Friday, 9 September 2011

Figuring Out Auditory Figure Ground

Dare I say it, spring has arrived!! (?) This week has been glorious and perhaps it is due to the lovely weather allowing our wee ones to get out and about to burn off some energy, but my classes this week all seemed very attentive and keen to get into the skill based activities - how nice!

During week 6 of Term 3 we have been exercising our Auditory Figure Ground skills. This is the ability to discriminate between background and foreground noises. Or in other words, it is how we are able to attend to certain sounds while ignoring sounds that are unimportant. This is an important auditory processing skill and is crucial in the formal learning environment as it allows our child to focus and listen to instructions in a busy, noisy classroom environment.

So essentially this is a skill that we practice EVERY time we come to the Head Start environment as there is always lots of chatter, laughter and music in the background while we are explaining activities and interacting with our little people one-on-one. This week we took it one step further tho and added some different noises for our Head Start kids to listen out for throughout the class. It was exciting to see that as the classes progressed they all started tuning in to these noises faster and with less prompting...by next week we will have them baa-ing, moo-ing, meowing etc along with the sounds!!

Our world is a BUSY place nowadays so this skill to be able to tune out background noise to hear and ATTEND to relevant and important information is even more important than ever, this skill will truly give your little one a Head Start in the classroom so keep it in mind and practice it whenever possible. Take the opportunity when in a busy environment to talk one-on-one with your little one, for example in the supermarket or shopping mall point out interesting things, play a game of eye spy or discuss what is going on around you. Head to the park and see how many birds you can hear over the general noise of the playground or to the pool and listen for the whirr of the spa pool or siren before the wavepool starts - you get the idea!!

This week in our Puku Playdate we looked at some fun, educational toys to make at home...honestly some of the best toys ever are free!! One fail-safe idea is a posting box made out of an ice-cream container (great excuse for dessert too!) with round holes and rectangles cut in the top to post milk bottle lids thru (so bubba has to turn the lid on its side to get thru the rectangles), this is always a winner!!

I hope you are all out enjoying the sunshine...or enjoying it in a quick moment of nap-time solitude as I am! Keep well till next week and don't forget to tune back in to see what we are up to in week 7.
x Lizz & the Head Start team

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