It’s been a while since I posted something about preschool, but since I got asked the question, I guess it’s a good time to answer it First of all, let me share why giving children fine motor skills activities is important. Well, here’s something to think about: Imagine writing your name with your non-dominant hand, it’s hard, right? Why is it difficult? Simple: the skill is underdeveloped. Coordination is difficult as well.
Developing fine motor skills, in tandem with hand-eye coordination, is essential in basic academic tasks and in many of our life skills as well. Writing,for example, begins with well developed fine motor skills. Sadly, nowadays children are forced to develop penmanship skills even before they are ready.
Working on fine motor abilities, such as hand/finger dexterity, flexibility in the wrist, and small and controlled movements will help them achieve academic competencies with more ease and less discomfort. Plus it tends to be more developmentally appropriate.
Activities that can help include:
1. Paper Tearing – give them sheets of colored paper (or even scratch paper or old magazines) and work on tearing them into small pieces. At first, you will observe that they will grasp with all fingers coming into a fist. Over time, they will learn to use the fingers with more flexibility and control.
2. Play dough – allow them to work through the dough and watch how they manipulate it to shapes. Eventually they will learn to roll, mold, shape and piece together, other than pound and throw only
3. Barrel Beads – this is best type of bead to begin with because they’re large enough to hold and with large holes to shoot string through. Not recommended for very young children though, more for the older groups. Over time, they can graduate to decorative beads. Maybe some of them might even discover paper beads or jewelry beads. Who knows, maybe someday one of them will end up being a jewelry designer for and you can order their pieces online, such as from JoyJewelers.com or even Instagram of Facebook!
4. Finger paints – the use of finger paints give them more of a hands-on (literally) experience rather than just paintbrushes. Nonetheless, paintbrushes are also awesome.
5. Lacing/Sewing cards – these are great tools to teach wrist flexibility and concentration.
There are many other activities that can help, but I guess this is good for now Please do drop me a line for suggestions or other questions!Read More
The following is a guest post by Abby Evans.
It’s hard to challenge the benefits of learning music, considering the effects it has on the brain and a person’s happiness and mood. Whether playing an instrument or singing with a chorus, learning music can hone a wide variety of cognitive skills, trigger the release of endorphins, and re-wire brain networks in positive ways. And with children, it can be a powerful aid with learning concepts, strengthening memory, and enhancing everyday activities.
Sadly, a growing trend – especially in the United States – is to slash state funding for public school music programs. This omits a critical learning component from children’s education, and puts the future of music in jeopardy. Luckily, there are still a number of amazing tutors available for private lessons, and the institution of music is not dead yet.
Here are some helpful tips for finding and choosing a good music tutor:Read More
The following is a guest post by Ted Levin.
Despite my youth I find myself to be quite an old soul who rebels against eReaders in favor of paper books. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology’s innovations through online media, blogging, and the instant information available.
But there’s no better feeling than holding a book in your hands, the fresh smell of crisp pages, and the ability to write little notes in the page margins. Yes, I write in my own books. In college, one of my favorite professors emphatically told me, “You must write in your book to own it! Write in it, interact with the text, and learning will become easier.”
Experience lends me with a natural distaste for online reading, but due to technological advancements in today’s age I have surprisingly found myself more open to growing trend of online education. This sounds impossible, but let me explain.Read More
I have recently rediscovered the amazingness of Dropbox I’ve had an account for some time now, but because I still was on the first generation iPad and my classroom didn’t have such a great internet connection, it was frustrating for me. However, since I upgraded to iPhone5 and my school’s system is much better, I am beginning to really enjoy the wonder that is known as Dropbox. It has allowed me to be more efficient with sharing files with my students and colleagues, and allows for access to my personal files anytime, anywhere I even got to use it to share photos with a friend of mine that I took on my phone when we went to the beach. It was easy, peasy sharing! As compared to email, which takes a long time to attach, this was quick. Sure there were a few delays when my internet signal dropped, but all in all, it was great
As a teacher, I like how dropbox makes file sharing and storing very simple. The space allotted for a free account is good enough too, although if you really want to keep your files there for long, you may want to follow simple steps to upgrade your storage allotment. Most of them are free too
Dropbox is definitely another one of those tools for the techie teacher! Check out and sign up for dropbox here: http://db.tt/ehxlNVEPRead More
I think I have written about several tools for the techie teacher in the past, but I can’t remember what they were anymore! Haha. As such, I shall make this a new category on my blog to be able to help out other teachers like me.
For today, my featured tool is the headset microphone from musicians friend. I’ve tried different versions of headset microphones with portable speakers in class, and it really helps, especially when my classes are large. I even used it for a yoga class once. It saves me from having to exert too much effort to speak up especially in rooms where the acoustics are not that great. These kinds of microphones are definitely an amazing addition to any teachers arsenalRead More
A few days ago, I came across an online CPR certification information site, www.CPRCertification101.com,and it reminded me of one of the goals I left unmet as a preschool teacher. Back then, one of the things I tried pushing for was getting all us teachers (there were 5 of us in the school) certified for CPR. I knew it was an important skill that we would need in case of an accident. Lucky for us, we never needed it (and yeah, here’s hoping no teacher ever needs it!). Just recently, however, while teaching an alternative movement based class in one of my college classes, I found myself facing a small accident that reminded me about this goal. Although it was a mild accident, I realized that I should really work on this goal SOON. This is especially important, in my opinion, since I am a yoga teacher now, right?Read More
Last night while browsing in Facebook, I came across this photo in one of my dear blogger friends timeline:
OMG…It’s Dorothy and the Good Witch Yey! One of my most favorite stories/movies from childhood, besides the Sound of Music and Charlotte’s Web, is the Wizard of Oz. I loved it so much that my mom recorded it in Betamax for me to watch over and over and over again.
This August 18, Repertory Philippines will debut The Wizard of Oz in Greenbelt’s OnStage theater. I can’t wait! Will definitely make time to watch this in between Yoga Teacher Training. Come what may, I will find the time to watch it! Come with me???
One of my fondest memories of preschool teaching was when one of my little kids handed me a CD for circle time. She proudly came in to the classroom waving it in the air saying, “Teacher, Teacher, for you!”. After I thanked her, she says “teacher, please play it during circle time because when you sing, it’s not nice eh!” . OUCH! Haha. While that little incident did make me stop and think about including music and movement in my curriculum, I did not let it deter me from doing so. I realized that the incorporation of music and movement activities in class DOES have a lot of advantages for the kids.
Incorporating music and movement at whatever grade is important. For early childhood classes, introducing simple instruments can be explored. In fact, making such simple instruments can be included in arts activities. For older kids, more complex instruments can be introduced and for advanced learners, they can even explore the mechanics of such instruments. For example, they can learn about how to change guitar strings, replace drum skins and the like. They can also look into the wiring system of electronic musical instruments and use a seymour duncan jb in order to experiment on how adjusting guitar strings can bring a better balance to the sounds the instrument produces. From there they learn more than just music, but even elements of electronics, engineering and mechanics.
Overall, much as I am not very musically inclined, I do see the value of making music a part of everyday learning.Read More
It is easy to discover why English is such an important language. Everyone should know how to speak this tongue, due to its worldwide impact. Let’s analyze some facts about the English language.
English is the 4th most widely spoken native language worldwide. As to its number of speakers, it is the most spoken official language in the whole world. Also, it is the first choice when it comes to international affairs, which may be owed to the fact that it has official status even in countries where it isn’t the main spoken language. In global trade and commerce, English is spoken as the default language as well.
Have you noticed that most of the Internet is in English too? It seems like the language rules the Digital world. Typically, English is the language of newest applications, programs and software in general. Everything is written in English before it is made available in other languages.
When it comes to Education, English has vital importance as well. In universities in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand and Singapore, thousands of students come from foreign countries. However, the default language of instruction is…guess? Yes, it’s English. When seeking to learn English Cairns students don’t think twice. They know that this language will open many doors for them in the field of studies. Consider that the majority of the top business and medical schools and advanced-study institutes are situated in the United States and the United Kingdom.
It should come as no surprise that knowledge of English opens job and employment opportunities in many different countries and markets. While studying to learn English Sydney students are aware of how much brushing up their English will do for them. To get job opportunities it is of vital importance to be not only fluent, but also be able to switch the register from formal to informal in order to be able to adapt to any kind of situation in a proper manner.Read More
Just before the Chinese New Year came in I decided to give cleaning my room another go. I was sorting through my files, discarding papers and throwing away old projects when I came across some of the teacher made materials I had made waaaaay back when I started teaching preschoolers. I found them at the very back of those plastic stackable storage cabinets that I love so much and I suddenly missed being a preschool teacher again.
Anyway, going back to those teacher made materials, it got me to thinking about all the time I spent making flashcards, bingo cards, etc etc. After all, they can be bought in the stores, right?
For me, as a teacher, even though the toys and educational materials were available in the stores, I still made little teacher made materials even to the end. Why did I bother? Mainly because I liked being able to modify materials for my kids the way the kids need them. This is not to say, however, that I don’t use store-bought materials! I just realized that teacher made materials are really more individualized and activity specific.
I am grateful, however, that by the time I got to my eighth year or so of teaching I could afford the conveniences like a laminating machine and a ring binder. Before, I used to painstakingly use packing tape to wrap materials. QUE HORROR!!!Read More
I came across this book earlier today at a colleagues house. It was a nice take on puberty, sexuality and adolescence. It was a very matter-of-fact book that discussed the stage and it surely would be a good book to use when kids start transitioning to that stage in their lives. Very nicely written in words that kids can understand Highly recommended
A few days ago, I was in one of those gadget stores in a mall and I saw a kid, about three or four years old if I’m not mistaken, pull her mom to the displays and say, ” Mama, buy ipod touch“. A few minutes later, she walked out of the store with her very own “toy”.
Hmmm…some parents would frown upon such a behavior, but for me (okay, I may not be a mom, but… :)) I think it CAN be a good thing. Granted it isn’t ALWAYS a good thing, I think it has limitless potentials. When my fellow teacher friends and I were discussing it, we talked about how different it is not to educate young kids. We now have so many modern ways of teaching the basic academic competencies, many of which were unavailable when we were starting out.
As I have said many times over in this blog alone, modern technology continues to evolve and new gadgets will continue to be invented. We can’t fight that, and so the best thing we can do is not just over-gadget our kids, but to make sure we find the potential of each of these gadgets to do good for our kids. Maybe I think that way because in a way, my mom indulged me with gadgets as well, but to be honest, it was through those gadgets that I learned many, many things.
Some guidelines, I think, that can be helpful are the following:
- set a “gadget schedule” which allows you to monitor the amount of time spent on such activities
- enroll your kids in more “active” activities, such as sports and the like so they have alternative activities too.
- utilize the gadgets as educational tools by downloading educational apps and ebooks
- monitor, monitor, monitor their activities on the gadgets
Have funRead More
This morning I came across a post by a fellow blogger, Cookie, where she was sharing a discovery she had made online: in her words, worksheet heaven. I quickly checked it out and by golly, it is indeed a treasure trove full of resources for mommies, and teachers alike. It’s nice that these resources exist because teaching, both from a teacher and a parents standpoint, can get overwhelming at times. There are so many things more that have to be done so sometimes, setting aside time to make worksheets and reviewers have to be put on hold. This support system can truly make that part of the job much, much easier.
those in early childhood educationRead More
Earlier this month we were discussing plants in our class. In order to supplement the discussion, I decided to have the kids do an experiment. I had them bring several different kinds of seeds and then we went on to do our scientific inquiry.
Here’s what we did:
We started out with an inquiry (a.k.a. creating a hypothesis) in which the children were asked what they think will happen to the seeds if put in a pot with soil and given water and sunshine. To do this I had them chart it on a Manila paper. In this part I had them draw the pots and seeds (although our pots didn’t look like real pots, they were just like dark circles in the middle of the paper with little dots for seeds haha).
Then we did some observations on the seed, the soil and all other materials we used. I asked them to take note of the similarities and differences of the seeds, such as size, color and shape. Some of them even smelled the seeds (which almost gave me a heart attack because they’re so tiny, right???) and one even attempted to taste it. Thank God I saw it on time haha.
After this, we listed the procedures of the experiment (such as put soil in the pot, drop the seeds, etc.) and then actually carried out the procedure.
Of course after carrying out the experiment, we got ready to record our observations and what happens in the experiment
So…after two weeks, the kids found out that:
Teacher shouldn’t plan activities right before we go on a break. Haha. Yes…I had forgotten that the whole week of Feb. 14-18 was not a regular school week because of Paranaque Day, our school field trip, and parent-teacher conferences. Haha.
Seriously though, they did get a chance to see the plants growRead More
One of the best learning materials EVER is a good toy. I am a firm believer of that. In fact, whether it is in the preschool classroom or my undergraduate lectures, toys are bound to make a cameo. Today, I got to discover a new brand of toys that will be hitting the Philippine markets in just a few weeks, Rubbabu toys.
So what makes Rubbabu different from other toys in the market? First off it perhaps one of the first toy collections that is not only cute and adorable, but is actually eco-friendly and child-safe. From infants to big kids, this is sure to be a delight. It is made from 100% natural rubber foam with a velvet smooth surface and it comes in such brilliant and captivating colors. The toys are very light and chunky, which is great for little hands to play with (big hands too, actually haha!). The toys are bouncy and soft and just oh-so-lovable, and I promise, I’m not just saying that.
Okay, I can just imagine some eyebrows being raised right about now (correct? hehe). Seriously though, when I first heard about the product (I googled it after all when I first received an invitation to the product launch), I was a little dubious about yet another new toy. However, after getting to play with these cutie patootey and very versatile toys, I was smitten. I loved the texture of the materials and how the smooth velvety finish made me just smile in delight.
Rubbabu comes in a wide array of shapes and styles, perfect for learning at any time of the day. From basic shapes, balls, toy cars, to educational materials such as shape sorters, alphabets and numbers, blocks and the like, kids will delight in this highly entertaining toy all day long. I sure did!
What else makes it different from a typical toy? Well, in my opinion, Rubbabu does remove the boo-boo (boo-boo meaning any form of injury, ouchie, or pain) in playtime. Here, lemme list the reasons how:
No more boo-boo for baby (or mommy, yaya and teacher for that matter!)
- soft, squishy, no corners, no danger of getting injured! except perhaps for those with movable wheels, which is why it is recommended for ages two and up.
- it is completely non-toxic and even the velvet finish doesn’t rub off or get “himulmul” so it cannot be swallowed or eaten, even if the child bites, tugs and attempts to eat (haha, exag!) the toy
- because of it’s bouncy rubbery nature, even if a Rubbabu toy is thrown at you, it wouldn’t hurt
- also, because it is made from natural rubber, it is anti-microbial, dust mite resistant, mildew resistant, hypoallergenic and flame retardant.
No more boo-boo in learning!
- Rubbabu makes learning fun! No pressure, no difficulty and highly attractive and captivating
- The tactile material allows for perfect mastery of hand-eye coordination, dexterity and motor skills
- Games like tic-tac-toe, blocks, and other play sets make learning fun
No more (or at least not much!) boo-boos for daddy’s wallet!
- Rubbabu toys, for it’s inherent high quality production and materials, are actually quite affordable. Prices would range from an estimated 300-1000+.
- The long-lasting quality of the toys can withstand years of use and abuse from children who will definitely love these adorable playthings.
No more boo-boos for Mother Earth
- Rubbabu is made from 100% natural rubber foam, with no fillers, and not synthetic rubber
- More so, it is made WITHOUT HAVING TO CUT DOWN TREES!
- It is 95% bio-degradable
No more boo-boos for the heart
- for kids at heart like me, playing with a Rubbabu ball is pure stress relief!
- its soft, velvety texture can help calm and pacify feelings of anxiety and stress
- they’re so cute you can’t help but gush and smile
- it is a great reminder to adults that play is indeed an important part of life and is quite therapeutic
Rubbabu has won countless accolades over the years. It has been recognized as one of Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Toys for 2010, and was also given the Parent’s Choice Award for 2010 as well as the Creative Child Seal Excellence Award. Rubbabu is exclusively distributed bu San Giovani Phils. Incd. Corp and is set to hit the stores this MarchRead More
One of my major advocacies as a preschool teacher, despite the fact I don’t read as much as I used to anymore, is to foster a love for reading in my kids. I feel a little guilty, actually, that lately I am not as able to integrate stories to my lessons as much as I used to, or want to for that matter. Before I would have a story EVERY single day. However now, I tend to have about 2-3 a week. Sigh.
What I try to do, however, is set aside book time everyday for the kids to explore the different books in class. I allow them to have free reign of the books they would like to check out and read during this period. I go around and sit with them and together we go through the book. Often times the books that are in our booktime shelf are those that we had read already, so they are often familiar with the story line. However today, as I sat beside one of my little girls, I couldn’t help but be amazed at how far her reading skills have come
isn’t she so cute! hehe. yes, those are real prescription eyeglasses.
Although the book in the picture, I think, is being read from memory, she can now read longer words and has a better grasp over sight words. At times, however, she still relies too much on this, but that’s normal Her phonetic mastery is also something she is able to rely on in our spelling games. Scenes like these are definitely going to be among those I will miss a lot pretty soon