While you may believe that only a teacher with a license is qualified enough to teach your children, the truth of the matter is you as the parent is your child's first and most important instructor. Not only are you your child's provider, but you are also their first teacher and you play a very important role in your their educational life preceding the start of their formal school years. Teaching your little preschooler may seem like a daunting task at first but with patience and a little research, you will find the time you spend with him or her rewarding.
In this article, I will show you how a couple of home based activities can help encourage a love and understanding of language, math and science. These activities involve (and are not limited to) reading, listening, writing, number awareness, sequencing, counting and learning to become aware of the world that surrounds them.
The following are some activities by Helene Goldnadel you can start with:
- Create a center for your house that is just for reading
- Start reading together
- Together, count any objects that are laying around such as coins
- Try to encourage writing by creating fun lists
- Recite nursery rhymes together
- Provide children with simple musical instruments such as a kazoo or a flute
- Encourage them to use their imaginations by telling stories with puppets
- Teach children about the importance of eating healthy foods and the dangers of fast food
- Encourage them to frequently wash their hands and explain to them the concept of germs and sickness
- Discuss the concept of money and play store with them
- A very important lesson is to teach them how to dial 911 in case of an emergency
And remember, by taking the time to talk with your child and by encouraging them to ask questions about the world they live in, you will not only help strengthen their analytical skills you will also be preparing them for their formal educational journey.
Most parents and children get nervous when the word 'test' is mentioned. While tests may be useful in some ways to measure how well or not, a child is doing, it does have its drawbacks. Too much emphasis on test results can place an artificial age barrier on children's individual abilities.
The idea that a child's ability to learn is age dependent is a relatively new one in human history. If, for instance, we go back to the Middle Ages we see that age and ability were thought of differently at that time. Elizabeth I, one of the most famous and successful queens in European history was an accomplished philosopher, historian, politician, and multi-lingual before her teens. There is absolutely nothing in research to say that children are not so capable today.
Who then is best placed to say what a child is or is not capable of understanding or learning at any given age - us, armed with a bunch of education statistics, or them? Any parent who has spent hours trying to sort out how the video recorder works only to have their five-year fix it for them in under 10 seconds, knows exactly what I mean. A child does not know that something is too complex for them until we tell them that it is. If we pre-condition them into thinking their abilities are somehow determined by their age, then we are putting the brakes on them before they even got started. We are presuming that we know the limits of what they are capable of, and when they will be able to achieve it. Well-meaning or not, in a more scientific way this is exactly what ability tests do. If they were not based on preset expectations and markers on ability, what is considered simple or complex, they would not function as tests at all.
Helene Goldnadel says that IQ does not equate ability. The specific role of IQ tests is to measure intelligence in some way. People with high IQs are not necessarily the academic types. They may or may not have a degree and they are found in all walks of life, including but certainly not only, academia.
There is certainly more than one kind of intelligence. In the 20th century, the research of Professor Howard Gardner, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education questioned the established idea that intelligence came in just one form that could be measured in an IQ test and that was that. Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences suggests that there may be at least seven different kinds of intelligences in humans, ranging from mathematical/logical to kinaesthetic (finely-tuned motor control and co-ordination). For example, a successful footballer might have kinaesthetic intelligence. A successful entrepreneur might have mathematical/logical intelligence. You may know or be aware of someone who is a successful entrepreneur and footballer all at the same time. In which case, they would have to have both kinaesthetic as well as mathematical/logical intelligence.
Whatever kind of intelligence your child may be gifted in, it is always a good idea to start as soon as possible to train his young brain. There are home-based training programs available to help busy parents take just minutes a day to bring out the best in their children. The effects of which are cumulative and the benefits will last a lifetime. You can teach your child to read or learn math from as little as 2 months old (yes, your baby can read). Early child education is now more popular than ever and is gaining worldwide recognition. The earlier your child starts learning, the better will be the effects of such early childhood development program, like learning math or reading A child genius may be born, but who is to say you cannot develop your own child to be a genius? You too, can be a genius-maker.
The ability to interpret not only lasts forever, but it also brings forth a plethora of benefits for young children. Below are some of them discussed by Helene Goldnadel:
Boosts vocabulary and comprehension - A child who starts reading early will obviously know many more words than his peers. With it comes the power of understanding too, as the child can grasp and appreciate what he learns.
Brain development - One can consider it as an exceptional exercise for the mind. It strengthens the connections in the brain and sharpens the child's concentration. It builds a strong memory and makes the child disciplined as well.
Academic excellence - Early reading paves the way for outstanding performance in school. The child not only knows how to use words and structure sentences but can also easily comprehend the varied concepts that are taught in class. As he develops logical thinking, reasoning and judgment abilities, academic success is bound to follow.
Improved communication - It follows that a child who can study well will be able to express himself fluently in both speech and writing. Having the right words at his fingertips also builds a strong sense of confidence in the child who will grow into an articulate and independent person.
Broadens the intellect and imagination - A child who reads continues to absorb information about the people, places and things around him. He becomes knowledgeable about the world at large and the same knowledge boosts his imagination. The child will enjoy imagining the things and situations he interprets about.
Healthy relations - Interpreting about various characters and their interactions makes the child more empathetic and attuned to people around him. He will surely bloom into a considerate and compassionate adult.
It becomes fun too - The more a child reads the better he gets at it. And the better book-lover he becomes, the more he starts enjoying it. It feels relaxing and the child may not even hesitate to pick a book over a video game or other gadget! Indeed, it becomes a source of great entertainment and the joy of reading continues lifelong.
Is it any wonder that parents and teachers alike strive to teach children to interpret as early as possible? In fact, parents start reading to their infant child which exposes them to books, words and sounds. And as the child grows, they try different techniques to develop the ability in this.
However, learning how to read and write does not necessarily have to begin with interpreting only. Young children can also be taught to interpret by teaching them to write first. This revolutionary program of learning how to read and write amalgamates the popular techniques and yet focuses on teaching children to write. Amazing interpreting skills follow very soon and the children actually start taking pleasure in reading what they write.
Resilience is not an inherent human trait and can be built through experiences. Here are a few things by Helene Goldnadel that you can teach your child to develop resilience in them:
Decision Making and Problem Solving: Problems arise and decisions need to be made at every stage of our lives, no matter what the age. With a nimble mind, a child is more open and receptive to grasping these concepts and learning the skills. When the child is faced with a problem and needs to make a decision, encourage them by helping, supporting and guiding them to find a solution instead of providing them with a ready fix. This will also create a sense of confidence in the child.
Discipline: It is normal for children to make mistakes, even when they try their best not to. In these situations, try to focus on teaching rather than punishing them. Encourage your child to see the learning they got from the mistake and nudge them to understand a better way of doing the same thing. Teach them the appropriate actions of apologizing when wrong. Discipline can be instilled in a compassionate way and avoid denigrating the child for their mistakes.
Self-Worth: This trait can be instilled in a child by constantly appreciating them for their good work and by re-affirming to them each time that they are doing their best they can. Self-worth is very important in times of distress and the ability to draw on the strength from within will equip your child to be resilient in face of challenges.
Healthy Competition: Applaud your child on their success but also teach them perseverance in times when they do not succeed. Encourage them to be participants and teach them that each child is good at something (they might not be the same things). Encourage them to do their best and teach them to appreciate the efforts of their peers thus instilling a sense of healthy competition.
You can choose a number of multi-sensory reading programs that teaches phonemic awareness, phonics strategies and other skills for reading and spelling. While developing auditory processing skills, students of all ages learn how simply the English language code actually works. At the same time, the parent learns how to support the child's new skills at home. At-home practice applies the new auditory processing and phonics skills, so your child will gain confidence and be able to read at his or her grade level.
Autism symptoms can be hard to diagnose as autism itself covers a wide spectrum of symptoms. It is a neurological disorder that affects the way a person interprets the things around them. It affects them on a behavioral, social and communicative level. Sometimes the first symptoms are visible right after birth, but it most cases it takes till the ages 1-2 for it to become more evident. Though there are different levels of autism, there are some common traits or a checklist of symptoms to be aware of in your developing child.
Here is a brief autism symptoms checklist of the most common traits discussed by Helene Goldnadel.
Impairment of social interaction. Simply put the child has problems interacting with those around them. They often have marked delays in the use of non-verbal behavior or body language such as eye to eye contact, facial expressions ( they often look at the world around them with a blank expression), body posture and gestures regularly used in social interactions. They may also have delays or inability to develop peer relationships appropriate for their age or mental development level. As a young child they also do not seek to share enjoyment with others. While other children will take you by the hand to show and share their accomplishments the autistic child lacks this.
Impairments or delays in their communications skills. The autistic child will often lack or have a delay in their language skills. This is not accompanied by them making up for their lack of speech with hand gestures or other ways of communicating. They also tend to have impairment in being able to hold a conversation or start a conversation with another person. Characteristics of autism can also include a repetitive use of language (only saying certain phrases).
Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors. Characteristic of autism is a preoccupation of specific interests. For example that of an obsessive compulsive disorder. The autistic child is also inflexible in schedule. Little changes in routine cause an autistic child extreme distress. Their routine is very specific in its rituals and timing.
Delays in at least one of the following areas. If any or all of the following are present you may have an autistic child (onset prior to age 3). Delays in social interactions, language used in social interactions and or lack of imaginative play.
This is just a brief autism symptoms checklist, if you child displays a large number of these it is imperative that you follow up with a doctor. Early intervention is the best possible way to prevent or minimize the impairment your child may have from autism. You as the parent are your child best advocate.
Also read: Unlocking Your Child's Potential