Category Archives: social development

Book: Show Me a Story

Show Me a Story Book

I recently discovered this book that inspires new storytelling ideas and techniques. Show Me a Story, by Emily K. Neuburger, is jam packed with ideas to spark the imaginations of young and old. Inside you’ll find Story Starters and suggestions for encouraging imaginative play for children of all ages. Setting a fancy table for a royal meal, transforming a cardboard box, and going on a walk in search of 5 interesting things are wonderful invitations for open-ended imaginative play – just to name a few.

Show Me a Story offers many ideas for home made props for storytelling too. As an added bonus, the Story Starter prop ideas are simple enough to get your school-aged children involved in their creation.

Show Me a Story - Story Stones

Story Stones

Print images and glue onto stones, wooden blocks, or even wooden disks.

Story stones can also be used to retell a favourite story, like the classic There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, for example.

There Was an Old Lady 1

 

Here the old lady was made out of paper mache using a basket as the base. Then an image of each animal that she swallowed was glued onto a stone.

Another one of my favourite suggestions in the book Show Me a Story is to set the scene for a story within a jar. Or try creating a scene on a mat or blanket on the floor.

 

Show Me a Story - Story Jar

Storytelling and invitations for dramatic play foster the imagination, language, and narrative skills of young minds. CCPRN has purchased the book Show Me a Story for anyone interested in borrowing this great resource from our library. It is also available for purchase through Chapter’s online.

Happy reading!

Signature - Jo

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What Songza ‘re you listening to?

Listening to music promotes many skills in a child’s development. Language, rhythm and pattern, movement, vocabulary, and memory skills are just a few. Children have the opportunity to learn songs when they hear them repeatedly but as caregivers and parents we may not always share the same enthusiasm for hearing that same CD or iPod playlist again and again. The radio offers variety but the music aired is becoming less suitable for young kids.

Future Rock Star

Last year I blogged about using Grooveshark to play free music and create custom playlists. But Songza is even easier. The playlists are already created, allowing you the control to skip the songs you don’t like. Simply set your ‘mood’ or search your genre and there’s a ready-made playlist for your listening pleasure day after day.  Simply go to songza.com or download the free app for iPod and iPad.

Songza’s playlists include songs from Animated Movies, Sesame Street, classical music, lullabies, bedtime songs, and even Christmas tunes! We all have our favourite music to listen to, but there are times where we want to mix it up a bit. Songza will be sure to help you keep the music fresh for you and your little ones at home and in your daycare.

Oh and check out this playlist just in time for Halloween!

Signature - Jo

Borrowing From Waldorf

I once had the opportunity to speak with an Early Childhood Educator (ECE) about her experiences of working in a Waldorf-philosophy based school.

I was surprised to learn that in the Waldorf system, children don’t learn to read until the age of 7 or even later. I have to admit I was alarmed at first.  But once the philosophies behind these practices were explained a little more, I could definitely see the value in some of the ‘Waldorf’ activities.

During the preschool and kindergarten years, Waldorf teachers focus on developing a love of language rather than sound and letter recognition. Children recite poetry and listen to music, stories and complex fairy tales. Teachers read to children without ever showing them the books.  And because the children don’t see any of the images from the book, they can only rely on their imaginations to ‘see’ the stories.

Today’s mainstream practices of exposing children to as much literature as possible to foster a motivation to read is in contrast to this Waldorf method, but the emphasis on developing a child’s imagination is so intriguing to me. What a gift!

Nowadays there are so many beautiful illustrated children’s books but for your next story time, consider borrowing from Steiner Waldorf. Read to your children – without ever showing them the book’s cover – or the images inside. Choose your story carefully: be sure to select a story that you think the children aren’t familiar with already and one that is complex enough without any of the pictures. Then encourage your children to envision the story and let their imaginations run wild!

I’d love to hear all about your experience. How did the children respond? Did the story become a part of their art or play? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading,

Share the Care Tips: Pictures

Share the Care is a special feature of our blog where we hope to share some little tips and tricks that have worked for our caregiver members.

Today’s post will be the first in this feature…

Some home child care providers place a digital picture frame in the front entrance way to greet their daycare families.

It’s not only a great way to showcase some of the daily activities that their children take part in each day, it’s also an inviting way to welcome them. Especially for those little ones that are a bit timid and need some extra encouragement upon arrival.

Displaying pictures of your daycare children engaged in different activities can get them excited to join their friends in play.

So if you have a little one who is a bit reluctant in the mornings, why not give it a try?

If you wanted to take it a step further, you could overlay words over your images explaining the activity to parents and even what learning/development is taking place.

You can do this with many different kinds of photo editing software. I like to use www.picmonkey.com because it’s so intuitive (and free!).

*Don’t forget to have your daycare parents sign a photo consent form before taking pictures of their children.

How do you break the ice when children arrive at your home? We’d love to know – please comment below!

Have another bright idea that you’d like to share? Drop us an email 🙂

Can you recognize the signs of Autism?

Earlier this year the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States released new data on Autism rates in children. And it’s cause for concern.

1 in 88 children (1 in 54 boys) are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

With those kinds of statistics, caregivers and parents need to know more about it.

So what does ASD look like?

The word ‘autism’ stems from the Greek word autos, meaning self.  So it’s no coincidence that the most notable characteristics of ASD are socially withdrawn behaviours and the appearance self-absorption. Children with Autism tend to withdraw from others and prefer to be alone.

Children with ASDs avoid eye contact giving the appearance of ignoring the people around them. They often have delayed speech acquisition and seem to be unaware of body language or non-verbal cues such as the facial expressions or gestures of others. A child with ASD often demonstrates a lack of empathy and does not point to draw your attention to an object.

Only some children with ASD demonstrate the stereotypical behaviour of repeating words they’ve heard, rather than conversing with others. They may display unusual, repetitive behaviours – all of which can impair their social interaction and relationships with others.

Children with ASD have a narrow range of interests. They do not engage in pretend play, or play with others. Instead they might obsess over an object, or maintaining the order of a group of objects by lining them up. They may be overly sensitive to sounds and changes in their routines or environment. Children with ASD tend to show their stress from routine changes and transitions through behaviours of non-compliance and tantrums.

While the prevalence of ASDs appear to be increasing, it is likely due to Autism being more commonly recognized within the full spectrum of disorders. The very definition of Autism is currently under scrutiny. A panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association is proposing changes to the criteria for assessment that could exclude some of the milder forms of Autism such as Asperger’s Disorder, around the world.

So much remains to be understood about Autism, particularly its causes. There has been great debate of whether ASD stems from genetics or environmental conditions. Most recently, conflicting studies in the U.S. have indicated the causes to be from gene mutations that are likely passed on by the father, delayed parenthood, and even obesity in pregnant women.

Although we don’t fully understand the cause(s) of ASD, there are effective treatments to improve and even eliminate the symptoms of Autism now. Early intervention and treatment is key for a child with ASD’s success. Medical treatments, communication and sensory therapies, educational interventions and holistic approaches are just some of the recognized ways of managing symptoms of ASD.

If you think a child you know might have ASD, it’s important to talk to their parents about it and to seek help.

For more information, check out these Canadian organizations:

www.autismcanada.org

www.autismsocietycanada.ca

Thanks for reading,

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