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Tips to find the Best Schools in your Area

There are a host of preschool/play school/kindergarten schools in the neighbourhood or at the vicinity of your homes. All the schools seem to be very attractive and promise a lot of learnings for the child. At times it becomes difficult and confusing to decide the best preschool for your little ones. Here are some tips below to select the suitable preschool for the toddler.

Tips to select the Best Playschool for Your Child

1: School with a Friendly Environment

The environment of a playschool is the most important factor since it has the biggest and deepest impact upon the child. The environment needs to be safe, secure and comfortable for the child. This is for the first time that the child is leaving the comfort of their homes and their near and dear ones and entering into a set up which is yet to be familiar to them. The school set up should encourage him to participate actively and freely. The school’s interiors should be bright and colorful and as well as the school should have enough space or a play ground for the children to play.

2: Distance

Choose a play school that is close to your house or office so that the child does not spend much time in traveling. In case the school is far off then ensure that the school provides a pick and drop facility.

3: School’s Reputation

Do a research on the school. Meet and speak to the parents of the children who are already enrolled with the school or who have studied in the school. Check the school website and understand the curriculum, the teaching methodology and the facilities provided by the school.

4: Learning Modules

The learning modules should be too academically inclined. The entire teaching methodology should be in the most simple and fun loving manner. There should be a lot of activities and the learning should happen through the same.

6: Medical aid

Every playschool must be capable of giving the basic first aid. The school must have a child doctor or a nurse to help the children in case they feel sick or hurt them.

7: Playtime or Free play

Play should be the main focus of playschool. There should be free play as part of the daily time table.

8: Student Teacher Ratio

The student teacher ratio should not be more than 1:10. It is very important that the student teacher ratio should be known as most of the times there are a lot of children in the class, however there aren’t many teachers to look after them. During this age each child wants that individual attention and so the teacher student ratio should be kept in check. Also there should be a maid or a helper in the class to assist the teacher. And if at times there are more than 10 children in the class, the main teacher should be supported by an assistant teacher.

Play School - Education or Fun

A few years ago, the concept of playschools or preschools in India was unheard of, and few children, if any, attended playschool. Still children grew up to be sensible and mature individuals. However play schools have mushroomed in our country as they prepare the little ones in the most systematic manner and take care of their overall growth. These schools donot focus on academics as much as they are more focused on learning through play. Play is so vital that it has become the right of every child.

Play allows children to develop their curiosity, give wings to their imagination and helps them to apply these skills in their day to day activities. It gives them emotional strength and enhances their fine and gross motor skills. Children when they are young they relate and connect to many things and since human brain develops the maximum during the first four years of your early life, it is very important that children are exposed to a lot of activities which gives them ample opportunities for their brain development. Play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence. Play gives each child an opportunity to practice decision making skills and enhance their confidence. Being passive at times makes the child shy. Also a lot of slow learners or timid children when they attend play schools open up and participate equally in group activities. Perhaps above all, play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood. And this simple joy is captured in the modern day play schools. Hence play schools today offer education through play making the entire process of emotional, physical, intellectual, creative and social growth (EPICS) of the children a fun loving process.

Children’s developmental chart is well complemented by the loving and sensible facilitators. Facilitators act as perfect mediators who facilitate the learning process for the children in the most systematic and fun loving manner.  Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development. Social-emotional learning is best integrated with academic learning.

Play schools also provide an opportunity for to socialize with other . This eases out the transition process to a formal school. Separation anxiety is being taken care of if the child is of the habit of attending a play school. Looking at the immense benefits of a play school, it can be rightly said that play schools are meant to provide education through fun loving age appropriate activities.

Importance of Play School in the New Education System

Creative play is the key to a healthy mind and body of the child. It is an absolutely critical part of their growing days as it allows top them to digest life and shape it. Children flourish and grow with loads of play and without play there is a serious impact in their growth. Hence the demand of preschools in our country has gone up as they provide ample opportunities of play and learning through play.

In recent times children are sent to school from the age of 1. 5 years. This is a new trend that has developed over years. However not all parents feel the need for the same. Many parents feel that children can still learn without attending a preschool and can still be one of the bright professionals in their future. A lot of parents see it to be another marketing gimmick. While it is true that children today are under tremendous pressure however the idea of a playschool is very different from a formal school. Play school creates an environment where the toddler learns through various age appropriate activities and play. These activities help in the emotional, physical and social growth of the child. The child becomes more confident to participate in a group. There is no fixed age group as to when the child should attend the play school. However recent trend shows that the appropriate age is from 1.5 years onwards.

What is of a ? A is a place where around 10-20 spend 1-2 hours each day under the supervision of a couple of teachers. The facilitator/teacher -child ratio should ideally be around 1:10. The aim of such preschools is not enhancing the writing and reading skills of the toddler. However they are aimed at providing conducive environment to the child for their holistic growth.

Playschools provide an appropriate learning environment for children ranging from age 1.5 yrs to 6 yrs with various learning tools and activities. Children feel confident while being in a group and also learn various etiquettes which impacts their life in a great deal.  The activities are age appropriate and take into consideration the overall growth of the child.

The benefits of play school are as follows:

  • Reduce separation anxiety
  • Inculcate creative play spirit among the children
  • Learning through play
  • Foster emotional, physical, intellectual, creative and social skills through age appropriate activities and play
  • Inculcate life skills among the little ones
  • Preparing the little ones for the formal school

A lot of parents feel that all the above benefits can be learned by the child at home or with time. However to counter this argument we can say that play schools provide a safe and a secure environment where the child learn through play the basic foundations of life. Their exposure with such an environment prepares them systematically towards the formal school interviews and also at the same time ensuring the overall growth of the child. Play schools have definitely become the talk of the town for the new generation education system as the children reap a lot of benefits from the same.

Being Responsible

We all want our children to grow up to be responsible adults. We want them to feel, think, and act with respect for themselves and for others. To do this, children need lots of help from parents. Learning to be responsible includes learning to:

  • show respect and compassion for others
  • practice honesty
  • show courage by standing up for what we believe
  • develop self-control out of consideration for others
  • maintain self-respect

Here are some things you can do at home:

  • Watch for the chance to teach your children responsible behavior through everyday situations.
    Share your moral and religious values with them.
  • Show compassion and concern when others are suffering.
  • Read stories together that teaches lessons: the courage of David standing up to Goliath.
  • Talk about complicated decisions. Help children understand how the choices they make will affect them and others.
  • Visit with teachers to discuss ways parents and the school can reinforce the same lessons about good character.
  • Talk with other parents and agree on acceptable behavior for children’s play and parties.
    Take turns supervising to show that all the parents agree on the standards of behavior.
  • Responsibility BuildersHonesty, the Best Policy for young children
    • Tell the story about the boy who cried “Wolf!” He did it so many times to get attention that when the wolf did come, no one believed him.
    • Ask your children if anyone had ever lied to them. How did that make them feel?
    • When you make a promise to your children, try to keep it. It may seem small to you, but it means a lot to them.

    Helping Out for older children

    • As children grow older, think of added ways they can help at home.
    • Discuss the new duties with them. Avoid making the duties seem like a punishment. Instead, you might say they require more ability which your child now has.
    • New tasks should stretch a child’s abilities and make him or her feel satisfied with doing good work. Praise a job well done, especially a new challenge.

    Getting to know others for children of all ages

    • Set a good example. Act with respect toward others. Always make clear that prejudice is wrong and that all of us are equal, no matter what our color, gender, or background is.
    • Show an interest in learning about and from others–neighbors and relatives, and from books about our own and other civilizations.
    • Encourage your child to learn about many different lands and people, to learn another language, and to read stories about children from all over the world. Show your child how you try to see things from others point of view.
    • Listen carefully when your child wants to tell you things they have discovered about history, geography, religions, art, and ways of life.

Strengthen Child's Esteem

Most parents want their young children to have a healthy sense of self-esteem. That desire can also be seen in education–schools around the country include self-esteem among their goals. Many observers believe that low self-esteem lies at the bottom of many of society’s problems.

When parents and teachers of young children talk about the need for good self-esteem, they usually mean that children should have “good feelings” about themselves. With young children, self-esteem refers to the extent to which they expect to be accepted and valued by the adults and peers who are important to them.

Children with a healthy sense of self-esteem feel that the important adults in their lives accept them, care about them, and would go out of their way to ensure that they are safe and well. They feel that those adults would be upset if anything happened to them and would miss them if they were separated. Children with low self-esteem, on the other hand, feel that the important adults and peers in their lives do not accept them, do not care about them very much, and would not go out of their way to ensure their safety and well-being.

During their early years, young children’s self-esteem is based largely on their perceptions of how the important adults in their lives judge them. The extent to which children believe they have the characteristics valued by the important adults and peers in their lives figures greatly in the development of self-esteem. For example, in families and communities that value athletic ability highly, children who excel in athletics are likely to have a high level of self-esteem, whereas children who are less athletic or who are criticized as being physically inept or clumsy are likely to suffer from low self-esteem.

Families, communities, and ethnic and cultural groups vary in the criteria on which self-esteem is based. For example, some groups may emphasize physical appearance, and some may evaluate boys and girls differently. Stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are also factors that may contribute to low self-esteem among children.

The foundations of self-esteem are laid early in life when infants develop attachments with the adults who are responsible for them. When adults readily respond to their cries and smiles, babies learn to feel loved and valued. Children come to feel loved and accepted by being loved and accepted by people they look up to. As young children learn to trust their parents and others who care for them to satisfy their basic needs, they gradually feel wanted, valued, and loved.

Self-esteem is also related to children’s feelings of belonging to a group and being able to adequately function in their group. When toddlers become preschoolers, for example, they are expected to control their impulses and adopt the rules of the family and community in which they are growing. Successfully adjusting to these groups helps to strengthen feelings of belonging to them.

One point to make is that young children are unlikely to have their self-esteem strengthened from excessive praise or flattery. On the contrary, it may raise some doubts in children; many children can see through flattery and may even dismiss an adult who heaps on praise as a poor source of support–one who is not very believable.

The following points may be helpful in strengthening and supporting a healthy sense of self-esteem in your child:

As they grow, children become increasingly sensitive to the evaluations of their peers. You and your child’s teachers can help your child learn to build healthy relationships with his or her peers.

When children develop stronger ties with their peers in school or around the neighborhood, they may begin to evaluate themselves differently from the way they were taught at home. You can help your child by being clear about your own values and keeping the lines of communication open about experiences outside the home.

Children do not acquire self-esteem at once nor do they always feel good about themselves in every situation. A child may feel self-confident and accepted at home but not around the neighborhood or in a preschool class. Furthermore, as children interact with their peers or learn to function in school or some other place, they may feel accepted and liked one moment and feel different the next. You can help in these instances by reassuring your child that you support and accept him or her even while others do not.

A child’s sense of self-worth is more likely to deepen when adults respond to the child’s interests and efforts with appreciation rather than just praise. For example, if your child shows interest in something you are doing, you might include the child in the activity. Or if the child shows interest in an animal in the garden, you might help the child find more information about it. In this way, you respond positively to your child’s interest by treating it seriously. Flattery and praise, on the contrary, distract children from the topics they are interested in. Children may develop a habit of showing interest in a topic just to receive flattery.

Young children are more likely to benefit from tasks and activities that offer a real challenge than from those that are merely frivolous or fun. For example, you can involve your child in chores around the house, such as preparing meals or caring for pets that stretch his or her abilities and give your child a sense of accomplishment.

Self-esteem is most likely to be fostered when children are esteemed by the adults who are important to them. To esteem children means to treat them respectfully, ask their views and opinions, take their views and opinions seriously, and give them meaningful and realistic feedback.

You can help your child develop and maintain healthy self-esteem by helping him or her cope with defeats, rather than emphasizing constant successes and triumphs. During times of disappointment or crisis, your child’s weakened self-esteem can be strengthened when you let the child know that your love and support remain unchanged. When the crisis has passed, you can help your child reflect on what went wrong. The next time a crisis occurs, your child can use the knowledge gained from overcoming past difficulties to help cope with a new crisis.A child’s sense of self-worth and self-confidence is not likely to deepen when adults deny that life has its ups and downs.

Parents can play an important role in strengthening children’s self-esteem by treating them respectfully, taking their views and opinions seriously, and expressing appreciation to them. Above all, parents must keep in mind that self-esteem is an important part of every child’s development.

Improve Child’s Reading

Parents are more concerned about their child’s progress in reading than in any other subject taught in school, and rightfully so. In order for students to achieve in math, science, english, history, geography, and other subjects, reading skills must be developed to the point that most of them are automatic. Students cannot struggle with word recognition when they should be reading quickly for comprehension of a text.

Because reading is so important to success in school, parents can and should play a role in helping their children to become interested in reading and in encouraging their growth in reading skills. At the same time, parents and teachers need to work together.

Research shows that children learn about reading before they enter school. In fact, they learn in the best manner–through observation. Young children, for example, see people around them reading newspapers, books, maps, and signs. Parents can do a lot to foster an understanding of print by talking with their preschoolers about signs in their environment and by letting their children know they enjoy reading themselves.

Many parents recognize the value and enjoyment of reading to their young children, but perhaps they are not clear about the specific skills that could be enhanced through the process. Most important, reading should be an enjoyable experience. Research reveals that when young children experience warm and close contacts with their parents when they are being read to, they develop more positive attitudes toward reading.

Run your index finger under the line of print. This procedure is simple and helps children begin to notice words and that words have meaning. They also gain an awareness of the conventions of reading (e.g., one reads from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom; sentences are made up of words; and some sentences extend beyond a single line of print).

One of the greatest advantages of reading to preschoolers (or children of any age) is the opportunity for vocabulary development. Children learn the meaning of words through good literature; words take on rich meaning when used in an interesting story.

In the early elementary years, from first through third grades, children continue learning HOW to read. It is a complex process, difficult for some and easy for others. Care must be taken during these early years not to overemphasize the learning-to-read process. Reading for pleasure and information develops reading interests and offers children the opportunity to practice their reading skills in meaningful ways. Parents of elementary-age children should provide reading materials in the home that arouse curiosity or extend their child’s natural interest in the world around them.

By encouraging and modeling leisure-time reading in the home, parents take the most important step in fostering their child’s reading development.

There are important things to be considered regarding by parents and teachers.

  • Children who read, and read widely, become better readers.
  • Reading and writing are complementary skills.
  • Parents are important to children both as role models and as supporters of their efforts.

The following suggestions have been beneficial to many parents:

  • Provide a good role model–read yourself and read often to your child.
  • Provide varied reading material–some for reading enjoyment and some with information about hobbies and interests.
  • Encourage activities that require reading–for example, cooking (reading a recipe), constructing a kite (reading directions), or identifying an interesting bird’s nest or a shell collected at the beach (using a reference book).
  • Establish a reading time, even if it is only 10 minutes a day.
  • Write notes to your school-age child; encourage written responses.
  • Ask your child to bring a library book home to read to a younger sibling.
  • Establish one evening a week for reading (instead of television viewing).
  • Encourage your child in all reading efforts.

Listening Skills

Listening is a core competency skill for relationships. As we become better skilled at listening, we uncover layers and layers of communication — both in conversation and within ourselves. There is no communication that goes only one way; if we want to be heard, we will practice hearing. Listening is the basis of conflict resolution, the core of trust, and also central to the development of healthy self-concept.

Listening is an active process. It involves being in the moment, interpreting, and deferring judgement.

One of the largest blocks to listening is our desire to solve problems. This is particularly true for teachers and parents. For some of us it is a bigger challenge than others – at times when a student comes to a teacher in turmoil about an issue, the teacher often leaps into talking… even though they know that listening will serve better.

Another barrier to listening is time. A lot of parents make a “sacred” time each night when their children are at home they spend a few minutes ready to listen. This is definitely one of the most valuable practices developed as a parent. No pressure, no questions, just a time and place to listen.

Most of us have spent a lot of time and energy learning to talk. We often assume that because we speak, others will hear and understand. But we often forget to practice, and to teach, listening.

Listening can be listening to your own self; it can be listening to someone you have trouble hearing; or it can be listening to your family and friends. It can also be listening to the wind, to water, to children playing, or to new knowledge.

Effective listening includes paying close attention to body language and to intent — to truly hear, listen with all your senses. To listen effectively, you can also pay attention to your own motive — are you trying to convince, or to learn?

  • Practice listening for someone. “Listening for” means listening to intentions, to vision, to greatness. When you listen for someone, you are actively making her good, and actively working to be on her side.
  • Try “layered listening” where you focus on sound, then listen for a sound farther away, and again, and again until you are hearing as far as you can see. Metaphorically, you can use this technique listening to people as well — what can you hear beneath the surface of their words?
  • Create a sound/listening map where you chart everything you hear.
  • Practice listening by drawing pictures of the words you hear.
  • There are many variations on “back-to-back” listening — for instance, partners sit back-to-back; one person tells a story and the other person draws illustrations.
  • Next time an argument starts, grab a video camera and tape yourselves — it will probably shorten the fight and change the way you interact. Use the “this is on record” technique to moderate future disagreements.
  • Visit a construction site, a park, a mall, a playground. Write in your journal about the differences in the noise levels, rhythms, and the kinds of sounds you noticed.

Parents - Being in Control

Parents are expected to stay “in control” of their lives, their children, and themselves. Some major parts of this expectation are impossible to fulfill! But because there is no way to learn parenting skills and truths ahead of time, we parents struggle and worry when we don’t seem to be “in control,” or when being “in control” means being harsh with our children.

We don’t have full control over our lives.
Hard things can happen to us and to our children, and societal oppressions can force us into inhuman circumstances. There are things we can do to try to keep our families healthy, but we don’t have full control there. There are things we can do to be able to pay our bills, but job security and earning worthy wages for working class jobs are not things we alone have the power to determine. We work at building good relationships, but many of us don’t begin with the tools, support, information, or time to solve critical relationship problems. By ourselves, we and our children are vulnerable to hurt and unforeseen difficulties. To blame ourselves for lack of control makes no sense. The influence we can have when we face these oppression-based or health-based hard times lies in our ability to organize with others to do what’s necessary.

We don’t have control over our children’s behavior.
We do have deep influence on them. How we love, cherish, and treat our children affects them moment by moment, and for the rest of their lives. But our influence doesn’t mean that we can exert control over how they behave and feel. Nor does it mean that a child whose behavior is difficult comes from a parent who is not trying hard enough, or is not doing the right things. Our children are subject to difficulties because of circumstances beyond our control–their health, accidents, and unforeseen encounters with people who don’t care for them well, enormous stress on us, frightening incidents that couldn’t be anticipated. When children are hurt by these kinds of circumstances, their behavior does reflect their fears, and they may be perceived as “difficult.” But this is not the parents’ fault! What’s more, this “off track” behavior is a necessary signal that the child gives that she’s been wounded and needs attention. As difficult as their behavior may be, we parents can be grateful that our children refuse to suffer silently when they feel too isolated or frightened or angry to think.

In the short run, we sometimes don’t have control over our own behavior. It’s one of the great shocks of parenting to find ourselves yelling at or hurting our beloved children, when we never ever intended to do so. There are things they do that drive us nuts–whining, making messes, fighting with each other, using street language, “talking back” when we’re trying to gain control. We each have our personal thresholds, past which lose power over our own behavior. Usually, we become very like our own parents when they were lost in reaction.

Finally, we don’t have full control over how other people feel about us or our children. We parents try hard to get our children to meet some unwritten standard of conformity, hoping that if they “act right,” people will like them. In fact, we live in a society in which grownups are taught to see children as “trouble,” “a problem,” “extra work,” “in the way,” and more. This training is widespread, and no matter how fully a child may conform, those attitudes lie under the surface in many people, waiting to be triggered. We as parents need to decide, on our children’s behalf, not to attack our children to please grownups who only accept children if they act like little adults. Even a child’s best behavior can’t cure that kind of hostile attitude. So if your child is having a healthy tantrum in front of a relative who is loudly demanding that you be harsh to her, you can simply move to a back bedroom to handle the situation, taking the time you need. Being harsh to your child on someone else’s demand won’t help your self-respect, it won’t change that grownup’s bias against your child, and it sets you against the child you love dearly.

Be a learner. As parents we need to set goals for ourselves:

  • To enjoy our children
  • To learn something every day
  • To treat ourselves and our children like learners.

Deciding to be a learner can help take the internal pressure off of us, and off of our children. Learners have permission to make lots of mistakes, learners get to ask for help, and learners often don’t know what to do or how things work. Best of all, learners get to laugh (or cry) when their project turns upside down and flops in front of everyone. We understand. This is learning.

If we are learning, then we know how to be in charge of some things, and we are figuring all the rest of it out in a sometimes messy, haphazard way.

Actively notice what’s fun, what’s good, what is working well. Our minds get so fixed on the tasks at hand that we lose sight of who we like, what goes well, and the little things we learn. It may help to put a list on the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror, where a few words of what was good each day can be written down for all to see. Some families start dinner with a round of “what was good today?” so that the children get to join in, and have the chance to have the whole family listen to their experience.

Welcome your children’s feelings. Feelings are a big part of children’s lives, and expressing these feelings is how children recover from the hard things, big and small, that happen to them. Crying, tantrums, and laughter all are deeply healing for children. Expressing these emotions at length gets rid of children’s feelings that their lives aren’t good enough. When they’re finished, they regain their sense of loving and being loved. It helps if you can get close and listen to them through the stormy upsets, but if you can’t, see if it’s possible to keep from criticizing, shaming, hurting, or blaming them while they get the sad or the mad feelings out.

Find a listener for your own feelings. We mothers and fathers have lots of feelings, too, which we have been taught to tuck away as if they didn’t exist. Matter of fact, tucking away feelings is equated to being “in control” of our lives! The problem is that feelings don’t tuck well forever. Our worries, our frustrations, our angers mount, we spend more and more effort tucking them away, and finally, they burst out when some small thing goes wrong. Often, they burst out at our children in ways we regret later. Finding another parent and setting up listening time over the phone or after the children are asleep can help relieve the burden that our feelings create. A good laugh, a good cry, a good rant about how many expectations we’re trying to meet can do a lot to lighten our step and help us remember that we are good, no matter how many mistakes we make or how many answers we don’t have at the moment.

Notice what you can’t figure out, and talk to others about it. There are probably 50 things a day that happen in a parents’ life that he or she doesn’t understand! Why won’t your child willingly brush her teeth? Why is she scared of the dark? Why does your pre-teen suddenly think you’re the dorkiest person he ever knew? Being open about what we don’t know is an excellent learning strategy. It makes us active seekers of information and understanding. And it’s also fine to be open with our children when we don’t know what to do.

Organize help. We are trained to believe that asking for help is admitting weakness. However, there are many kinds of work which are not designed for one person to do alone. Building bridges, operating a supermarket, providing intensive care nursing, and raising children are the kinds of work that can be done well only with several people organized to work toward a common purpose. When we gave birth to our children, most of us had no idea that organizing help was part of a parents’ job description. We learn this, usually, by getting burned out trying to do it all ourselves, then feeling badly that we’ve had to “stoop” to asking for help. But any experienced parent can reassure you that every parent needs time away from their children, every parent needs others to care about their children, every parent needs people to think and talk with about the details of life with children. Every parent needs help!

Set up play that includes laughter. Children love to laugh, and when we are willing to play with them so they can laugh (without tickling them!), they become buoyant and hopeful. It’s infectious. We see them wriggling with enjoyment, coming toward us for fun and lots of contact, and we can’t help but be pleased. Our empty cup meant for hope begins to fill again. We have lots to learn from children about how a really good life has time for play, wrestling, chasing, where the grownups may “lose,” but everyone wins back their sense that it’s good to be alive.

When you’re at your wits’ end, lie down on the floor for awhile. When we’re frazzled, the things we do aren’t usually very successful. Our children’s tensions and our tensions make a knot that keeps tangling tighter. At times like these, if we “give up” for 10 or 15 minutes, and lie down on the floor, it provides enough of a contrast to the previous tense situation that we and our children can take a fresh start with each other. Sometimes we can give ourselves permission to cry, which helps release tension. Sometimes, our children come around and decide they want to be close. They sit on our tummies, or crawl under our legs, or start jumping over us for fun. Having given up the effort to be in control, we can begin to pay attention to how things are, rather than the way we want them to be. Without the effort to stay in control, it’s often more possible to make workable decisions, and to like the children we have again.

Parent Connection

Connection is essential to raise healthy, capable, successful children. The infant is born into the world genetically programmed to connect with caregivers.

Children who experience a strong attachment early in life do better as they grow up.
Securely attached children appear to have a number of positive outcomes in their development. These include enhanced emotional flexibility, social functioning and cognitive abilities.”

A child who feels empty inside because of having a frustrating day, goes to someone close to her to fill up. Every child needs periodic genuine encounters with his parents. A genuine encounter is simply focused attention. It is attention with a special intensity born of direct, personal involvement. Vital contact means being intimately open to the particular, unique qualities of your child.

And it’s not just an emotional need. Connecting with adults who love them is an essential factor in the physical development of children’s brains. The growth of the brain is dependent on experiencing a relationship with a caring adult.

Relationships that are ‘connecting’ and allow for collaboration appear to offer children a wealth of interpersonal closeness that supports the development of many domains, including social, emotional, and cognitive functioning.

Developing a close connection with a child doesn’t just encourage the child to develop skills but actually programs the brain to use what it learns well. Experience shapes brain structure. How we treat our children changes that they are and how they develop. Their brains need parental involvement. Nature needs nurture.

To conclude we all know that a strong and secure connection between you and the children you love is essential for all of you to flourish.

Welcoming Children

As you say good-bye to some children, you will be saying hello to others. Or you may be welcoming all the children back after a long summer holiday. Feeling welcome is important to children. It puts them at ease and helps them adjust more easily to their surroundings.

One way to make children feel that they belong is to learn their names quickly. Help them, too, to learn each others names. Names are special to each of us. Having someone say “Hi, Rahul,” or “Hello, Jaya,” when you walk through the door sends a strong message that you belong.

The physical environment also sends messages to children. A brightly colored bulletin board filled with interesting things says, “Were glad you’re here!” Giving each child his own personal space and allowing the child to make a special name tag for it says, “You’re special.” Asking children about their favorite books and putting some of those books in the book corner the next day tells children, “People here will listen to you.”

A third way to make children feel welcome is to find some time to talk to each child individually. Find out how many brothers and sisters they have, if they have any pets, what they like to do, and what’s going on at home or in their neighborhoods. This tells children that you care about them as individuals.

Another way to welcome school-age children is to include them in decision making. This tells children that their ideas are important. Until you know the children well, it will be easier if you provide simple choices. For example, you could present two activities or two possible snacks for next week and allow them to vote on which one they want. This method works especially well with younger children who may have difficulty thinking up ideas on their own or deciding among many options. As you get to know the children better and they become more knowledgeable about the child care setting, you can offer them even more responsibility.

Feeling welcome is important to all of us. When you let children know in many different ways that they belong, you are building a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

Curiosity - The Fuel of development

Children are such curious creatures. They explore, question, and wonder, and by doing so, learn. From the moment of birth, likely even before, humans are drawn to new things. When we are curious about something new, we want to explore it. And while exploring we discover. By turning the light switch on and off over and over again, the toddler is learning about cause and effect. By pouring water into a dozen different-shaped containers and on the floor and over clothes, the 4-year-old is learning pre-concepts of mass and volume. A child discovers the sweetness of chocolate, the sourness of lemon, the heat of the radiator, and the cold of ice.

The Cycle of Learning

If a child stays curious, he will continue to explore and discover. The 5-year-old finds tadpoles in a tiny pool of mud on the playground. This discovery gives him pleasure. When he experiences the joy of discovery, he will want to repeat his exploration of the pond. Pleasure leads to repetition. Each day, he and his classmates return. The tadpoles grow legs. Repetition leads to mastery. The children learn that tadpoles become frogs – a concrete example of a complex biological process. Mastery – in this case, understanding that tadpoles become frogs – leads to confidence. Confidence increases a willingness to act on curiosity – to explore, discover, and learn. “Can we bring tadpoles into the class? How do other baby animals grow up? Why don’t dog babies lose their tails?” This positive cycle of learning is fueled by curiosity and the pleasure that comes from discovery and mastery.

Shared Discovery

What is most pleasurable about discovery and mastery is sharing it with someone else. (“Teacher, come look! Tadpoles!”) We are social creatures. The most positive reinforcement – the greatest reward and the greatest pleasure – comes from the adoring and admiring gaze, comments and support from someone we love and respect. The teacher smiles, claps, and comments, “You are great. Look at all these tadpoles! You are our science expert!” This rewarding approval causes a surge of pleasure and pride that can sustain the child through new challenges and frustrations. Approval can generalize and help build confidence and self-esteem. So later in the day, when this boy is struggling with the introduction of simple math concepts, rather than eroding his esteem by thinking, “I’m stupid, I don’t understand,” he can think, “I don’t get this, but I’m the one who knows about tadpoles.”

Constrained Curiosity

For too many children, curiosity fades. Curiosity dimmed is a future denied. Our potential – emotional, social, and cognitive – is expressed through the quantity and quality of our experiences. And the less-curious child will make fewer new friends, join fewer social groups, read fewer books, and take fewer hikes. The less-curious child is harder to teach because he is harder to inspire, enthuse, and motivate.

There are three common ways adults constrain or even crush the enthusiastic exploration of the curious child: 1) fear, 2) disapproval and 3) absence.

Fear: Fear kills curiosity. When the child’s world is chaotic or when he is afraid, he will not like novelty. He will seek the familiar, staying in his comfort zone, unwilling to leave and explore new things. Children impacted by war, natural disasters, family distress, or violence all have their curiosity crushed.

Disapproval: “Don’t touch. Don’t climb. Don’t yell. Don’t take that apart. Don’t get dirty. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.” Children sense and respond to our fears, biases, and attitudes. If we convey a sense of disgust at the mud on their shoes and the slime on their hands, their discovery of tadpoles will be diminished.

Absence: The presence of a caring, invested adult provides two things essential for optimal exploration:
1) a sense of safety from which to set out to discover new things and 2) the capacity to share the discovery and, thereby, get the pleasure and reinforcement from that discovery.

Conclusion:

Recognize individual differences in children’s styles of curiosity. Some want to explore with only their minds, others in more physical ways – touching, smelling, tasting, and climbing. To some degree these differences are related to temperamental differences in the exploratory drive. Some children are more timid; others are more comfortable with novelty and physical exploration. Yet even the timid child will be very curious; he may require more encouragement and reinforcement to leave safe and familiar situations. Try to redefine “failure.” In truth, curiosity often leads to more mess than mastery, but it is how we handle the mess that helps encourage further exploration, and thereby, development. Redefine failure. When the 5-year-old is learning to jump rope and he trips a thousand times, this is not a thousand failures – it is determination. Use your attention and approval to reinforce the exploring child. When exploration in the classroom is disruptive or inappropriate, contain it by teaching the child when and where to do that kind of exploration

If we let them, children can reintroduce us to the world. When we truly allow a child to share his discoveries with us, we experience the joys of rediscovery – and in doing so, learn ourselves.

Importance of Early Childhood Education

Participating in a quality early childhood education program significantly increases a child’s chances of success in school and life. A good-quality early childhood education program prepares children to start elementary school with a willingness and ability to learn. Some important areas of concentration in these programs include motor development, coordination and language development. Other fundamental curriculum should include communication skills and general knowledge, as well as social and emotional development. By helping a child develop these basic abilities, teachers can help to ensure a child’s success in both primary and secondary school.

Impact of early childhood education

One of the biggest impacts of a quality early childhood education program is that the children enter primary school ready and willing to learn. It helps to bridge the learning gap between disadvantaged children and those who have a head start in life due to their home environment. These children are excited to learn and have the tools to do so. Teaching children cognitive, social and emotional skills tends to result in improved health and behavior in the classroom. The long-term impact of early education is also significant.

Teachers’ roles in early childhood education

Early childhood education teachers are responsible for shaping the educational paths these children will take.

Teachers have to create a nurturing and safe environment for the children that keep them engaged and encourage them to learn the curriculum. Teachers become caregivers for all the hours of the day that children spend in the classroom. Teaching diversity and acceptance is necessary in this multicultural society. The biggest role the teacher will have is as an authority figure who must gently guide the children down an educational path that will give them a strong foundation for a quality primary and secondary education.

Key elements of an effective early education program

One of the most important elements of a successful early childhood education program is the environment. Teaching should take place in an engaging environment with all necessary learning tools available to teachers and students. Open communication is crucial between parents and teachers to provide the best possible early education. Core concepts like cause and effect and decision making are also essential. Effective programs will concentrate on basic language skills and cognitive development, and they will provide an outlet for creative expression and acceptance. Quality teachers, involved parents and plenty of resources make early childhood educations programs the foundation kids need for health and success.

For Parents Only : Teaching Your Child through Play

During the early stages of our country, child’s play was considered a waste of time. Little thought was given to the importance that play contributed to the developing child. For the last few decades educators and researchers have been fascinated with how children play. Those who study the developmentally appropriate activities of children realize that play should begin early in life. And parents must provide opportunities for children to play and to learn from observations and actions as well as from being told.

Play teaches children to make friends. Without this interaction with others, they fail to develop social skills. And without appropriate social skills, children may become angry and act out. When this happens, other children avoid them.

When working with children with special needs, play is essential to building skills. Because of a disability, the child often displays low self-esteem and a poor self-concept. For these children, play doesn’t come easy. They must be taught. If parents over-protect, children may also lack the needed peer pressure that being part of a group provides.

Language develops and vocabulary building increases when children play. Watch two or more children playing “dress-up.” What are they saying? How will they choose what to wear? Which one is the leader? Which is the follower?

Parents incorporate play in their child’s natural environment. Play should not be rigid, but find ways to incorporate it in the child’s world. Play becomes a reflection of society-what we do, how we live, how we relate to others. Watching a small child at play, they usually recreate some aspect of their life. Often little girls want to be the “mother” and boys the “father. Other times, a hero figure. Or, a community helper. By observing these times, parents may see signs of how the child feels about himself/herself. Parents may also see a replay of how they discipline, how they react to stressful situations, or how their family spends time together.

Socialization with other children develops when children play. Children are not born with the concept of sharing. Young boys and girls want to please adults and they realize that pleasing happens when they work together. Parents can teach good manners, language development and respect through unstructured play. Ask yourself: How can you allow your child to develop her own activities? What items exist in your home that allows creativity to develop in a natural way?

Play as it Relates to Growth and Development

Through play, parents have unlimited activities to help their child through cognitive, emotional, physical and social development.

Cognitive

Cognitive, also called intellectual and mental development, occurs when there is an increase in the child’s basic store of knowledge; it occurs as result of experiences with objects and people. Parents can promote cognitive growth by using some of the following activities.

  • Sort clothing by shape, size, color and need. Who in the family wears this item of clothing?
  • Organize space for “pretend activities.” In playing doctor, where will the office be located? What will substitute for a stethoscope?
  • Use problem-solving activities, such as how much water should be added to sand to make a mold?
  • Allow children to assign character roles in play. For example, in playing store, who will be the storekeeper, the customer, the produce person?
  • Read to your child each day. Parents who begin reading and looking at picture books when their children as infants, see a difference in language development and other cognitive skills.

Emotional and Social

Emotional and social benefits come when children in play situations are force to consider the viewpoints of their playmates. Although most parents are not trained as play therapists, they can be aware of how children explore different emotions (anger, sadness, and so on) and various social roles in play. Parents can help in the following ways:

  • If a stressful situation has occurred, talk about and help the child re-enact through play.
  • Use “what-if” situations for teaching.
  • Provide one less toy than children. Allow the children to decide who gets the toys and who has to wait their turn. Observe children who need more practice in sharing.
  • Provide ways to act out feelings through art, music, or dance. Provide paper and crayons and ask the child to draw how they feel, such as moving to a new community? Or, when they have a birthday?
  • Play board games together as a family. Teach your child that in many games there are loses and winners. Also, look for games where the object is not “winning or losing” but simply the fun of playing.

Physical

Physical development includes both fine motor (dexterity of the hand and fingers) and gross motor (running, jumping, hopping, and moving in response to rhythm). If parents understand that through play, children learn best-then they realize the importance of moving away from passive behavior, such as watch television or viewing videos and computer games. Fine motor activities that promote development of small muscles include:

  • Using play dough, shape, mold and create objects. Supply cookie cutters, a rolling pin and wax paper from the kitchen. Find a simple recipe for inexpensive, safe dough and allow your child to help.
  • String beads or large pieces of pasta on a string for a necklace or rope.
  • Practice fine motor control by using puzzles. Small fingers pick up and place pieces in the correct location. Also, good for cognitive development.
  • Paint at an easel. Use large brushes and big pieces of paper.
  • Teach your child to play a musical instrument. There’s no better practice for fine motor control.
    Gross motor activities allow the child to develop the large muscles of the body, become physically fit, while getting rid of excess energy.
  • Provide individual jump ropes. Check out a book of rhymes from your library or recall those you used as a youngster.
  • Kick a soccer ball (feet only) outdoors or inside a gym.
  • Organize relay races. Mark off the distance, depending on the age and physical condition of the child. Participate as a family.
  • Give your child swimming lesson or better yet, teach them yourself.
  • Provide a safe place for climbing, whether a tree in your backyard or a play tower.
  • ConclusionPlay is to a child, as work is to an adult. As parents, we must respect our children’s play and trust them to learn from this aspect of growth and development.

Art Influences Learning

Introduction Much has been written about how art enhances creativity, imagination, and self-esteem, but far less is said about how art encourages cognition, critical thinking, and learning. Our current education system places great emphasis on academic development. As a result, arts programs are being reduced or even eliminated from classrooms to accommodate more didactic teaching methods. While art educators and child development specialists recognize that the arts are not a “frill” or enrichment activity, the arts are basic to education. With the many challenges our education system faces today, combining art with academic subjects in the classroom becomes increasingly important.How Art Impacts Learning OutcomesWhat makes art such a great teaching tool? Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops Cognitive, Social, Emotional and Sensori-Motor skills. Art is a cooperative learning experience that provides pleasure, challenge, and a sense of mastery. Instruction in the arts is one of the best ways in which to involve the different modes of learning; through art, children learn complex thinking skills and master developmental tasks.Child development is a sequential process: Children progress from simple to complex abilities. Art activities provide children with sensory learning experiences they can master at their own rate. Art materials and techniques range from the simplest to the most complex. Young preschoolers can explore dozens of non-toxic art materials directly with their hands or with a myriad of painting and clay tools. Older children can select art materials that offer greater complexity and challenge. Art manufacturers provide an exciting range of tools with which children can work. Tree branches, shells, sponges, found objects, or simple kitchen tools can easily become art accessories as well. Each art material and accessory provides different skill development and has the potential for new discoveries and a creative classroom offers a wide range of art materials and tools for exploration and learning.Integrating Art into the ClassroomArt is an outstanding tool for teaching not only developmental skills, but also academic subjects such as math, science, and literacy. The most effective learning takes place when children do something related to the topic they are learning. When children study any given concept, they learn it better and retain it longer if they do an art activity that reinforces that learning. This information has been recognized by teachers since the time of Confucius, when he said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”Art & LiteracyArt activities are a great way to promote literacy and language development. Children who draw pictures of stories they have read improve their reading comprehension, and are motivated to read new material. Art tools introduce pre-writing experiences, as early learners grasp tools that later help them hold a pencil for writing. Art develops expressive and reflective skills that enhance writing, and also promotes print awareness, spatial relation skills, visual literacy, and verbal creativity.Art & MathArt can be looked at through the lens of mathematics. Young children can work with simple collage materials and beads to introduce numbers, positive and negative space, classification, and sequencing and pattern recognition. Math is not just about numbers, formulas and logic; math is also about structure, symmetry, shape and beauty. Conversely, art is not only about emotion, color and aesthetics, but also about rhythm, patterns and problem solving.Involving Parents in the ProcessArt can be incorporated across the curriculum and can also be encouraged as a family activity. Parents are valuable resources for facilitating learning. We often hear parents get excited about their children’s art and talk about how charming it is. “Oh, my! What a beautiful picture!” As educators, we can help parents become more aware about the value of art.Art activities involve processes as well as products. It is the process of doing art that is so important to learning. While parents tend to focus on the product, educators can call attention to the process. Once parents acknowledge the value of art, they are more likely to keep art supplies at home, designate a household area for “messy art,” and become more involved generally in art. Statements to parents about their children’s art can have a big impact on their attitudes and actions. When a parent praises a child’s art in front of you, try making a statement about the learning process involved.ConclusionChildren love art because it’s fun and provides them with authentic self-expression: The freedom of choice, thought, and feeling. Art teaches important skills for living and develops young minds. Arts education helps students develop skills needed for most jobs in later life, including creative thinking, problem solving, and exercise of individual responsibility, sociability and self esteem.

Managing your Child's Fears

Introduction Babies are unpredictable. In the early days of their lives they are like fearless, intrepid explorers. They go boldly into the great unknown. Then overnight these brave adventurers become scared of their own shadows. They develop the most irrational fears. They are scared of the most innocuous things. Sometimes you can’t help but feel impatient when you see your child screaming hysterically at the sight of a dog or at the sound of the fire engine alarm. The whole thing seems inexplicable.You have to understand that your child’s early fearlessness stems from the fact that ignorance is bliss. What they don’t know can’t hurt them. This is why the same child that cheerfully put her hand between the jaws of a dog, will later run away screaming at the sight of a barking dog. Somewhere along the way she has learnt that dogs can bite. As the child grows older, her imagination and curiosity develop side by side. She learns the potential dangers of certain actions and objects and the reasons why it is so. As she makes these connections, her awareness makes her cautious and sometimes frightened.It has been observed that these fears develop more often in children for whom feeding and toilet training have been contentious issues, or in those who have overprotective parents or who have been regularly warned or cautioned against doing certain things. On the other hand, some children are just born sensitive.Fear of the dark Fear of the dark is one of the most common childhood fears. This is also a fear that adults can most easily identify with. The average adult is not as confident and even a little shaky in the dark. The lack of the ability to see clearly acts as a spur to the imagination leading most people to imagine that somebody is creeping up on them. If your child is scared of the dark you can indulge her by leaving her bedroom door open or leaving a night light on. Keep her well occupied with games and other activities throughout the day so that she has no time to brood on her fears. In time, she will realize that there is nothing to fear.Tangible fears Sometimes children develop fears of tangible things like dogs, cockroaches, the water, men in uniforms, etc. It is not necessary for the child to have had a frightening experience with any of the objects of their fears. It will certainly not help to coerce them to overcome their fear by forcing them to confront the objects of their fears. There is a good chance that dragging your screaming child towards a dog or throwing her into a swimming pool is going to backfire. Children most often outgrow these fears themselves.Fear at the movies Some parents think that their child would find a trip to the movies a fascinating experience. Picking out an appropriate animated feature, they sally forth with the child. Much to their astonishment, the child begins to wail when the wicked witch appears in the first five minutes and demands to be taken home. Parents must remember that children below the age of seven often find it difficult to separate fiction and reality because of their overactive imaginations. Thus, movies may not be a good idea for children in this age group.A positive approach Always keep in mind that while you may not understand the child’s fear, it is very real to her. Ridiculing the fear or chastising your child for being a coward is not going to make the situation any better. Encourage her to talk about her fear. You must instill confidence in her by assuring her that nothing bad is going to happen and that you are right by her side. While it is important to be sympathetic, do not overdo it. Your child may get the message that her fears are justified.

Importance of Early Childhood Education

Participating in a quality early childhood education program significantly increases a child’s chances of success in school and life. A good-quality early childhood education program prepares children to start elementary school with a willingness and ability to learn. Some important areas of concentration in these programs include motor development, coordination and language development. Other fundamental curriculum should include communication skills and general knowledge, as well as social and emotional development. By helping a child develop these basic abilities, teachers can help to ensure a child’s success in both primary and secondary school.Impact of early childhood educationOne of the biggest impacts of a quality early childhood education program is that the children enter primary school ready and willing to learn. It helps to bridge the learning gap between disadvantaged children and those who have a head start in life due to their home environment. These children are excited to learn and have the tools to do so. Teaching children cognitive, social and emotional skills tends to result in improved health and behavior in the classroom. The long-term impact of early education is also significant.Teachers’ roles in early childhood educationEarly childhood education teachers are responsible for shaping the educational paths these children will take.Teachers have to create a nurturing and safe environment for the children that keep them engaged and encourage them to learn the curriculum. Teachers become caregivers for all the hours of the day that children spend in the classroom. Teaching diversity and acceptance is necessary in this multicultural society. The biggest role the teacher will have is as an authority figure who must gently guide the children down an educational path that will give them a strong foundation for a quality primary and secondary education.Key elements of an effective early education programOne of the most important elements of a successful early childhood education program is the environment. Teaching should take place in an engaging environment with all necessary learning tools available to teachers and students. Open communication is crucial between parents and teachers to provide the best possible early education. Core concepts like cause and effect and decision making are also essential. Effective programs will concentrate on basic language skills and cognitive development, and they will provide an outlet for creative expression and acceptance. Quality teachers, involved parents and plenty of resources make early childhood educations programs the foundation kids need for health and success.

For Parents Only : Teaching Your Child through Play

During the early stages of our country, child’s play was considered a waste of time. Little thought was given to the importance that play contributed to the developing child. For the last few decades educators and researchers have been fascinated with how children play. Those who study the developmentally appropriate activities of children realize that play should begin early in life. And parents must provide opportunities for children to play and to learn from observations and actions as well as from being told.Play teaches children to make friends. Without this interaction with others, they fail to develop social skills. And without appropriate social skills, children may become angry and act out. When this happens, other children avoid them.When working with children with special needs, play is essential to building skills. Because of a disability, the child often displays low self-esteem and a poor self-concept. For these children, play doesn’t come easy. They must be taught. If parents over-protect, children may also lack the needed peer pressure that being part of a group provides.Language develops and vocabulary building increases when children play. Watch two or more children playing “dress-up.” What are they saying? How will they choose what to wear? Which one is the leader? Which is the follower?Parents incorporate play in their child’s natural environment. Play should not be rigid, but find ways to incorporate it in the child’s world. Play becomes a reflection of society-what we do, how we live, how we relate to others. Watching a small child at play, they usually recreate some aspect of their life. Often little girls want to be the “mother” and boys the “father. Other times, a hero figure. Or, a community helper. By observing these times, parents may see signs of how the child feels about himself/herself. Parents may also see a replay of how they discipline, how they react to stressful situations, or how their family spends time together.Socialization with other children develops when children play. Children are not born with the concept of sharing. Young boys and girls want to please adults and they realize that pleasing happens when they work together. Parents can teach good manners, language development and respect through unstructured play. Ask yourself: How can you allow your child to develop her own activities? What items exist in your home that allows creativity to develop in a natural way?Play as it Relates to Growth and DevelopmentThrough play, parents have unlimited activities to help their child through cognitive, emotional, physical and social development.CognitiveCognitive, also called intellectual and mental development, occurs when there is an increase in the child’s basic store of knowledge; it occurs as result of experiences with objects and people. Parents can promote cognitive growth by using some of the following activities.

  • Sort clothing by shape, size, color and need. Who in the family wears this item of clothing?
  • Organize space for “pretend activities.” In playing doctor, where will the office be located? What will substitute for a stethoscope?
  • Use problem-solving activities, such as how much water should be added to sand to make a mold?
  • Allow children to assign character roles in play. For example, in playing store, who will be the storekeeper, the customer, the produce person?
  • Read to your child each day. Parents who begin reading and looking at picture books when their children as infants, see a difference in language development and other cognitive skills.

Emotional and Social

Emotional and social benefits come when children in play situations are force to consider the viewpoints of their playmates. Although most parents are not trained as play therapists, they can be aware of how children explore different emotions (anger, sadness, and so on) and various social roles in play. Parents can help in the following ways:

  • If a stressful situation has occurred, talk about and help the child re-enact through play.
  • Use “what-if” situations for teaching.
  • Provide one less toy than children. Allow the children to decide who gets the toys and who has to wait their turn. Observe children who need more practice in sharing.
  • Provide ways to act out feelings through art, music, or dance. Provide paper and crayons and ask the child to draw how they feel, such as moving to a new community? Or, when they have a birthday?
  • Play board games together as a family. Teach your child that in many games there are loses and winners. Also, look for games where the object is not “winning or losing” but simply the fun of playing.

Physical

Physical development includes both fine motor (dexterity of the hand and fingers) and gross motor (running, jumping, hopping, and moving in response to rhythm). If parents understand that through play, children learn best-then they realize the importance of moving away from passive behavior, such as watch television or viewing videos and computer games. Fine motor activities that promote development of small muscles include:

  • Using play dough, shape, mold and create objects. Supply cookie cutters, a rolling pin and wax paper from the kitchen. Find a simple recipe for inexpensive, safe dough and allow your child to help.
  • String beads or large pieces of pasta on a string for a necklace or rope.
  • Practice fine motor control by using puzzles. Small fingers pick up and place pieces in the correct location. Also, good for cognitive development.
  • Paint at an easel. Use large brushes and big pieces of paper.
  • Teach your child to play a musical instrument. There’s no better practice for fine motor control.
    Gross motor activities allow the child to develop the large muscles of the body, become physically fit, while getting rid of excess energy.
  • Provide individual jump ropes. Check out a book of rhymes from your library or recall those you used as a youngster.
  • Kick a soccer ball (feet only) outdoors or inside a gym.
  • Organize relay races. Mark off the distance, depending on the age and physical condition of the child. Participate as a family.
  • Give your child swimming lesson or better yet, teach them yourself.
  • Provide a safe place for climbing, whether a tree in your backyard or a play tower.

Conclusion

Play is to a child, as work is to an adult. As parents, we must respect our children’s play and trust them to learn from this aspect of growth and development.

Art Influences Learning

Introduction

Much has been written about how art enhances creativity, imagination, and self-esteem, but far less is said about how art encourages cognition, critical thinking, and learning. Our current education system places great emphasis on academic development. As a result, arts programs are being reduced or even eliminated from classrooms to accommodate more didactic teaching methods. While art educators and child development specialists recognize that the arts are not a “frill” or enrichment activity, the arts are basic to education. With the many challenges our education system faces today, combining art with academic subjects in the classroom becomes increasingly important.

How Art Impacts Learning Outcomes

What makes art such a great teaching tool? Art engages children’s senses in open-ended play and develops

Cognitive, Social, Emotional and Sensori-Motor skills. Art is a cooperative learning experience that provides pleasure, challenge, and a sense of mastery. Instruction in the arts is one of the best ways in which to involve the different modes of learning; through art, children learn complex thinking skills and master developmental tasks.

Child development is a sequential process: Children progress from simple to complex abilities. Art activities provide children with sensory learning experiences they can master at their own rate. Art materials and techniques range from the simplest to the most complex. Young preschoolers can explore dozens of non-toxic art materials directly with their hands or with a myriad of painting and clay tools. Older children can select art materials that offer greater complexity and challenge. Art manufacturers provide an exciting range of tools with which children can work. Tree branches, shells, sponges, found objects, or simple kitchen tools can easily become art accessories as well. Each art material and accessory provides different skill development and has the potential for new discoveries and a creative classroom offers a wide range of art materials and tools for exploration and learning.

Integrating Art into the Classroom

Art is an outstanding tool for teaching not only developmental skills, but also academic subjects such as math, science, and literacy. The most effective learning takes place when children do something related to the topic they are learning. When children study any given concept, they learn it better and retain it longer if they do an art activity that reinforces that learning. This information has been recognized by teachers since the time of Confucius, when he said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”

Art & Literacy

Art activities are a great way to promote literacy and language development. Children who draw pictures of stories they have read improve their reading comprehension, and are motivated to read new material. Art tools introduce pre-writing experiences, as early learners grasp tools that later help them hold a pencil for writing. Art develops expressive and reflective skills that enhance writing, and also promotes print awareness, spatial relation skills, visual literacy, and verbal creativity.

Art & Math

Art can be looked at through the lens of mathematics. Young children can work with simple collage materials and beads to introduce numbers, positive and negative space, classification, and sequencing and pattern recognition. Math is not just about numbers, formulas and logic; math is also about structure, symmetry, shape and beauty. Conversely, art is not only about emotion, color and aesthetics, but also about rhythm, patterns and problem solving.

Involving Parents in the Process

Art can be incorporated across the curriculum and can also be encouraged as a family activity. Parents are valuable resources for facilitating learning. We often hear parents get excited about their children’s art and talk about how charming it is. “Oh, my! What a beautiful picture!” As educators, we can help parents become more aware about the value of art.

Art activities involve processes as well as products. It is the process of doing art that is so important to learning. While parents tend to focus on the product, educators can call attention to the process. Once parents acknowledge the value of art, they are more likely to keep art supplies at home, designate a household area for “messy art,” and become more involved generally in art. Statements to parents about their children’s art can have a big impact on their attitudes and actions. When a parent praises a child’s art in front of you, try making a statement about the learning process involved.

Conclusion

Children love art because it’s fun and provides them with authentic self-expression: The freedom of choice, thought, and feeling. Art teaches important skills for living and develops young minds. Arts education helps students develop skills needed for most jobs in later life, including creative thinking, problem solving, and exercise of individual responsibility, sociability and self esteem.

Managing your Child's Fears

Introduction

Babies are unpredictable. In the early days of their lives they are like fearless, intrepid explorers. They go boldly into the great unknown. Then overnight these brave adventurers become scared of their own shadows. They develop the most irrational fears. They are scared of the most innocuous things. Sometimes you can’t help but feel impatient when you see your child screaming hysterically at the sight of a dog or at the sound of the fire engine alarm. The whole thing seems inexplicable.

You have to understand that your child’s early fearlessness stems from the fact that ignorance is bliss. What they don’t know can’t hurt them. This is why the same child that cheerfully put her hand between the jaws of a dog, will later run away screaming at the sight of a barking dog. Somewhere along the way she has learnt that dogs can bite. As the child grows older, her imagination and curiosity develop side by side. She learns the potential dangers of certain actions and objects and the reasons why it is so. As she makes these connections, her awareness makes her cautious and sometimes frightened.

It has been observed that these fears develop more often in children for whom feeding and toilet training have been contentious issues, or in those who have overprotective parents or who have been regularly warned or cautioned against doing certain things. On the other hand, some children are just born sensitive.

Fear of the dark

Fear of the dark is one of the most common childhood fears. This is also a fear that adults can most easily identify with. The average adult is not as confident and even a little shaky in the dark. The lack of the ability to see clearly acts as a spur to the imagination leading most people to imagine that somebody is creeping up on them. If your child is scared of the dark you can indulge her by leaving her bedroom door open or leaving a night light on. Keep her well occupied with games and other activities throughout the day so that she has no time to brood on her fears. In time, she will realize that there is nothing to fear.

Tangible fears

Sometimes children develop fears of tangible things like dogs, cockroaches, the water, men in uniforms, etc. It is not necessary for the child to have had a frightening experience with any of the objects of their fears. It will certainly not help to coerce them to overcome their fear by forcing them to confront the objects of their fears. There is a good chance that dragging your screaming child towards a dog or throwing her into a swimming pool is going to backfire. Children most often outgrow these fears themselves.

Fear at the movies

Some parents think that their child would find a trip to the movies a fascinating experience. Picking out an appropriate animated feature, they sally forth with the child. Much to their astonishment, the child begins to wail when the wicked witch appears in the first five minutes and demands to be taken home. Parents must remember that children below the age of seven often find it difficult to separate fiction and reality because of their overactive imaginations. Thus, movies may not be a good idea for children in this age group.

A positive approach

Always keep in mind that while you may not understand the child’s fear, it is very real to her. Ridiculing the fear or chastising your child for being a coward is not going to make the situation any better. Encourage her to talk about her fear. You must instill confidence in her by assuring her that nothing bad is going to happen and that you are right by her side. While it is important to be sympathetic, do not overdo it. Your child may get the message that her fears are justified.

The Four E’s of Parenting - Example, Education: Explicit and Implicit,Experience,<br /> Encouragement:

The Four E’s of parenting provide a concrete way for you to think about helping your child accomplish desired learning and appropriate behavior. You are the key player. Instead of just wishing your child would behave, you are responsible for the teaching, training, and follow-through.

The Four E’s sometimes overlap, but that is fitting, as this provides reinforcement and fortification for your child’s learning. Life is like that. It matters more how you do something, than what you do.

Example:

Example is the most powerful teacher in the world. Your influence on your child is almost immeasurable. You have the ability to set the tone for the day, to listen patiently, to be compassionate, and to organize your home in loving and fun ways. This influence belongs to you! If you use it wisely, you will make the greatest impact possible on your child.

Check yourself to see if the example you are setting is the one you want to set. Do you behave in ways that you want your child to behave? Do you speak to your child and to others the way you want to hear your child speak? If you want your child to be kind and patient, are you kind and patient? Do you complain? Procrastinate? Swear? Yell? If you do, it is likely that your child will too. When you speak to and about your spouse, are you respectful, loving, and kind? Your child will learn how to talk to you and to others by the way you speak to and about others. Your child will absorb your mannerisms and habits like a sponge and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Be the kind of person you want your child to become. Example is the most powerful tool you have.

Education:

We can intentionally and consciously teach children things we want them to know. We can teach them skills for living, manners for getting along, and we can teach them ways to make decisions. The two kinds of education that we typically use are explicit and implicit. Explicit teaching occurs when we think in advance about something that we want to teach our child, and then set up a learning experience, such as baking a cake. Implicit teaching occurs when we read children’s literature and talk informally about things in life. Implicit teaching also occurs as our children watch our every move and internalize what we teach with our lives.

Experience:

In order to become skilled at anything, we need opportunities to experience the process and practice the skill. Growing up is a time for practicing and gaining experience in life. Children have not yet mastered all of the behaviors and skills that we sometimes expect from them. When misbehavior occurs, we may look at it as an opportunity to provide more practice (experience), education, and support for the desired learning. Remember when you learned to type? If the teacher punished you when you made mistakes, and then took the typewriter away because you still made mistakes the third or fourth time you typed, you would never have learned to be successful in that skill!

Encouragement:

Your child, like all children, will do better when he feels good about himself and his relationship with you, not in a sappy, permissive way, but in a caring and supportive way. We can encourage our children to try, try again, keep trying, and find different ways to try. Relationships are the greatest motivation for appropriate behavior. Focusing on the child and the relationship is often a better way to improve behavior than is focusing on the behavior itself. Think about something you love to do and have become good at. Either you struggled alone, which wasn’t very fun and made it a lot harder, or you had some encouragement from others. Children will be more successful if they are full ofcourage!

Putting It Into Practice:

You can put the Four E’s into practice for any skill or behavior that you want your child to develop. Remember the steps: example, education, experience, and encouragement. First consider what it is you want your child to learn. Look at yourself as an example. Does your behavior need some tweaking and finishing before you expect better of your child? Be honest and willing to grow. Criticism is really a discouragement strategy whether we use it on our children or on ourselves. Just decide what you want to do better, and start doing.

Now consider some ways that you can really teach the idea or skill to your child. Is there a game you could play? Is it something done every day in your home, and you just need to allow your child to get involved with some pointers and some practice? Dusting is one such skill. Other household chores are also easily taught in a fun and cooperative way.

Think about how and when your child will practice this new knowledge and turn it into learning. We haven’t really learned something until we use it! Get ready to encourage, support, laugh, and guide. Keeping our long-term goals in mind will help us relax and enjoy the process.

Conclusion

This model for teaching can be adapted and used for anything you want your child to learn. If things aren’t working out, perhaps another teaching method in the education step will help, or, perhaps they need more practice. Remember, telling is not teaching! Teaching requires opportunities for new knowledge, practice, and mastery.

When it comes to behavior, our children are counting on us to know what to do. If we want them to be kind, when they pick up a block to throw at another child, we tell them firmly and clearly to put it down, and we follow through by walking toward them to remove the block. Then if desired, use the Four E’s to teach about kindness, impulse control, feelings, and more! What a wonderful way to show your child that you love him and to help him be successful in the world.

Does Your Child Watch Too Much TV?

There was a time when homework was given first priority, and everything else followed. However, nowadays it seems that the only time children do their homework is when nothing good is coming on television. Television is affecting sleep, studies, mealtimes etc. If your child’s favorite programme is on, she will only go to bed when it gets over. The ‘trash’ that might affect young, impressionable minds gives parents sleepless nights. So how would one tackle this problem?

  • Make it a Family Decision: If you tell your child “No watching television after 9:30 at night,” you can be sure that’s one rule that’s not going to be adhered to. You should involve your child in the decision as well. Have a family meeting and say “There’s a problem. How are ‘we’ going to solve it?”
  • Choices: Give your child the choice of programmes and timings. Sit with her while she makes a study plan and tell her that this plan will have to be adhered to. Let her choose for herself when she wants to study and when she wants to watch television. You will, however, have to hold her to it. The minute you slack off, so will your child.
  • Watching Trash: Children may be drawn towards programmes with violent or horror themes. You may find it unsuitable, but arguing will get you nowhere. You could, instead, sit with your children and discuss the programme after it is over.
  • Let Children Think for themselves: Don’t impose your opinions. Teach them into expressing their own. Let the child express their feelings and this would bring in more clarity in their thought process.
  • Educational Programmes: Encourage your children to watch educational programmes on television. They would only be interested in watching Discovery Channel and the like if you inculcate an interest in such channels.
  • Cartoons: Get your children a colouring book of their favourite cartoon characters. Encourage them to sketch these favourite characters. You never know what undiscovered creative talents are hiding behind their mischievous exteriors. The television need not be such an enemy if you know how to cope with it, and use it to your advantage

Do you spank your child?

The early childhood years, the years from birth to age eight, are a good time-indeed, the best time to help children look on the bright side of life. The early years are critically formative years during which basic characteristics and attitudes are developed and reinforced. The following are some things we can do to help children think and act in a positive manner.

  • Instill in children a desire to try, try and try again. As we all know, life is full of failures. However, we can teach children that they do not have to be satisfied with failures, and that one path to success is following the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Too often, parents and other adults provide children with neither the encouragement, the support, or self-confidence they need to try again. Sadly, some children are allowed to think that one attempt or a series of halfhearted attempts are sufficient. Such thinking can lead to failure, feelings of pessimism, and a diminished sense of self-worth.
  • Help children succeed and be successful. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. Positivism is built on success and achievement. This means that parent and teachers have to help children develop skills that lead to success. For example, children need to learn and master the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic which enable them to confidently and competently complete school work. Being successful in school leads to success in life and a positive attitude.
  • Help children think positively about life and life events. We can help children learn that the glass is half full rather than half empty, that there is always another time and another tomorrow, and generally another chance. In this regard, rather than encouraging children to give up, we can help children learn from their mistakes and make plans for trying again.
  • Help children learn from their mistakes rather than blame themselves for their mistakes. Self-blame can lead to feelings of worthlessness and pessimism. Learning from things that do not go well and making plans for doing better the next time is healthier than self-blame and quitting. Furthermore, children who know that mistakes are acceptable and are a part of learning are much more willing to attempt a task again. Children can learn from their mistakes and grow from these experiences.
  • Make sure children have responsibilities and are responsible for what they do. Having responsibilities for helping at home with chores, completing homework and school assignments, caring for a pet, taking care of themselves and their possessions, and caring for and about others are good ways to instill characteristics of success and achievement. At the same time, making children responsible for their actions helps promote a life-view of success, accomplishment, and positive behavior.
  • Be positive yourself. Children learn to be positive when they have parents, family members, teachers, and others who also look on the bright side of life rather than the dark side. Children constantly look to adults to see how to act. They model their behavior and attitudes after parents and other adults they spend time with and value. Children also turn to significant adults to receive affirmation and confirmation of their actions. For many children, what they see is literally what they are, and what they become.

We can all help children improve their lives day by day by helping them look at life from the positive side rather than the negative. As we help children embrace life and view it through the eyes of an optimist, we will develop our own bright side of life as well.

Look at the Bright Side of Life

The early childhood years, the years from birth to age eight, are a good time-indeed, the best time to help children look on the bright side of life. The early years are critically formative years during which basic characteristics and attitudes are developed and reinforced. The following are some things we can do to help children think and act in a positive manner.

  • Instill in children a desire to try, try and try again. As we all know, life is full of failures. However, we can teach children that they do not have to be satisfied with failures, and that one path to success is following the old adage, “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Too often, parents and other adults provide children with neither the encouragement, the support, or self-confidence they need to try again. Sadly, some children are allowed to think that one attempt or a series of halfhearted attempts are sufficient. Such thinking can lead to failure, feelings of pessimism, and a diminished sense of self-worth.
  • Help children succeed and be successful. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. Positivism is built on success and achievement. This means that parent and teachers have to help children develop skills that lead to success. For example, children need to learn and master the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic which enable them to confidently and competently complete school work. Being successful in school leads to success in life and a positive attitude.
  • Help children think positively about life and life events. We can help children learn that the glass is half full rather than half empty, that there is always another time and another tomorrow, and generally another chance. In this regard, rather than encouraging children to give up, we can help children learn from their mistakes and make plans for trying again.
  • Help children learn from their mistakes rather than blame themselves for their mistakes. Self-blame can lead to feelings of worthlessness and pessimism. Learning from things that do not go well and making plans for doing better the next time is healthier than self-blame and quitting. Furthermore, children who know that mistakes are acceptable and are a part of learning are much more willing to attempt a task again. Children can learn from their mistakes and grow from these experiences.
  • Make sure children have responsibilities and are responsible for what they do. Having responsibilities for helping at home with chores, completing homework and school assignments, caring for a pet, taking care of themselves and their possessions, and caring for and about others are good ways to instill characteristics of success and achievement. At the same time, making children responsible for their actions helps promote a life-view of success, accomplishment, and positive behavior.
  • Be positive yourself. Children learn to be positive when they have parents, family members, teachers, and others who also look on the bright side of life rather than the dark side. Children constantly look to adults to see how to act. They model their behavior and attitudes after parents and other adults they spend time with and value. Children also turn to significant adults to receive affirmation and confirmation of their actions. For many children, what they see is literally what they are, and what they become.

We can all help children improv

The shy child in your class

Jolly, age three, and her mother enter the preschool. Mother says good-bye and turns to leave, but Jolly, thumb in mouth, clings to her. When her mother leaves, the teacher greets Jolly warmly, and says, “When you’re ready, you may make a picture in the art center, join the children playing house, or do something else if you prefer.” Jolly continues to suck her thumb and look down at the floor.

Jolly watches the kids for a long time. The teacher does not coax, prod, or pressure her to make a move before she’s ready. A smile from the teacher gives Jolly some reassurance. Eventually, she gains control and joins another child painting at the easel. Little by little, she gains confidence and plays with the other kids. Whenever an activity seems risky, she withdraws and stands watching, thumb in mouth.

Similar to Jolly there are many children who are shy and would not open up immediately in a new environment.

Shyness is, above all, fear. The child fears rejection, so rather than risk criticism, he or she tries to become “perfect.” There is little room for flexibility and failure is tragic. It seems safer to observe from the sidelines rather than join the group and risk failure.

Shy children seldom cause problems for the teacher. We can unknowingly reinforce shyness by giving greater attention to more assertive kids. We may think of a certain child as shy and even refer to him or her that way. Even if that child is not truly shy, he or she may become shy just by being labeled. Be a role model for parents; show acceptance for the child’s need to wait until ready.

How to Help

Using the problem-solving approach can give shy children more confidence and higher self-esteem. It allows children to express feelings such as anger, frustration, and resentment and encourages kids to solve their problems and conflicts by themselves with minimum teacher intervention. Even shy children can firmly say “stop” to an aggressor. The problem-solving approach sets limits respectfully, without criticism or punishment; affirms children’s self-esteem and self-confidence; and allows time for children to become comfortable. Shy children, when given time, show a great deal of progress between the ages three and five. As a teacher, you can help the shy child. The following suggestions will help.

  • Greet children warmly each day by making eye contact and smiling.
  • Comment when a child plays with a group, but avoid embarrassing or calling too much attention.
  • When you need help, or there is a special task, invite a shy child to do it even if he or she doesn’t speak up.
  • Begin circle time with a song or game that uses every child’s name. This gives each child a moment in the spotlight without being singled out and makes feeling noticed more comfortable.
  • Take pictures of children playing. Make posters and albums of their photos so they can recognize them- selves and their playmates.
  • Initiate group projects and cooperative games that can be played as a team, so shy children can contribute either skills to the group successfully.
  • Encourage role play. During group time, begin telling a story of a child who is starting school. Use the name of a real child in your class. In the story, the child may be on the school bus, playground, or in the classroom when he or she is faced with a challenge: A bigger kid accidentally bumps into him or her; someone calls him or her a silly name; the teacher asks a hard question. Ask kids to add to the story by telling the “hero” how to solve the problem. Take turns with children’s names so that over a period of several weeks, everyone gets to be a “hero.”

Classroom Design and How it Influences Behavior

Early childhood classrooms serve as the physical environment for adults and young children for most of their waking hours. Although it is important for classrooms to be attractive to the eye, it is equally, if not more important, that they function effectively.

A Well-Organized Space

When space is well-organized, with open pathways that clearly lead to activities that offer enough to do, children manage on their own. They can move freely from one activity to another, giving the teacher an opportunity to attend to individual children according to their needs.

Space that is not well-organized creates problem areas. These include dead spaces that encourage wandering and unruly behavior, and pathways that lead nowhere or interfere with play already in progress. When space is poorly organized, children depend on the teacher for guidance and the teacher’s behavior becomes directive. When teachers spend a great deal of time directing group behavior, they have less time to assist individual children and children have fewer opportunities to participate in free play.

Classroom Design and Educational Philosophy

Physical arrangements are designed “to enhance children’s sense of freedom and mobility.” As a result, all materials are displayed and are easily accessible. Children have opportunities to be in contact with a spacious environment that includes clearly marked activity areas that are easily seen and connected by pathways.

At times “the setting is clean, orderly, uncluttered, and suitable for focused work.” Teachers regulate what materials are available and materials are not usually accessible to the children. The classroom is arranged to “focus attention and avoid conflicts and distractions.” The structure is closed and pathways direct children to specific activities. These activities are separated from each other by dividers that provide for privacy and both group and individual work as well as time-out.

The four elements-the learner, the teacher, the subject matter, and the milieu (environment)-can be integrated for effective early childhood programs. There is definitely more to classroom design than meets the eye. A pleasing appearance is of secondary importance to how a design functions in a given situation. Although some alterations are more permanent than others, classroom design is ultimately a tool whose flexibility can be enhanced through planning and modeling before actual change occurs.

Childhood Stress : How adults can help?

A teacher of young children said, “Children share the same problems as adults. There are no small problems-only small people trying to solve the big things they can’t understand. And problems produced stress.” Childhood stress is common in all cultural and socio-economic groups. No one can escape it.

The following anecdotes illustrate stressful situations where adults either helped allay the child anxiety or exacerbated the problem.
Fear of animals, especially large, barking dogs is a common fear among small children. Separation from parents is one of the greatest causes of anxiety and stress for young children. Planning too many activities for young children is another cause of stress.

Causes of Childhood Stress

As adults we tend to view the world of children as happy and carefree. After all, what could youngsters have to worry about? Here are just a few:

  • Illness or death of a family member or friend. Often a child may refuse to leave their parent for fear this person will go away.
  • Divorce or separation in a family. Even when a friend’s parents divorce, the child may believe it will happen to them.
  • Fears and phobias concerning a situation or object.
  • Separation from a primary caregiver-whether a regular teacher who is absent or a parent who drops a child off at a child care center.

Symptoms of Stress in Children

Adults may not always be able to identify stress in children. Some are short-term-others last longer. These symptoms relate to stress:

    • Bedwetting
    • Problems sleeping, bad dreams, or nightmares
    • Hair pulling
    • Fidgeting, thumb sucking
    • Chewing on clothing, pencils, etc.

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  • Stomachaches and headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Withdrawn, wants to be alone

Approaches to Reducing Stress

How can parents and caregivers help children cope with stress? Just be there. Spend time talking with the child. Let the child know they are important in your life. Other ways include:

  • Developing your child’s self-esteem. Children who feel good about themselves have an easier time handling anxiety and stress.
  • Providing proper nutrition and sufficient rest. A diet filled with a variety of lean meat, fruits, vegetables, milk, and grains builds a healthy body that works as a coat of armor against anxieties. Sufficient rest makes a difference in how children face the pressures of the day.
  • Cutting back or reducing after-school activities. Children are often enrolled in far too many extra activities. These functions take away time for “just being a kid!”
  • Discovering ways to calm children. Use a lower voice. Ask for help with a chore. Say, “Who can help me pick up these toys?” Use water and sand play. Invite children to gather in small groups for story time. Move children in small groups during transition between sensory areas. Pair an overactive child with a calmer child. Use activities that require a child time to perform a function, such as blowing bubbles, using modeling clay, or working a puzzle.
  • Anticipating when stress may occur. Prepare your child if a doctor or dentist’s appointment is due. Talk about what may happen at the visit.
  • Using literature to reduce stress. Books are a natural way to see characters in stressful situations and learn how to cope.Realize some stress is normal. Let your child know it’s OK to experience some anger, fear and loneliness. Most parents and teachers have the necessary skills to deal with childhood stress. However, if the behavior continues over a longer period of time or is causing serious problems, make an appointment with your child’s doctor. He or she will recommend competent professional help.

Learning to get dressed

Like to wrestle? Because if you spend any time getting a little kid dressed, that’s probably what you are doing. Trying to get a small child to stand or sit still long enough so you can pull up pants or throw a shirt over their head can be, well, trying. The good news is, learning to get dressed is a sequence of lessons that most preschoolers master by the time they turn five. And like everything else, learning to get dressed is definitely made for teachable moments. Not only do kids have to develop certain gross and fine motor skills to do things like put legs into pant holes or pull up a zipper, they also need to start matching colors and recognizing how to choose clothing that will keep them warm or cool enough, all contributing to a growing sense of independence.

Learning to get dressed isn’t a single skill that your child will learn overnight. Rather, it’s a series of lessons that your child will grow to understand as they grow and mature. Here are some approximate ages of when kids figure out certain aspects of dressing themselves:

  • Starting to get undressed — 12 to 18 months old
  • Can get completely undressed without help — 18 to 24 months old
  • Pull up pants that have an elastic waistband — Two to two and one-half years old
  • Put on socks or a shirt — Two and one-half years to three years old
  • Get dressed and undressed with minimal assistance (including no-tie shoes) — Three to four years old
  • Dress independently including any buttons, snaps, zippers or buckles — four to five years old
  • Tie shoes — between five and seven years old

Don’t stress if your child hasn’t hit one of these milestones. These ages are simply guidelines and depend a lot on your child’s gross motor skills, maturity and interest in the process.

Show and Tell

You may think because your child has been part of the process of you getting her dressed every morning that you can hand her a pair of pants and she’ll pull them right on. And for some kids, that may be the case. But for many children, a simple lesson in how the clothing gets put on will do wonders. Keep it easy. Show on yourself and then help your children get dressed, giving a running commentary on what you are doing.

Simple is Best

To make the process simple, let your child learn on garments that are easy to put on. Loose-fitting clothing that don’t have buttons, zippers or snaps are great to start off with. Elastic waistbands, large openings and pieces that have tags in the back (to avoid putting something on backwards) are also very little-kid friendly.

Make Success Easy to Reach

If your child’s clothing are hanging high in the closet, it is going to be a lot harder for him to start the process. If it is possible, put all the clothing that your little one will need to access at a level that they will be able to reach — use drawers at the bottom of the bureau and lower the bar in the closet if you can. If not, together pick out the outfit that your little one is going to wear. In the beginning give him a few choices — three at the most — of outfits to choose from.

Solicit Her Opinion

The thing about teaching a child to dress herself is, that once they learn to do it, they are going to want a say in what they wear. And believe it or not, that is a good thing. Because your little one is learning that she has an opinion and it’s OK to express it. As long as the outfit isn’t inappropriate (not warm enough for instance), let her wear what she likes. You are only young once and chances are her tastes will soon become more refined as she gets older.

Time and Patience Complete the Look

Make no mistake, getting dressed on your own is not an easy task. Even when a child has all the motor skills down, there is still a lot to think about. It’s important to not rush them, especially in the days where they are just learning. Be patient and resist the urge to just get your child dressed yourself. The more you step in, the less they’ll learn.

Mismatched Socks? Backwards Shirt? Praise, Praise, Praise

Learning to dress yourself is not a skill a child will learn overnight. And there can be some steps backwards. So if your little one comes downstairs with her shoes on the wrong feet or pants that aren’t buttoned, help them fix what needs fixing, but also be sure to commend them for their great work.

Teaching Honesty

Living with a preschooler, you may sometimes feel like you are on To Tell the Truth, trying to determine which statements that come out of your child’s mouth are real and which are objects of their imagination.

“I didn’t spill the milk,” said the 3-year-old who is standing in a puddle of the white stuff with an empty cup in her hand. “The baby broke my car.” “I didn’t take out all these toys, the dog did.” The tall tales go on and on.

But the truth of the matter is all kids lie occasionally. And although lying is a normal part of a child’s development, it’s not something you can overlook. As a parent, it’s your job to teach honesty. In order to deal with the situation, you need to know a) why your little Pinocchio is lying and b) how to teach him to value honesty. Here’s how.

Fib or Flight of Fancy?

Kids this age can come up with some whoppers of a story – not to be deceitful but because for the most part, they are still learning what is reality and what is fantasy. In most cases, a 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old is too young to understand exactly what a lie is. Their fairy-tale accounts are the result of an imagination working in high gear, not anything sinister.

When your 4-year-old says she didn’t color on the wall while she’s holding the crayon in her hand, what she means is that she wishes she hadn’t done it because clearly, you are angry. Since she didn’t mean to turn your bedroom wall into her canvas, in her mind she didn’t. To cut down on the yarn spinning, avoid putting her in a situation that may make her feel like she has to lie. Instead of asking angrily, “Did you color on my wall?” say, “We have a rule in this house that we only color on paper. Let’s get some towels and water and clean this up together.”

If the story your child cooks up is on the outlandish side – “There was an elephant at preschool today.” – challenge it in a lighthearted way. Ask if what she is telling you is real or made up. When she admits that she was fibbing, get in on the act and help her to elaborate – “Imagine if an elephant really came to preschool? What would you do?” A tall tale turns into a silly story that the two of you can share and you are helping your preschooler exercise her imagination.

Honesty Policy

When your child tells a lie, use it an opportunity to talk about why being truthful is so important. Calling her a liar or yelling may cause your child to keep lying to avoid blame. To encourage truth-telling, try removing the consequences. Say, “No matter what you did, I promise I won’t get angry as long as you tell the truth.” Many kids lie because they know they’ve done something wrong and don’t want to disappoint you and/or be punished. Focus on what you want your child to learn – being honest. When your child tells the truth about something she’s done wrong be sure to praise her.

Practice What You Preach

In the course of your daily routine, chances are you tell a white lie or two. And that’s OK, for the most part. “Pro-social lies” – avoiding the truth to spare someone’s feelings – are normal and pretty much accepted. But don’t expect your preschooler to understand. Set a good example by being honest yourself.

It’s never too early to teach your kids honesty. Talk about why it is wrong to lie – that it makes you sad when she says things that aren’t true. When your child realizes that telling the truth is something you value, that’s something they’ll strive to reach.

Shy Children

Some kids make it look so easy. Gregarious and affable, they can work a room with the best of them, laughing, playing and giving high-fives to every kid they meet. Within minutes, it seems, everyone knows their name and wants to be their friend. Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum — the shy child. A shy child can often be found hanging on to mom or dad, or in the absence of a trusted loved one, sitting by themselves, head down, not talking to anyone. They won’t engage, hardly ever make eye contact and if they dare say anything at all, it’s usually very difficult to understand them.

“She isn’t like this at home,” the confused and yes even embarrassed parent, will tell the preschool teacher/pediatrician/person that your child won’t acknowledge. “At home we can’t get her to stop talking.” And that’s likely true. Because a shy child isn’t intentionally being not friendly, but in the presence of someone new, or in a situation that makes her uneasy, it’s easier to disengage.

The good news is, shyness is actually very common in the preschool years and is often a behavior that your little one will outgrow as she becomes more comfortable in her own skin. There are things you can do however, to build her self-esteem and encourage her to let that bubbly personality that you know and love shine through. Here’s how.

Role Play

Put that wonderful preschool imagination to good use by acting out common scenarios that your little one may encounter on a regular basis. You can use dolls or puppets or just be yourselves. Have your child imagine that she (or her doll) is walking into a classroom. What does she do? What does she say? Then switch. You play the role of the shy child and let your little one be the grownup who helps her. Pay attention to the method she uses to comfort. It could give you some clues as to why your child is acting the way she is.

Share Your Own Shyness

Chances are you’ve had a time in your life where you were feeling a bit timid yourself. Tell your child about it. Whether you talk about your first-day-of-work jitters or feeling nervous about the first time you played on your basketball team, your empathy will show your child that they aren’t alone in their shyness.

Ask Why

There could be a reason why your child acts one way at home and another in front of others. And while she might have trouble expressing herself, with some exploratory questions, you may be able to get to the root of the problem.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

You are going to know ahead of time if your child is facing a situation where they may feel uncomfortable. Maybe you are going to a large family birthday party or a meeting of your playgroup. That morning, talk to your child about where you are going, who is going to be there and what is going to happen. Having a game plan in place may help your little one to feel more comfortable.

Help Her Make Friends

Making friends doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and for preschoolers, for whom this is a completely new activity, it can be a challenge. So intervene a little bit. Start off slowly, introducing your child to someone their age. Perhaps it is someone they know from school or even from the neighborhood. If they seem comfortable together and your child is warming up well, invite the other child over for a playdate. As your child grows comfortable in the presence of other kids, it’s likely she’ll carry that over into other places.

Don’t Call Him Shy

While it’s OK if your child acts shy (if the behavior gets worse or if you notice your child doesn’t make eye contact or socialize at all, contact your pediatrician), you don’t want to label it as such. Because the more you talk about it and give it a name, your child may perceive that there is something wrong with her. And of course there isn’t. Being shy isn’t bad, it’s just part of your child’s personality.

The preschool years are ones where your child is experiencing growth of all kinds on many different levels — physical, emotional, behavioral and social. As with many developmental issues at this age, time, love and patience work wonders.

Sleeping Patterns

Sleep or lack of it is probably the most-discussed aspect of baby care. New parents discover its vital importance those first few weeks and months. The quality and quantity of an infant’s sleep affects the well-being of everyone in the household.

And sleep struggles rarely end with a growing child’s move from crib to bed. It simply changes form. Instead of cries, it’s pleas or refusals. So how do you get your child to bed through the cries, screams, avoidance tactics, and pleas? How should you respond when you’re awakened in the middle of the night? And how much sleep is enough for your kids?

How Much Is Enough?

It all depends on a child’s age. Still, sleep is very important to kids’ well-being. The link between a lack of sleep and a child’s behavior isn’t always obvious. When adults are tired, they can be grumpy or have low energy, but kids can become hyper, disagreeable, and have extremes in behavior.

Most kids’ sleep requirements fall within a predictable range of hours based on their age, but each child is a unique individual with distinct sleep needs.

Here are some approximate numbers based on age, accompanied by age-appropriate pro-sleep tactics.

Babies (up to 6 Months)

There is no sleep formula for newborns because their internal clocks aren’t fully developed yet. They generally sleep or drowse for 16 to 20 hours a day, divided about equally between night and day.

Newborns should be awakened every 3 to 4 hours until their weight gain is established, which typically happens within the first couple of weeks. After that, it’s normal if a baby sleeps for longer periods of time. After the first couple of weeks, infants may sleep for as long as 4 or 5 hours – this is about how long their small bellies can go between feedings. If babies do sleep a good stretch at night, they may want to nurse or get the bottle more frequently during the day.

Just when parents feel that sleeping through the night seems like a far-off dream, their baby’s sleep time usually begins to shift toward night. At 3 months, a baby averages about 13 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period (4-5 hours of sleep during the day broken into several naps and 8-9 hours at night, usually with an interruption or two). About 90% of babies this age sleep through the night, meaning 5 to 6 hours in a row.

But it’s important to recognize that babies aren’t always awake when they sound like they are; they can cry and make all sorts of other noises during light sleep. Even if they do wake up in the night, they may only be awake for a few minutes before falling asleep again on their own.

If a baby under 6 months old continues to cry, it’s time to respond. Your baby may be genuinely uncomfortable: hungry, wet, cold, or even sick. But routine nighttime awakenings for changing and feeding should be as quick and quiet as possible. Don’t provide any unnecessary stimulation, such as talking, playing, or turning on the lights. Encourage the idea that nighttime is for sleeping. You have to teach this because your baby doesn’t care what time it is as long as his or her needs are met. And it’s not too early to establish a simple bedtime routine. Any soothing activities, performed consistently and in the same order each night, can make up the routine. Your baby will associate these with sleeping, and they’ll help him or her wind down.

The goal is for babies to fall asleep independently, and to learn to soothe themselves and go back to sleep if they should wake up in the middle of the night.

6 to 12 Months

At 6 months, an infant may nap about 3 hours during the day and sleep about 9 to 11 hours at night. At this age, you can begin to change your response to an infant who awakens and cries during the night.
Between 6 and 12 months, separation anxiety, a normal developmental phase, comes into play. But the rules for nighttime awakenings are the same through a baby’s first birthday: Try not to pick up your baby, turn on the lights, sing, talk, play, or feed your child. All of these activities do not allow your baby to learn to fall asleep on his or her own and encourage repeat awakenings.

Toddlers

From ages 1 to 3, most toddlers sleep about 10 to 13 hours. Separation anxiety, or just the desire to be up with mom and dad, can motivate a child to stay awake. Parents sometimes make the mistake of thinking that keeping a child up will make him or her sleepier for bedtime. In fact, though, kids can have a harder time sleeping if they’re overtired. Set regular bedtimes and naptimes. Though most toddlers take naps during the day, don’t force your child to nap. But it’s important to schedule some quiet time, even if your child chooses not to sleep.

Establishing a bedtime routine helps kids relax and get ready for sleep. For a toddler, the routine may be from 15 to 30 minutes long and include calming activities such as reading a story, bathing, and listening to soft music.

Whatever the nightly ritual is, your toddler will probably insist that it be the same every night. Just don’t allow rituals to become too long or too complicated. Whenever possible, allow your toddler to make bedtime choices within the routine: which pajamas to wear, which stuffed animal to take to bed, what music to play. This gives your little one a sense of control over the routine.

But even the best sleepers give parents an occasional wake-up call. Teething can awaken a toddler and so can dreams. Active dreaming begins at this age, and for very young children, dreams can be pretty alarming. Nightmares are particularly frightening to a toddler, who can’t distinguish imagination from reality. Comfort and hold your child at these times. Let your toddler talk about the dream if he or she wants to, and stay until your child is calm. Then encourage your child to go back to sleep as soon as possible.

Preschoolers

Preschoolers sleep about 10 to 12 hours per night. A preschool child who gets adequate rest at night may no longer needs a daytime nap. Instead, a quiet time may be substituted.

Most nursery schools and kindergartens have quiet periods when the kids lie on mats or just rest. As kids give up their naps, bedtimes may come earlier than during the toddler years.

Moral Values in Preschool Children

From an economic point of view, the fundamental task of education is to equip a person with the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the labour market. From a civic and moral point of view, education aims to nurture a person of integrity – one who has the welfare and interests of others and the nation at heart. The preschool years tend to focus on developing knowledge and essential skills to equip children academically.

But more importantly, the preschool years should be a crucial period to inculcate moral values and social etiquette in young children. Preschool age is definitely the best time to start inculcating moral values and acts of courtesy and kindness so as to build a gracious and cohesive society in the near future.

A child’s brain is going through its fastest growth and development from birth through 5 years of age. These are the critical years for human neural development.

During the first three years, the child is learning whether the world is safe, dependable (does mummy come when I cry, will I be fed when I’m hungry), begins language development, and learns familiar faces, surroundings. The child will begin adopting learned behaviors in order to have its basic needs supplied and learn how to interact with others.

A child develops values by social and cultural imprints. If left to a stressed environment, the child can develop an over-reactive nervous system which can result negatively with the child’s motivation to behave. It can also isolate a child from relating with others and affect the ability to focus. Values are essential for healthy brain development and growth.

What are values?

Values are beliefs that are important to an individual, a family, a society, civilization. A family or society without a value system has no direction.

If we want your child to share your values, make sure they are evident in our own behavior and home. A young child learns by observation first. With participation, a value can be integrated into the child’s brain circuitry. Obviously, the opposite holds true. If the child has no value system to observe, the brain will adapt to the environment in which it is exposed. The values may stay with him throughout his lifetime or may change as the brain is exposed to different stimuli and different opinions are formed.

How to Teach Values to Your Child

It’s really quite simple, providing that we are not trying to enforce a behavior. If you want your child to be polite to you, be polite to your child. If you expect your young child to be polite at school, then speak politely about school and his teachers and also speak politely about your friends. Whatever you wish to instill in your child, you must be willing to have yourself or you will experience problems.

Teaching young children respect follows the same principles. Respect is a willingness to show consideration or appreciation for someone or something whether one shares the same opinion. Children need to be taught how to respect their bodies, their minds, their belongings and yours, authority figures both inside and outside the home, friends, elders, pets, animals and opinions that may differ from their own.

It is often helpful to remember that values and respect are most easily taught and successfully adopted by utilizing the “mirror” method. Here are a few examples to allow your child to see you being respectful:

  • brush your teeth and keep yourself clean and groomed
  • sit down together at the dinner or breakfast table
  • call or visit your parents or elderly friends
  • exercise
  • put your clothes away and assist your child
  • walk and bathe your pet
  • use polite words, “I like the way you….”

Of course, the list could go on and on, but the point is clear. Respect is something that is taught and valued. Early childhood is the best time to teach and help a child form a good value system, respecting him and others.

Setting Bedtime Routine

Want your child to go to sleep without fuss? Establishing a bedtime routine is the key.
With so much going on in the world around them – learning, running, playing, creating, eating – it’s no wonder that the last thing your preschooler wants to do is to stop the excitement and go to sleep. And as children this age establish their independence and become aware of things they can control, it’s not unlike them to bargain for one more story or to stay up for one more commercial break before bedtime.
Obviously, a good night’s sleep is crucial for a child’s healthy growth, not to mention sunny disposition. With busy schedules that often include preschool, swim lessons, dance class and other activities young children need solid snooze time more than ever. Here’s how to get them to hit the pillow – willingly.

Set the Rhythm for Bedtime with a Bedtime Routine

A bedtime routine should start the same every night. About an hour before you want your preschooler’s head on the pillow, begin the winding down process so bedtime doesn’t come abruptly. This is a great opportunity for “quality time” with your preschooler. So, if possible, turn off the phone, the TV and the computer, and focus on being together.
Some parents find that giving a “10 Minute Warning” is effective, letting the child know that bedtime is approaching. At the end of 10 minutes, start the routine. And because some children at this age don’t understand the concept of time, try setting a timer. When the bell rings, it’s time to start.
The key is to get your child’s body into a rhythm so they get tired at the same time every night. Staying up too late or going to bed at different times can make your preschooler overtired or cranky, and that winds up making it more difficult to go to sleep.

Create a Bedtime Routine To-Do List

Ask your preschooler what she would like to do before bed. Some elements, like putting on pajamas and brushing teeth, are non-negotiable. But certainly your child can decide whether he’d like to read a bedtime story during the approach to final landing on the mattress. Chose four or five activities – brushing teeth, taking a bath, getting a drink of water – and create a chart that you and your child can check off after completing. If your child responds well to rewards, let him choose a sticker to put on the chart after every task is done.

Accommodate Those “One More” Requests … To a Point

If the “one more” games begin – requests for one more story, hug or sip of water – try to be patient. If your child was able to complete every part of the routine without struggle, it’s OK to give her one more of something as long as she knows that one is the limit. Make sure you know that one is the limit too. Remember, it’s unfair to get frustrated with a child who asks for more if she is constantly given more.

Leave the Room, but Come Back

Don’t let your child become dependent on your presence to fall asleep. Play soft music, turn on a night light, and then say your goodnights. Promise your child you’ll be back in a few minutes to check on her to make sure she’s asleep. Keep that promise.
Establishing a routine takes time, and just because you have a system in place it doesn’t mean your preschooler is going to hop, skip and jump into bed with glee. But with a little patience, some planning and persistence, you’ll both wind up getting a good night’s sleep.

Healthy Eating Habits

Many preschoolers are picky and particular when it comes to eating. Whether it’s wanting to eat junk food for every meal or refusing to eat certain colors, preschoolers are known for their distinct eating habits. While this may be both frustrating and worrisome, there are strategies you can try to encourage your preschooler to develop healthy eating habits.

Set a Healthy Example

Children observe and often imitate their parents’ behaviors regarding nutrition and food. One effective way to teach your preschooler to eat nutritious foods is to model it yourself. Eat meals with your preschooler as often as possible. Let him see you make healthy choices such as eating fruit instead of chips or choosing whole grain bread over white bread. When you’re headed out, take along healthy snacks to teach your child how to make healthy choices outside the home. Join your child and try new foods together.

Make Food Fun

Encourage healthy eating habits by making fun shapes or designs out of healthy foods. Preschoolers may be more likely to try new foods if they’re served in a fun or interesting way. Serve meals on a fun plate to present meals in a new way.

Include Your Child

Having your child help with meal purchasing and preparation is an effective way to get your preschooler to try new foods. Take your child alongto the grocery store and teach him about the health benefits of whole foods such as fresh produce, whole grains and proteins. Talk about the benefits of healthy snacks and why you should eat junk food in moderation. Allow your child to help during meal preparation while you emphasize healthy choices over processed or unhealthy options. Include foods from each food group to teach your child about the importance of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Serve One Meal

Prepare one healthy meal for your entire family. This exposes your preschooler new foods, teaches him what goes into a healthy diet and expands his tastes. When possible, eat meals as a family and try not to make a big deal out of eating new foods. If your preschooler refuses to eat the meal, do not force him to eat or prepare something else for him.

Sibling Rivalry

While many kids are lucky enough to become the best of friends with their siblings, it’s common for brothers and sisters to fight.

Often, sibling rivalry starts even before the second child is born, and continues as the kids grow and compete for everything from toys to attention. As kids reach different stages of development, their evolving needs can significantly affect how they relate to one another.

It can be frustrating and upsetting to watch and hear your kids fight with one another. A household that’s full of conflict is stressful for everyone. Yet often it’s hard to know how to stop the fighting, and or even whether you should get involved at all. But you can take steps to promote peace in your household and help your kids get along.

Why Kids Fight
Many different things can cause siblings to fight. Most brothers and sisters experience some degree of jealousy or competition, and this can flare into squabbles and bickering. But other factors also might influence how often kids fight and how severe the fighting gets. These include:

  • Evolving needs. It’s natural for kids’ changing needs, anxieties, and identities to affect how they relate to one another. For example, toddlers are naturally protective of their toys and belongings, and are learning to assert their will, which they’ll do at every turn. So if a baby brother or sister picks up the toddler’s toy, the older child may react aggressively. School-age kids often have a strong concept of fairness and equality so might not understand why siblings of other ages are treated differently or feel like one child gets preferential treatment. Teenagers, on the other hand, are developing a sense of individuality and independence, and might resent helping with household responsibilities, taking care of younger siblings, or even having to spend time together. All of these differences can influence the way kids fight with one another.
  • Individual temperaments. Your kids’ individual temperaments – including mood, disposition, and adaptability – and their unique personalities play a large role in how well they get along. For example, if one child is laid back and another is easily rattled, they may often get into it. Similarly, a child who is especially clingy and drawn to parents for comfort and love might be resented by siblings who see this and want the same amount of attention.
  • Special needs/sick kids. Sometimes, a child’s special needs due to illness or learning/emotional issues may require more parental time. Other kids may pick up on this disparity and act out to get attention or out of fear of what’s happening to the other child.
  • Role models. The way that parents resolve problems and disagreements sets a strong example for kids. So if you and your spouse work through conflicts in a way that’s respectful, productive, and not aggressive, you increase the chances that your children will adopt those tactics when they run into problems with one another. If your kids see you routinely shout, slam doors, and loudly argue when you have problems, they’re likely to pick up those bad habits themselves.

What to Do When the Fighting Starts

While it may be common for brothers and sisters to fight, it’s certainly not pleasant for anyone in the house. And a family can only tolerate a certain amount of conflict. So what should you do when the fighting starts?

Whenever possible, don’t get involved. Step in only if there’s a danger of physical harm. If you always intervene, you risk creating other problems. The kids may start expecting your help and wait for you to come to the rescue rather than learning to work out the problems on their own. There’s also the risk that you – inadvertently – make it appear to one child that another is always being “protected,” which could foster even more resentment. By the same token, rescued kids may feel that they can get away with more because they’re always being”saved” by a parent.

Remember, as kids cope with disputes, they also learn important skills that will serve them for life – like how to value another person’s perspective, how to compromise and negotiate, and how to control aggressive impulses.

Simple things you can do every day to prevent fighting include:

  • Set ground rules for acceptable behavior. Tell the kids that there’s no cursing, no name-calling, no yelling, no door slamming. Solicit their input on the rules – as well as the consequences when they break them. This teaches kids that they’re responsible for their own actions, regardless of the situation or how provoked they felt, and discourages any attempts to negotiate regarding who was “right” or “wrong.”
  • Don’t let kids make you think that everything always has to be “fair” and “equal” – sometimes one kid needs more than the other.
  • Be proactive in giving your kids one-on-one attention directed to their interests and needs. For example, if one likes to go outdoors, take a walk or go to the park. If another child likes to sit and read, make time for that too.
  • Make sure kids have their own space and time to do their own thing – to play with toys by themselves, to play with friends without a sibling tagging along, or to enjoy activities without having to share 50-50.
  • Show and tell your kids that, for you, love is not something that comes with limits.
  • Let them know that they are safe, important, and loved, and that their needs will be met.
  • Have fun together as a family. Whether you’re watching a movie, throwing a ball, or playing a board game, you’re establishing a peaceful way for your kids to spend time together and relate to each other. This can help ease tensions between them and also keeps you involved. Since parental attention is something many kids fight over, fun family activities can help reduce conflict.
  • If your children frequently squabble over the same things (such as video games or dibs on the TV remote), post a schedule showing which child “owns” that item at what times during the week. (But if they keep fighting about it, take the “prize” away altogether.)
  • If fights between your school-age kids are frequent, hold weekly family meetings in which you repeat the rules about fighting and review past successes in reducing conflicts. Consider establishing a program where the kids earn points toward a fun family-oriented activity when they work together to stop battling.

Keep in mind that sometimes kids fight to get a parent’s attention. In that case, consider taking a time-out of your own. When you leave, the incentive for fighting is gone. Also, when your own fuse is getting short, consider handing the reins over to the other parent, whose patience may be greater at that moment.

Language Development Chart

Below mentioned is the typical language development chart of a child across
different age groups:

6 Months

  • Vocalization with intonation
  • Responds to his name
  • Responds to human voices without visual cues by turning his head and eyes
  • Responds appropriately to friendly and angry tones

12 Months

  • Uses one or more words with meaning (this may be a fragment of a word)
  • Understands simple instructions, especially if vocal or physical cues are given
  • Practices modulation

18 Months

  • Has vocabulary of approximately 5-20 words
  • Vocabulary made up of nouns
  • Some echolalia (repeating a word or phrase over and over)
  • Much jargon with emotional content
  • Is able to follow simple commands

24 Months

  • Can name a number of objects common to his surroundings
  • Is able to use at least two prepositions, usually chosen from the
    following: in, on, under
  • Combines words into a short sentence-largely noun-verb combinations (mean)
    length of sentences is given as 1.2 words
  • Approximately 2/3 of what child says should be intelligible
    Vocabulary of approximately 150-300 words
  • Rhythm and fluency often poor
  • Volume and pitch of voice not yet well-controlled
  • Can use two pronouns correctly: I, me, you, although me and I are often confused
  • My and mine are beginning to emerge
  • Responds to such commands as “show me your eyes (nose, mouth, hair)”

36 Months

  • Use pronouns I, you, me correctly
  • Is using some plurals and past tenses
  • Knows at least three prepositions, usually in, on, under
  • Knows chief parts of body and should be able to indicate these if not name
  • Handles three word sentences easily
  • Has in the neighborhood of 900-1000 words
  • About 90% of what child says should be intelligible
  • Verbs begin to predominate
  • Understands most simple questions dealing with his environment and activities
  • Able to reason out such questions as “what must you do when you are sleepy, hungry,
    cool, or thirsty?”
  • Should be able to give his name, age
  • Should not be expected to answer all questions even though he understands what is expected

48 Months

  • Knows names of familiar animals
  • Can use at least four prepositions or can demonstrate his understanding of
    their meaning when given commands
  • Knows one or more colors
  • Can repeat 4 digits when they are given slowly
  • Can usually repeat words of four syllables
  • Demonstrates understanding of over and under
  • as most vowels and the consonants p, b, m, w, n well established
  • Often indulges in make-believe
  • Extensive verbalization as he carries out activities
  • Readily follows simple commands even thought the stimulus objects are not in sight
  • Much repetition of words, phrases, syllables, and even sounds

Positive Parenting

Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the
world – and the one for which you might feel the least prepared.

  • Nurture Your Child’s Self-EsteemKids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents’ eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.
    Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don’t love their behavior.
  • Catch Kids Being GoodHave you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned?
    The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: “You made your bed without being asked – that’s terrific!” or “I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient.” These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings.
    Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards – your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are “growing” more of the behavior you would like to see.
  • Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your DisciplineDiscipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.
  • Make Time for Your KidsIt’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they’re sure to be noticed that way.
    Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a “special night” each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Don’t feel guilty if you’re a working parent. It is the many little things you do – making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping – that kids will remember.
  • Be a Good Role ModelYoung kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Be aware that you’re constantly being observed by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.
    Model the traits you wish to cultivate in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.
  • Make Communication a PriorityYou can’t expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, “say so.” They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. If we don’t take time to explain, kids will begin to wonder about our values and motives and whether they have any basis. Parents who reason with their kids allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way.
    Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child’s suggestions as well.
  • Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting StyleIf you frequently feel “let down” by your child’s behavior, perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Kids’ environments have an impact on their behavior, so you may be able to modify that behavior by changing the environment. If you find yourself constantly saying “no” to your 2-year-old, look for ways to restructure your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits. This will cause less frustration for both of you.
  • Show That Your Love Is UnconditionalAs a parent, you’re responsible for correcting and guiding your kids. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child receives it.When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.
  • Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a ParentFace it – you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities – “I am loving and dedicated.” Vow to work on your weaknesses – “I need to be more consistent with discipline.” Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.

Outdoor Activities

Look around. Do we notice that children aren’t looking as fit as they used to look? Listen to the children. Have you heard “I’m bored” come out of anyone lately? What about the teachers? How well do they really know the children in their classroom? What about society, in general: do we seem relaxed or tense? It may seem impossible that one simple change in how we take care of our children might help across the board with all of these problems. I assert that the ever-decreasing amount of quality “outside time” has contributed to a host of negative trends. Making sure that outside activities are viewed as fundamental parts of each child’s day can be an important step in reversing these trends.

The factors that have led to reduced outside time are varied. Technological advancement (air conditioning, television, computer games, etc.) seems to be partly responsible. Another factor may be the horrifying stories the media broadcasts about abductions of young children from public spaces. Parents may feel less comfortable about their children playing outdoors than they would about in-home play options (such as the aforementioned computer games or television) or carefully supervised play dates. Yet another factor may be parents’ attempts to renew focus on academic achievement in the classroom, especially due to the increased reliance on standardized tests to measure their child’s success. An unintended result of this new focus is that these activities seem to have come at the expense of outdoor activities, including both sports and “play” time.

The decrease in outside time is unfortunate. As we will see, outdoor activities contribute to children’s well-being and development in ways that are not addressed by academic learning. Time spent outdoors early in life can contribute to characteristics such as physical fitness, appropriate weight, and even appreciation of nature that can stay with the child through a lifetime. Furthermore, the sacrifice of outside time in an attempt to improve academic results is not only unnecessary, but may even be counterproductive, as time spent outdoors can actually support improved academics in unique ways.

Outdoor play is essential for children’s health and well-being. The sense of peace and pleasure children experience when they take in fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun on their backs, and watch a butterfly land gently on a flower is immeasurable. Children enjoy running, jumping, climbing, and playing outdoors.

Research clearly indicates staying inactive indoors carries great risks. Sometimes, though, outside time is seen as playtime and not as educative as the “real teaching” that takes place in the classroom. In actuality, getting children outside helps to stretch their thinking and challenge them intellectually. The time children spend outdoors every day is just as important to their learning as the time they spend in the classroom. For teachers, the outdoors offers many ways to enrich the curriculum and support children’s development and learning.

Outside is a place that may include many learning activities that we traditionally think of as taking place inside the classroom. The outside also adds activities to the traditional inside activities repertoire. Too often, children are inside learning about exotic animals and habitats and know nothing about their local environment. While outdoors, there is more of a chance that the variety of experiences will better attend to all learning styles.

We need to realize that not going outside is a critical problem for the children in our society today. Children that do not have a chance for outdoor play are in danger of obesity and it ramifications. These children are also losing out on the powerful impact of nature appreciation and how it may reduce stress now and for years to come.

Furthermore, outdoor play activities can involve real learning. A teacher can take any area of her curriculum and adapt it to the outside activities, as they tend to lend themselves to a wider population of children and help connect with what is happening inside. Children with different learning styles need to be noticed and attended to. As a teacher is planning, she needs to recognize that outdoor activities are worthy of observation and lend themselves to the ongoing cycle of observation: Curriculum, assessment, evaluation.

Discipline

Discipline is a set of rules that govern a person’s behavior and conduct. It is the process of shaping a child’s attitudes and behavior over the years. Effective discipline teaches children what to do. It teaches children how to interact appropriately with adults. It also promotes growth in the five areas of development viz physical, emotional, social and moral. Punishment also forms a part in disciplining a child. Punishment implies imposing external controls by force on children to change their behavior. Normally parents take the route of punishment to discipline their wards as it results in immediate change in the behavior of the child, also may be the parent was raised in that manner. Different parents would have different ways and techniques to discipline their children. Hence they have parenting styles to make their children learn the ways of life. Strict, permissive and moderate are the various parenting styles followed by the parents. Parents need to understand the stages of a child’s work before expecting or demanding certain behaviour from the child. Children are constantly growing and changing. To discipline children one need to positively guide the children and make them aware of the mistakes/wrong or the inappropriate act they have done. Ignore minor or irritating behavior. Praise good behavior. Be very specific and clear with the appreciation for the good deed the child has done. Decide in mutual understanding what consequences will result if the rules are broken.

Importance of Art

Creativity is a developmental process. It is the responsibility of the early childhood professionals and parents to encourage creativity. Children express their emotions, imaginations through various modes of creativity art, music etc.

Art forms the part and parcel of a preschooler as the first sense of achievement is achieved through art. Children love to scribble, colour and just splash paint on a blank sheet to express their experiences. Art helps the child to relieve the pent up emotions and it leads to a positive brain development. It also gives a moral boost to the children and quenches their innovative urge. Art knows no language or cultural barrier and it also helps in forming a clear understanding of the subject matter. It enhances the creativity in a child and creates a better mental discipline eg the child learns to draw better diagrams etc. It also helps in making the child more imaginative and innovative. His unique abilities get an expression through art. It also goes a long way in increasing the concentration levels of the child. In a nutshell, art gives an opportunity to the children to be emotionally expressed and if properly honed would further create a long lasting impact for the child.

Toy Safety

Skates, tricycles, toy trucks and cars, wagons and balls are
among children’s favorite playthings.
Falls are the most frequent kind of accident, but many serious injuries result from children swallowing small parts or placing tiny toys in noses or ears, from exploding gas-powered toys, from flammable products, and from sharp edges.

Despite the efforts of manufacturers, retailers, safety inspectors, and others, it is impossible to examine every toy. But it is possible for parents and other relatives to check every new toy they buy and every old toy around the house for possible hazards.

The following suggestions can help you keep playtime a safe, fun time.

Select toys with care:

  • Choose carefully. Look for good design and quality construction in the toys you buy.
  • Watch out for toys that have sharp edges, small parts, or sharp points. Avoid toys that produce extremely loud noises that can damage hearing and propelled objects that can injure eyes.
  • Buy toys that suit the child’s age, interest, and abilities. Avoid toys that are too complex for young children. Many toys have a suggested age range to help you choose toys that are appealing as well as safe.
  • Be a label reader. Look for safety information such as “Not recommended for children under 3 years of age,” or “non-toxic” on toys likely to end up in little mouths, or “washable/hygienic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.
  • Check with parents before you buy a child a toy that requires close supervision – electrically operated toys, shooting toys and games, chemistry sets, and the like. Remember, too, that younger children may have access to toys intended for older children once the toy has been brought into the home.
  • Look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) seal on electrical toys. It indicates the electrical parts have been tested for safety.

Teach Proper Use of Toys:

  • Check the instructions and explain to the child how to use the toy.
  • Always try to supervise children while they play. Learn to spot “an accident about to happen.”
  • Check toys periodically for broken parts and potential hazards. A dangerous toy should be repaired immediately or thrown away. Sharp or splintered edges on wooden toys should be sanded smooth. Use only non-toxic paint on toys or toy boxes. Check outdoor toys for rust and weak or sharp parts that could become hazardous.
  • Teach children to put their toys away so the toys do not get broken and so that no one trips and falls on them.
  • Toy shelves are another storage possibility. Open shelves allow the child to see favorite toys and return them to the shelf after play. Be sure the shelf is sturdy and won’t tip over if the child climbs on it.

Multiple Intelligences

According to Multiple Intelligence Theory, each of us possesses “intelligences,” or ways to be smart. Some of us are more adept at using our hands; others are good at making rhymes, or singing songs. Each type of intelligence gives us something to offer to the world. What makes us unique is the way each intelligence expresses itself in our lives.

By recognizing multiple intelligences, we can help children enhance their individual strengths. But don’t be too quick to label a preschooler as a future accountant, artist, or athlete without giving her a chance to explore the world, work on her skills, and develop her own abilities.
Each of us is smart in the below mentioned ways. Here’s how to recognize these multiple intelligences:

  • Word smart : Journalists, lawyers, and storytellers often demonstrate what Howard Gardner refers to as linguistic intelligence. These people are best at using the written or spoken word to communicate.
  • Logic smart : People with a great deal of logical-mathematical intelligence are good at reasoning, and thinking in terms of cause and effect. Scientists, accountants, and computer programmers generally have this ability.
  • Picture smart : Otherwise known as spatial intelligence, this involves thinking in pictures or images. Such individuals may be able to follow directions best, or be able to visualize and draw accurately.
  • Music smart : Musical intelligence is the ability to keep time with music, sing in tune, and discern the difference between different musical selections. These people can best perceive and appreciate melodies.
  • Body smart : Individuals with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are best able to control their own movements. This involves not only outdoor sports, but tasks like sewing and carpentry.
  • Person smart : Such persons have the ability to respond to, understand, and work with other people. This interpersonal intelligence is the gift of being able to see from others’ perspectives.
  • Self smart : These people tend to be contemplative and can easily access their own feelings. Those with intrapersonal intelligence may be introspective and enjoy meditating.

By exploring all of their intelligences, children become well-rounded individuals who are successful in many aspects of life. Parents and early childhood professionals must recognize these different strengths in children as they emerge. Some children may respond more to words, others to music — the point is for adults to let children express themselves. If children have the opportunity to learn in the areas they prefer, and to improve in those areas that are not as strong, they will grow to become intelligent in more ways than one!

What Young Children should be Learning

The question of what should be learned must be addressed by all teachers at every level. In terms of broad goals, most teachers and parents readily agree that children should learn whatever will ultimately enable them to become healthy, competent, productive, and contributing members of their communities. But when it comes to the specifics of what should be learned next month, next week, or on any particular day, agreement is not so easily achieved. The answers will depend partly on the ages of the learners. In other words, the question of what should be learned to some extent depends upon when it is to be learned. However four categories of learning goals have been defined. These categories of learning outlined below are relevant to all levels of education-especially to the education of young children:

Knowledge
In early childhood, knowledge consists of facts, concepts, ideas, vocabulary, stories, and many other aspects of children’s culture. Children acquire such knowledge from someone’s answers to their questions, explanations, descriptions, and accounts of events, as well as through activeand constructive processes of making the best sense they can of their own direct observations.

Skills
Skills are small units of action that occur in a relatively short period of time and are easily observed or inferred. Physical, social, verbal,counting, and drawing skills are among a few of the almost endless number of skills learned in the early years. Skills can be learned from direct instruction or imitated based on observation, and they are improved with guidance, practice, repetition and actual application or use.

Dispositions
Dispositions can be thought of as habits of mind or tendencies to respond to certain situations in certain ways. Curiosity, friendliness or unfriendliness, generosity, meanness, and creativity are examples of dispositions or sets of dispositions, rather than of skills or items of knowledge. Dispositions are not learned through formal instruction. Many important dispositions, including the dispositions to learn and to make sense of experience, are in-born in all children-wherever they are born and are growing up. Many dispositions that most adults want children to acquire or to strengthen-for example, curiosity, creativity, cooperation, openness, friendliness-are learned primarily from being around people who exhibit them; they are strengthened by being used effectively and by being appreciated.

Feelings
Feelings are subjective emotional states. Some feelings are innate (e.g., fear), while others are learned. Among feelings that are learned are those of competence, confidence, belonging, and security. Feelings about school, teachers, learning, and other children are also learned in theearly years.

Learning through interaction
Young children learns most effectively when they are engaged in interaction rather than in merely receptive or passive activities. Young children therefore are most likely to be strengthening their natural dispositions to learn when they are interacting with adults, peers, materials, and their surroundings in ways that help them make better and deeper sense of their own experience and environment. They should be investigating and purposefully observing aspects of their environment worth learning about, and recording and representing their findings and observations through activities such as talk, paintings, drawings, writing etc. Interaction that arises in the course of such activities provides contexts for much social and cognitive learning.

Variety of Teaching Aids
Academically focused curricula for preschool, kindergarten, and primary programs typically adopt a single pedagogical method dominated by workbooks and practice of discrete skills. It is reasonable to assume that when a single teaching method is used for a diverse group of children, many of these children are likely to fail. The younger the children are, the greater the variety of teaching methods there should be, because the younger the children, the less likely they are to have been socialized into a standard way of responding to their social environment.In this way, it is more likely that children’s readiness to learn school tasks is influenced by background experiences that are idiosyncratic and unique.

The Learning Environment
As for the learning environment, the younger the children are, the more informal it should be. Informal learning environments encourage spontaneous play in which children engage in the available activities that interest them, such as a variety of types of play.However, spontaneous play is not the only alternative to early academic instruction. The data on children’s learning suggest that preschool and kindergarten experiences require an intellectually oriented approach in which children interact in small groups as they work together on projects that help them make increasing sense of their own experience. Thus, the curriculum should include group projects that are investigations of worthwhile topics. These projects should strengthen children’s dispositions to observe experiment, inquire, and examine more closely the worthwhile aspects of their environment.

The Value of Outdoor Experiences

Most children appear to benefit from being outdoors. They like to see what is going on (traffic, construction, water flowing, clouds moving, animals), go someplace, meet and greet other people and animals, experience the infinite and diverse sensory qualities of the world (the smells, the feels, the sounds), and experiment with the “big behaviors,” such as shouting, running, climbing, and jumping (which are seldom accommodated well indoors). Not only are being outdoors pleasant, its richness and novelty stimulate brain development and function. Cognition is rooted in perception — the outdoors is a prime source of perceptions.

Young children especially need the broad experiential base provided by being outdoors. The knowledge they gain there is foundational to literacy and science learning. Generations of kindergarteners have been taken on field visits so they could read, write, draw and converse. Furthermore, unlike some childhood pleasures, that of being outdoors seem lasting–any casual survey of adults will find a high quotient of happy outdoor memories. Another lasting benefit is that children can learn to care for the environment, if provided with numerous positive outdoor experiences under the guidance of suitable role models.

Creative Play Helps Children Grow!

Every child is born with creative potential, but this potential may be stifled if care is not taken to nurture and stimulate creativity. Creativity shows one’s uniqueness. It is the individual saying: “I can be; I can do.” Isn’t this what we want for our children? Creativity is the ability to see things in a new and unusual light, to see problems that no one else may even realize exist, and then come up with new, unusual, and effective solutions to these problems.

Ways to strengthen a child’s creativity:

    • Relax the controls: Adults who constantly exert supervision and control diminish the spontaneity and self-confidence that are essential to the creative spirit.
    • Inspire perseverance: All the creative energy in the world is useless if the product is not seen through to completion. Show appreciation for a child’s efforts. Suppress the impulse to accomplish tasks for children..
    • Tolerate the “offbeat”: Let children know that it is not always critical to have the “correct” answer to the problem – that novel, innovative, and unique approaches are valued as well..
    • Provide a creative atmosphere: Creative materials should be available to the young child for his use. Some of the basic equipment includes books, records, drawing materials, objects to make sounds with, clay, and blocks. Provide the child with toys that can become a variety of things. Be careful about discouraging daydreaming. Daydreaming is really an imagery process.
    • Planning and problem-solving: Encourage creative problem solving in a variety of ways. Teach a youngster to look at alternatives, evaluate them, and then decide how to carry them out successfully.
    • Offer – but do not pressure: Resist the temptation to overcrowd children with organized activities in an attempt to cultivate their creativity. Allow the child time to be alone to develop the creativity that is innate in all of us.

Helping Children to Love Themselves and Others

From birth, children begin to learn to love themselves and others. Infants and toddlers start to see differences between people. They notice skin colors, hair colors and textures, eye shapes, and other features of race and ethnic background. Toddlers may reach out to feel each other’s hair. Older 2-year-olds may stare or say things such as “What’s that?”

Three-year olds figure out how to recognize boys and girls. Preschoolers are curious, too. Eye shape and color is of great interest. Unfamiliar languages puzzle them. Preschoolers also notice that people have different physical and mental abilities.

By age 4, children are very much tuned in to our attitudes. They sense how we feel about them and other people. Many children grow up feeling good about who they are. “Here, let me do it,” they volunteer. Most children feel comfortable being around other people, too. They are eager to have fun together.

Many other young children already have negative ideas about themselves. “I can’t,” they say. Or you overhear them mutter, “I never do anything right.” They may not know how to get along well with other children. Such children may seem quiet and shy, or they may be bullies.

How do you help children love themselves and others? First, look at your own attitudes, values, and behaviors. Then, include activities to help children appreciate each other’s differences, develop a sense of fairness, and learn to stand up for themselves and others.

We are all different in many ways, but sometimes children are afraid to be different because they want to be like the people they love. Some children may even come to feel there’s something wrong with being different. That’s why grown-ups need to help children learn that being different is part of what makes them special to the people who love them.

When you help children notice and accept, in fact, celebrate differences, you pave the way to prevent prejudice and promote compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

Importance of Story Telling

At the most basic level “Telling the Story” is a means of transmitting ideas from one person to another. Storytelling is a part of life, intrinsic to most cultures. Story Telling to kindergarteners also plays a crucial role in the overall growth of the children. The attitude of the little ones changes immediately when they listen to a story. They give a patient ear to the story teller. Children’s reactions to stories intuit their importance, and research endorses their value for any skeptics. In a climate where children spend more and more time in front of televisions, computers, and video games, storytelling’s educational impact is augmented as never before. Rather than passively receiving images, children must actively engage in making images themselves. When they listen to stories, children’s imaginations are enriched and stimulated. Furthermore, the ability to make mental images is an important skill for reading because it links the reader to the text in more personal and memorable ways. Telling stories to young children also increases their vocabulary. The language and literary elements of storytelling are not its only merits, however. Through stories, children learn about the cultural values of their society. Young ones begin to appreciate the goodness, “humor, bravery, and beauty” of the characters in the stories before they really know these qualities themselves. Not only do children learn about their own culture through stories, but they gain an appreciation of other cultures as well. Storytelling emphasizes the ties that bind and helps children see the commonalities of people and communities around the world. As our world grows smaller, telling stories from around the globe fosters understanding of other people and places. The folk stories and fairy tales of other cultures teach children to embrace the uniqueness of different societies. At the same time, the commonalities among the different stories highlight the deep connections all cultures share.

Importance of water play in preschool

Early childhood programs offer many sensory play experiences such as sand, water and play dough. Water play is good for children’s physical, mental (cognitive), and social-emotional growth. In sensory play there is no right or wrong way to play. When children pour water, they are improving their physical dexterity and eye-hand coordination. By playing with others in blowing bubbles or washing baby dolls, they develop social skills. At the same time, they use their minds as they explore why certain objects sink in water and others float. Children learn concepts such as empty/full, before/after and heavy/light in a hands-on way.
This list describes some of the many ways that water play fosters development:

Get Ready, Get Set Learn!

Getting a child ready to enroll in a child care setting or kindergarten classroom demands a lot of attention. But it doesn’t happen the day or the week before classes begin. Preparation begins early in life and the best place for “readiness” originates in the home.

According to many educators, three types of readiness are important for children to make the transition between home and school a successful one. Before children attend school or child care, they need to be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. If children are not prepared in these three areas, the school setting can become a traumatic place for everyone involved. The following suggestions will prepare your child and ensure a great first year.

Physical Readiness

The physical area of helping your child adjust to school depends on caring parents who are good role models, who provide health care, and who care enough to take time to teach.

Mental/Intellectual Readiness

Statistics report that a large percentage of what children learn is acquired before five years of age. When parents ask, “What can I do to help my child adjust to school?” the answer is to encourage early preparation. Here are just a few things you can do at home to foster a love of learning in your child.

  • Storytelling can and should be a part of every day. This stimulates reading aloud and storytelling.
  • Talk to your child. Then listen.
  • Set aside time each afternoon to discuss your child’s day.
  • Foster Independence Achieving personal independence becomes a task for the school-age child. Of course, it’s a slow process, which begins in early childhood and continues into adolescence and possibly adulthood. As a parent, it’s important to give your child the opportunity to try new things and to be supportive when she’s not successful on the first try.

Emotional Readiness

Parents who strive to help their children adjust emotionally and socially to separation find the first days of child care or kindergarten a joy for everyone. Helping the child make the adjustment from home to school challenges many parents. Begin early in each area of readiness. Be consistent, read from experts in child development, and ask qualified people for guidance. Soon your child will look forward to Monday morning.

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Ways to Teach Kids to Recognize their Emotions

  1. Use picture books as a tool for exploring emotions – Choose books that illustrate the facial expressions of the characters in the story
  • Play emotional charades! – Write many different emotions down on slips of paper and put them in a bag or hat. Have students take turns picking an emotion to portray and acting out that feeling, without speaking, in front of the class. The rest of the class must then guess which emotion is being portrayed.
  • Tell them what they are feeling. It is very important to acknowledge a youth’s feelings and give them a vocabulary for those feelings. Help students connect how they are feeling, and consequently behaving, with labels for their emotions.
  • Role-play with students – Using situations that occur in the classroom, have two students at a time role-play how they would act in a situation in front of the class. For example, have one student act as a bully while student acts as the victim. After each role-play scenario, have the whole class talk about how they might feel if they found themselves in a similar situation.
  • Teach students to be aware of their body language and the message it portrays. After students role-play a scenario, ask the audience to discuss what emotions and messages the actors’ body language portrayed. Most young people are completely unaware of what kind of message their body language is projecting. By pointing it out and labeling the emotion that it portrays, students can become more aware and more in control of their body language and will learn more about labeling emotions in the process.
  • Help students understand that anger is a secondary emotion – Before a person feels angry, they experience another, often unnoticed, primary emotion, such as sadness, jealousy, surprise, or embarrassment. When a student says they are angry, help them to identify and label the primary emotion behind that anger to better understand and deal with their emotions.
  • Teach empathy – When students are involved in a conflict, help them to understand how the other person feels. Ask them how they would feel if they were in the other’s shoes. By helping students to identify and understand not only their own emotions, but also the emotions of others, teachers and parents can help young people to more successfully label and understand emotions in general.
  • Help students connect their emotions and their body language – Ask them to recall a situation that made them feel happy, sad, angry, or any other emotion. Have students draw a picture of a facial expression to match the given emotion and then share the pictures with the class. Seeing how students’ pictures differ will help to determine how each student views each emotion.
  • To help students better understand their anger, ask students to write a short story – complete with illustrations – that describes a situation that made them “angry” without using the words “anger,” “angry,” “mad,” etc. This will help students determine the emotions that cause anger.
  • To help students understand situations that cause them to experience a specific emotion, ask students to think about which emotions they most commonly feel and what makes them feel that way. If students realize that the same situation always make them feel sad or hurt, they will likely avoid that situation or learn a new way to deal with it. This will help students develop better ways to deal with conflicts and emotions.

Raising Healthy Children

There are so many different types of parenting styles. Each may take a different approach, however being a successful parent means taking the time to understand what our kids need in order to be happy, self confident, and well adjusted. We have identified six tips for raising your children so they may find well-being and get their needs met.

  • Touch and Connection: Touch is such a necessary component of a healthy relationship. It teaches your child about connection. Be sure and hold your children, kiss them, and touch them with care and love. By being physical with your kids, they will know you love them and in turn will learn to love themselves. They will learn to feel good about their physical bodies, feel attractive, and live without guilt or fear of showing affection.
  • Be a Good Example: Be an example to your kids. If you want your kids to be healthy, attractive, fit and kind, then you are their best example. Show them that the two most important people in their lives, Mom and Dad, share a healthy life, which includes good eating, and loving communication. Kids are proud to have attractive parents and they love to see you feel beautiful.
  • Learn How to Listen: Effective parenting skills include being open to listening very attentively to your children. Be attentive and honest with your kids at all times because this builds trust and integrity. By showing your child these important values, they will feel your integrity. As you are respectful with honesty they will want to emulate this quality in you, too. This will also show them that you are genuinely interested in them.
  • Be Involved in Your Children’s Activities: Get involved in your children’s life and their activities. Be interested in what they are interested in. Whatever their age may be, start to enthusiastically play with them during the activities. You could spend a few moments hand painting with them or throw around the ball each afternoon. If they are older and into the teenage years, then spend time talking about their interests and by getting involved you will also know more about their likes and dislikes, and be in a position to help should they need it.
  • Reading and Storytelling: Reading books aloud is also important no matter what your child’s age. The most precious item that you can ever give your kids is your time and attention. If they are young, have them read to you. They love to share their favorite stories and in turn share your stories with them. Storytelling with kids of your adventures teaches them more about you and helps the two of you bond and build common ground.
  • Meet Their Friends: Be open and friendly to your child’s friends and encourage them to hang out at your house. So many parents are so uptight and have way too many rules that their kids feel uncomfortable bringing their friends home. Create an environment that allows other children to hang out at your home with your children. Show them their friends are welcome and that you see them as important extensions of your kids.
    Even though there are many different types of parenting styles, these six parenting tips can be incorporated because they are key to effective parenting and support raising a child that is emotionally healthy.

Learning to Listen

Trying to get children of any age to listen is a challenge. But if one starts teaching children the value of listening while they are young at least one have a chance to show them how to learn to listen when others are speaking. Be a role model. Do they see you stop what you are doing and look someone in the eye while they are speaking or do they see you nod uncommitted and continue to look down at whatever you were doing? When you meet a friend on the street, do you actively engage in conversation or do you look away while you think about other, more pressing problems? Do you ask leading questions which are the cornerstone of an actual conversation and do you actively listen? Actively listening is about asking questions to get a clear picture of what the other person is saying. By actively listening you can avoid jumping to conclusions about a situation. This comes in handy especially when your child is trying to explain to you why they got in trouble at school today. It sure comes in handy when parenting adolescents.

But back to the toddlers; with children that young, the best way to teach them to listen is to have them repeat back what you just said. This can be interesting because you may find that they are hearing something completely different than what you meant. Even at the young age of two, you can still start practicing teaching your child to listen by asking them what they heard you say. Remember to look your children in the eye when they speak. Repeat back to them what you heard, and allow for them to clarify it if you heard wrong. Do not argue with them, you may not have made yourself clear. By following this parenting advice for your toddler you are beginning to teach them respect.

Raising Healthy Children

There are so many different types of parenting styles. Each may take a different approach, however being a successful parent means taking the time to understand what our kids need in order to be happy, self confident, and well adjusted. We have identified six tips for raising your children so they may find well-being and get their needs met.

  • Touch and Connection: Touch is such a necessary component of a healthy relationship. It teaches your child about connection. Be sure and hold your children, kiss them, and touch them with care and love. By being physical with your kids, they will know you love them and in turn will learn to love themselves. They will learn to feel good about their physical bodies, feel attractive, and live without guilt or fear of showing affection.
  • Be a Good Example: Be an example to your kids. If you want your kids to be healthy, attractive, fit and kind, then you are their best example. Show them that the two most important people in their lives, Mom and Dad, share a healthy life, which includes good eating, and loving communication. Kids are proud to have attractive parents and they love to see you feel beautiful.
  • Learn How to Listen: Effective parenting skills include being open to listening very attentively to your children. Be attentive and honest with your kids at all times because this builds trust and integrity. By showing your child these important values, they will feel your integrity. As you are respectful with honesty they will want to emulate this quality in you, too. This will also show them that you are genuinely interested in them.
  • Be Involved in Your Children’s Activities: Get involved in your children’s life and their activities. Be interested in what they are interested in. Whatever their age may be, start to enthusiastically play with them during the activities. You could spend a few moments hand painting with them or throw around the ball each afternoon. If they are older and into the teenage years, then spend time talking about their interests and by getting involved you will also know more about their likes and dislikes, and be in a position to help should they need it.
  • Reading and Storytelling: Reading books aloud is also important no matter what your child’s age. The most precious item that you can ever give your kids is your time and attention. If they are young, have them read to you. They love to share their favorite stories and in turn share your stories with them. Storytelling with kids of your adventures teaches them more about you and helps the two of you bond and build common ground.
  • Meet Their Friends: Be open and friendly to your child’s friends and encourage them to hang out at your house. So many parents are so uptight and have way too many rules that their kids feel uncomfortable bringing their friends home. Create an environment that allows other children to hang out at your home with your children. Show them their friends are welcome and that you see them as important extensions of your kids.
    Even though there are many different types of parenting styles, these six parenting tips can be incorporated because they are key to effective parenting and support raising a child that is emotionally healthy.

Recreation in Child Education and Developments

Recreation defined as activities which are usually undertaken in free time in order to gain feelings of well being, fulfillment, enjoyment, relaxation and satisfaction.

According to an encyclopedia “Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The “need to do something for recreation” is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”.

Recreation is proven to be paramount to all aspects of child development whether in education, cognitive, emotional, moral and social developments. It is considered to be most valuable in children’s physical exercise and growth and in their development of motor skills. It present rich opportunities for social, moral and emotional development of the child thus promote the development of their personality and ability to handle stress and conflict.

Recreation helps to promote high quality of life, increases self esteem and confidence. It provides maximum relaxation, satisfaction, enjoyment and pleasure. Provides opportunity to gain and develop new friendships and also; learn new culture, provides opportunities for exploration and creativity, and enhances the spirit of sharing.

During school time children are bombarded with learning process that involves solutions like mathematics, science, technology and in doing this, they exercise their brain. And in addition to it, parents high expectation from the child to score high grade in the educational subject.

Recreation helps and buffers the effects of stress in children’s life and also helps them in the moments of adversities. It also improves children’s mental development by improving their awareness, reasoning and observational skills. Children are said to be better in problem solving after recreation.

Researchers have shown and proven that Children’s recreation whether outdoor or indoor has tremendous effects on the well being of the child, including better psychological health and superior cognitive skills. Children are said to be more diverse in creativity and imagination during recreation and this promotes language developments and stimulates the spirit of collaboration with others…..

Recreation encourages the spirit of togetherness, children feel loved and appreciate one another, they interact socially, and they feel confident themselves. This reduces the attitude of inferiority and failure. They feel they can do better and better. It reduces bullying and encourages friendship. It stimulates the spirit of competition among children. Children with disabilities feel confident and are happier when they are involved with others in the same activity. They feel happier when they know they can. Children are said to be at their best when they compete with others. Recreation not only helps in Children’s health and fitness medically, but it also helps them to be more independent and responsible. It involving role plays encourages team building and leadership.

Every child has a right to recreation, they benefit significantly in formal and informal education, the ability to learn in their unique experiential method through exploration and discovery makes them exercise the spirit of sharing and learning from one another.

Recreation is not just going to enroll them in an after school activities or providing a safe playground for them, It is fundamentally about protecting their right to be free to explore and discover the physical and social world around them in their own way. From, this parents should understand not only the child’s academic performance is important but recreation also is very much important in Child’s Education and Developments.

Emotional Development in Children

Emotions are innate right from the birth of the child. In the beginning babies seek out things that they want by crying. The emotional capabilities expand as the children grow. Emotional development encompasses the feelings that we possess about ourselves and others as well as the capabilities to function well in the world from a social standpoint.

Babies seem to be born with some of their emotional qualities in place, much of how they develop initially can be credited to the lessons that they are taught by their primary caregivers. Warm, attentive care during the first year of life, helps babies to gain a sense that the world is a safe and welcoming place. This sense of security can be a good base for the development of other healthy emotional responses. Babies form attachments to the people closest to them when they are quite young, showing increased anxiety and restlessness when with unfamiliar people. These first and most important relationships serve as a child’s earliest lessons in forming close, emotional bonds.

In general, babies can show wide range of emotions like happiness, fear, sadness, anxiety, etc with varying emotional expressions. These include smiling, laughing, showing joy and excitement, crying, showing anger, becoming anxious, feeling guilty or sad and being withdrawn. It is important to keep in mind that emotional development is unique to each child.

Emotions revealed by preschoolers are changing and contradicting at the same time. They may be extremely happy at one moment while sad at the very next instance. Their emotions don’t last long. At ‘I Play I Learn’, there are various activities promoting qualities like sharing, cooperation, kindness and friendliness.

At ‘I Play I Learn’ and ‘I-Care’, individualized care is provided to every infant and toddler. The children in other groups are also looked after properly. A wide range of activities fostering emotional development are provided. Emotional development takes place along with social development. Various activities involving the understanding of emotions of self as well as others via role-play, story-telling, music and movement etc are a part of the ‘I-Care’ functioning.

Parents too can further enhance their child’s socio-emotional development at home by simple activities and interactions:

  • Spend time with your child
  • Encourage him/her to make friends in neighborhood and school
  • Involve yourself in whatever the child does.
  • Encourage expressions of emotions in all forms; talking, painting, playing etc.
  • Role model with correct emotional expression

Importance of Nutrition in Early Years

Nutrition and child development are two terms that often go hand in hand. The more nutritious diet the child consumes, the healthier the child would be leading to complete development. The nutrition requirement of a child differs from that of an adult, because the child is in a growing phase. It is owing to this fact that there arises a need to encourage healthy nutritional habits in children.

Early years are the formative years. Nutrition plays a vital role in aiding the holistic development of the child in all domains like physical, social, mental, emotional, language and creative.

Balanced nutrition is a diet that comprises of all the five food groups. The five food groups are cereals, pulses, fruits & vegetables, fats & oils and water. These food groups fulfill the five basic nutrients viz. carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and of course water.

In a healthy body resides a healthy mind; and therefore at ‘I Play I Learn’ and ‘I-Care’ we equally emphasize on child’s nutrition. It is very important that children are exposed to a wide variety of raw and cooked food items.

Some tips for parents to instill healthy eating habits in children and develop a non-aversive attitude to food:

  • The food provided in the setting is nutritious as well as palatable.
  • Offer a variety of textures in food like soft chapattis, crispy toasts, slimy butter etc and different flavours like salty, sweet, sour etc.
  • Fortify one type of food item with variety of mineral and vitamin rich garnishing and additional ingredients. This not only adds to the taste but also make the food item multi-nutrient rich.
  • Design your plate with foodstuff served (placed) in an attractive manner.
  • Meal times should be calm and peaceful.
  • Void the idiot box during meal times.
  • Involve children in simple cooking processes to generate their interest in eating those food items.
  • Provide correct role modeling for children; if you eat all the food groups and flavours correctly and, children will willingly adapt to the same.

Understanding Learning Disability (LD)

Pre-school years are the most important yeas. During these years children’s development is on a fast track….children are learning a lot of concepts and simultaneously their language, cognition, socio-emotional and creativity is developed. ‘I Play I Learn’ as the name suggests believes that ‘play’ is the best mode of learning for any child.

However, as a child progresses further, ideally developments too progress. Activities become more structured as opposed to mere fun filled activities and concepts are followed with activities focused on reading and writing. Number concepts are introduced and start moving on a fast pace with sums and problems.

Children who are learning disabled may show symptoms of irritation, disinterest or even lag behind in their academic performance and developmental assessment. In a way, about 3% of all children across countries, races, religion and cultures are ‘special’. They arrive on Earth with their unique gifts but life has little / no time for them and considers them a problem.

Physiotherapy, speech therapy, counseling and special tutors can be of some help to support and encourage children with learning disability. However, detection of learning disability is difficult in a pre-school set up as the activities are simple and play based. As the child progresses to higher levels with activities that have increased amount of counting / number works, writing and reading, the scope for identifying children with LD are more.

Types of Learning Disability (LD):
Learning disability is a broad term and it has many parts like:-

  • Dyslexia-child having difficulty in reading
  • Dysgraphia-child having difficulty in writing
  • Dysparaxia-child having difficulty in motor coordination
  • Dyscalculia-child having difficulty in mathematics

Some of the behaviors that might help us to understand these special children appears in the following lists. Many children show these problems from time to time. The problems listed here as hints rather than markers.

Does the child have delayed development in?

  • Learning the alphabet
  • Rhyming words
  • Relating phonetic sounds to the letters
  • Counting and learning numbers
  • Pronouncing words correctly
  • Walking forward or up and down the stairs
  • Remembering the names of multiple things of a group, i.e., colours, letters, numbers etc.
  • Getting dressed by self
  • Eye hand coordination
  • Attention
  • Memorizing
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Reading and/or writing ability Sequencing
  • Organization and other Sensory difficulties

Facilitators of child’s development at the school or the parents further nurturing children’s development at home need to be cautious and avoid conclusive decisions about their child being LD. Structured psychometric tests and counseling can help the child as well as parents to foster the development of children suffering from LD.

Fostering social development in pre-school years

We all want well behaved children. We also want to give our children everything that they want and everything that we can possibly give. They are very real yet contradictory statements. Is there a solution to this contradiction?

Yes, it is based on ‘As you bend the twig, the tree will be inclined in that direction’. That is why at I Play I Learn, we try and imbibe self-confidence and provide each child with positive behavior for imitation. At I Play I Learn, we strongly believe that with parental partnership and involvement, children can easily be socially developed. ‘Social development’ is not only about understanding the norms of the society we live in but also about understanding oneself along with our strengths and short comings.

At I Play I Learn, each young mind is made to be participating in activities that are individual oriented and group activities. While performing the individual oriented activities, they get hands on each material and by trial and error, they even learn by themselves. A particular thing, how much ever minute it is, when learnt by self always boosts a preschooler’s confidence. These activities can be as simple as something like answering a question appropriately and getting appreciations from the facilitator to something complex like interacting in a group, waiting for ones turns or even using golden words generously in daily routine.

The group activities foster sharing, co-operation, learning by imitation, interactions; thereby understanding relations and their value in their own terms. Formal greeting and respecting elders comes to us from school, when we first say ‘Good Morning Teacher’ in a playschool. Further, interacting with peers, talking to adults and younger children, social etiquettes at social gatherings and public places along with general courtesy is groomed into each child at ‘I Play I Learn’.

‘Each child is a unique individual’ and that is aptly understood by all of us at ‘I Play I Learn’ and that is why we undoubtedly look into individual differences whilst fostering such qualities. When a child is given positive environment and a fair pace to grow according to his/her developmental milestones, there are no two thoughts about a child being developed as a well-behaved child; groomed by playing with opportunities to imitate, question, explore and experiment to further their learning skills and decision making ability.

Parents can foster their preschooler’s development at home too:

  • Teach children to socialize with an exchange of ‘Smile’ with known people in the neighbourhood
  • Give them the opportunity to interact and socialize with their
    age mates
  • Prompt them to use golden words at necessary times while communicating socially
  • Become a role model for your child
    to learn social etiquettes and
    interactions

Toilet Training

Planning potty training for preschoolers…

Toilet Training is one of the milestones of growth and development. As the child grows, bladder and bowel control are to be mastered. Most children gradually start expressing their will for a bladder or bowel expulsion when they are about 2 years.

I Pay I Learn’ strongly believes that with parental partnership and involvement children can happily be toilet trained. The following passage discusses the process of toilet training and also provides some tips for a joyful step over this developmental stage.

To start toilet training with the children one should keep the potty in the children’s room so that one becomes familiar to the potty or is curious to know what it is. Notice the signs of the children – if he/she starts showing interest by informing you (parents/facilitators) about the soiled diaper, the child is dry for long hours  and is found to be touching his private parts could be an indication of the urge to urinate or defecate, he/she may pull down her/his underpants.

Children should be made aware about what is happening to his/her body and try to introduce the potty. Allow the child to observe the potty and become familiar to it by observing, touching, sitting etc.

This should be normally introduced when the child takes initiative by expressing his/her need to urinate and / defecate or by the age of 2 years; whichever is earliest. But remember every child is different and there is no need to rush. Provide space to your child and allow him to grow and adjust to it by himself/herself.

By 3 years of age most children have moderately good bowel and bladder control, but some are still not ready to start toilet training until they are 4; there is nothing to worry about and get excited. Most children follow different sequence of their bladder control. E.g. at night time, during day etc…

One of the parents should be around when the child is trying to sit on the potty chair. Parent should talk about the potty chair when the child itself is on it as it may help the child to relax.

One should praise the child when he/she sits on the potty chair and should not be let down if the child does not do anything. One should be patient with the children.

Allow the children to see and use the flush to create more excitement in the bathrooms to see the bowel movements and inform children that our stomach also pushes the waste from our body in this way.

Once the child is used to the potty chair, one can begin the use of step up stools for the children to reach over the toilet.

Some tips for toilet training:

  • Before planning to start toilet training of children, always have a potty around so that your child is familiar and used to sit on it.
  • Dress the child in comfortable clothing, so that it is easy for the child to remove the pants and pull up the pants. Summer is a great time to start. Try to establish a daily routine.
  • Make potty interesting and encourage the child to sit on the potty at regular intervals but do not force the child to sit on the potty, always go on the child’s pace. Best time for the child to sit on the potty is after meal times.
  • Never pressurize the child. In fact, comfort by letting the child know that nappy is to be worn while going to bed or going out of home-this would comfort the child.
  • One’s the child starts controlling the bladder, it is a final stage for your child. One should remember that child cannot hold urine for long hours and he should b quickly escorted to the rest room on expression of the need to expel.
  • While training your child; do not compare a child with other siblings.
  • Child’s facilitator should be aware that you have started toilet training and what all words do they use at home for the child during toilet training and after also should be communicated to the facilitators.

Choosing Toys for Preschoolers

Toys for Play …Play to Learn … Play More … Learn More …

At ‘I Play I Learn’ we have been emphasizing the importance of ‘Play’ for children. Play is synonymous to childhood and the fundamentals for childhood and development are simple: ‘PLAY MORE… LEARN MORE…’ No child is taught to play yet they play and learn.

Play equipments or toys are a media to stimulate learning. Preschoolers can convert anything to toys viz, empty cartons, garden soil, old newspapers, pillows, chapatti dough, beans, water, sea shore sand to pebbles, dried leaves, mummy’s old saree and virtually anything they find handy.

Toys are fascinating for all children. Right from a small dangler hanging over their crib when they were just born to the loads of toys they played with when they toddled around and onwards…

Any play activity is not restricted to a single development; most activities foster multiple developments. Similarly, each toy has a specific objective and along with that many other developmental objectives too are served, thus fostering the holistic development of a child.

Toys are always loved; what changes are the child’s choices. Thus, bringing in the variety in colour, shape, size and complexity of functions in toys as per his/her age.

Little ones are very inquisitive and toys are much more than mere amusements for children. Parents purchase perhaps every toy that catches their eyes and appears to be interesting and safe for their child.

Toys serve to be multipurpose. After all, toys foster development of various skills to contribute to holistic development. It is therefore very essential to pick the right kind of toys for children.

Toys like stuffed teddy bears, dolls etc give an expression to feelings of love and affection due to their cuddly nature which is an implied gesture of security for the child. Soft toys and puppets also foster creative expression, dramatization and lead to socio-emotional development.

Toys like cobbler’s bench which consist of the hammer and clay or dough to may serve to be the best of creativity enhancers as they provide optimum avenue for creative expressions. Thus, all that fosters creativity and expressions may be clubbed under expressive toys.
Blocks, jigsaw, dominos, pegs and chains etc are some of the constructive toys that help to develop logical thinking, imagination and creativity.  It also helps them to promote concentration and reasoning. Thinking and logic developing toys include construction sets and memory games too.

Some tips for choosing toys:

  • Involve yourself in the play initially to generate child’s interest in the toy; this will help him understand the method of playing with the toys and also sharpen your skill of choosing the better one for your child as per his need and development.
  • Select age appropriate toys for your child to keep up the interest in playing and learning
  • Choose toys that promote 2-3 concept / developments; too many concepts may confuse the child and hamper his interest in the toy.
  • Select toys with simple operations and concepts; gradually increase the difficulty level
  • Avoid battery operated mechanical toys that are a mere noise making and light producing item.
  • Avoid toys with small pieces for preschoolers.

Nature Education

Begins with the beginning of our little ones’ educational journey…

Nature, a challenge for humans to nurture. In line with its philosophy ‘I Play I Learn’ is positively sensitizing little ones to develop and foster a strong bond with nature and its elements. Childhood is the best time to explore, understand, experiment and build a bond with nature too.

Our little ones are beginning their academic journey and their twinkling eyes peep through the windows of pre-school. ‘I Play I Learn’ aim to make their first step a very memorable one introducing them to a plethora of play and learn experiences through indoor and outdoor activities to foster their holistic development with an ingrained element of nature right from the beginning.

I Play I Learn’ curriculum draws its inspiration from the theory of ‘Multiple intelligence’ by Howard Gardner, Playway method by Froebel, Montessori Method by Maria Montessori, theme based and project approach by John Dewey and Reggio Emilia approach. Most of these theory proponents lay emphasis on environment as a vital factor to further holistic development of children. Environment as in, indoor environment of the classroom as well as the environment in which we live influences us in all respects.

‘Nature smartness’ is one of the aspects we foster in every child at ‘I Play I Learn’.  As per the developmental age our curriculum provides opportunities to further potentials in every child. Lesson plans appropriately weave in this aspect of nature smartness by bringing the little ones closer to nature.

Apart from ‘I Play I Learn’ classroom environment equal emphasis is laid on the exteriors too. We believe that ‘environmental study’ is much more an inevitable necessity than just a mandate to be followed.

Sensitizing the young inquisitive minds towards nature and its boons is important to create little ones’ first stepping stone for future. An affiliation with nature in the early years not only builds an emotional bond but also nurtures this relationship with nature in the time to come. At ‘I Play I Learn’, it is of utmost importance to introduce them to nature; the first step towards environmental education.

Material like clay, water and sand are inviting to our little ones and offer enjoyable activities to foster the little ones learning experience like watering the plants, moulding the clay, sand play, water play, nature walks etc. Environment with plants, birds, trees, animals and much more are introduced to our little ones. Our concepts and thoughts move from general to complex and this is reflected in curriculum as we orient children to various aspects of nature and sensitize them to nurture the elements adorning nature.

Bonds and relationships developed in the formative years will only get further nurtured and strengthened with time…. ‘I Play I Learn’ is nurturing the bond with nature in children….

Child Rights

Learn more on child rights,
Know more on child rights,
Enlighten yourself on child rights…

‘Child’ is defined as an individual below the age of 18 years. The fundamental freedom and the inherent rights of every individual below the age of 18 are defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Child Rights Convention had been opened on the 20th of November 1989 for signature, ratification and accession.  Almost every member state of United Nations has signed the Convention on Child Rights.

India too is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, since 12th December 1992.

Every child is an individual and has been bestowed upon with 54 rights as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Every child has 4 basic rights:

The Right to Survival

  • This cover the Right to Life, good health and nutrition, name and individuality.

The Right to Development

  • The right to care, education, play, care and nurturance to develop completely.

The Right to Protection

  • Every child has the right to protection against neglect, exploitation and all forms of abuse.

The Right to Participation

  • This bestows children with the right to expression, think, be informed and practice religion of choice.

To elaborate on these lines the convention on the Rights of the Child has 54 rights of which 1-42 are the rights and the rest are the guidelines for implementation.

All rights are our needs!
To read more refer to the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (UN CRC).

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