Rainbow Pasta Treasure Hunt

Just came across a fantastic blog called http://www.growingajeweledrose.com.  It’s full of creative ideas for early childhood!  It is a great resource for nannies and parents!

This is one sensory activity in particular that I LOVE.  Rainbow pasta treasure hunt!? How cool is that!? I am looking forward to when the boys get a little older and I can start doing these activities with them!

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#821ForAnna

Today I am writing with a bit of sad news.  A sweet, active, beautiful, happy, young 9 year old girl that I occasionally babysit was diagnosed with Leukemia a few weeks ago.  My heart goes out to her and her family and I am writing to spread awareness.

“To help spread awareness of the disease and to help Anna to fight the fight her family started 821foranna.com.” 821 is the amount of days (2 years and 3 months) that Anna will be under treatment.

Here is their latest blog posting describing #821forAnna.  Screenshot

Let’s help Anna to fight this fight in our own way!

I pledge to blog 8-21 x/month.  What do you pledge to do?

To follow Anna’s journey go to 821foranna.com.

A Picture Walk: promoting pre-reading skills

As nannies, we love to read to children.  When you read to a child do you open to the first page and start reading or do you take a picture walk?

A picture walk is a page by page observation and description of the illustrations in the book done by the child with your guidance. This takes place before reading the book.  It requires the child to predict what the book will be about before reading the words.  Picture walks promote pre-reading skills and create an interest in the story for the child.

Here is a 2-step process of how to do a picture walk through a book:

Step 1. The cover: Show the child the cover of the book and ask what he/she thinks the story will be about based on what he/she sees in the pictures. Prediction is a very important reading skill that children will establish in grade school.

The cover picture can be very descriptive. It can show who the characters are and where the story takes place.

Step 2. The inside: Begin flipping through the book page by page with the child and ask questions.

Remember the 5 w’s and 1 h: who, what, when, where, why, and how when taking a picture walk.

Examples of these question words:
Who is in the picture?
What is that character doing?
When could this be happening? (night vs. day)
Why could this be happening?
Where does the story take place?
How do you think the story will end?

You can ask many questions by using the 5 w’s and 1 h.

These question words can elicit thoughtful responses from the child.

Picture walks can be done with children as young as age 2.  As soon as you notice the child is interested in books, that is the time to start working on this prereading skill.  If you use this strategy with every book you read with a child he/she will have a higher understanding of the concepts in a story.

When you finish the picture walk return to cover and read the story with the child.  The child will be excited to discover that most of the predictions he/she made about the book were accurate.

 

What pre-reading strategies do you use with your child/charge?

Left Arm, Right Arm

Every moment is a teaching/learning opportunity with a child.  When you are with a child the majority of the day it is up to you to take these opportunities and teach.  A child’s mind is like a sponge, they will absorb everything (with repetition).

I take J on many outings during the day in my car and I take this as a learning opportunity for her.

1.   When I put her in her car seat I always say “please put in your left arm, please put in your right arm.”  I do this every time I put her in her car seat to familiarize the difference between left and right.

2.   I give her picture books to look through while I am driving.  This will help develop her book handling skills (the proper way to open and hold a book).  Whenever I hand her the book I hold it to her in the correct direction and show her which way to turn the page. Here is a great article I found called early literacy focusing on children aged 0-3. I think you may enjoy reading it.  http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/early-language-literacy/earlyliteracy2pagehandout.pdf

3.   Finally, I put a children’s cd on in the car.  I make sure the songs are learning songs.  As J gets older and hears these songs every day in the car she will become familiar with the songs/words and they will help reinforce her learning of numbers, colors, letters, etc. I recommend the cd called “102 Full-length Children Songs” by Twin Sisters.

I would love to hear any techniques you use to stimulate a child’s mind throughout the day… please tell me your suggestions.