Friday, November 4, 2011

First things first

There are several "rules" with teaching a tot.
1. Things don't always go as planned.
2. Lessons range from 5 to 30 minutes, are focused on the child and are over when the toddler loses interest.
3. Toddlers learn best from hands on experiences and opportunities to explore.
4. Things don't always go as planned...

Here is an example of losing interest...
Before I started formal school time with Maverick, I wanted to see what he already knew. These assessments on this awesome tot school blog I found were a great place to start. I asked him very casually, one on one when he wasn't doing anything else and knew I could hold his attention for longer than half a millisecond. He actually kind of thought it was a game and kept asking, "what next?"
I was quite shocked at how much he already knew since I had not formally "planned" what I was teaching him yet. It's amazing what "Super Why", singing ABC's and counting EVERYTHING can teach a child! Once I had a clear picture of what he already knew, I looked at what he still needed to learn and designed my lessons around that.
I also thought about the most important things for him to learn now, that will help him succeed later on with more "formal" education. Name recognition, letters/sounds (developmentally appropriate sounds), colors, shapes, gross motor (jumping, running, skipping, etc) and fine motor skills (holding a pencil, lacing, etc), counting and character education were the most important to me. However, every child is different and starts out in a different place. Especially if a child is younger and his language skills are just now developing, the focus will probably be more on colors, motor skills, shapes, and exposing him to the other "stuff" as much as possible.

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