Thursday, July 14, 2011

Look At Me!

This post features a new home made book I created as a "make and take" activity at parent support groups. This book has many features that are appealing to young children:

Mirrors - Babies love looking at pictures of other babies, but they enjoy looking at themselves even more! Mirrors are a great way of helping children become self-aware.

Shapes - Children will learn about a variety of shapes by looking at their relection in the shapes. Learning the names of shapes will help you child take their first steps to becoming a math wiz!

Repetition - We all know that children learn best though repetition. This book was written with simple text to help children understand the relationship between what we say and print.

"Look at me! I'm in a square."
"Look at me! I'm in a circle."

TIP: You can buy mirror paper at your local art supply store on a large roll.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Get Ready for a Shock!

Recently, I picked up this book as a potential read for a book club for child care providers. Since I've picked it up I can barely put it down. It challenges some major assumptions that parents and caregivers can make about "what's best for children".

One of the most interesting chapters for me was the one called ``Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn`t``. As an Early Literacy Specialist, I often tell parents of young children to read, sing and talk with their children. Well, this chapter really opened my eyes to what new research is telling us. For a while I had been under the impression that talking alone would make a difference in the vocabulary development of young children. Though I was well aware that children learn best through interactions, I had no idea that the vocabulary achievement gap is based on how parents RESPOND to their children, including how immediately they do so.

Everytime a baby looks to their caregiver, babbles, or reaches for a toy, there is an opportunity for a caregiver to respond to the baby. Also, it should be noted that the timing of the response is just as important as the response itself. From the time that a baby gestures towards an interaction with a caregiver, that caregiver has 5 seconds to respond or they have missed a learning opportunity.

If you would like more information on this book, please visit this link. From what I`ve read so far, I believe that it`s something that every parent and caregiver must read.