Sunday, January 27, 2013

Handwriting without Tears®



This week I introduced our first letter from Handwriting without Tears® .  We spent time over the months getting ready for the program by listening to the CDs, playing with the tools and talking about all of the materials. 




“Young children have limited hand eye co ordination, fine motor control, small muscle development, manual dexterity and visual acuity” (Schirrmacher, 2006). An important part of having children become successful writers is supporting their development before their abilities to hold pencils, create complex lines on paper and letter identification. Handwriting without Tears® is a curriculum that supports children’s needs to learn to write as they become strong at the pre printing skills.  I believe it is a very strong program when offered to the proper children at the proper times of their development. Once your child is ready for this teacher guided program it really can help them strengthen their abilities to write.



Before offering it to a child who is ready, I really endorse concept and motor building. As I have mentioned and posted before, children are better at writing letters when:


  • They have strong fine motor skills from playing with small toys, tweezers, collecting beads or rocks, colouring with various mediums, and other experiences with finger strength practice
  • They have strong relationship building with letters. I like to make sure the letters I attempt to convince children to do first, are letters that are in their environment. I do the letters in their names, their parent’s names or siblings’ names. I also try to create relevance through play. I post a lot of environmental print, and try to use the letters I have planned coming up during our circle time, through games, songs  and activities
  • If I see a child is not developmentally ready for writing letters outside of their name, I try to still encourage them to try our exercises, and use constructive feed back to create excitement for continuing to try. I don’t try to stress them out by making them do more than they are comfortable with, but still challenge their desire to try. Today and yesterday, I encouraged them all to try both of the letters - L and F. The ones who were ready to learn to write did both letters, where the others committed to one letter, and some even tried colouring the pictures. In my experience as time goes by they will commit more and we can try the letters they struggled with again.

Another way to make Handwriting without tears a successful tool is to talk about it at home. Encourage your child to try the letters in class, or even bring home a copy to do with you. Use positive feed back to get them really excited about participating during class time.

Try to use the same language at home as we as educators use with the children. When talking about letters, we use the same words:
Big line
Little line
Big curve
Little curve
 
You may also notice that Handwriting without Tears® uses capitals only at this developmental level. Various educators believe in various theories on how to teach children to write and what they need to know. Your best bet is to speak to your child about both styles. If they are learning to write their name in lowercase, that is okay. Challenge yourself to still use “little curve, little line” etc.  We can always take time to talk about how you want your child to learn their name. 

Another philosophy Handwriting without Tears® uses which is often different from common strategy is the “dotted line” approach. With Handwriting without Tears® they use a light grey letter. It helps avoid “connect the dots” in which children are just trying to make lines. It helps the child make a simple smooth line to make letters.

I can not wait to continue offering children access to printing these letters. I hope Handwriting without Tears® works successfully for your child. 


 

Sincerly,

Ms Asha  


Reference:

Schirrmacher, R. (2006). Art and creative development for young children. NY: Thomas Delmar Learning.

Ocean Animals

On Friday,  January 25th 2013, some of the children went on a very neat field trip to the West Edmonton Mall marine life.
The reviews were very positive and I hope the children learned something new, and made fun memories.

Here are some of the photos!

Waiting for the field trip to begin with the "big ship"

The children got to feed sea turtles




Watching penguins play




Touching a Leather Sea Star

A Sea Cucumber. An interesting fact WEM told us, their spikes get smooth the longer they're out of water
Petting Sting Rays! Don't worry their stingers are gone

Watching the Sting Rays swim around

We met Skadu - an African Blackfoot Penguin

We're so excited to watch the sea lion show

We met Pablo. He could do amazing tricks!


Throwing hoops for Quinty, the female sea lion

Sincerely,

Ms Asha

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Come on in!



Welcome to our playschool.

I’d like to show off the class for friends and family who are curious about the room the child they love comes too.


This is the room as a whole. Coming into this room in September was quite different. I really wanted it to inspire children. I feel this is important, and also wanted to make the room feel very natural and home like, which I embrace graduating from Grant Mac Ewan Early Childhood Development program, revised to Early Learning and Child care. It is important to me to embrace grace and beauty for the children.



This is where the children come in, are greeted by the Roster Parent, and myself. They hang their coats and say good bye to their guardian before joining their peers in the circle center. Sometimes the children come in and share pennies for our ongoing penny drive before pennies are extinct for good.



This is our circle center. This is where we read, do our concept games, sing our songs and dance our dances. This is where the children use their public speaking skills when they do show and share and offer guidance to their peers when they get to do the calendar and weather. It is so exciting to see the children count how many friends came to play, how many days are on our calendar and go to the window to tell us the weather.


Children enjoy block play, trains, and various toys in this play area of the room. The kids are not restricted to keep the toys in this center, as they can take the toy baskets out from either side, or bring them to other area of the room.



On the opposite side of the play space is our quieter book area. There is a listening center for the children to enjoy books being read to them. I rotate books according to themes, and ensure there are enough for each child – plus more! Note: In the "welcome to our room" photo you can see the outstanding job one of our moms did creating a cover for this children's couch. She did a phenomenal job!



We are SO lucky to have families who really put themselves and their families into our room. This is our house center, which was hand painted by a mom in our class! It really adds character to our room. The children love playing in this center with dress up clothes, play food and supportive props. Sometimes it is completely renovated to be something its not, such as a haunted house, Christmas Bake Shop and even a bear cave!



This is our designated writing center. It may not always have pencils and paper. At this time we are really focusing on the feeling of writing and texture of pre printing skills. It may have sensory objectives or tool use objectives such as pencils and paper. 

Other important functions of the room:
A sand table with an amazing cover
Tubs for sensory play and exploration
Puzzles and games
And our main tables we use for baking prep, theme games, snack, art and more!



Thank you for visiting our room!

Sincerely,
Ms Asha

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Daddies day donuts



We are so fortunate when families can come in and spend time with us in playschool. Knowing they have such busy schedules and can not always make it in, we do enjoy when they get a chance.

This week we were extremely lucky to invite in our FATHERS (although Grandpas and moms stepped up to the plate if needed).
We talked about how “Fathers day” is a day we celebrate in June, but sadly we end school the first week of June so we decided to give them their own day in January.




We enjoyed parachute games before the fathers enjoyed a Tim Horton’s Donut and us little’s devoured our own Timbit.






The children also spent time telling me some things about their fathers, and finishing my sentences’ to create keep sakes for the children to give as gifts. The parents seemed to love it, and really had a laugh at some of the opinions the children had to the questions like:

My daddy’s name is
He is feet tall and inches
He weighs pounds
He likes to go to
His favourite food is
His favourite drink is
He is really good at



Thank you to all of the dads, moms and grandparents who came in.

Sincerely,

Ms Asha

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Come one Come ALL!


I am VERY excited to announce that on January 30th 2013 from 5:30 pm till 7:00 pm we will be opening our doors for an open house.
This night is to show off the outstanding program we have to offer.
If you, or someone you know has a child who will be  3 by September 2013 please encourage them to come see what our community playschool has to offer. 

As our parents all know playschool is an outstanding opportunity for children to experience:



  • Socialization in large groups – playing duck duck goose!
  • Turn taking – with crayons, felts, playdough and other materials ...
  • Patience – waiting for their turn in circle
  • “Public Speaking” – Singing for their parents during fun celebrations like Mothers day/ Fathers day
  • Lining up – with a buddy to the gym
  • Letter recognition – not just theirs but their peers!
  • Meeting new people – children outside of their immediate social circle and family
  • New games, songs, activities & experiences

Play school is a wonderful 2 ½ hour break for parents to spend with other siblings, or have parent time while offering the gifts mentioned above to your child before enrolling in kindergarten.
And we are pleased to share that we now offer two special programs.



Our Monday, Wednesday morning class will continue to be Christan based, but will also offer a Friday class!
This class is mixed aged and offers all of the strong learn through play, hands on focus but with a great relationship building with God, and Jesus.  There is a daily Devotion, and I have tried to intertwine bible stories and life lessons in with the class theme. Example: We're doing Animals so this month will really let us explore Noah and the animals.

Our 3 day Monday, Wednesday, Friday afternoon class, or 2 day Tuesday, Thursday program is our "Healthy Apple" program. It is a health and wellness literacy program. Health & Wellness literacy includes education about the importance of developing a healthy body and mind as the result of deliberate effort. It will help us develop a healthy attitude towards how we take care of ourselves, and how we take care and support one another. It includes, but is not limited to emotional, physical, social and environmental.




I am really excited about the impact this movement is going to have on everyone and everything around us. And the best part is we will offer all of this AND more! We have a great collection of toys, books, activities, field trips, music and technology. 



I really can not wait for the open house. 



Sincerely,

Ms Asha
  
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