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questions about getting started

 
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wendyladi98
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Joined: 31 Jul 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:59 pm    Post subject: questions about getting started Reply with quote

Hello, I am the mother of a soon to be 4 year old (bday August 12) She can say her ABC's count to 20 for the most part (sometimes stumbles on a couple of the teens) and knows all her colors and many animals. She is a bit behind in language and so we are making a concentrated effort to get her out more, church, playgroups, etc. She is also not where I would say most 4 year olds are with coloring (still scribbles a good deal) but can make straight lines and circles occasionally...whenever I give her something to color or trace she scribbles it up. (still not sure how much of this is behavioral or developmental or a bit of both) I recently bought a pre-K workbook and she is no where able to do any of the activities in it...for example they ask her to help the cat make a basket by drawing a line from the blue ball to the blue basket, and repeat the other colors...she just wants to scribble in it.
I am not out to get really academic fast but I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions. Her doctor wasn't overly concerned and said she is just a little behind in language and to try to stimulate her by talking a lot...We read to her every night. I would love ideas for good learning activities to use this year to prepare for Kindergarten.
Thanks,
Wendy
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Ramona
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: questions about getting started Reply with quote

I think the best things to do with 3/4-y-o's are let them play, limit the number of available toys so that they don't get overwhelmed, give them real things to play with in addition to toys, and teach them whatever they ask about or show interest in--but only for as long as they seem interested. (I limit toys by dividing all the child's toys into 3 containers and putting two of them away, then rotating which container is out for the child's use about every 6 weeks.)

Here's a list I got from some professional educator many years ago of the speaking skills of an average 4-y-o.

    Knows how to shout, whisper, and many levels in between.
    Says rhymes, chants, songs and poems with someone else leading.
    Can communicate her own abstract thoughts if asked.
    Initiates conversations in familiar surroundings.
    Sits still and pays attention to stories told or read aloud for 5 to 7 minutes.
    Follows two-step directions.
    Uses social gestures without being prompted--wave, handshake, etc.
    Answers acquaintances' questions appropriately.
    Answers questions over the phone.
    Asks how and why questions in complete sentences.
    Roleplays (make-believe, just-suppose, pretend, acting).
    Knows that a story being read to her is coming from the printed letters on the page.
    Describes a picture she is looking at.
    Guesses aloud what will come next in a story.
    Wants to go to the library or bookstore.


As far as coloring, scribbling is one of the normal developmental stages, so maybe she needs lots of opportunities to scribble in order to get through the stage and be ready to move on to the next one. Give her a coloring book or workbook or pad of blank paper that she's not expected to use the way it looks to an adult like it "should" be used, but just for her to scribble in!

I know there are workbooks for preschoolers that contain many pages of kindergarten-readiness checklists, teaching suggestions and other helps for the parent in addition to all the pages for the child to fill in. Some of them are quite pricey, though.

One of the best ways to get a little one to talk is to look at a picture or out a window and ask what she can see. After she tells everything she can think of, ask things like, "Do you see the grass?" or make statements like, "Oh, and I can see some birds too."

Ramona
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gardening momma
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 61
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:50 am    Post subject: Re: questions about getting started Reply with quote

wendyladi98 wrote:
She is also not where I would say most 4 year olds are with coloring (still scribbles a good deal) but can make straight lines and circles occasionally...whenever I give her something to color or trace she scribbles it up. (still not sure how much of this is behavioral or developmental or a bit of both) I recently bought a pre-K workbook and she is no where able to do any of the activities in it...for example they ask her to help the cat make a basket by drawing a line from the blue ball to the blue basket, and repeat the other colors...she just wants to scribble in it.


This is just about where my daughter is at (will be 4 at the end of October), and I don't see her as being behind in coloring. Sure, I'd like her to make more of an effort to color in the different parts of a picture, but what she really likes to do is draw circles around stuff. As for workbooks, if she's supposed to draw a line from point A to point B, she wants to circle them first, then, with my prompting, she might draw the line she's supposed to. I see it as normal, and just keep working with her.

We also have a workbook that will say: draw a circle around this, an X over that, color this one, etc.... but my daughter would rather circle everything and then "color" it, so I let her do that.

I agree with Ramona about the toys. I'm sure my daughter has way too many (partly grandma's fault), and she'd benefit from not having so many out at a time.
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seekingmyLord
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Joined: 04 Jul 2007
Posts: 231
Location: Standing in the radiance of His glory.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered using sign language? I believe it really helps with hand and language skills in young children. I recommend starting simple with a few nouns. Signs for food usually gets their attention.
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wendyladi98
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Joined: 31 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:05 pm    Post subject: questions about getting started Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice! I am more concerned right now that her life be rich and full than she can write her ABC's anyway, I just want to stay on track for where she should be to "start" school next year. I will keep the suggestions in mind. I am wondering if some sort of manipulatives would be a good starting place instead of "drawing a line" to match colors or letters etc. maybe we could find some matching games or something like that...She loves the workbook I bought her and goes through it and points out the names of letters, animals, etc...but doesn't get the activities concept of it yet but I am sure it will come.
Thanks again,
Wendy
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Ramona
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: questions about getting started Reply with quote

wendyladi98 wrote:
I am wondering if some sort of manipulatives would be a good starting place instead of "drawing a line" to match colors or letters etc. maybe we could find some matching games or something like that...


Sounds like a good idea!

If you still want to try using workbooks with her for any reason, here are some thoughts on that:

I like to do workbooks with my little ones (if, say, they ask me to get them one because they're in the store with me when I'm buying one for an older child; or if they get a workbook from Grandma) instead of trying to have them do it on their own.

We sit side by side and one of us holds the workbook on our lap, and I explain to them what a page is all about and we talk about all the things they can see and recognize and identify on a page. Then if it says to draw a line, we might not even get out a writing implement. I might just have them point, or describe in words what matches with what.

If they show curiosity about the drawing-a-line part, I might draw the line myself with the child's choice of crayon color or my intriguing grown-up pen sitting nearby.

Or I might draw a dashed line and encourage the child to go over it ("make it dark") with a pencil or crayon. At first they often draw squiggles or jagged marks instead, or go way past the stopping point. But I just tell them what a good job they did getting a mark on the page with their writing tool, and if they're feeling very happy and not insecure I might gently, briefly explain that next time we want to try to draw a straight line or stop at the matching picture or whatever.

Ramona
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gardening momma
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Joined: 10 Apr 2007
Posts: 61
Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:20 pm    Post subject: Re: questions about getting started Reply with quote

wendyladi98 wrote:
Thanks for the advice! I am more concerned right now that her life be rich and full than she can write her ABC's anyway, I just want to stay on track for where she should be to "start" school next year. I will keep the suggestions in mind. I am wondering if some sort of manipulatives would be a good starting place instead of "drawing a line" to match colors or letters etc. maybe we could find some matching games or something like that...She loves the workbook I bought her and goes through it and points out the names of letters, animals, etc...but doesn't get the activities concept of it yet but I am sure it will come.
Thanks again,
Wendy

You might try looking for lacing activities. It would strengthen her hand & finger muscles, and develop hand/eye coordination & fine muscle control. I found a plastic lacing set at a yard sale for a dollar or so, and since it was something I knew I wanted but figured I'd never be able to afford new, I snatched it up! Then I found some cardboard lacing activities on clearance at Walmart.

Another thing that would help would be large beads (use a shoestring or thick string with a large knot at the end). That's another way to develop coordination, etc... You can also start discussing the concept of patterns with beads. This is another thing I found at a yard sale, but I'd think you could make your own from craft store supplies.
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