Friday, May 19, 2017

May 19, 2017

Is my Child Ready for Preschool? 10 Step Checklist





Is your child preschool ready?
Is your child ready for preschool in the Fall? We know that it’s only May, but it’s never too early to assess whether or not your child will be preschool ready in August. And, with Summer fast approaching, there is plenty of opportunity to work with your child to refine his or her basic skills which are often referred to as “school-readiness” skills. All children develop on their own unique schedule! If he’s not there yet, be patient, he will be soon!

When your child starts school at any age, whether it’s preschool, kindergarten or beyond, he is expected to have certain basic skills already mastered. Sure, there will be a few that are not done perfectly, but essentially your child should be able to complete age-appropriate skills before entering school. We’ve put together a list of skills and chores that your child should be able to accomplish that indicate if your child is preschool ready. Every child develops at his or her own pace, so don’t panic if your child is not hitting all the milestones yet. These act as general guidelines to give you an idea of what your child’s preschool teacher will be looking for when school begins.

Preschool Readiness Checklist

Emotional Development
Recognizes other people’s emotions
Takes turns and is able to share toys

Attention & Independence
Listens to simple instructions
Sits still during story time
Can separate himself from you for a few hours
Enjoys doing things herself sometimes, such as getting dressed on her own

Language, Art, and Math
Recognizes some shapes and colors
Recites the alphabet and recognize some letters
Expresses thoughts and needs verbally
Recites his full name
Counts to five
Draws with crayons or pencils

Many preschool teachers agree that a child’s preschool readiness depends more on his or her individual personality and temperament than her so-called “academic” abilities. Kids Soup offers a comprehensive Preschool and Kindergarten Readiness Checklist. The more prepared you and your child are as Summer comes to and end and as we approach the school year, the smoother and happier the experience will be. If you find that your child still has some work to do, use the summer to improve his skills with fun games.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

Internet Dangers Parents Need to Be Aware Of



5 Reasons Why the Internet Can Be Dangerous for Children and Teens

As important as it is to hear that your child can find themselves in trouble online, if you do not know what internet safety steps can help to protect them, you may be looking for more information.  You also may be curious as to what it is about the internet that can be so dangerous.  For your convenience, five reasons why internet use can be dangerous for children and teenagers are highlighted below.

1 – False Identities Are Easy to Create Making new friends online is easy and convenient, but it is much different than doing so in person.  Why?  Because you can’t see who is at the other end of the

computer.  The internet makes it easy for someone to be anyone else in the world.  For example, if your child is using social networking websites online, they must enter in their age.  They could easily lie themselves or they could be talking to someone else who is.

2 – Internet Predators As it was previously stated, the internet makes it easy to create a new, false identity.  Often, the individuals who lie about their ages are internet predators.  They are the ones who target children, like yours.  Unfortunately, many children, teenagers, and their parents cannot tell an internet predator until it is too late, like when the predators try to approach your child or contact them in person.

3 – So Many Websites to Choose from What is nice about the internet is that you have so many websites to choose from.  In fact, that is why it is a good way to research school projects.  With that said, having so many websites to choose from can be dangerous.  Your child can gain access to social networking websites, adult chat rooms, pornographic websites, and websites that are violent in nature.

4 – Not All Information Is Private Unfortunately, many individuals, including both children and parents, do not know that the information that is posted online isn’t always private.  For starters, most teens have their Myspace profiles set to public, as opposed to private.  This means that anyone can view it.  There are also online message boards that are indexed by the search engines.  This means that others can view the conversations that were discussed, even years down the road.ntal controls set up, your child can easily access any type of website with a standard internet search.

5 – They Are in Control When your child uses the internet, they are the ones who are in control.  This can be okay if your child is older and mature, but you honestly never know.  You may ask your child not to communicate with strangers online, give out their phone numbers, or share pictures with strangers, but that doesn’t mean that they will follow your rules.  For that reason, if you do let your child use the internet, be sure to monitor their use.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School



Friday, May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017


Is your child ready for Preschool?


Starting preschool is such an exciting and momentous occasion! When children are 3-years-old, they are no longer toddlers. They are “big kids” ready to start preschool. As parents, we can help our children prepare for this next big step. As a preschool teacher and mom, I’ve had the advantage of seeing hundreds of kids start school.
The children who are most ready often have parents who do these 5 things:

1. Read!
If I was only allowed to give one piece of advice to parents it would be, “Read to your child.” Read every day. Have books in every room, in your purse, and in the car. Read favorite books so often that you and your child have them memorized. Visit the library often. 

2.Talk!
Developing your child’s oral language skills is a crucial part of preparing her for preschool. Turn off the movie in the car and engage your child in a discussion about the world around her. Ask questions. Talk about nature, and colors, and letters, and feelings. Put down your phone and listen when your child talks to you. Encourage your child to make eye contact and greet others with a “Hello” and a “Good Bye.” Don’t forget, foster oral language development at home!

3. Play!
Spend time every day on the floor playing with your child. Encourage pretend play and role playing. Get messy! Laugh and have fun together. Offer your child time to play by herself, giving her the opportunity to decide what to do. 

4. Encourage Independence!
Children who can take care of some of their personal needs do better at the beginning of preschool than children who rely on adults for everything. Make sure your child has shoes that she can put on herself. Allow extra time before you need to leave the house each day so that your child can put on her own shoes. Support your child in taking care of her own bathroom needs. If she asks help with her pants, or with wiping, try talking her through it rather than doing it all for her. Teach her to wash her own hands and flush the toilet. It’s not glamorous, but these are important skills in preschool! Here’s a very good list of ways to support self-help.

5. Practice!
Give your child time away from you. Practice separating and giving your child a little bit of space. If you anticipate separation anxiety, your child will be ok before the big day.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

Technology in the Preschool Classroom

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Young children are born learners. They love to explore and soak in new experiences. Preschool teachers can use technology to enhance children'snatural curiosity. Not sure how to make this happen? Look at what technology in the preschool classroom looks like.

What is Technology?
When we talk about technology in education, we mean the use of tools or machines in classrooms. Think computers, tablets, and printers. In a preschool classroom, technology can take many forms. What does technology look like in a preschool classroom? Let's take a tour of Ms. Smith's classroom and see what she has going on.

Technology to Support Young Learners
The early years are all about figuring things out. Children are developing as learners as they investigate their world, and they're naturally curious about everything and explore how things work at every turn. Ms. Smith knows her students need technology, as they provide a way for her students to grow as investigative learners. As such, she uses technology to support learning, not merely as a teaching tool.
What types of technology does she have in her classroom? Look at some common types of preschool technology:

Computers
Ms. Smith's classroom has several different types of computers, electronic devices used to store and process data. Several desktop and laptop computers are available for the children to use for exploring programs related to science, language, and math. The students also have access to tablets, computer-like devices that responds to on-screen interaction instead of a mouse.
Tablets aid in introducing preschoolers to subjects like science and language.
tablet

Listening Devices
Young children enjoy listening to songs, books, poems, and stories. When a teacher isn't available to read with a student, they can listen on a digital player, like a compact disk player or electronic device such as an iPod. The children can listen as a group or wear headphones for private listening.

Recording Devices
Ms. Smith takes many opportunities to record her students in action. She uses digital cameras and videos of the children creating structures in the block area or putting on a play. Students also have access to these devices for making their own memories of events. Ms. Smith encourages the children to tap into their creativity when taking pictures and videos by making digital books and stories with their work.

Instructional Technology in Preschool
Ms. Smith is a well-informed teacher. She uses technology to help her plan lessons, instruct and record student progress. How does she do this? Her tool bag includes:

Document Camera
Many times, when showing her young students, a book or leaf, Ms. Smith hears 'I can't see!' Using a document camera helps solve this problem in a snap. A document camera is basically a digital overhead projector. An object can be placed in front of the camera and the image is enlarged and shown on a screen. Ms. Smith uses her document camera to show her whole class what the inside of a leaf looks like, or to read a story aloud so all students can clearly see print and pictures.
Data Processing
Even parents of preschool children want to know how their children are progressing. Ms. Smith records and collects data about her students - things like number sense or reading readiness indicators - and keeps them in a digital program meant for processing this information. This data processor helps her organize information and make it presentable to parents.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School



Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21, 2017


Five Reasons Why We Need Poetry in Schools

Let me start with this: We need poetry. We really do. Poetry promotes literacy, builds community, and fosters emotional resilience. It can cross boundaries that little else can. April is National Poetry Month.  Here are five reasons why we need poetry in our schools.

Reason #1: Poetry helps us know each other and build community.  Poetry can be used at the start of the year to learn about where students come from and who they are. Poetry can allow kids to paint sketches of their lives, using metaphor, imagery, and symbolic language to describe painful experiences, or parts of themselves that they're not ready to share. Poetry allows kids to put language to use-to make it serve a deep internal purpose, to break rules along the way, representation, community perhaps.

Reason #2: Poetry is rhythm and music and sounds and beats. Young children -- babies and preschoolers included -- may not understand all the words or meaning, but they'll feel the rhythms, get curious about what the sounds mean and perhaps want to create their own. It's the most kinesthetic of all literature, it's physical and full-bodied which activates your heart and soul and sometimes bypasses the traps of our minds and the outcome is that poetry moves us. Boys, too.

Reason #3: Poetry opens venues for speaking and listening, much neglected domains of a robust English Language Arts curriculum.

Reason #4: Poetry has space for English Language Learners. Furthermore, poetry is universal. ELLs can learn about or read poetry in their primary language, helping them bridge their worlds.

Reason #5: Poetry builds resilience in kids and adults; it fosters Social and Emotional Learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. We can gain insight that had evaded us many times, that gives us new understanding and strength.

A final suggestion about bringing poetry into your lives: don't analyze it, don't ask others to analyze it. Don't deconstruct it or try to make meaning of it. Find the poems that wake you up, that make you feel as if you've submerged yourself in a mineral hot spring or an ice bath; find the poems that make you feel (almost) irrational joy or sadness or delight. Find the poems that make you want to roll around in them or paint their colors all over your bedroom ceiling. Those are the poems you want to play with -- forget the ones that don't make sense. Find those poems that communicate with the deepest parts of your being and welcome them in.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

Friday, April 7, 2017

April 7, 2017

How does phonemic awareness affect reading comprehension?




Phonemic awareness relates to reading comprehension as it is the first building block of the reading process, followed by phonics instruction. It is most effective when students master phonemic awareness skills by first grade. The results of the National Reading Panel’s study of phonemic awareness instruction demonstrated that, “Teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective across all the literacy domains and outcomes. Without being able to recognize individual sounds in words, a reader is unable to sound out words. When the learner cannot decode (or sound out) words, he or she will be unable to understand the words in the text. If the reader does not know the words in the text, he or she will be unable to create meaning, or comprehend what he or she is reading.


The National Reading Panel’s extensive research has found, “A close relationship exists between fluency and reading comprehension. The conclusion of The Panel’s meta-analysis of fluency indicates that guided oral reading procedures have had, “A consistent, and positive impact on word recognition, fluency, and comprehension,”.  Additionally, there is a common misconception that fluency is automatic for students who have strong word-recognition skills. However, a study shows that “success in decoding and reading largely depends upon the child’s phonological processing skills,”.  Researchers indicate that automacy in word recognition is contingent upon phonemic awareness and phonological processing skills.


The National Reading Panel recognizes that, “Fluency is a critical component of skilled reading,”. After students have developed a basis in phonemic awareness and phonics, they are able to read more fluently. The National Reading Panel defines, “Fluent readers can read text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression,”. Phonemic awareness leads to phonics, phonics leads to fluency, and fluency leads to comprehension. Students can only accept responsibility for one’s own reading development after mastering the first building block of reading: phonemic awareness.

Phonemic Awareness & Adolescence
According to the National Reading Panel, educators should focus on teaching phoneme blending and phoneme segmentation to produce the most effective results of phonemic awareness. Only after developing a strong foundation of phonemic awareness can a reader successfully apply phonetic principles to language to enable word decoding and encoding.

Failure to read successfully is a problem that persists throughout adolescence. According to Royer, “Many adolescents and adults who graduate from adult basic-education programs – so the thesis of the present study– fail to attain automatic word recognition and therefore must expend considerable effort to understand texts they are trying to read,”. 

Overall, all the five elements of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension—work together like the pieces of a puzzle. If one piece is missing, the reader is unable to construct adequate, accurate meaning from the text.

Enjoy,

Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 3, 2017

Five things to know about music and Early Literacy



Is there a particular song that lifts your spirits every time you hear it? Or one that always brings back not-too-fond memories?
According to a study, in addition to its ability to shift our mood and tap into our emotions, when you listen to music you also work better, you can exercise harder and longer, and you experience changes in blood pressure.
But did you know introducing kids to music instruction helps them develop early language and literacy skills?

1. Music instruction strengthens listening and attention skills.
We may be born with the ability to hear, but the ability to listen is not innate. Listening involves more than just hearing. It requires children to focus their minds on the sound perceived. The ability to pay attention is also a learned skill.

2. Music instruction improves phonological awareness.

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear sounds that make up words in 
spoken language. Through phonological awareness, children learn to associate sounds with symbols, and create links to word recognition and decoding skills necessary for reading.

3. Music instruction enriches print awareness.

Most children become aware of print long before they start school. They 
see print on signs and billboards, in storybooks, magazines, and newspapers. Awareness of print concepts provides the backdrop against which reading and writing are best learned.

4. Music instruction refines auditory discrimination and increases auditory sequencing ability.

The ability to recognize differences in phonemes (auditory discrimination), and the ability to remember or reconstruct the order of items in a list or the order of sounds in a word or syllable (auditory sequencing) are necessary for learning to read.

5. Music instruction enriches vocabulary

Most kids reach a phase of repeating everything they hear – even when 
it's something inappropriate. When learning songs that they recite over and over, the words in those songs become the building blocks of their vocabulary.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

May 19, 2017

Is my Child Ready for Preschool? 10 Step Checklist Is your child preschool ready? Is your child ready for preschool in the ...