EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for June 2010

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Listen up Chatty-Cathy…

Research and data indicate significant differences in language abilities of children who have adult models that are chatty, animated and verbal versus those who don’t.  J Huttenlocher (Chicago University) found that 20 month-olds whose mother (and/or care giver) had the gift-of-gab were shown to have 130 more words in their vocabulary than same-age children with less talkative moms.  By age 2, the gap doubled!!

“Scripting” is a wonderful way to support language.  Scripting can be used with all ages to expand vocabulary, model grammar structure and build positive relationships.  There are many examples we use every day without even knowing it!  scripting is just what it sounds like: giving a “script” to actions that you do every day.

  • Infants: “I am changing your diaper now!  I can see you stretching those wiggly toes and I see you smiling so big!  I can tell that you are happy!” Babies count on you for every aspect of language!  They literally need the words for objects and actions.
  • Toddlers: “You are really jumping high!  It is fun to jump and laugh together – we are really great jumpers and laughers today!  We are jumping like kangaroos!” and “Thank you for sitting so nicely and using your spoon to eat that delicious applesauce. You are eating a good lunch today to stay healthy!” Toddlers have figured out that language = power! (That is why their favorite word is NO!!) These growing bodies are ready for longer sentences and conversations and meaningful exchanges that teach them not just words, but the answers to all of their “what, why and how” questions.
  • Preschoolers: “Zipping that jacket and putting on your boots is a job well done!  I can see that you are ready to go outside.” and “You and your sister are really working together to build that sand castle with Dad.  Great job partners!” Language creates pride in developing skills – children repeat actions they are proud of.  Language builds friendships.  We can (and should) model kind and supporting words to our preschoolers.  They will need to know how to stay strong, use their skills and recognize and use the language of friends.

Remember… words that are kind build kindness, words of strength build strength, words of praise build pride and words of love build your child.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

When is your child ready for kindergarten? It’s hard to gauge his progress on the learning scale. Here are a few milestones to track to make sure your little learner is where he should be.

By the time your child is 4, you’ll notice him doing more things on his own. Yes, your baby is growing up fast! Give him encouragement and help him along the way to improve these simple skills. Some main things your child should be able to do without much help include…

Holding silverware like an adult

At 4 years old, your child should be comfortable using forks and spoons. Let him practice with knives (under your careful supervision) and teach him table manners. These things may seem simple to you, but the hand-eye coordination and motor skills he’s learning are important to his development!

Getting dressed and undressed

Your child should be able to get dressed and undressed without many issues. You may notice that undoing buttons and snaps comes easier to him than fastening them. This is normal! Help him understand that patience is key – and if he gets frustrated easily, give him time to learn. He’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Brushing his teeth

This skill is a little harder to learn. Help your child brush his teeth by watching him carefully. Make sure he doesn’t swallow too much toothpaste, and be sure that he’s being thorough with his cleanings! Help him as much as you can, but give him his independence, too.

Using the toilet

While most kids are potty-trained by the time they’re 3, some may not be ready until they’re closer to 4 years old. By the time your child is 4, he’ll want to use the potty by himself both at home and away from home. While most little boys learn to use the bathroom sitting down, by age 4 they will most likely want to try standing up. Your 4 year old should also have the control to stay potty free at night. If he’s not, help him to develop this ability!

Cleaning up after himself

Four year olds should be able to take care of their own messes. Start by making them make their beds in the morning after they wake up, and picking up their toys when they are done playing with them. Have them help you with your own simple chores around the house. Let him see that you have to do it too, so he doesn’t feel like he’s being punished by having to clean! Remember… having the ability to do something and wanting to do something are two very different things. Be patient when teaching them this skill. It may be frustrating to them in the beginning, but they’ll get used to it soon!

Remember to always encourage your children in their daily learning. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if your 4 year old isn’t yet capable of these things. It will come in time, and all children develop at different paces. Encourage your children and praise them when they do something well. Offer them help and guidance when they are struggling. They’ll get it eventually!

What are Tangrams?

Tangrams are puzzles made of seven flat shapes (tans) which are put together to form different shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to create a shape using all seven pieces without having any pieces overlap.

Manipulating tangrams provides children with very complex mathematical skills. Tangrams show shape properties, congruency, symmetry, perimeter, area, and more! Studies have shown that using manipulative activities such as tangrams is the best way to teach young children geometric concepts.

Moving, flipping, and turning the different pieces of these puzzles teaches young learners spatial awareness that isn’t learned when simply looking at a shape on a page and naming it. It shows children that different shapes have unique properties – squares and squares fit together, and two triangles can usually be combined to form a rectangle, and so on.

These seven shapes can be very helpful in teaching your little one math skills, and it’s a good way to keep them occupied – if only for a few minutes!


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