We have had a lot of visitors to our preschool in the last few weeks! Last week we had bunnies come visit the children. They had a blast hunting for easter eggs on the same day. The weather was nice and I think we can say that spring is finally here!
In preschool, we work on the underlying elements that support student’s future handwriting, like fine motor and spatial skills. Fine motor skills are the skills developed by using their hands and fingers. Spatial skills involve the process of having a picture in their head and manipulating it. In the classroom, fine motor skills and spatial awareness not only affect students’ handwriting, but also affect their later ability in math and reading. Students also need these skills for keyboarding for written production in older grades.
The more students are encouraged to enforce these skills at home, the more success they’ll have in the classroom.
Here are some activities for parents to do with their children at home to develop their fine motor and spatial skills.
Let them try to learn to zip and button their clothing
Use tongs or large tweezers to pick up items in a container. Ask how many items will fit in the container.
Let them use different mediums such as painting, drawing, and coloring
Use clothespins with letters on them, and have children form words by clipping clothespins on a surface.
Pop bubble wrap.
When reading together, let them turn the pages.
Use a hole punch to make confetti.
Use spray bottles filled with water to make letters on the sidewalk.
Hide small pennies in play dough.
Do a craft such as making necklaces with pipe cleaners and beads.
Encourage children to play on monkey bars.
Preschoolers are very energetic by nature! At this age they learn through play and exploring their environment. They can jump from one activity to the next in the blink of an eye! As they get older, a longer attention span will help them to learn in school. Here are some tips for increasing their ability to focus:
Build up gradually.
As a general rule, your child should be able to focus for the number of minutes matching their age plus one minute. For example: if Susan is 4 years old, we would start with getting her to maintain attention for 5 minutes and then attempt to increase a minute at a time as she seems ready.
Look and Listen
Turn your everyday activities into tasks that require concentration. In the car, you might ask your child to look for words on signs that start with the first letter in their name. Or have them listen for a particular word or phrase in a song on the radio and clap each time they hear it. You can play guessing games where you give clues to help them figure out an animal you are thinking about.
Make it a Game
Work together to make up a series of movements, adding a new one on each turn. For instance, you could begin by touching your toes. Then, your yongster has to touch their toes and add another motion, like reaching up to the sky. They will need to pay close attention to remember the sequence of movements as they get longer.
Jumping jacks, climbing, running around the yard, etc. are all excellent ways to burn up the physical energy that distracts students’ brains making it virtually impossible for learning to occur. Exercise is never used as punishment, but exists as an effective tool that they can use to “jumpstart” their brains. When you are getting ready to do a focused activity, put a song on and dance out the wiggles!
Whether independently, with a sibling, or as a family, reading develops attention spans as children maintain focus to find out what happens next in the story. Imagination, vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and writing abilities are just a few of the benefits of reading. Read a story together each night and then ask your child to recall details in the story.
Television, computers, video games, personal music systems, and the like can quickly train the brains of young children to depend on hi-tech entertainment to excite their stimulus-addicted intellect. Even learning games on the computer do not rival spending time with your child to teach them. This age is one of the fastest periods of brain development in their life so it is critical that they are using their brain to foster those neural connections. Limiting “technology time” will help encourage your child’s desire for creative play and learning rather than a dependency on technology. Three to five year olds should spend no more than an hour on technology devices a day (this includes watching televison).
Some streets will be blocked off tomorrow for the March down Capital Avenue that begins around 9:30am. We hope that most streets will be back open by 11am when we start taking our AM preschoolers home and picking up our PM preschoolers. There may be delays in the route though due to the bus being rerouted. Please be patient! Thanks for your help!
I wanted to thank all the families that participated in the family literacy night at the Paul Sawyer Library last night. The children looked like they had a great time! I hope that families were able to gain new information, spend time together and socialize with other families! I also want to encourage families to take advantage of the programs that the library offers, especially the countdown to Kindergarten.
Preschool will be hosting a family literacy night at the Paul Sawyer Public Library on Wednesday February 12th from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Details will be sent home in your child’s folder. Please RSVP with your teacher to ensure that we have enough food and goodies for everyone in attendance. We look forward to sharing with you about literacy!
To help us continue to improve our program, we are seeking your opinion about our preschool and the services we provide. There are several ways that you can give feedback to us. We are using a service online called Survey Monkey that allows you to complete the survey online and anonymously by going to the following web address:
If you do not have internet access and would like a paper copy of the survey to complete, please let your child’s teacher know and we will be happy to get a paper copy of the survey to you.
Please complete the survey by January 20, 2014. We really appreciate your feedback and will continue to strive to make our program the best that it can be. Thank you for your time and attention to giving us information!
Cara Doyle, PysS
Director of District Student Services
959 Leestown Lane
Frankfort, KY 40601
This post was created from the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Family newsletter. You can go here to sign up for their listserve as well:
Young children love to help out, but many times we don’t let them. Why? Because we think it’s easier—and faster—to do everyday jobs ourselves. Your child might take 15 minutes to finish a job you can do in one minute. But in 15 minutes your child can learn a lot!
Big Jobs are indoor and outdoor jobs children do with their families (or others) that help the whole family. They include tasks like setting the table, planting flowers, and tidying up when visitors are coming. To adults they might seem like simple tasks, but Big Jobs carry big rewards—for your child and your entire family.
How are Big Jobs different from chores?
You assign chores. Children volunteer to do Big Jobs because they want to help out. Also, Big Jobs are done together with other family members. Teamwork is an important part of doing Big Jobs.
What do children learn from doing Big Jobs?
They learn to:
• work with other people
• solve problems
• contribute to their family
What are some Big Jobs young children can do?
• Cooking and baking—washing and peeling vegetables, stirring muffin batter, tearing lettuce leaves to make salad
• Gardening—digging holes, planting seeds, raking leaves, weeding, watering plants indoors and outdoors
• Doing laundry—carrying the laundry basket, sorting, folding, delivering clean clothes to each family member’s room
• Caring for pets—feeding, brushing, walking, cleaning the cage or aquarium
• Cleaning—rinsing dishes, dusting, emptying wastebaskets
Tips for doing Big Jobs at home
• Keep your child safe. Show your child how to safely use equipment like a rake or a vegetable peeler. Stay close by when it is his turn.
• Try to find child-size tools. They make jobs easier and safer.
• Have fun. Remember, your child chose to help out. Keep it enjoyable and she will want to do Big Jobs all the time.
• Talk while you work together. Chat about what you are doing and whatever else your child wants to discuss.
• Show your appreciation for the work family members have done. Say, “Thanks for setting the table, everyone. We are ready for dinner now, and the table looks beautiful.”
Source: Adapted from the Message in a Backpack for N.P. Jones, 2007, “Big Jobs,” Teaching Young Children 1 (1): 10–12.
© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education