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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Milestones of faith - Family Traditions (J Otis Ledbetter & Tim Smith)

I came across this excellent milestone in the building of our childrens' faith journey.

Caress and care for your baby
Model prayer for your child
Sunday School
Discuss and participate with your child
Early Elementary
Model, worship, then discuss together
Middle Elementary
Their own Bible
Memorise books, read stories together
Later Elementary
First Communion
Model personal commitment to Christ, baptism
Middle School
Confirmation or Bar Mitzavah
Accepted into the community of faith
High School
Witness and Service
Learn how to share Christ, do ministry
College Age
Vocation and Calling
Determin gifts, interest, and aptitude

Friday, March 05, 2010

Educational DVDs don't help tots

Mar 5, 2010- Straits Times

Educational DVDs don't help tots

NEW YORK - PUTTING children in front of educational DVDs does not help boost their language skills, according to a US study that focused on one product, the Baby Wordsworth from the Walt Disney Company's Baby Einstein series.

While The Baby Einstein Co does not make educational claims, it notes on its webpage that the Baby Wordsworth DVD is a 'playful introduction to words and sign language'. A study by researchers at the University of California, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, put the DVD to the test with one and two-year-olds.

For six weeks, 88 children were randomly assigned to either watching the DVD a few times a week or not at all. Researchers then tested the language skills in each group based on how many words the children knew according to their parents and how well they did in a lab test.

At the end of the period, toddlers who had watched the DVD fared no better than those who hadn't.

Children in both groups understood about 20 of the 30 words highlighted in the DVD, on average, and spoke 10. Their general language development showed no difference, either.

The researchers also asked parents about their childrens'television viewing before entering the study. The earlier a child started watching Baby Einstein DVDs, it turned out, the smaller his or her vocabulary was. -- REUTERS


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Delight Learning

"A child can take his dreams and go anywhere ... if you allow him."
KB had us read him his favourite "The Big Truck book, The Big train Book and The Big rescue book" All 3 books in one compilation. Caution for those of us thinking of buying such a book! Reading time takes forever! So our bedtime reading is limited to only 1 other book because reading time takes 30mins and it does not sound anything like a bed time book already. (sometimes he goes into dramatization and his full load of questions.)

Educators say we should not overload information at toddler's age because they should be focusing on skills set that will lay the foundation for latter academic pursuits. There are yet some educators who will pursue, at length, flashcards methodologies that cited the capabilities of young childrens'/babies rapid eye movement and keen minds soak up various information. I was impressed surely with very young kids being able to recite a list of composers, types of cars, "tang shi" etc. But came to realised that unless a child enjoys and take delight in doing so, it is at best only head knowledge and a very spectacular performance.

Every child delights in something. Most boys like transportations. And they will push the toy truck, or fire engine. They will park it beside their bed. They bring the buses to the interchange. They stack chairs to make stairs to their buses, or seats for the passengers. They build a carpark with our furnitures. Some days they are bus drivers, other days they are pilots or firefighters, ,or construction workers. What I do with KB, if we spot an excavator, we will stand and watch all the work the excavator is doing.

Today, I see my son, nearly three, naming construction vehicles of kinds. He does not do route memorisation, nor does anyone pushes that information to him. He probes, he asks, he observes, then he proceeded to name them, part by part, one vehicle after another. His eyes are bright, his speaks clearly and quickly. The boy has taken his dream and taken flight.

What we do at home

Finally, a post on what we do. We hope that this would help those who are teaching at home and most importantly investing in both qualitative and quantitative time that meant so so much to our children.

"Children who are doing meaningful things are joyful kids" And I'm not talking about child labour! ;)

"Children who bond with parents are secure children" And I certainly advocate quantity as we as quality time spent.

KB is nearly 3. PB is just 13 mths old. What do we do with them at home. We take a non-academic, gentle, child-led approach. Toddlers are encouraged to do lots of hands-on and movement in all that he does. Habit training, Outdoor, books, music (worship) and conversations make up our daily staple. We don't do everything everyday, many days we do nothing but PLAY!
We tumble, we roll, we hug and kiss ALOT. :)

We spend lots of time together. Many times parents learn by observing. So we know and follow the child's next step. Too soon and it leads to frustration, too late and the child misses the opportunity. Observation is key to a child's pace of learning. Below are my own discovery and experience. Note that children are gifted differently and that affects the speed or skills they master at various stage.

Baby up till 12 months
*Sing - We sing all the time
*worship God extravagantly - We play the keyboard, the CD, and sing
*dance with baby - We dance to the music, let baby hold a rattler, a shaker, a bell, a hand tambourine, anything that makes a sound!
*read baby Bible - Baby books are simple and vivid
*read aloud-books - Read anything that rhymes
*converse - we talk about anything under the sun
*explore nature - Look at birds, cats,
*explore textured surface - I take my sequin t-shirt for him,let him touch sand, grass, hairy surface (yeah, daddy's legs!), cold ice, taste sour lemons, books with textures.
*Play - a major part of development. We do focus play in playpen, free play within the house. Set up knick knacks, plastic bottles that WILL NOT BREAK.
*Habit training - We train following instructions like "come here", "No", "Wait"
praise - We praise extravagantly for listening. we clap and verbalise "good boy!" or "Good job!"(Look for the post on :"Training active kids" under Below one)

1-2year old
*Habit training -
This is our key focus for 1yr old. If we had started early, many by this time can already comply to simple instructions. babies are exploring AND testing boundaries. We train and train everyday to obey simple instructions. Instructions include "Come down", "No touching", "Come to mummy", "kiss mummy!" (hahah!) etc.
*Routine -
we continue with routine, adding play with mummy/siblings time, and self exploration within boundaries.
*Responsibility - help to be put in the wardrobe for daddy, help mummy put clothes peg into the tub, put back his toys after play, put his soiled clothes in the pail etc
*Independence - Playpen time emphasize focus skills and problem solving
- Strolls in parks, gardens, etc (you'll soon realise what your child is excited by!)
*Hands-on -
textured (walk on sand, grass etc), sounds, colours, smells, taste - make it varied. Babies love variety.
*Language -
Read rhyming books, read in all languages, read alot, we read only wholesome literature*Sing - Worship and songs about God, it soothes, it lifts our spirits, it calms (ourselves included!)
*Large motor
- crawl, cruise, walking, running, pushing etc (allow them space for movement and they will do alot on their own! Time to babyproof the house and practicing listening to instructions for baby!)
*Play! -
Child's play isnt it?

3 years old

*Bible theme - we do a Bible knowledge every 2-3 wks. We use Focus on the family - parents guide to spiritual growth of children" with Heritage Builders, Family Night.
*Habit training - We train one habit at the time starting from chores around the house, obedience, boundaries, manners, respect etc.
*Responsibility (increased)- make bed, take diapers out, clean up after meal, set up table for guests, mealtimes etc.
*Lifestyle impartation - We allow ourselves to be transformed day by day by the one who call us sons and daughters, so that we can parent better. That includes cutting down TV time even for ourseleves (but we make it up by going for movie dates! Ha!)
*Nature - Explore nature freely.
*Large Motor - Outdoor leaping, running, jumping, throwing, kicking, splashing etc.
*Fine motor - Lacing, puzzles, pasting, cutting, arranging, cleaning etc.
*Language - Read alouds
*Bilingual expression - we start all languages by a prayer. Mealtime prayers, bedtime prayers, poetry, books and daily conversations.
*Arts - Free expression using all mediums; crayons, chalk, water color, anything!
We look at good art works, we go for quality plays & performances, we create crafts and we adhere to 90% of a child's own work policy - its not the product but the process that matters.
*Socialisation - we believe in socialising the child with all levels of people in the society. i.e: Child pays cashier, ask hawker for spoon/bowl/straw, child plays with a small group of peers under supervision (as much as possible), child plays with small group of preschoolers, child play with one or two playmates.
*Math - we count everything, sequencing, patterns, matching, building
*Imagination - Dramatic play and imagination play are part of free play. Sometimes we create the story, other times, we are characters in the child's stories.
*Creativity - It exist in all forms but more evidently in play. -We choose divergent toys, but one or two battery-operated ones are fine.
*Independence - Child plays by himself.
* Play! - need I say more?