Monday, January 20, 2014

Pre-Schooling Preparations

Outside the Dallas, TX Museum of Science, such a fun day!

   ***Let me start this with every child is different and every parent is different. However, every preschool requires the same skills from our children upon starting.*** 
  I have a son that is this bright, fun loving, energetic child that seems to pick up on every skill I never want him to that: plunge rubber duckies in the toilet for fun.
Wandering the hallways before his surgery true Monkey style :)
However, due to some never ending ear infections when he was little he suffered from some blown ear drums, scarring, and even had tubes put in because I finally insisted on them (joy of military doctors) that led to some impaired speech ability. Because of this situation that God allowed in our lives, I was able to learn some things about not only hearing and speech but children as a whole and how they learn.
  First, kids will always be able to communicate. My son taught himself and me his own version of sign language when he was 6 months old. It was frustrating and tedious at times but it worked. Over time he learned words, created his own, or would just point.
   Second, children learn comprehension while they learn sounds and words. Up and down are not just noise. They have meaning. Our children learn to comprehend those meanings while they learn the sounds. 
   Third, we can create learning issues when hearing issues come into play. My son learned sounds wrong and did not learn to comprehend what they meant correctly because of the ear infections (he was hearing under water for over a year basically to over simplify his situation). To him learning became a disconnected exercise. 
    As a mom it can be disheartening to watch your child struggle to communicate and to be understood.  We want our children to enjoy their childhood and once we fix the pain we want everything to magically be better! Unfortunately life doesn't work that way and with preschool coming up I knew that my son would struggle and even start late if I didn't do something.  So I did what I do best and I did research.  I talked to everyone I could and found out that most children start out somewhat behind. What?! In Mississippi "more than 40 percent of students in Mississippi are not ready for kindergarten"  according to the study released last year. The article goes on to say that one of the kids in every class were reported to have to repeat kindergarten. Repeat Kindergarten!!!
                                                     What in the world!?! 

As mom's we assume because we prepare our kids to function in the home and not run in the road that they are OK in school. We teach them to not touch sharp objects, not talk back, use the big boy potty, be respectful, be careful when Superman flying off the back of the couch, fix their own snacks even but today's schools start farther ahead than when we were little. They want our kids to already know their numbers and colors and shapes. Those scissors that we tell them to leave alone, they need to know how to use them... And so our children start out behind.  I knew Monkey needed to play catch up but teachers every where are saying that all children need to be prepped. So that's what we are doing. It's taken a while but we got a rhythm down and even a few of our favorite supplies to share! 

To be fair, he was running away in
this picture...he made it to the garage before
turning around for dinner :)

So here's how:
   1. Give your child a ten minute warning so they can end what they are doing. Let them transition happily for better results.
   2. Take 30 minutes a day and play a game and / or read.
   3. Mix it up. Keep it fun. Monkey asks to do school now because he gets specific attention and plays "games". 
   4. Focus on specific goals. I personally like this print out from a former teacher. I keep it in his folder and check off the points as we reach those goals.
   5. Find a time during the day that is best for your child. Being well rested and full will help with their concentration. 
   6. Set expectations during school.  Focus, sit up, no getting out of your chair,  etc and be consistent!  We use our dining room table and Monkey knows to stay in his chair and listen to and follow requests. He sits up and because scissors are in play now we don't grab things. 
  7. Finally, pay attention to your child.  Some days they will just be off. Don't push it. If they are not able to get what you are teaching try a new method or a new time. It took months to figure out Monkey' s rhythm. It may take time for you too.
   The cool part is he learned 2 years of vocabulary in 6 months! I am one proud Mama over here :) He is a non-stop talking spit fire who has a huge dose of curiosity and sarcasm all rolled into one little body.  It takes patience and work but it is worth it. I know he will be ready for school when he starts now and that makes me breathe a sigh of relief. 
    Monkey has his own school box as well as a school bucket / shelf. Here are a few of my favorite multi-taskers as well as what he has (based on professional suggestions).

School Box:
 ~ Colored Pencils
 ~Crayons (jumbo sized for little fingers)
 ~ Pencil Sharpener
 ~Glue Stick (purple so we can see where it goes on)
 ~Safety Kids Scissors with an auto open spring
 ~Pipe Cleaners
 ~Stickers (cause they're fun :D)
**I found all of his stuff at the Dollar Tree**

School Bucket
 ~Construction Paper
 ~Assorted Pom-Poms (Sorting by size and color)
 ~Dr Seuss Matching Game (disclaimer: Monkey received this as a birthday gift from another really great Momma and it is a really long game but it can be used to find things by color, shapes, animals, pairs, etc...he even learned left, right, top, and bottom from this. It's one of his favorites and we haven't even played it with the cards face down yet :D)
 ~Mickey Mouse Matching Cards: Dollar General carries some great Disney sets that have colors, Shapes, and their favorite characters all rolled into one!
 ~Various other card sets that involve matching for pictures, words, shapes, numbers, etc...
 ~Brain Games Kids: Toddler Time ( This is a staple for us. Regardless of what else we do, we always do some of this book. It has a little of everything on a fun challenging template.)
   I knew with Monkey's background that we had some work to do. I didn't know though that he wasn't going to be as far behind as I was anticipating. With all of his hard work and the time and dedication throughout the day both in school and out he has caught up to where he needs to be. We are lucky enough now to be working on things that are fun and just extra at this point. I never thought a year ago we would be at this point. I'm grateful to come from a family of teachers that always emphasized education as a staple in life above all else but in all honesty, Monkey has done all the hard work. He is one dedicated little man! Just remember, no matter where you start that school at this age should be fun for them. Use it to get to know your kid better, enjoy the time with them, and no matter what... remember that they (like everybody else) have talents that don't always translate to a school desk. 


Best Wishes
Jules, Monkey, Hubby, 
Mimi, and Papa MayMay
(the two original teachers :D)      

No comments:

Post a Comment