Friday, May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016


Gross Motor Skills


The term "gross motor" development refers to physical skills that use large body movements, normally involving the entire body.
Between ages 2 and 3 years, young children stop "toddling," or using the awkward, wide-legged robot-like stance that is the hallmark of new walkers. As they develop a smoother gait, they also develop the ability to run, jump, and hop. Children of this age can participate in throwing and catching games with larger balls. They can also push themselves around with their feet while sitting on a riding toy.
 At 3 to 4 years, children develop better upper body mobility. As a result, their catching and throwing abilities improve in speed and accuracy. In addition, they can typically hit a stationary ball from a tee with a bat. As whole body coordination improves, children of this age can now peddle and steer a tricycle. They can also kick a larger ball placed directly in front of their bodies.
By ages 4 to 5, children can go up and down the stairs alone in the adult fashion (i.e., taking one step at a time). Their running continues to smooth out and increase in speed. Children of this age can also skip and add spin to their throws. They also have more control when riding their tricycles (or bicycles), and can drive them faster.
During ages 5 to 6, young children continue to refine earlier skills. They're running even faster and can start to ride bicycles with training wheels for added stability. In addition, they can step sideways. Children of this age begin mastering new forms of physical play such as the jungle gym, and begin to use the see-saw, slide, and swing on their own. They often start jumping rope, skating, hitting balls with bats, and so on. Many children of this age enjoy learning to play organized sports such as soccer, basketball, t-ball or swimming. In addition, 5 to 6 year olds often like to participate in physical extracurricular activities such as karate, gymnastics, or dance. Children continue to refine and improve their gross motor skills through age 7 and beyond.

Physical Development: Fine Motor Skills


Fine motor skills are necessary to engage in smaller, more precise movements, normally using the hands and fingers. Fine motor skills are different than gross motor skills which require less precision to perform.
By ages 2 to 3 years, children can create things with their hands. They can build towers out of blocks, mold clay into rough shapes, and scribble with a crayon or pen. Children of this age can also insert objects into matching spaces, such as placing round pegs into round holes. 2 to 3 year-olds often begin showing a preference for using one hand more often than the other, which is the beginning of becoming left or right-handed.
Around ages 3 to 4 years, children start to manipulate clothing fasteners, like zippers and snaps, and continue to gain independence in dressing and undressing themselves. Before they enter school, most children will gain the ability to completely dress and undress themselves (even though they may take a long time to finish the task). At this age, children can also begin using scissors to cut paper. Caregivers should be sure to give children blunt, round-edged "kid" scissors for safety reasons!
3 to 4 year- old continue to refine their eating skills and can use utensils like forks and spoons. Young children at this age can also use larger writing instruments, like fat crayons, in a writing hold rather than just grasping them with their fist. They can also use a twisting motion with their hands, useful for opening door knobs or twisting lids off containers. Because children can now open containers with lids, caregivers should make certain that harmful substances such as cleaners and medications are stored out of reach in a locked area to prevent accidental poisonings.
During ages 4 to 5 years, children continue to refine fine motor skills and build upon earlier skills. For instance, they can now button and unbutton their clothes by themselves. Their artistic skills improve, and they can draw simple stick figures and copy shapes such as circles, squares, and large letters. Drawing more complex shapes, however, may take longer.
5-7 year-olds begin to show the skills necessary for starting or succeeding in school, such as printing letters and numbers and creating shapes such as triangles. They are able to use paints, pencils and crayons with better control. Children can also complete other self-care tasks beyond dressing and undressing, such as brushing their teeth and combing their hair. Children of this age can also independently feed themselves without an adult's immediate supervision or help.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal
Discovery School



Friday, May 6, 2016

May 9, 2016

What Students Learn in First Grade


First grade marks an important milestone for young children who finally feel like part of a “big” school. They may eat in the cafeteria for the first time or play outside during recess without the direct supervision of their own teacher; experiences that help first graders feel more independent. First graders now have to use the social skills they developed in preschool and kindergarten in more mature ways. But the true magic of first grade happens as children develop the ability to understand what letters and numbers really mean. When they’re ready, they’ll be able to read words.

First graders move slowly from a world of play into a world of symbols and concepts (with a lot of backtracking along the way). This doesn’t mean that play is not still important, but it does mean that learning in first grade becomes more organized and routine-based, with a lot of room for children’s explorations.
To get a handle on the way your first grader’s brain is developing, think back to her first baby steps. Your child was probably a master crawler before taking those initial wobbly steps. 

First graders take those same baby steps away from the familiar information that they are comfortable with into a bigger, abstract world that is more difficult to understand. During those early toddling days, your child probably reverted to crawling in order to get somewhere quickly. Similarly, your child will still be more comfortable gaining knowledge through exploration and play. A first grader’s brain is just beginning to grasp a few concepts at the same time, and then to make connections between those concepts.
You can see this in a first grader’s writing. Children use “invented spelling” by writing in ways that make sense to them. They use what they know about sound and spelling relationships to get their ideas onto the page. They haven’t mastered all the letter sounds or spelling rules that they need to be fluent writers, but they’re willing to use what they know to work out the puzzle of written language.


 Learning From Mistakes

First graders learn by doing and by making mistakes. These mistakes can be frustrating, so they need positive reminders of the many ways that they are powerful learners.
Until now, most of their learning and growth have been part of a natural progression that took place in the comfortable worlds of play and home. They may have worked hard to learn how to slide down the fire pole in the playground, but no one gave them a grade on how well they did, or how long it took them to accomplish the task.
In first grade, children begin to acquire skills in areas they may not be completely comfortable in — and they may be graded on them. 

First graders are asked to work with more difficult material and may feel like they are struggling for the first time in their lives. These new situations can sometimes lead normally confident children to feel unsure about their abilities. Previously, they have been “masters” at whatever they did. But now they may feel pressure to learn to read and to grasp more complicated math and science concepts. Therefore, first graders need to be surrounded with excitement and encouragement, and given examples of how we learn from mistakes.

Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra
EC Assistant Principal


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016

What Kids Learn in Kindergarten




Most kindergarteners want to learn all about the world and how it works. Kindergarten teachers often build on this enthusiasm by offering projects that encourage children to delve deeper into the areas that interest them. Children may make life-size tracings of themselves as they learn about the human body, or study animal habitats by researching information about the class pet.

Kindergarten is still intended to stimulate children’s curiosity to learn more about the world around them. It’s the job of the kindergarten teacher to help children become comfortable working in a classroom setting and to introduce some basic literacy and math-related skills in the midst of their important discoveries.

Kindergarteners have grown a lot since their preschool days. They’ve grown bigger and are becoming more graceful and coordinated. They’ve grown intellectually and can focus on tasks for longer periods of time. They’ve grown socially and have a better handle on the skills needed to make friends and work in a group. They’ve become complex thinkers and are better able to understand detailed answers to the many “why” questions they have about the world.

Kindergarteners learn best by active, hands-on exploration and discovery. They make sense of the world by experiencing it physically.

Rachel Carson may have said it best,” says Nancy Roser, Ed. D., Professor of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. “Carson described children as learning from a ‘sense of wonder.’ This sense of wonder allows kindergarteners to become absorbed in the puzzles that surround them. They attempt to figure out those puzzles by exploring, constructing explanations, and asking more questions.”

Kindergarten children often wonder about complex abstract concepts that they may not be ready to fully comprehend. They may look at a globe and wonder why people don’t fall off the bottom of the Earth, because they aren’t able to really understand gravity. They may imagine that it’s possible to stand on a cloud, even though they know that it’s made up of water droplets.

Children in kindergarten are becoming more mature in both their thoughts and actions. Your kindergartener can usually follow directions from his teacher and focus on tasks. While a preschool teacher may have let children play freely at the block center, a kindergarten teacher knows that she can ask children to complete a related assignment, such as recreating on paper a pattern that they’ve begun with blocks. Experiences like this help kindergarten children gain basic skills. They’ll use these basic skills later in their school life when they’re asked to solve a math problem, conduct a science experiment, read a book, or write a story.


Enjoy,
Ms. Nora Sierra

EC Assistant Principal

November 17, 2017

Why Art and Creativity Are Important Your preschooler is having a blast finger-painting with a mix of colors. Little kids are m...