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Check out the January Preschool Calendar!

December 26, 2008 · Filed Under Holidays · Comment 

Parents and care givers who have young children will want to visit the January Preschool Calendar.  This free download offers quick and easy daily activities to keep preschoolers learning and growing all month long!  There are things to do that will build fine motor skills, reading and math readiness, and social/emotional growth.  Give it a try! 

Click here to download the free activity calendar today!

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(c) 2008 Sandy Fleming

 

Get in Gear for Learning

August 7, 2008 · Filed Under Parents' Corner · Comment 

School’s right around the corner for most of us, and it’s time to switch on those mental gears and get the kids back into the swing of learning.  You can help everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, get back into school mode by challenging the brains a bit during these last few weeks of summer break.  Here are some fun ideas that won’t seem like school, but will get the brains fired up.

Play Family Games

Nearly any game from your game closet will help kids learn something important for school success. Whether they get to practice math facts with dice, learn about modular math with game boards that go in circles, count play money, or plan strategy, it’s all working toward the goal of getting ready to hit the books.

Plan a Shopping Trip

Use catalogs or the newspaper sale flyers and send your group on an imaginary shopping spree.  You can have them shop for anything they want: cars, groceries, toys, whatever.  Give them each a set amount of pretend spending money and have them find advertisements for things they’d like to buy.

Want Ad Stories

Nearly every newspaper has a personals or a lost and found section in the want ads.  Choose an ad and have your young writer make up the story to go with it.  What happened to cause this ad to be placed?  What happened after the ad was in the paper?  How did it all turn out? 

Try Some Science

You don’t need a school to tell you to do science projects.  How about setting up a family-wide science fair?  The internet is loaded with experiment ideas if you need them, and every student will benefit from the logical thinking, writing and presentation practice. 

These are just a few ways to get the mental muscles back in shape for the coming school year.  Give it a try!  You will find that your kids will be more willing and efficient students if they get some of the rust out of the brain in August.

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Study Skills Start in Preschool

July 4, 2008 · Filed Under Parents' Corner, Readiness, Study Skills, Tutors' Corner · Comment 

As a tutor, I often work with high schoolers who are behind in their studies.  They come to me with concerns about grades in their classes, test anxieties, and difficulty learning the material that they are expected to master.   It’s hard to help them.  Most of the time, I feel we just barely keep their head above water and have a goal of trying to prevent them from dropping out before they get that all-important high school diploma.  I wish I could’ve seen them years ago.

If I had known these kids in preschool, and had some influence with their families, I would’ve had a message for them.  When your child is two, three and four years old, you are building the foundations for the skills that kids need for successful high school learning. 

Perhaps the most important gift you can give your young child is a love of and appreciation for learning.  This attitude can only be fostered by example.  You have to show, every day, that learning is a huge part of your life and your child’s life.  Make it a priority to answer questions, to teach skills the kids are interested in, and to let them see you using learning skills whenever you can.  Read and read to them.  Fill your home with learning materials, like books, references, newspapers, magazines, and learning toys.  No matter what you thought of school, make it a point to stay positive with your child.

Encourage reading and math and science and writing-not with formal “lessons” or “practice,” but through play and life experiences.  Take your child to parks, museums, historical sites, and stores.  Look things up at the library and on the internet.  When your child expresses interest, help him or her to accomplish the goal.  There’s no need to sit around a table using flashcards to help your child learn.  He or she will gain so much more by DOING things.  Try experiments, put on a play, build a carnival in the back yard, design an obstacle course, or write a story.  Hands-on is the best way to learn.

The preschool years are also the time to train memories and build language skills, which relate directly to study skills in high school and beyond.  Encourage your young child to retell stories, to relate events in sequence, to describe and to converse.  Play memory games that require recall of increasingly larger chunks of information.  Play word games and number games. 

The long and the short of it is that the preschool years are formative, not just for character and physical development, but also for later learning.  Give your child every chance to succeed-lay the foundations for school success!

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