Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 11, 2017


3 Easy Steps to Write your Name


Recognition
The first stage of learning names occurs when children start to recognize them! Young children begin to recognize the shape of their initial letter and often identify that first letter as “MY NAME!” They might find that initial letter in other places (separate from their names), point to it and say, “Look! There’s my name!” even if it is just the one letter.
In preschool, we can do lots of things to foster children’s recognition of their names. We label everything (lockers, change of clothes cubbies, snack chairs, carpet squares, folders, attendance chart, helper chart, and the alphabet wall) with their names and pictures, so that they begin to claim ownership of that very important word!
We use circle time as an opportunity to practice recognizing not only the child’s own name, but the names of all the classmates as well. With repeated exposure and practice recognizing each other’s names, the children begin to identify letters.

Spelling
The next step, after children can recognize their names is to begin to spell them orally. We practice this in many ways. A child might be able to recite, “E-T-H-A-N” without seeing it written down. Then they will notice each letter. We provide a name activity like this one each morning for our students to practice. We practice with both capital letters, and we also practice matching capitals to lower case.


Writing
When the children are comfortable with recognizing and spelling their names, the next step is to work on writing them. Often these steps overlap and work in conjunction with each other! We give our children lots of opportunities to write their names with sidewalk chalk, paint, markers, in salt trays, etc. They are also work on strengthening their hand muscles and refining their fine motor skills. Our older Pre-K students (less than 1 year to kindergarten) also sign in their names each morning. It’s such a rewarding way to keep track of their progress. When children begin to write, they often use what they already know about names.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal



Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25, 2017


Why Are Best Practices Important?


Thomas L. Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, refers to a twenty-first century world that will be very different from the one in which we were educated. To survive in a new, globally competitive world, today's children will need creativity, problem-solving abilities, a passion
for learning, a dedicated work ethic and lifelong learning opportunities. Students can develop these abilities through instruction based on Best Practice teaching strategies.


What Are Best Practices?

Best practices are an inherent part of a curriculum that exemplifies the connection and relevance identified in educational research. They interject rigor into the curriculum by developing thinking and problem-solving skills through integration and active learning.
Relationships are built through opportunities for communication and teamwork. Best practices are applicable to all grade levels and provide the building blocks for instruction.
Best practices motivate, engage, and prompt students to learn and achieve. Students who receive a balanced curriculum and possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to transfer and connect ideas and concepts across disciplines will be successful as measured by standardized tests and other indicators of student success. Four best practices for teachers include teaching a balanced curriculum, teaching an integrated curriculum, differentiating instruction to meet individual student needs and providing active learning opportunities for students to internalize learning.


What Do Best Practices Look Like?

Classrooms that exemplify best practices are easy to detect as soon as you enter the room.
• Project materials and books are numerous.
• Students are engaged and focused on their work.
• Teachers often use collaborative and/or authentic tasks that place students at the
center of the learning process.
• Seating arrangements are clustered, varied, and functional with multi-instructional areas.
• Classrooms are activity-based spaces as opposed to places to “sit and get” lectures.
• Teachers are actively engaged with different groups and students are anxious to enlist visitors in their various tasks or assignments.
• There is a joyful feeling of purposeful movement, industrious thinking and a vital and vibrant atmosphere and environment.


Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Pincipal


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 18, 2017





Why are Stories Important for Children?

Stories play a vital role in the growth and development of children. The books they read and the characters they get to know can become like friends. It’s also good for children to understand that books are a useful source of information and that good reading skills are important for success in their future lives. Reading also helps children with their confidence levels, coping with feelings and language and learning.

Confidence Levels

Children who can read well are more likely to have higher confidence levels. This will benefit them in school as they’ll feel able to participate fully in activities. Another part of building confidence and self-esteem is knowing where you fit into the world. Stories can help with this process by showing children what people’s lives are like where they live and in other parts of the world.

Language and Learning

Stories are a great way to introduce new words and ideas into a child’s language – starting with picture books for the very young, working up to more complex novels for teenagers. Stories can help children learn about concepts such as shape, size, space and color, up and down, inside and outside, numbers and the names of objects. They can also teach children about everyday tasks, such as how to brush their teeth, taking care of animals, cleaning and tidying and preparing food.
Stories are also useful for teaching more complex ideas, such as the importance of sharing, the passage of time, compassion for others. They can be useful when trying to explain traumatic events, such as family break-ups and bereavement.

Fiction based on real-life can also help children with their own life experience – it shows them how diverse the world is and that some people’s lives are vastly different to theirs.
And what’s so great about learning through stories is that the process is done in a natural way. There’s no actual teaching involved at all, they learn from simply reading the story.

Relaxation

Reading stories can be helpful for relaxation, before bedtime for example. They allow children to forget the stresses and strains of the day and indulge in fantasy for a while. The soothing familiarity of a much-loved story, the rhyming and repetition in a picture book, plus the sense of security that time spent reading together can foster, all help the child to relax.

Development of Imagination

Stories help to develop a child’s imagination by introducing new ideas into their world – ideas about fantastical worlds, other planets, different points in time and invented characters. It’ll encourage the children to realize that they can, and should, imagine anything they want. The beauty of stories is that they can be super realistic or incredibly fantastical. They can be reading about children growing up in the same situation as them one minute and about another species, Martians holidaying on Jupiter for example, the next.

Coping With Feelings

When children read stories that contain feelings it can help them understand and accept their own feelings. It helps them understand that there are other children who feel the same way and they are not alone. This helps the child understand that feelings are normal and should be expressed. Watching their responses to the feelings of the characters in the stories will give you some idea of how a child feels about certain situations and emotions. For example, how the child responds to the character in the story feeling sad or scared will give you some idea of how the child thinks.

Enjoy,

Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal

Discovery School

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 28, 2017




Learning should be fun to grab students' interest with engaging lessons

If the longstanding TV program Sesame Street teaches anything, it is that kids don't need dry lessons and humorless lectures to learn. In fact, when teachers add fun activities to their classroom agendas, they ignite kids' natural curiosity about more than just the three R's.
And that's not the only reason learning should be fun. The real benefit is that when children are taught early on to enjoy learning, they'll make it a lifelong habit. 

Learning Fun: What It Is and Isn't

When teachers talk about fun lesson plans, they don't mean replacing traditional school work with back-to-back board games. Nor do they mean diluting academic standards to the point that coloring within the lines can substitute for having to write grammatically correct sentences.
What fun learning does mean is that teachers use non-traditional lessons to teach essential skills. Why non-traditional? Because allowing students to create a PowerPoint presentation rather than draft a five-paragraph essay allows them to demonstrate knowledge of a topic that might not grab their interest in a way that does.

Naturally Curious

The theory behind educational fun comes down to this: children are born with a hunger for knowledge about the world around them. Fun learning is based on a fact that's almost inarguable: learning doesn't begin on the first day of kindergarten. It starts at birth. The 100 million or so cells in a newborn's brain allow infants to soak in knowledge just by observing the world, by hearing the sound made by a rattle or seeing their mother's face.
As babies grow, their natural curiosity about the world they've been observing leads them to make discoveries. They discover, for example, what happens when they trap a lightning bug in a jar or stick a fork into an electric outlet. These natural desires children have -- to observe, explore, and discover -- are traits teachers are hoping to provoke when they design classwork around fun activities.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra

EC Assistant Principal

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

October 11, 2017

3 Easy Steps to Write your Name Recognition The first stage of learning names occurs when children start to recognize them! You...