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Language Arts

One way you can help engage your child in different language earing experiences is through an iPad/Tablet. It is ok to allow your child a little screen time a couple times a week, about 10 minutes a day 2 times a week is idea. This helps children build their listening and cognitive skills as they are given instructions through the learning games to do. There are many apps that relate to letter matching and writing. Not only does the iPad/tablet help with language, but it engages the use of fine motor skills. Children build their eye hand coordination as they use their fingers to write, drag items, or to just touch an item on the screen. The iPad, or any tablet, is a great learning tool to have, it can be more than watching videos! You can include it in your routine at home, and we encourage no more than 10 minutes of screen time a day.

Here is a list of some apps to try out:

• Elmo ABCsLite

• Smart ABC

• Kids Writing Pad

• Learning Games

• ABC Animals

• Preschool Essentials by GuruCool

Math & Science

As part of our lessons each week we incorporate health and wellness activities to our plan. These activities help the children learn about what foods help us grow and how they can give us energy to move. We touch on the foods that are not always ok to eat such as the sugary and salty snacks. These activities relate to science in many ways. Throughout the year the children will help make healthy snacks they will explore the taste of various foods. Along with exploring taste we allow the children time o to explore the food, its texture, its look, its smell. All five senses are incorporated into these explorations. Hands on learning makes it so much more appropriate for the children to learn.

These health and wellness activities also help us engage in conversations during meals about the healthy foods we eat at our meals. Feel free to talk about these things at home as well. Ask your child questions about different foods and encourage them to try new. Take them grocery shopping to see all the healthy food options they have. 

Language & Communication

Communication with young 3’s and 4’s can have its challenges. Their vocabulary is growing along with their expressive and receptive language skills progressing as they communicate with others. Preschoolers can get frustrated or even shut down when they are not understood or if they do not understand. A study from Yale University was done about how adults communicate with young children and here are the key facts found from this study. This study used a correlation between communication and regulation of behaviors. These facts remind us adults the importance of how we interact with young children and appropriate ways to communicate that benefit the child.

• Kind: Children should interpret teacher’s tone, affect, and words as acts of love and kindness. They must understand that providing them with behavioral feedback Is not to reprimand or shame them, but to convey a kind and loving intention of ensuring that they stay safe., learn, and succeed. Words should be kind and as much as possible, positively framed (recall why we refrain from using no). Sarcasm is confusing to young children, therefore using sarcasm is a very ineffective strategy. One can be firm with rules, but not mean and sarcastic.

• Immediate: Children have limited attention spans. Feedback regarding behavior should be time sensitive, while the circumstance is still salient to the child. Off note, there are moments when children need some space to process a highly charged event. Allow this to happen when necessary. The dimension on Social and Emotional Learning may be helpful to refer to in this regard.

• Direct: Children are literal, so rules need to convey exactly what you want from them. Rules and directives are straight to the point, addressing behavior directly. Avoid vagueness or ambivalence (such as using the word “maybe” as in “it’s a good idea…”).

• Simple: Young children still have limited vocabularies and short attention spans. Therefore, when providing them with rules and feedback, they should readily understand what is expected of them. Few, clear, and simple words that are consistently enforced are more powerful than having so many rules that may not make sense to children. (There is wisdom in the adage less is more).

As children develop their internal capacity to regulate behavior, young children need the 3 Cs:

• Concreteness: Young children are concrete operational thinkers and find abstract concepts challenging. They need specific and explicit instructions. Saying, “Let’s remember to use the kind words we learned when we speak to our friends,” may be more effective than saying, “Be nice to your friends.”

• Clarity: Similar to concreteness, children need to know what to do as opposed to what not to do. When you tell them no or stop, what is the alternative? Saying, “we use tables for drawing and chairs for sitting down,” is more effective than saying “don’t stand on top of the table.”

• Consistency: Children need to know what to expect. To reinforce appropriate behaviors, directions and rules should be enforced consistently across time and across children. Why no does not always work, it is very difficult for a young child to regulate behavior when “no,” is the predominant word they hear from adults. They need clarity: knowing what to do, instead of what not to do. Moreover, young children are still in the process of learning safe behaviors and socially acceptable rules of conduct. At the same time, they are also very curious and tactile people. saying, ":no," does little in teaching them about safe and socially acceptable behaviors. Instead, young children interpret this as adults restricting them from doing something they find enjoyable, which does not make sense in their world. Children may then end up continuing to perform the prohibited behavior, testing the limits of your patience. In a way, for young children, no means go.

CHILD Copyright 2018 Chin R. Reyes & Walter S. Gilliam