hello from Shirley
1. Hello from ShirleyFor the past two weeks, my husband has been on another business trip to China. It has been a long two weeks for us, but what has really made it easier is that every day the children and I have been able to video-chat with him.
In fact, I think he and I have probably had more conversation these two weeks than when he is at home! We even had an argument and made up over the Net!
Today I was thinking about how many children from broken homes don't get to have much of a relationship with a parent, because he (or she) doesn't live with them. Four days a month (every alternate week-end) does not leave a dad much time to build a relationship with his child, but with the free online communication programmes like Skype and MSN, they could spend a bit of time together online each day and strengthen those bonds.
If you are a single parent, don't deprive your child of a relationship with her other parent. Take advantage of the technology that is now available and let them get to know each other better. This is a stepmother speaking. I've seen first hand the need for a child to have a good relationship with both her biological parents - no matter how different from you the other parent may be!
2. Join the Preschool Activities at Home eGroupThis week I took the plunge and did what I have been meaning to do for ages. I started a preschool-activities-at-home egroup where we can all share our experiences of teaching and raising preschoolers.
It is a place to ask questions, ask advice and share the ups and downs of life with small kiddies.
I did send an invitation to all my subscribers, however some invitations were bounced by spam filters, so if you haven't yet signed up, you can do so right now by sending a blank email to preschool-activities-at-home- firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also spread the word in your preschool and homeschooling circles. I look forward to 'getting to know' many of you better.
3. Read my MailThis is the latest in a bunch of enquiries I have received about what to do with toddlers under 3.
My daughter is 14 months but I would like to start her on a homeschooling program when she turns 2 which will be in August 2007. I know it is a long way away but I am doing research on the different available programs and yours has been highlighted to me. Could you perhaps let me know how this can be adjusted for her age as your brochure states that your program is only from 3 yrs but can be adjusted for older or younger children. Also let me know the costs involved as well as any other information that you think is important for me to know at this stage.
My first word to you is: RELAX. At 14 months your child should still be free to play and do whatever she wants, without the stress of formal learning activities. Consider these quotes by educational experts:
“A mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.” (Charlotte Mason)
“The idea that parents should hurry reading, spelling, writing, or math ahead of children’s normal development is not supported by a single replicable research study in the world or by any clinical experience in history. All history, research and common sense points in the opposite direction! We repeat: Any who push the three R’s early deny the readiness the Creator built in – reasonably mature vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, reason, brain growth, coordination – as clearly documented in our books Better Late Than Early and School Can Wait.”
(Raymond and Dorothy Moore, The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook)
I suggest you read the article I wrote called "Don't start too early" on the Worksheets page of my preschool activity website.
I know the pressure that we moms
all feel to give our children a head start and to be able to prove that
we are able to teach them and that they are learning, but having 4
kiddies of my own, I have now learnt that they all learn, each in their
own time, and there is no need to put pressure on them. But I also used
to suffer from what I now affectionately call 'first
child syndrome' until I read about the damage that
starting too soon can do. I have learnt that as long as you
create a warm, loving environment, they learn everything they need to
naturally, in their own time, without much effort from the parents!
At 2 years I really don't believe that a child needs formal learning. Perhaps a regular routine yes, like meals and a nap at regular times, storytime etc...but not a structured programme. I would rather encourage you just to spend as much time with your child as possible to meet her emotional needs, which are more important for healthy development than 'academic' type of activities. I don't believe in trying to produce super babies - I think it is unnatural to stimulate children before they are emotionally and developmentally ready for formal learning activities.
As you go about your day, just talk to your child, about whatver is relevent or sing to her too. Classical music is also good for brain development in young kiddies, but I also expose my kids to other good quality music that I enjoy - various genres from pop to worship music to gentle opera! Whatever you enjoy!
Make sure she gets lots of outdoor activity, walking, running, playing ball, visiting play parks etc. to develop gross motor skills...and of course read her lots of stories. I have reviewed a whole lot of worthwhile ones in my preschool manual, ABC Fun & 1-2-3, but also see the article about Reading on my preschool website for age-appropriate suggestions. You could just begin at the library for now! She'll appreciate ABC Fun more when she is older (aged 3-6)
I know moms of 2 year olds that spend hours teaching their children rhymes, colours, shapes, counting etc ...but it is more to boost their own egos than for the benefit of their child. Kids of that age don't need to know that stuff yet in my opinion. Rather let them play and learn by exploring their world in their own time - they only get to be kids once...and once they start formal learning at school age, they can never get the freedom of those early years back again!
Children are naturally curious about the world around them. We need to trust in their ability to learn everything they need to in their own time..and not fall into the trap of comparing. Each child develops at his own rate and each has his own strengths.
I also have a newsletter called The Whole Childto which you can subscribe in which I give ideas for activities to do at home with small kiddies to develop different skills - gross motor, fine motor, language, visual skills etc .... in a fun relaxed way. At the moment the activities are aimed at older kids, but I think there is a need for activities for younger ones too - maybe I'll add that soon, as I often get enquiries like yours.
There are also some articles to encourage moms on the homeschooling page.
Since you asked the cost, ABC Fun is R250 including postage in SA, but as I said, you can wait a bit before you start something like that. Rather play with balls and toys and other fun stuff!!
P.S. ABC Fun & 1-2-3 can also be purchased online in ebook format for only $22, that's less than a dollar per week! Click here to learn more about it!
4. TipsYesterday I had a child 'stuck' in a zip-up swimsuit that wouldn't unzip. Some remedies for sticky zippers are:
1. rub the lead of a pencil point up and down the zipper to act as a lubricant
2. rub soap on the zipper
3. what finally worked for us was a few drops of cooking oil!
5. QuoteIf I had my child to raise over again - Anonymous
If I had my child to raise over again,
I would finger paint more and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd build self esteem first and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power
and more about the power of love.
6. Book Reviews
I have listed some of my favourite parenting and homeschooling books at Shirley's Store where you can browse and purchase those or any other books you like using Ama54zon.com's secure online shopping. By ordering via my store, you are helping to support my site, as Amazon will pay me a 3% commission!Having received a number of enquiries lately about what to do about teaching little ones under two years of age, I want to recommed for all parents of preschool children the book Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.
Quote from a review by Henry Cate 111, published on Amazon.com [my emphasis added]:
"Raymond & Dorothy Moore spent years investigating the results of early education. They examined other studies and did their own studies. They found that in the early years, up to somewhere around ages 8 to 10, it is best for children to be at home in a loving and supportive environment. They found that children who are kept home until they are ready for school quickly catch up with the early starters.
One of the main points is children can't effectively learn until they are developmentally ready. The book explores readiness issues dealing with eye sight, hearing, coordination, ability to focus, emotional stability, and others. Once children have hit a certain level, then their ability to learn is amazing. The book explores some of the problems that can happen when a child is forced to learn before they are ready.
Another main point in the book is how the home is the best place for young children. It is acknowledged that in some situations, like a working single parent, a child may need to be put in preschool, but that the optimal environment is a home where the child feels secure and is free to develop at his own pace. They are free to make mistakes without 25 other students making fun of them. They feel loved. One of the problems with sending children off to preschool is how many of them feel rejected by their parents.
The second half of the book covers various age ranges and gives insight on what is happening to children at this age and advice on how parents can best support and help their children."
Here you will find age-appropriate activities that will help your child develop necessary skills and prepare them for formal learning activities at a later age.
7. Readiness Activities
To download the printable pdf you will need to have installed
Adobe Reader - opens in new window.
The Whole Child - Week 34-35 Activities- printable pdf
Gross motor skills
Let your child climb inside a pillow case. Holding it up with her hands and with her feet in the corners she must take small steps forward. To make it interesting if she finds this easy, place obstacles in her path or ask her to jump forward with both feet together.
Fine motor skills
Encourage your child to draw pictures of whatever she chooses. By now she is at the pre-schematic stage. She will combine different shapes such as lines and circles to represent things.
1. Continue with the color scrap book that you began previously. Encourage your child to cut out different shades and tones from magazines and paste them on the correct color page in her book.
2. Play the hop-scotch-shape game my kids invented this week-end. Using chalk, draw different shapes on the ground at random, a leap apart. Number them in sequence. Your child must name the different shapes as she leaps back and forth from one to the next. Begin with known shapes, like circle, square, triangle, then add a rectangle, oval, hexagon, heart, house, octagon, diamond, star etc. Have fun.
This game is for multiple players. Blindfold one person. The others must each make a sound. The blindfolded player must name the sound and say who made it. You can whisper, sneeze, cough, giggle, growl, squeek, singing, barking etc.
Language and thinking
Read a book together in which the emotions of the characters are clearly depicted. After reading the story, page through the book again and talk about expressions. Develop vocabulary to describe feelings like sad, scared, happy, glad, shocked, worried, sleepy etc. Encourage your child to use new vocabulary in her conversation.
suggestions: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
Faith buildingLast week I suggested you start building a caterpillar with different Bible Memory verses on each segment. Another idea is to print out the illustrated Bible verses at www.shirleys-preschool-activities.com/free-printable-preschool-worksheets.html. Place two back to back and laminate them to create reversible place mats that you can use at the table.
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