What Kindergarten Teachers Know
by Lisa Holewa and Joan Rice
This book discusses practical and playful ways for caregivers to help children listen, learn, and cooperate at home. I just love that the book is small in size and a quick read. It includes easy-to-follow suggestions about helping children listen and follow directions, how to the home to help the children become more organized, time-management tips, how to resolve conflicts with children, and making and using rules creatively.
Here are some facts I didn't know before reading page 3 of the book.
"Did you realize that when you...
- Teach [a] child to line up her shoes, you're helping develop the left-to-right eyes sweep she'll need later as a reader?
- Help [a] child organize toys into bins and baskets, you're helping him develop the skills needed for visual memory of words during reading?
- Follow a calendar or schedule, you're working on the basics of telling time?
- Allow [a] child to set the dinner table, you're providing the spatial awareness needed to set up additional and subtraction problems later in math?"
On page 26 the authors suggest ways to help children with transitions. Here is another quote:"Children ages three to six need to know what to expect next. They need clear beginnings and clear endings to activities.
They need simple directions, broken down into manageable steps. The more concrete or physical you can make a direction, the better they will hear and remember it."
Make if fun. A natural playfulness keeps young children open to just about any task approached with a sense of fun and , ideally, a time limit."
I just love this positive tone of this simple to follow guide for parents (but translates perfectly for nannies and au pairs) caring for children in the home.
Here are two fun activities from the book:
Ages 3 - 5
Materials: Magnifying glass, white gloves, note pad, pencil
Preparation: Explaining that the "Cleanup Inspector" will check to be sure toys are put away, the floor is cleaned up, etc. This will create a sense of excitement and anticipation as your child cleans.
What to Do: As Cleanup Inspector, your child should use her magnifying lass or put on her white gloves and examine the cleanup! She might look for all the thinks that are well done. She can draw a smiley face on the notepad and leave the paper in well-cleaned areas. She should note any areas that need more attention.
Variation: A parent can use a puppet as a Cleanup Inspector.
GETTING YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW
Ages 3 - 4
Materials: Rubber ducks; permanent marker; bathtub, sink, or basin
Preparation: On the bottom of each duck, write a job for your child to do.
What to Do: Float the ducks in the bathroom sink or a bin of water. Let your child pick a duck (or catch one in a net) and do the job. Best of all, your child may want to choose more jobs once the first is done!
Variation: Write jobs on slips of paper and put them into a jar or wide plastic cup. Let your child choose a few each day to complete.
I highly recommend using the ideas in this book to make working with children both productive and fun.
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