Friday, January 27, 2012

Hello Readers,

I just thought I would share an update with you, while I have been able to do some early learning with my DD most things have completely come to a stand still. This has not deterred me as she is still allowing me to at least read to her quite a bit actually but we are having a lot of disciplining issues at the moment :\ Miss S is very stubborn and even trying to attempt anything with her comes out as an all out argument. She even has issue with me saying its time to get dressed and waiting for any period of time and expecting everything right now. So my husband and I are working on that with her at the moment.

On the other hand my little DD2 is booming along and her signing and reading are coming along beautifully. She is recognising many of the words from Your Baby Can Read and we are diligently doing Little Reader everyday. I look forward to updating her progress more.

Happy Teaching


Friday, January 20, 2012

Following the child learning to let go and change the curriculum when needed!

Hello readers,

Lately my eldest dd has been really, really resistant in the early learning department so much so that after trying every tactic in the book and getting increasingly frustrated I have decided to take a break from the curriculum we were following and I am going to work for on the arts, wink program and sports.

I have broken the cardinal rule of enjoying the process and become the drill and kill parent which I hate. I have also become increasingly frustrated with her and feel like I am being played so all of my time and attention is on her rather than her sister. Miss S will ask to do a workbook I will get it out then she will sit there and not do anything or I will go to put it away and she s NO NO NO I WANT TO DO IT. So half of my day is spent is this power struggle. So today I called it quits and said no more, no more game playing and no more power struggles. I will leave the books out but I will focus more on the arts and sports plus wink which I will start doing and if she wants to join in she can.

At the moment it has almost become impossible to teach her and my ever increasing frustration levels are not helping. I need a break to, I need to enjoy her again. I am looking forward to enjoying more time teaching her sister and working with her which I can now do because I wont be locked in a power struggle with Miss S.

I hope the break will be refreshing for us in general and a new direction will help us both. She is still happy to read to me and be read to so not all is lost but I will keep you updated.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning to swim

Hello Readers,

Since it is summer here in Australia, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk abut teaching your children to swim. My Husband and always knew from the start that both of our children would be learning to swim as soon as they were old enough.

At the swim centre that we attend they start children as young as 5months  and as soon as both the girls turned 5 months old we had them in the water. Or should I say back in the water (As they already had spent 9 months in a liquid environment.).
Miss A (approx 5 months old) awaiting her first lesson. You can already see she is excited

So why teach them to swim at such a young age? My parents live near the beach and my husband believed it is imperative that they were both water confident and they knew how to swim for their own safety. Me: I learnt to swim at a young age and I have no fear of the water unlike my dad who is terrified of water and says it is only for drinking and bathing (hehehe) I shouldn't laugh but my dad was born in England.

I Love  Swimming My eldest dd awaiting her lesson
. I know Glenn Doman says in his book "Teach Your Child To Swim' That nearly all Australian babies are taught how to swim not because of its early learning benefits but it is a big cultural thing in Australia to teach your kids to swim early. Most of my mum's group have their children in swimming lessons. There was also a big campaign in Australia (around the late 80's early 90's)  as most toddler deaths are due to drowning in backyard pools, so there was a big push to teach your children to swim at a young age for their own safety as well as the parents doing First Aid.

There are other benefits to learning to swim at a young age to and here they are.
Miss A enjoying her first swimming lesson with her Daddy
Miss S is now in the water without a parent but loves swimming
  • Babies less than a year old except the water more readily
  • Fear of water is acquired as children grow older: the longer a child is kept away from water the more likely they are to develop a fear of the water
  • Babies can exercise more muscles in the water, they are less restricted by gravity and their ability to sit or stand. This increased strength often manifest in early acquisitions of physical skills like walking.
  • Swimming improves babies cardiovascular fitness. Although babies are limited in how much they can can improve their endurance. Swimming does have a beneficial effect.
  • Early mastery of water movements gives children a head start in learning basic swimming skills.
  • Water helps improve co-ordination and balance by forcing babies to move bilaterally to maintain their equilibrium.
  • Warm water combined with gentle exercise relaxes and stimulates babies appetites. They usually eat and sleep better on swimming days
  • Doctors often recommend swimming as the exercise of choice for asthmatics. For many asthmatics, exercise produces bronchial hyperactivity. Swimming stimulates less wheezing than other forms of exercise, possibly because the warm, moist around the pools is less irritating on the lungs.
  • Babies flourish in the focused attention their parents lavish on them during swimming
  • Swimming provides babies with lots and lots of skin to skin contact with their parents which psychologists say may deepen the bond between parent and child. (Both my girls swim with their dad. We have made swimming their special thing with Daddy)
  • Learning to swim is not only fun, healthy activity but a safety measure as well. (Drowning is the major of accidental death in under 5 in Australia and many who don't drown are left with permanent brain damage)
Eagerly awaiting instruction
Learning from Sue the teacher
Fun on the mat
Enjoying time with Daddy. Miss A's first lesson

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pretend Play: Important or not????

Hi Readers,

I recently read the book, Montessori: The science behind the genius which is an excellent read for those of you wanting to know more about Montessori education.  In the book the author goes into to great depths about the theory of play as we know to be important versus what Dr Montessori's own observations were. ( I will refer to Montessori as the education system and Dr Montessori when I am writing about the lady herself.)

Dr Montessori's observation was that children when given the choice to play dress-up or 'do-work' as she called it she observed the children choosing to do the 'work'. She believed that because the children were able to do things for themselves such as prepare their own food and drink were able to clean and look after themselves and that didn't need to engage in pretend play as they could do the things adults do for themselves.

Now from my own observations from watching my eldest daughter go from a day care environment to a Montessori environment I would say Dr Montessori's observation is right on. My eldest Daughter loved nothing more than the dress-up box at day-care and playing house in the home corner or role-playing. At the Montessori school she attends she does not want to play pretend at all but wants to get straight into work. (Which amazes me) and on top of this is already asking me when she is going to go back to school (but that is another blog).

What do the experts say about Pretend Play. Experts believe that pretend play is hugely important especially in cognitive and social development. In social development especially when a child engages in experimenting with emotional and social roles experts believe the child learns to take it turn,  share responsibility and creatively solve problems. I think t also helps to teach empathy "by taking a walk in someone else's shoes' so to speak The experts believe it also builds self-esteem by learning they can pretend to be anything they want. With cognitive development each pretend play situation allows the child to problem solve the situation they are'in'. It also helps with language development where children can come up with stories and phrases you never thought they knew.

What do I think? To be honest I lean more towards Dr Montessori's observation of children as I have observed what Dr Montessori observed with my own child and to be honest all the things  the experts say pretend play does, it can all be taught in any social situation we may find ourselves in with our children Having said that, I have absolutely no problem with pretend play at all. My eldest daughter has a box full of costumes and even a Dr's kit  which has a real working stethoscope (Which I am very excited about) A pretend kitchen at home and with pretend food and all the accessories that go with it. She loves it. I think a little bit of both worlds will give the biggest cognitive benefit of all. and at the end of the day it is something to think about for your own home learning environment.

Here are some photos of Miss S 'engaging in some pretend play

Playing Doctor do her Dolly

The Camping Princess as Miss S put it  preparing something yummy meal with the sand

Miss S and Miss A both looking after their babies.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I am exhausted!!!! WHO ever thought that 3 year olds were worse than 2 year olds. My Eldest dd is A LOT of hard work at the moment. She is the Queen of the argument , and the Queen of Resistance. I almost need a holiday from her so I can refresh and have enough energy to do battle with her again.

Before I had children and my friends with children would say man I have had a hard day with my child. You say no and they go back and do it anyway. Take things away and they don't care and so on and so on. I would think "How hard can it be I work full time and your at home with the kids" 'It's not like your working" and then I had children of my own!!!  AND I HAVE NEVER WORKED SO HARD IN MY LIFE.  Being a parent really is the hardest job in the world and I know many of my friends go to work to escape and have a moment of peace or just to go to the toilet on their own.

Now I appreciate what Mums do. It really is hard work but it is rewarding. I just wish my 3 year old would grow out of this behaviour!!!!

My rant for today.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

My 1000 book challenge. Upping the anti on reading to the kids.

Hi readers

I have decided this year to up the anti on reading to my kidlets. I have entered into the 1000 book challenge on the Brillkids Forum. Of all the things I do for early learning this is the one I fail at the most or I am least consistent on and that is reading to my Kids. I find that I just do not make time for it in my  schedule of things to do. BUT this year that is going to change. Don't get me wrong I do read to them but it is just not every day and that is what I want to change.

The rules are.
  • To be counted the books must be different
  • Picture books with words count for my little dd but not my big dd
  • Chapter books-each chapter counts as 1 book
  • Repeat readings of the same book do not count.                                                                                                                                                             
So far I have read 16 books to Miss A and 11 books to Miss S and we are on track to reach 1000. It is approx 3 books a day. I am very excited about this and  hope to reach my goal.

Why is reading to children so important? From the website

• A stronger relationship with you. As your child grows older, he’ll be on the move—playing, running, and constantly exploring his environment. Snuggling up with a book lets the two of you slow down and recaptures that sweet, cuddly time you enjoyed when he was a baby. Instead of being seen as a chore or a task, reading will become a nurturing activity that will bring the two of you closer together.
Girl reading a book• Academic excellence. One of the primary benefits of reading to toddlers and preschoolers is a higher aptitude for learning in general. Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school?
• Basic speech skills. Throughout toddlerhood and preschool, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, your child is reinforcing the basic sounds that form language. “Pretend reading”—when a toddler pages through a book with squeals and jabbers of delight—is a very important pre-literacy activity. As a preschooler, your child will likely begin sounding out words on his own.
• The basics of how to read a book. Children aren’t born with an innate knowledge that text is read from left to right, or that the words on a page are separate from the images. Essential pre-reading skills like these are among the major benefits of early reading.
• Better communication skills. When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.
• Mastery of languages. Early reading for toddlers has been linked to a better grasp of the fundamentals of language as they approach school age.
• More logical thinking skills. Another illustration of the importance of reading to children is their ability to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment. As your toddler or preschooler begins to relate the scenarios in books to what’s happening in his own world, he’ll become more excited about the stories you share.
• Acclamation to new experiences. As your child approaches a major developmental milestone or a potentially stressful experience, sharing a relevant story is a great way to help ease the transition. For instance, if your little one is nervous about starting preschool, reading a story dealing with this topic shows her that her anxiety is normal.
• Enhanced concentration and discipline. Toddlers may initially squirm and become distracted during story time, but eventually they’ll learn to stay put for the duration of the book. Along with reading comprehension comes a stronger self-discipline, longer attention span, and better memory retention, all of which will serve your child well when she enters school.
• The knowledge that reading is fun! Early reading for toddlers helps them view books as an indulgence, not a chore. Kids who are exposed to reading are much more likely to choose books over video games, television, and other forms of entertainment as they grow older.

It is also a great way to teach reading to. I like to run my finger under the words to show which way  we read from left to right it is also a great way to increase vocabulary. I look forward to keeping you updated with my progress.

Happy Teaching


Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome to a new year

Welcome back everyone to a new year of  Early Learning.   I hope for it to be an exciting year with me sharing what I am doing with my two little dds.

Today was the first day we got back into early learning with both my daughters. The lead up to Christmas has been hectic to say the least and was almost impossible for my eldest daughter to concentrate with the impending visit of  'Santa' and then we had people come stay with us for the Xmas/new year period so we had a holiday from our daily routine.

So what's in store for 2012 alot actually. This year  want to focus more on Right Brain Education especially with my eldest and work on photographic memory, speed reading and speed math as well. I will be mainly doing this through the Wink Programme from Right Brain Kids and  will be continuing to do flash cards with my youngest. I will introduce the wink Programme when my Eldest daughter starts showing signs that she is willing to listen. Lately she has been very difficult and loves an argument.Since the programme requires you to be able to listen and follow instruction I will have to wait until a certain Miss is a little more amenable.

My Husband and I are also focusing more on Music and have bought Miss S a piano keyboard and some software to help teach you the piano if Miss S really takes to it we will get her lessons.  have written about the importance of Music before and I will continue to write about Music as time goes on.

I will continue to keep going with her reading and writing. I am planning on doing the 1000 book challenge which is me reading 1000 books to my kiddies this year.It works out to be approx 3 books a day, which is very do-able.  I have already read 6 to them today and I plan on introducing small chapter books to my eldest for me to read to her and also working on reading comprehension. Miss S writing is slowly getting there. We are continuing to do workbooks and I am trying to get her to write a shopping list when we go shopping. She does about 3 words and then has had enough.

As with Maths we will continue to do workbooks but I plan on doing Jones' Genius Maths which she is now ready for. I look forward to dong that with her.

Well that's it for now

Signing out,