Showing posts with label Sensory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sensory. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 24

CHALK TALK: preparing your child for kindergarten, part 3 - developing fine motor skills

The foundation of learning is rooted in fine motor skills. This includes being able to write, use scissors, and manipulate small objects. You can aid in this development by having simple items on hand such as dry pasta, tissue paper, playdough, buttons, and rice that will keep your preschooler’s mind and fingers working together! Try some of these simple activities at home:

  • Involve your child in the kitchen and task them with measuring and stirring. Children will learn to scoop, pour, and stir using spoons and measuring cups. Not only does this boost motor skills, but fosters confidence in your child as he or she discovers that you value their help.
  • Create a sensory bin by partially filling a container with rice or sand, then burying small items such as buttons, coins, small toys, and macaroni. Encourage your child to dig for the items with a spoon and remove them from the bin with a clothespin.
  • Purchase safety scissors and allow your child to practice cutting different kinds of paper. Supply him or her with newspaper, recycled printer paper, and tissue paper. The different materials will help your child determine a sense of pressure and cutting strength when using different types of paper.  Also, be sure to help your child focus on gripping the scissors correctly.
  • Draw large, simple shapes on recycled paper and have your child tear the paper along the shape’s edges. This will also foster fine motor skills, concentration, and shape identification.
  • Find some string and large beads for your preschooler to thread. This will not only help boost their fine motor skills, but provides a great teaching moment for identifying colors, shapes, and patterns. An alternative to this exercise is to punch holes into a paper plate and number the holes with a marker. Have your child numerically thread a long piece of string through the corresponding holes.
  • Create a sensory board to help your child learn to open and close specific items. Incorporating shoelaces, velcro strips, clothing zippers, and other materials will help him or her acclimate to getting dressed and tying shoes by themselves.
  • Encourage your child to draw and color. The more exposure to holding a writing utensil, the more prepared your child will be for learning to write with a pencil. As with scissors, ensure that your child is gripping the writing utensils correctly.

When focusing on fine motor skills, your child is not only preparing his or herself to write in the classroom, but is also engaging creatively with different shapes and colors. For more fine motor tips, reference THE FAIRMONT FIVE: Developing Fine Motor Skills or visit the Fairmont Early Childhood Education Pinterest board!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Images by Occupational Therapy Consulting LLC, Joy Anderson, Lipstick Alley, How We Montessori, and Vicki Clinebell

Wednesday, June 3

THE FAIRMONT FIVE: developing fine motor skills

Fine motor skills are essential to human growth and success. Providing your toddler as many resources as possible to train their bodies is incredibly beneficial for kindergarten preparation. In the classroom, children need to hold scissors and writing utensils properly. Creating simple activities and devices for your child to play with at home will aid dramatically in speeding your child’s hand-eye coordination and developing fine motor skills.

  1. Playdough - A simple ball of playdough can provide hours of entertainment as toddlers squish, twist, and mold different shapes. An inherently creative medium, children will automatically use their imagination to build a variety of structures. As a bonus, incorporate dry pasta, pebbles, buttons, etc. for added creativity and motor function!
  2. Sensory Bins - Create a simple sensory bin for your child using a plastic storage container and layer of sand, rice, oatmeal, or other malleable elements. Mix small toys, shells, pebbles, legos, etc. into the element and encourage your child hunt for the buried items. When your toddler is ready to advance, have them dig for items and pick them up using a spoon.
  3. Sensory Boards - Secure a variety of open-close items to a pegboard for your toddler to practice opening and closing. Items such as latches, zippers, door knobs, and wheels help aid critical thinking and strengthen motor skills.
  4. Hole in One - Using empty water bottles and small pebbles or craft pompoms, encourage your child to practice picking up small items and placing them through small holes. Another version of this exercise is to provide your toddler with a colander and pipe cleaner to see how many pieces they can thread into the colander.
  5. Threading - Develop your child’s concentration and coordination by give them some large beads and string to thread. As a bonus, get them used to seeing patterns by showing them how to thread beads by color or shape.  
Making activities more challenging by using clothespins or tweezers to move small objects will greatly aid in your child’s progression towards kindergarten. Early exposure to writing utensils, safety scissors, and shoe laces will also help to give your toddler a boost in classroom readiness!    

Visit the Fairmont Preschool Pinterest board for more developmental ideas and classroom preparation for your young child!

Contributed by Rebecca
Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by Hands On As We Grow

Wednesday, May 27

CHALK TALK: the many benefits of music in early education

Music fosters creative thought and much more!

Fairmont’s early childhood education programs offer a sensory rich environment for heightening a child’s senses, which is essential for providing the foundation of a well-rounded education. Music plays a major role in this effort by helping our young learners grow in many areas of personal and academic development. 

Whether listening to Beethoven, banging on drums or dancing to a song, music helps students gain confidence for learning and trying new things. At the same time, they exercise their language, vocal, and fine motor skills. When singing folk songs or dancing to famous jazz tunes, children have the opportunity to explore the richness of American culture and its history. 

Besides nurturing creativity, confidence, and a better understanding of history, musical activities such as sing-a-longs help children feel they are members of a community.  Hands-on music participation and appreciation incorporates lessons in math, reading, and writing.  For example, learning how to keep a steady beat, rhythm, and melody involves engaging mathematical concepts such as sequencing, counting, and patterning. 

The whole family can engage in music appreciation in the home, car, and at concert venues. Fairmont’s Music Department Chair Adela Stella encourages parents and grandparents to take children to see summer concerts in the park to experience the excitement of live performances.

Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools

Image by KinderMusik