Apr 26, 2009

Posted by in Classroom Escapades | 11 Comments

The Hungry Caterpillar

One of my favorite stories for Circle Time is Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I love how it is so colorful and fun, and that from one story, I can talk about a lot of different concepts ranging from the days of the week to rote counting and even the butterfly’s life cycle. Coincidentally, a few days after I used the story in my toddlers class,  I found a bunch of caterpillars munching on the leaves in a flowering plant (I’m not sure what it’s called, but in Filipino we call it calachuchi). I excitedly took the plant and created a terrarium where my kids could watch the life cycle happen right before their very eyes!

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Apr 24, 2009

Posted by in Autism, Featured | 0 Comments

Angels for Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that is characterized by speech/communication and social impairments in individuals with the disorder. It is a lifelong disorder that affects not just the individual with autism, but their families as well. Estimates show that approximately 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism. Although more prevalent in males than females, autism can affect anyone: it knows no gender, age, no race, nationality, and socioeconomic status.

It truly takes an Angel to embrace Autism. I invite you to be one of them too!

This month, I undertook a campaign for Autism Awareness as a project for my birthday. I was pleasantly surprised at the success the project attained! As a birthday present to me, I asked my friends and family to support my cause by pledging at least Php 50.00 (a little over $1) for an Angel Baller Band from the Autism Society Philippines. Proceeds will benefit the ASP’s provincial chapters which in in turn provides support and services to underprivileged families afflicted with autism.

How can you help?

Well, for one, you can make a donation to the ASP to help support their programs. You can get in touch with them through autismphil@pldtdsl.net.  If you have a special talent or skill that can be of help to these individuals, why not volunteer? I understand a major need for many individuals with autism is socialization. By sharing your time, they can have just that. If you are a business owner, why not employ one or two young adults who have autism? Many of them are high functioning individuals who can handle rote tasks like filing, shelving, and similar repetitive tasks.  More importantly, however, you can help by spreading awareness about this disorder to people around you. As the ASP beleives, Autism is not a tragedy. IGNORANCE IS THE TRAGEDY. By building awareness in the community we can help others understand what autism is all about. This can also pave the way for inclusion of individual with autism into mainstream society. I remember with sadness a story a friend told me that she overheard a parent complaining about her daughters ballet class having accepted a child with autism. Let’s try to get rid of that ignorance!

Although my campaign is just about over, I am committing myself to continuing building awareness for autism and individuals and families living with this disorder. I hope to be able to feature inspirational stories written by parents, professionals, and perhaps individuals with autism. If you have a story you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at yapatoots@gmail.com.

For donations, support and inquiries about how to obtain an Angel Baller Band, please check out my post on my Campaign for Autism Awareness here.

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Apr 23, 2009

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Back to Back Autism Seminars

On April 25, 2009, the Autism Society Philippines is hosting back to back seminars on Autism. These seminars are part of a series set by the ASP as a means of educating Filipino parents and professionals on various modes of interventions, techniques and theories regarding the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The featured seminars this weekend are as follows:


This seminar will present the current trends and options in language and communication for children with autism (CWA). Focal points of discussion will also center on available options and therapy procedures that effect as well as facilitate improvements.


Therapeutic Listening is one approach that helps to target the multiple facets of listening by using auditory input within the context of sensory integrative treatment. Find out how we listen with our ears, as well as our whole body. This seminar will help further improve the integration of the auditory and vestibular systems of children with autism.

For fees,  schedules and profiles of the speakers, please visit the Autism Society Philippines blogsite.

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Apr 22, 2009

Posted by in Tips and Tricks | 5 Comments

Picking the Right Shoe.

As early as now, I’m sure many mommies and daddies are already gearing up for the upcoming school year. Although I would suppose shoes would be the last thing parents would look for, especially since kids’ feet grow oh-so-quickly, let me offer my two cents worth on picking the right shoe for your kids, especially for preschool-aged children.

There are many websites around offering suggestions and tips on how to shop for shoes for the kids. They talk about comfort, taking the kids along to fit each pair and not just rely on a particular number as a size, and so on and so forth, but as a preschool teacher, these for me are the most practical tips to keep in mind, and perhaps a reason why I feel this way:

1. Pick a shoe that does not have shoelaces that need to be tied. In my practice, I have seen many accidents caused by shoelaces. For safety reasons, I always advice my parents to purchase shoes that do not have these. Aside for safety, shoes with laces sort of defeat my the purpose of teaching the child independence. Perhaps when the child is in the Seniors level/Prep, laces would be okay because they can manage to tie their shoes already. But two, three year olds, not too great.  Nowadays, however, there are shoes with laces that do not need to be tied, just like this one:


2. Should the shoes your child already has have shoelaces, using devices such as the Bow Biter is a good alternative. These were quite popular when I was a teenager, but went out of the market for some time. According to my friend Google, these are now available again. In the Philippines, however, I’m not too sure.

3. Velcro is your best friend. Of all types, I love shoes with velcro for kids best. Unlike regular slip-ons, these types of shoes have enough strapping to tighten its hold on their little feet and yet lessen the need for someone to help them put it on. In the same manner, rubber shoes/running shoes with velcro gives them opportunities for independence.dora86838_wlvm

4. Sling-backs. I think any type of footwear for toddlers should have some form of a strap or sling to hold them in place. These are also easy to wear. Clog-type shoes or flip flops without the slings are a little difficult for them to manage.


5. Always pick a rubber soled shoe. 97% of kids will not sit quietly in school or in a playground. They will run, explore and climb! With rubber soled shoes, the kids can be safe as they explore. This is also quite comfortable for them.

6. For young kids, avoid shoes with wheels, heels, cris-crossing straps and buckles for one simple reason: it’s dangerous. Perhaps another reason I would personally avoid heels for kids is because their balance is not that great yet, plus this may be a cause for foot damage. I’m no podiatrist, but I would that my philosophy about the whole heel thing makes sense.

I am not battling with the shoe industry here, but offering my suggestions to parents to allow them to have a more educated decision making process for buying shoes for their kids.

Incidentally, this Saturday, April 25, Skechers, an award-winning shoe brand, is holding a Sponge Bob and Dora Wave Party at the Bonifacio Global City Open Field from 2-6pm. Entrance is free! The kids can enjoy a day of fun and games while mom and dad scour the Skechers booth for some fab shoes at 30% off.  Plus the kids get to take home all sorts of goodies!


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Apr 19, 2009

Posted by in Toys and Playthings | 6 Comments

Teacher is a Pet.

Should pets be allowed in the classroom? Pushing the question further, should kids be allowed to keep pets?

For me, I would say yes. However, this can become a controversial issue for many schools, what with the question of accountability in case of an accident with a pet in class.  I cannot discount the fact that there have been incidences where pets lash out at an owner and in some cases, even maim, hurt, and worse, kill a child. I do not know the statistics of these cases, but they do exist.  Further, in my school for example, I have had to deal with a number of parent requests to not have animals in class because their children are allergic or asthmatic. While I do honor and respect these requests, I try to find compromises that will allow me to introduce concepts with pets as the teachers.

Pets make wonderful teachers. Why?

Pets can definitely help teach basic math skills, such as counting, addition and subtraction. They can also teach children about the life cycle, digestion, and even death. But more than anything, pets teach kids very important life lessons that cannot really be taught by just hearing it. Taking care of a pet can teach a child three important R’s, and I’m not talking about “reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic” here. With our four- (sometimes more, some times less!!!) legged friends kids learn responsibility, respect and (g)ratitude.

Through caring for a pet, a child learns how to be responsible and to take responsibility for their actions. They become aware of the need to maintain a schedule, to participate in tasks and to understand that there are consequences to actions.

With pets, a child of any age can begin to learn the value of respect. They begin to realize that one has to be gentle and to honor one’s space. They are taught to be kind and to empathize with others. They also realize that one cannot just do what he or she wants because others have feelings, too, as they recognize how it could feel to be in someone else’s shoes . In the same manner, a child can also begin to understand how it is to interact and engage with others around him/her.

Another important and crucial life lesson children can learn from animals is gratitude. It doesn’t take much to please an animal, and they’re not afraid to show it. With the wag of their tail, snuggle on your side, or a lick on your hand, animals say thank you for kindness shown to them. When their pets show them some love, children can begin to understand that showing gratitude is a great thing to do.

These are among the few very important lessons a pet can teach a child.

For me, my personal pet pick is a dog. However, for class, especially since I teach toddlers,  I would pick smaller and less hairy pets, such as turtles or fish. Does your child have a pet? Or are you considering getting him/her one? If so, what is it? Leave a comment and share your stories!

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