Friday, 22 July 2011

So long Term 2...Bring on Term 3!!

Well with all the madness of our last week of Term 2 I managed to miss the blog last week...hopefully you have all been too distracted in the school holidays to notice?! Our final week of Term 2 was devoted to FUN. We pulled out all the old favourites and had a blast. The main request from our littlies was the re-emergence of the ball pit and our Ready kids had pulled out the claves for the Copy Me song before I even got a chance to put the music on! The ever popular parachute got a workout and the bubble machine now needs a much deserved holiday too. It was great fun and went too fast as always.

Of course there is no rest for the Head Start team during the school holidays (in and out of the office for that matter!) we have all been madly busy preparing for another fun-filled-educational-motivational Term 3. We have 8 new foundation skills to introduce to you all and will of course be outlining those here each week throughout the term. Let me just say that there have been LOTS of new resources being put together so lots of new things to look forward to! I have also been flat out sourcing lots of new music for all our classes and there are some goodies in store, a couple of personal favourites are The Fancy Dance and Helicopter songs - they will get everyone grooving. I am SUPER excited that we have ordered a huge Stretchy Cord which will be another fantastic option for our final activity song...trust me the little ones will love it.

The Puku Playdate classes are being fine-tuned and are looking to be heaps of fun for both baby and Mum. I have been brushing up on my baby-massage skills and have been revising the all important core and floor exercises that are SO crucial in the post-natal period.

So now all there is left to do is SIGN UP if you haven't done so already - there are still a few spaces throughout the week and in our new Saturday classes so be sure to give us a call on 487 9698 or check out www.headstart.net.nz to enroll before the first week of August.

In the meantime have a wonderful rest of the school holidays, the weather gods have definitely been on our side eh?! We have been having a wonderful time with our little ones' grandparents staying with us, she will be very disappointed to lose her entourage next week but thankfully we will have the Cadbury's Chocolate Festival to keep us entertained by then. We are heading out to the Teddy Bear's Picnic at Larnach Castle on Thursday and then may brave the crowds at the Jaffa Race on Friday - perhaps we will see you all on our travels!
Till Term 3...stay safe and happy!
x Lizz & the Head Start Team

Friday, 8 July 2011

Awesome Auditory Completion!



Week 10 already...is it just me or are the days slipping by faster and faster (isn't that what happens as you get older - uh oh?!) Anyhoo - this week was our last week with a skills focus for Term 2 and it was all about Auditory Completion.

Auditory Completion is along the same lines as Visual Completion, except instead of mentally filling in the blank parts of pictures and objects it is the ability to fill in or complete words or sounds. This is one of those skills that you are probably doing without meaning to anyways, like when you are reading My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes and your little one is shouting out 'Boxes' before you even get the end of the page. They have just worked their developing Auditory Completion skills by using their existing knowledge to fill in the last word. This skill is important as not only does it help in the early stages of reading as it helps your child to recognise and read familiar words but it also helps with language acquisition and cognition.

So this week our little ones practiced some classic nursery rhymes to see whether they could fill in the blanks by using their Auditory Completion skills. We started off by using visual cues too and progressed till the cues were no longer needed and the missing words were popping out spontaneously...didn't take long!! For our bigger kids this was a great chance to play Eye Spy to see what things they could come up with starting with particular letters or sounds from around the room, eg. Eye Spy something beginning with W... wall, window etc. This was also a great chance to pull out one of my favourite resources, the ever useful Flash Cards. For the little ones these were great for completing words starting with easy letters, A for apple, B for ball, C for cat etc...again either with or without the visual cues. And for the older bunch these were a great starting point to see how many words they could complete starting with each letter. This is an easy place to start this skill at home, flash cards are a great investment and can even be downloaded for free from many sites online (Google 'Flash Cards'), and if you have an iPhone, iTouch or iPad there are some cool apps that have interactive flash cards for free!

Of course there was also plenty of time for random fun, so I have included a couple of pics of our On Your Marks bunch exploring different activities!

So what is the best advice for practicing this skill at home. OPPORTUNITY (have we heard that before?!)...give your child the chance to complete familiar rhymes and favourite books, sometimes all that is needed is a nice long expectant pause!! Repetition is again the key to success here. For the older child, get creative, how about cutting out letters from magazines and see how many words your child can complete that start with that letter (eg. S, Sh, etc). To progress this, assign a category to the words and see how many you can come up with (eg. All the animals starting with B, bear, baboon, bull etc).
Next week is our last week of Term 2 and the focus for the week will be FUN!! All our favourite activities, games and songs will be pulled out and a great time had by all. Then it is a short break before heading into a whole bunch of new activities, skills and fun in Term 3!
Till next week - keep warm and have fun together. x Lizz & the Head Start Team