Ways to use fine motor skills and communication

100_7922  Lacing cards are a great way to incorporate fine motor skill practice.  It is also an opportunity for a Teacher or Parents to role model and guide a young child during their first tries at this task.  Once the child has mastered the concept it is a great way for the child to continue to develop those small muscles in their hands and wrists. 🙂

Lacing cards are also a good lead in to learning how to tie shoe laces on children’s shoes.  The key to remember for both tasks is that it takes time.  Allow your child time to experiment and practice.  Be there to guide and support and not criticize.  

Lacing cards are also a task that allows the Teacher or Parent to dialogue with children about anything of interest to the child.  Asking open-ended questions such as, “What are you thinking right now?” or “What other ways do you think you can use laces?” are a couple of questions that can stimulate a child’s mind and cause him/ her to think about things they may never have really thought too much about.  Give children time to think once you’ve asked a question and take the time to really listen to his/ her answers or their questions.  Children are better communicators than we think once we really listen to them.  The key to children communicating effectively with each other is slowing them down and helping them develop the social skills needed to listen to their peers in the same way they listen to adults they respect.

100_7884   100_7915 Using small wooden dolls to encourage reading and telling stories is also another way of utilizing fine motor skills and communication.  This time the dialogue can be about stories the children currently love and can’t get enough of, or stories they’ve never heard until today.  The children may be inspired by the stories a Teacher or Parent reads and they may use their dolls to act out the characters.  More creativity and detail can go into a child’s inspired representation of a story if given the chance to allow their ideas to emerge.  Teacher’s and Parents are scribes until the child is older and can write for themselves.  Fine motor development happens as children create the world the doll lives in as he/ she creates the story props.  Recyclable materials come in handy for encouraging a child to continue with his/ her creative story telling  and fine motor development.  Once again deep and enriching learning is happening when children are allowed to explore, create, question and implement ideas encompassing fine motor and communication development.  

100_7924  Remember to always look at your recyclable pieces as a “loose part and intelligent play thing”.  If your not sure of what this term means, take some time to research this and let me know what interesting things you find out! 🙂

Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning 

Serving children ages three to five years! 

 

The joy of a wooden tool bench and more!

100_7894  This is another addition to the building and construction area!  I prefer wooden toys that really do what they claim.  I also enjoy the fact that the tools all work and are just right for young developing fine motor muscles of children ages 3-5. 🙂

100_7893  This particular learning set is one the children could have worked on as a cooperative team to put together.  Instead I put it together and that is how I judge whether a toy is a toy or an actual learning tool.  When you are out searching the stores for toys that are also educational keep in mind that you should play with it first.  If you take the time to play with toys/ educational materials before you give them to your child, you will have a much broader understanding of how versatile or not your purchase is.  You will discover quite quickly if it is just a toy for entertainment purposes only, or if there are many learning experiences packed in the gem you found.

100_7891  This wooden tool bench is perfect for two children to enjoy.  Three could use this as a small group, however if tools are popular I have another possible solution.

I have a standing area for one or two children to explore a plastic version of tools as well.  So even though plastic is not my first choice, this will do if tools are the popular item of the moment.   When setting up extra materials that are popular with the children I always take into account their actual physical play patterns.  This way I can set up interest areas based on where they would naturally explore.  This may or may not work even with my considerations taken into account, but at least it is a good try for capturing their curiosity and encouraging deeper thoughts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 100_7895

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As you can see the children are once again able to engage in mathematical learning experiences that incorporate communication if working as a team or small group.  Each is also exploring shapes, spacial relations, eye-hand coordination and developing fine motor skills while thoroughly enjoying themselves! 🙂

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Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning

Colorful Counters

100_7874  My new wooden dolls came in this great divider and I thought it was perfect for my new colorful counters!  Reusing items you already have is not only more cost effective but easier on our environment as well. 🙂  

100_7872  Using colorful counters to incorporate shapes and letters are a couple ways of using this very versatile tool!  I roughly drew some common shapes on the perimeter of the paper and then used the counters to outline, then I made a capital letter “S”.  This would be an example for children of a more close ended provocation.  However, it is only close ended if the children do the same thing with their attempts or if this turns them off to trying.  Most young minds will take note of what they see and do exactly what they want, which is what I want, so it is a win, win situation for all.   🙂

100_7873 With this provocation I am incorporating both mathematics and literacy.  Children can either continue with making shapes, separate the colors for each shape or move on to letter formations.  More creative minds will use the counters to create more imaginary pictures and if they are in the mood to share I can scribe their ideas, explanations and stories.  One thing to always remember is that when you become a young child’s scribe you are capturing a child’s imagination and showing him/ her your respect for their thoughts.  You are also helping that child develop an appreciation and understanding for literacy.  Children value their own words more and want to learn about letters and words with more intensity if they are learning literacy through their own creative  and purposeful thoughts.  Never underestimate a child’s imaginative stories or real life explanations for his/ her thoughts.  A child’s own words can be just as powerful if not more so than books at certain points during their young development.

100_7951 This is also another example of how to use small learning spaces to their maximum.  Two provocations are set up for standing work, counters and painting.  Just think about how often you see your child standing and engaging in an art or craft project.  Think about how often you offer him/ her a chair and they refuse by pushing it away.  Sometimes children learn better by standing and allowing their whole being to be involved in the learning process rather than sitting in a more confined and restful pose.  We want children to literally be active learners because they are by nature.  So why not set up a learning environment that supports how they naturally learn. 🙂

 

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Heidi Scott, BA & MIT  The Marigold School of Early Learning