Preschool and Kindergarten Handwriting: Getting it Right the First Time

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[Written by: Debbie Kaschik / Owner / Educator for over 30 years]

One of the biggest challenges as a teacher is to re-teach handwriting. The reason I say re-teach is because typically a child picks up handwriting habits that might be hard to break. It’s not always about the perfect form, let’s face it, as adults we have trouble reading some of our friend’s and family’s handwriting. At this age, it’s about weight lifting for the fingers! Build those fine motor skills and handwriting becomes much easier. How do you do that?

If you are making a mess, you are working on fine motor skills!

  • Playdough! Great for fine motor!

  • Using scissors. There are one million and one scissors on the market. Buy one you like and start cutting. Save those old magazines and cut, cut, cut!

    • The pick-up of the cuts are fine motor practice too!

    • Side note – EVERY child cuts something other than what you want them to at some point…. their hair, their friend’s hair or their clothing. (just fyi)

  • Button, zip and snap! (as they practice dressing themselves)

  • Painting, finger and brush.

  • Puzzles

  • Puppet shows

  • The list goes on! Check with Siri or “Hello Google” for many more ideas!

  • Set aside a time for fine motor. Because you are having fun with your child, they won’t even know they are “working out” for the sake of fine motor.

Helpful Links:

https://www.hwtears.com/hwt

http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/help-your-child-build-fine-motor-skills

M E S S Y Monday: Celebrating Summer at TWYLA

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"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." -Mr. Rogers

Each Monday, during the summer, our little TWYLAs enjoy Messy Monday - an opportunity to learn through messy and fun play. Our kiddos love it!

We kicked off our Messy Mondays with Rorschach t-shirts. How great did these turn out? Next, our little ones explored play through mud - so messy, so fun!

Follow along on our Facebook page this summer to discover all of the M E S S Y fun we have planned!

Shining a Light on Autism Services & Programs

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Throughout the month of April, The Young Learners will be supporting World Autism Awareness Day. Coming together with thousands of organizations, all over the world, to Light It Up Blue! On April 2nd, each of their three facilities decked the halls in blue with lights, decor, handprints and puzzle pieces. Staff, parents and students wore blue to show support. In addition everything was BLUE - blue food, blue milk, blue sand play, blue toys and lots of puzzles.

A true celebration of acceptance and awareness for Autistic children and their families!

Services

The Learning Lane  program serves learners with Autism ranging in ages from 12 months to 7 years old. While the groups are arranged in a developmental sequence, we are responsive to the needs of the individual children that enter into services. It’s our pleasure to offer the following services to our children and their families. 

  • Diagnostics - diagnostic evaluations are offered for those with suspected or known Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses to confirm or rule out an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis or to update other assessment information.
  • Inclusion - inclusionary opportunities for group interaction within a traditional preschool setting are available to children that meet the necessary criteria. Children are supported by ABA trained staff mixed with daily one on one assistance.
  • Shadowing - to facilitate the transition from our intensive Clinical setting to a more typical classroom environment
  • Social Skills - provides direct instruction in functional social skills through a comprehensive module system in a “safe” environment, providing children the opportunity to develop the skills needed for success in the social arena.

To learn more about our Diagnostic Evaluation, please click here!

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

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This question is one of the most asked question we get as a preschool. Our first job is to follow the Texas Essential Knowledge of Skills (TEKS) for guidelines. This will provide you with a comprehensive list of all the skills that are expected of your child when entering Kindergarten.

Don’t panic if your child does not know EVERY single item on the skills list! Don’t start drilling and tutoring! Your child is just 5. Childhood is all too often rushed or passed by because of worry that ‘my child will not do well or know enough’. Rushing and drilling will not improve the situation, it will only hinder it or worse, your child might develop a dislike for school and learning before he/she even starts. It’s a lot like potty training, your child will progress when he/she is ready, you can’t force it.

The answer, make it fun!! Make learning so much fun, your child will not know they are learning! Make it messy, that’s even better! Google, Pinterest, Lakeshore Learning and other teacher supply stores, there are so many resources available!

The next question is always the social/emotional question. Is my child ready socially and emotionally? This is the million-dollar question! Again, something and the main thing that can’t be rushed. When we are deciding where to place kiddos in our program, we look at the whole child and also consider what it might be like to be 17 or 18 graduating from high school and headed to college. Some people laugh at that consideration while it is so far away, but it’s worth a look! The tagline we hear a lot is “When in doubt, hold them out”. That’s not a bad tagline, but ultimately you have to decide what is best for your child. We are lucky to live in an area with excellent schools, teachers, and administrators. If you have any doubts, schedule an appointment with your school’s counselor. Take in samples of your child’s work and discuss what is best for your child.

A good place to start is to focus on letters and numbers. Practice alphabet letters out of order. A child singing the alphabet perfectly may not “know” the letters. Ask your child the letter names (upper and lower case) and the sound the letter makes. Count objects, not just rote counting. Your child needs to be able to write his/her name correctly. Uppercase letter at the beginning then lower case letters. (example: Debbie) These are just a few items to start with. Take a look at the skills list and see where your child is. Most districts have a Kindergarten open house. If that event has passed, ask the Kindergarten team or front office at your school for information from those meetings. Some programs will be outlined and you will know what to expect.

Good Luck and remember, enjoy your child at every stage. Don’t rush to the next stage to then rush to the next stage and the cycle begins. Slow down, let your child develop naturally and successfully.