Saturday, 15 December 2012

Jingle Bells Jingle Bells

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all our Head Start friends and families.  What a great fun week we have had with all our favourite activities out this week and what a great year we have had at our Head Start Headquarters, lots of great memories for all of us of our Head Start children learning, playing, exploring and growing. 

Thank you for all your support over the past year and we look forward to seeing you and your little ones in the New Year, or at the Play in the Park tomorrow, 11am at the Gardens:)

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year from all the team at Head Start and RATA South.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Can You Hear What I Hear???

Hello to all our Head Start Families and friends.  Did I hear right on the radio that Summer is here??  One day it's lovely summer dresses and shorts and shirts, the next I see the winter woollies are out again, when will the weather make up its mind?  It's a good thing we know just what we are doing at our Head Start Headquarters.  This week we have been exploring Auditory Figure Ground.

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 and added some different noises for our Head Start children 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 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 wave pool starts - you get the idea!!
Have a great weekend and we will see you for our last sessions of the year next week for lots of Christmas songs and jingle bells.
Jo and the Head Start Team


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Gross Motor Skills

Hi to all our Head Start families and friends. This week we were looking at Gross motor skills, running, jumping, hopping etc. This requires the use of your child’s large muscle groups (legs, arms, back). With practise these movements become more refined and are extended to more complex tasks. Skills such as running, jumping and kicking are used in active games and sports. Gross motor development is also an important aspect of fine motor control as the large muscle group’s act to stabilise the body in tasks such as writing and cutting with scissors.
Here is an opportunity to interact with the blogg and let everyone else know what you do to get your kids moving. Do you have a favourite park? Where is it? Why do you like it so much? Do your children like making up obstacle courses for your children to negotiate their way around? What do you use?

A big Thanks to Averil from the Chat Bus, who came to speak to out Head Start Friends and Families on Thursday night. She gave us some great tips to think about:
What is important
Be consistent
Use Praise
Build Trust
Build Self-esteem
Build resilience
Positive Touch
Some quotes from the evening:
"Train your child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it"
"You don't need a degree to be a parent"
It was a great evening and I think everyone that attended would have taken at least one point to ponder, Thanks Averil. For more information on the chat bus go to or if you want to hear more of what she said try and catch up with someone who attended and have a coffee and chat about the evening.
Hope you all have a good weekend and we look forward to sharing some more Christmas songs with you this week.
Take Care
Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 23 November 2012


Hello to all our Head Start families and friends. This is a week that I love sharing with our Head Start children. The sensation of touch is essential for our little's development and is one of the primary ways that they learn about their environment.   Yes it was messy but that's the part I love the most! 

This week we had lots of new things for them to explore using their sense of touch. The firm favourites for the week was the touch and feel tub of dried rice and packing material filled with hidden treasures - under close supervision this was a hit with both our littler and older Head Starters. We managed to pry a few kids away from the touchy tanks to show them our Total Touch station which consisted of shredded paper to be emerged in, mattresses to be squashed between and Lycra to be rolled up in.

The massage box filled with textured goodies and a corresponding bag to try to match objects too just by using the sense of touch...this was harder than it looks! Our Go kids were extended further through tasks that got them identifying shapes and objects using the sense of touch just through their feet - definitely a challenge!!
Have a great week and this week I challenge you to let your child play in the dirt or run their hands through their food without you cleaning it up in a hurry.  In other words let your child explore the different textures around them fully.
Maybe this is a bit over the top,but
doesn't it look like fun!!!
Have a great week and we look forward to sharing some more Christmas songs with you over the coming weeks.
Jo and the Head Start Team

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fine Motor Skills

Hello to all our Head Start families and friends.  We have had a busy week at our Head Start Headquarters this week where our focus has been Fine Motor Skills.
This is the ability to use smaller muscle groups to perform tasks that are precise in nature. Our children develop their gross motor skills primarily by exercising their larger muscle groups to move around. These gross motor skills help to develop core strength and this in turn provides a stable base from which to initiate movement from the smaller muscle groups responsible for fine motor control. Gross motor movement is a key concept at Head Start and is being developed every week through the running, jumping and climbing opportunities presented to our littlies. So this week we built on all this strengthening and presented our Head Starters with some fun fine motor skills to practise!
Little fingers love to explore zips, buttons, clasps and Velcro so we gave them plenty of chances to do so on our dressing up and down blanket. Puzzle pieces were hidden in pockets and there were fun pictures to discover, this is an easy one to keep practising at home too! Other fun gadgets included tongs for picking up teeny tiny animals and nuts and bolts to keep little fingers busy. Some of the boys really got into making up the trucks, putting all the nuts and bolts together, and there was lots of fun discovering what was hiding in the play dough.
Fine Motor skills can be practised through food exploration, goo, sandpits, dressing, scissors, colouring,  just to name a few.  For some more information you may like to read this article.  Fine Motor Development 0 - 6 Years 
Have a great weekend and we will see you all next weekend for another exciting week at our Head Start Headquarters. 
Take Care
Jo and the Head Start Team

Thursday, 8 November 2012

I see you - Vision

Hi to all our Head Start families and friends. What a busy week at our Head Start Headquarters this week. This week we have been “looking” at our vision. How many noticed the butterflies in the Head Start room this week?
Why do we have a session on vision?  Well.......Our eyes work together to send visual information to the brain. Like the muscles of our bodies, the muscles of the eyes need to be worked to develop.
When your child’s eyes are controlled without effort their attention is available for visual concentration such as following words on a page when reading and following moving objects when participating in games and sports.
So this has meant we have been watching the balls go down the ramp, over the roller coaster, through the maze.  We have been watching bubbles float by and feathers fall softly to the ground.  Our Go kids tried to balance a marble in the middle of a maze and pump air to push ping pong balls to letters.  We also had a cave with a flashing ball and torches with rocket ships and planets on them to follow in the dark.
Everyone has been really busy as they watch all the different activities happening around the room.  Don't forget to point things out to your children that they might miss, you would be how amazed they will be at the tiniest things and then realise how much we take for granted as adults.
Have a great weekend all. We'll be "looking" out for you next week
Jo and the Head Start Team


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Gross Motor Skills - Running

Hi to all our Head Start families and friends.  This week we were looking at Gross motor skills. This requires the use of your child’s large muscle groups (legs, arms, back). With practise these movements become more refined and are extended to more complex tasks. Skills such as running, jumping and kicking are used in active games and sports. Gross motor development is also an important aspect of fine motor control as the large muscle group’s act to stabilise the body in tasks such as writing and cutting with scissors.

With the weather getting warmer the parks are a great place to try out all these Gross Motor Skills.  All the running, jumping, climbing, hanging, swinging that a child can do over all the equipment really kicks all these big muscle groups into gear not to mention the fresh air and sunshine! So this week for our Head Strat Kids there was lots of running, jumping, hopping, and climbing through our obstacle course for all our age groups. We also had games of chase the tiger tail and rolling down the ramp which was created lots of fun and laughter.

Don't forget if you get stuck inside an obstacle course is a great way to entertain the kids as well as wear them out a bit. Cushions, sheets, chairs and tables all make fun things to climb through, over and under and you can even get the kids to help you design it!

Hope you all have a great weekend and we will see you next week at our Head Start Headquarters

Friday, 26 October 2012

Visual Sequential Memory

Hello to all our Head Start Friends and Families. We have had a busy week 2 at our Head Start Headquarters with a focus on Visual Sequential Memory.  This is an important skill to work on as it enables us to look at sequences of pictures, letters or numbers, memorise them and then recall them when necessary.
This is an important prerequisite for learning to spell and recognising sequences of numbers. For our littlies this week we practiced this skill through posting games, such as laying out a sequence of coloured letters and seeing whether they could post them in the correct order. For the older bunch this task was extended by posting in particular number sequences. Another fun exercise had the kids threading coloured buttons in sequential order to match those that Mum/Dad/Nana modelled for them. Similarly, coloured balls were rolled or putted into our new golf holes with a focus on particular sequences to see if the order could be replicated. This week was also a perfect week for our Go kids to really get stuck into their alphabet and counting activities and they had a great time with the magnetic letters and numbers!
Have a great weekend and we look forward to seeing you all next week as we come into November and the silly season.
Jo and the Head Start Team :)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Welcome Back!!

Hello to all our Head Start Friends and Families.  Welcome back to term 4 of 2012.  A BIG Head Start Welcome to all of our new families that have just joined us, we hope you enjoy being a part of the Head Start experience here at our Head Start Headquarters.

We are looking forward to this term as we have lots of exciting things to share with you (and we get to do Christmas stuff too!).  The term has got off to a fun start with the first week of classes already over (I hate to say it, but this term is going to fly by, don't blink!!) and lots of friendships reestablished by both the adults and the children.

We all look forward to spending time with you and your children after the long weekend (don't forget NO Puku Play date on Monday).  See ya then

Jo and the Head Start Team

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Did You Know?

Did you know that our Head Start program is just one part of what we do at our Head Start Headquarters?
Have you noticed that your child has handwriting difficulties, appears clumsy and uncoordinated, has communication or speech difficulties, maybe they fidget or lack concentration, have poor memory or organisational skills or may even require rehabilitation following an injury or surgery.  Why not check out our RATA Kids web page at Or see what's happening on our Face book Page: RATA Kids
Our team of professionals at RATA South Ltd includes, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech and Language Therapists all with experience working with children of all ages and abilities.  
Rata Kids.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Fun, Fun, Fun!! :)

 This week at our Head Start headquarters it was all about FUN!!  We had all the fun activities out that we have played with during the term.  There were the roller coaster, the slide, the balls and skittles, noisy books and climbing wall.  The parachute paradise was a hit as well and even encouraged some of the adults to relive their childhood and climb inside to have a look which was FANTASTIC!!  We love seeing the adults leading by modelling, well done!!
Harry loves posting!
 Our Puku Play date class revisited some of the material we looked at over the term and there was some pretty useful information.  From listening to the Mums I would say the highlight for them was having Amy, who is a Physio with us at RATA South, come and show us all how to strengthen our pelvic floor muscles. THANKS Amy!

Well the school holidays are here and we are going to take a wee break, catch our breath and prepare for term 4.  If you haven't enrolled for term 4 don't forget to give Di a ring (03) 487 9698.  Next term we are also running a mixed age group on Tuesday at 1pm if you have more than one child wanting to attend Head Start this will give them both the opportunity to experience Head Start and gain valuable foundational skills for school and future learning.  See you all soon

Jo and the Head Start Team :)

Friday, 21 September 2012

Visual Figure Ground and Auditory Completion

Wow two weeks since my last post, so sorry.  In the last week we  explored Visual Figure Ground which is the ability to discriminate between visual foreground and background.  For example being able to pick out patterns amongst a busy backdrop.  This is an important skill to improve visual perception and helps your child to focus on something specific amongst other visual stimuli.  For example finding their spot on a page or on the blackboard when reading. 

For our Head Start children they have been finding bugs on a blanket with lots of other things happening on it, or looking at pictures that are made up of lots of other things.  You can extend this skill at home when you ask the children to find a specific toy in the toy box, or a LEGO man in the box of LEGO.

This week we have looked at 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 anyway 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.

We were practicing this skill by using the examples of nursery rhymes like Twinkle Twinkle Little ............, Humpty Dumpty Sat on the see if the children could complete the sentences. 

Puku Play Date has been exploring how much can a baby see in the first few months after they are born and then the beauty of books.  We were discussing the importance of  turning the TV off and spending some time reading to your child. I brought along a few of my children's favourite books when they were little and had the little ones captivated with a very colourful pop out book right to the end.

One more week to go before school holidays and all the favourite equipment from the term will be out to play on.  Looking forward to seeing you all there and we might even grab a few pictures of everyone having some fun.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine.

From Jo and the Head Start Team :)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Gross Motor Skills

Hi to all our Head Start families and friends.  Sorry I missed this week, but fingers and toes crossed we are slowly getting rid of the bugs in our household. This week we were looking at Gross motor skills.  This requires the use of your child’s large muscle groups (legs, arms, back). With practise these movements become more refined and are extended to more complex tasks.  Skills such as running, jumping and kicking are used in active games and sports. Gross motor development is also an important aspect of fine motor control as the large muscle group’s act to stabilise the body in tasks such as writing and cutting with scissors.

This is where the parks are so cool!  All the running, jumping, climbing, hanging, swinging that a child can do over all the equipment really kicks all these big muscle groups into gear not to mention the fresh air and sunshine!  So hopefully at our Head Start Headquarters there was lots of running, jumping, hopping, and climbing through our obstacle course for all our age groups.  Don't forget if you get stuck inside an obstacle course is a great way to entertain the kids as well as wear them out a bit.  Cushions, sheets, chairs and tables all make fun things to climb through, over and under and you can even get the kids to help you design it! 
This week our Puku Play Date class expanded their knowledge with some more pelvic floor exercises while the little ones watched on with interest (or tried to be involved as Morris is now moving backwards!)  Having Amy visit with us and share her knowledge has been FANTASTIC, a big THANK YOU Amy :)
Well I hope you have a great weekend, I am hoping for great weather as I am helping out with the kids' school fair.  See you all next week at our Head Start Headquarters
Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 31 August 2012

Integration of the Left and Right Brain

Hello to all our Head Start families.This week we have looked at the integration of our left and right brain.What does this mean, well.....The left and right hemispheres of the brain work in different ways and integration of the hemispheres is important so that the whole brain is involved in the thinking and learning process.Activities that cross the body's mid line promote the pathways between the hemispheres and help to integrate them.  Activities that use both sides of the body at the same time are important for developing coordination as well as spelling, reading, listening and comprehension.

For most of our classes the challenge was put out to the parents to crawl around the course with their child, well done to Ange for getting through the tunnel with Jack, wish I had the camera!  Others had fun crawling up the ramp while butting a swiss ball with their head (this was my favourite).  Our tapping sticks were another fun one getting the children to tap left and right.

This week at our Puku Play date class the children were great, Lilly, Zac and Samantha were perfect while the Mums had a go at some of the harder pelvic floor exercises Amy had prepared for them.  Not easy balancing a cup of tea on your back (hypothetically) and squeezing and controlling your pelvic floor muscles, Well Done Sarah, Ange and Suzz. If anyone was interested here is a website that may give you some ideas for some other exercises 

Don't forget to take a take home sheet to help you remember the activities that we do at Head Start, these are always beside the sign in sheet.  Have a great week and we will catch you at our Head Start Headquarters for some more fun and of course BUBBLES.

Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 24 August 2012

Auditory Sequential Memory

Hello All.  Isn't it FANTASTIC to see the sun!  There was some serious cabin fever  for some families having been stuck inside with all the rain we have been having so it was great to see everyone in their raincoats and gumboots turning up for our Head Start Sessions.
This week was all about practising Auditory Sequential Memory.  This is the ability to remember things heard in sequence. This helps with other tasks such as learning to spell, repeating number sequences and recalling events. Obviously this is an important skill for us adults, it is always good to be able to remember that list of things your better half asked you to do (even if it was during the sports news.....). So it is never too early to start practising this auditory skill.

Our littlest Head Starters listened carefully to our Gibber Gabber game and some even started to mimic the crazy noises back proving that they were retaining that weird auditory sequential information! Try it at home and see how you get on, all you need to do is make up some weird noises and encourage your little one to say them back to you, trust me, the weirder the better, e.g. meep meep meep, screech screech boop... how long a sequence can you come up with?!
Our older kids listened carefully to number sequences and tried to remember what they had heard to make the same sequence on the whiteboard.

This auditory skill is something that we are actually encouraging often by asking our little people to follow basic instructions during their day. Try to remember to keep the instructions short and concise to start with and as your child develops you can make the instructions longer and more complex. To start with just 2 stage instructions are a good idea to keep it achievable - your child will love the praise you offer when they succeed!  For the older kids you can practise by asking them to recall what they did over the day or play games like calling out a number sequence or a letter sequence to see what they can remember, this is also a great way to start with basic maths and spelling - fridge magnets are a great resource for this and might help to keep little minds busy while you are sorting out the tea!
Puku Play date: Wow Lilly is now sitting by herself, Zac is rolling over and Morris is reaching forward while sitting, boy do they grow up fast. At Puku Play date for the next few weeks we are lucky enough to have Amy who is a Physio Therapist teaching us all some very important pelvic floor exercises.  These exercises are good to keep up all the time so it's great to learn how to do them effectively, looking forward to the next session!
Well I hope the sun keeps shining over the weekend and I look forward to seeing you all next week at our Head Start Headquarters.
From Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 17 August 2012

Visual Association - What does that Mean??

Hi All! I hope you all survived the rain.  It was great to see so many of you battle the weather and come and see us at our Head Start Headquarters. It certainly was very wet, but it is great to see the sunshine back again!! 

This week at our Head Start Headquarters we tackled visual association.  This is the ability to draw an association between two or more different but related items. For children this is initially associating familiar items such as sock & shoe or knife & fork. This basic foundation is built on to include the association made between the visual shape of letters and words. C + a + t = Cat  
For our littlest Head Starters we made an effort to point out all the things that could be associated together in the class - visual associations are everywhere once you start looking for them!! We talked about socks & shoes, pegs in bottles...the associations were endless. Sometimes all it takes is the intention to find associations and before you know it they are all around us! 
Our Ready/Steady kids spent time looking through our visual association items to work out what should be matched up and in no time had figured them all out...we had to make sure that the toothbrush and toothpaste wasn't put to actual use though! Why not ask your child what they think some items are associated with, you may be surprised!
The Go kids whipped through the visual association items and then started working on pictures that could be associated with the letter "J". The speed that our older children are picking up the new tasks is always astounding! 
Jo (of course), Jacket, Jump, Jog, Jolly, Joyful
How many more can you think of?
This week the topic of interest for our Puku Class has been Keeping Fit with a new baby.  We looked at some good walking tracks around Dunedin that you might be able to go to with a pram or a backpack (see our conversation on Face book).  Next week we have a guest coming to teach us all some Pelvic Floor exercises, can't wait!!
Well have a great weekend and get out and enjoy the sun, I know I will be as much as I can.
Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 10 August 2012

Up,up. Down,down. What is Directionality?

Hello All!  What a great week we have had at our Head Start Headquarters going up, down, through, round, over and under.  It has been wonderful watching you all have fun jumping down into the big red beanbag!
This week we have looked at directionality.  Directionality is the understanding of an objects position in space in relation to oneself. A child first learns these concepts in relation to themselves and is then able to transfer them to numbers, letters and words. This skill is important in the visual discrimination of letters and numbers for both reading and writing.

So for all our Head Start kids this week there has been lots of climbing up the climbing wall, biking down the roller coaster, climbing up the ladder and down the slide.  Even though lots of these activities are familiar to our children it is good to intentionally verbalise these concepts as the children complete the activities so they are able to later relate this to writing.  For example if you were asking your child to draw the letter "A" you might say: "draw a line that goes up, then down with a line across the middle".  Have fun using these
concepts at the park, in the bath and while you are out driving.
To create a capital "A" you have to go
Puku Play Date Report
This week our Puku Play Date class has been looking at Sensation and Tactile Toys.  These are toys and everyday items that help the child to distinguish between different textures.  So I dug into my draws and took along a metal bowl and a spatula, a hairbrush, a box and crinkly paper and guess what, they were all a big hit (although Lilly wasn't too sure about the sound of the paper).  But it just goes to show you don't have to spend a lot of money on toys to give your child a sensory experience that may develop a natural curiosity for things around them in the future.

Well that's all from me, have a great weekend all and we will see you at our Head Start Headquarters next week for heaps more fun.

Jo and the Head Start Team

PS: Make sure you book a babysitter for the 21st of August so you can come out to dinner with us at Ironic (see the latest newsletter or pick up a copy at the office)

Friday, 3 August 2012

A is for Apple - Auditory Association

Hello All! What a busy week we have had at our Head Start headquarters this week.  There  has been some strange sounds in the Head Start room this week and I was sure my guinea-pigs had been let out and were running around squeaking in the corner.  As it turned out there was also a cow mooing and pigs oinking and these noises were coming from our noisy books as the children tried to match the sound with the animal.
Our foundational skill this week has been - Auditory Association, this is our child’s ability to relate a sound to a given object or letter. This is an important skill in early literacy when learning letter sounds, blends and words.

 So what else have our Little's been up to?  We have had a matching game game out where they have been matching a shoe with a.........? ssss....ock, then there has been some great coloured buttons to push that have been making some really funny noises, "that's not the noise a clock makes Jo" (so ...we may need to update some of the sounds). 
Up the climbing wall we have had the animal puzzle and asking the children to find the animal that sounds like "woof woof".  Everyone has been really great at using their ears and it was suggested by a Mum that this is something we do really well but not so well with our taste, unfortunately I don't think that is something we can pursue at Head Start but maybe you can try some taste testing at home and give others some ideas to try at home.  What about dinner in the dark, or afternoon tea with blindfolds on.
For our Go children we were looking at "H". Can you make the H sound, what starts with H? Check out for some more idea's and activity sheets.

Well I hope you all have a great weekend and don't forget to post something on our Face book page if you get a chance or when you find a great place to go with your wee ones, let us all know.  Looking forward to next week already, keep well and catch up on some sleep if you have been up a lot watching the games.

Cheers from
Jo and the team at Head Start

Friday, 27 July 2012

Visual Memory

What a great week we have had at our Head Start Headquarters! This week we looked at Visual Memory. Visual memory is your child’s ability to store visual information in their short term and long term memory.

Short term visual memory is important for tasks such as following instructions and copying information from the board. 

Long term visual memory involves the integration of visual information with previous experiences. This becomes important to ensure a good foundation of basic mathematical and literacy concepts is laid for future learning. 

Our Ready children had a great time trying to find the blocks from under tins...they became very adept at watching carefully to make sure they didn't get tricked when the tins moved around.

Things got a bit more challenging for our Steady kids (although the blocks under the tin was a hit with these guys too) as they got busy in the ball pit playing our Search and Rescue game, looking at a visual cue and then searching for the corresponding picture in the pool...Dora and Car's characters were a crowd pleaser!

Things ramped up even more for the Go crowd. They got busy playing "Kim's Game", trying to remember what was on the tray when the scarf went back over the top, this is a good one for us adults as well to keep our minds young and sharp!

Let's not forget our Puku Play date bubs who have been having some lovely massage time. This is a great class to spend some time bonding with bubs and getting to know some other Mums who are going through some of the same challenges. This week a couple even meet for coffee after the class, great stuff!!!

Well that's all from me this week, have a great weekend and all the Head Start team look forward to seeing you next week bright and bubbly ready for another great week at our Head Start Headquarters.

Please let us know if you did not receive the Head Start Newsletter and we will make sure we have all your correct email addresses.

Which fruit is Missing????
Take Care
Jo and the Head Start Team :)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Week One: Welcome Back

Well Welcome Back Everybody!!!  It was lovely to see everybody after a wee break.  A big welcome to our new families who have started with us this term, we look forward to getting to know you and watch your children grow and have fun with us at Head Start.

This week we also welcome our Puku Play date Mum's and Bub's. This lovely wee group started off the week learning some massage techniques and how to massage baby's legs.  There were some very chilled out bubs by the end.

For our Ready, Steady and Go children it was a chance to find their feet again on all the favourite equipment and to meet up with friends that they hadn't seen for a couple of weeks. It was great to see all those little connections being made again and to see how the children's confidence has blossomed over the break.

If you have any great ideas for keeping the kids busy or have visited a great child friendly environment then please let others know via our Face book page.

 Also keep an eye out for the latest Newsletter, and if you don't receive one then please get hold of us and we will get it to you.

Anna, Sonya and I look forward to spending another fun filled term with you and seeing you all next week with our new activities and songs. Have a great weekend.

From Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 29 June 2012

Fun Week

Hey thanks everyone for a really fun week.  We have had ALL the equipment out at our Head Start Headquarters and everyone seemed to have a favourite from the term that they got to explore again.  We will have a break for a couple of weeks and start back on the week beginning July 16.  If you haven't enrolled please give Di a ring or enrol online at

If you get stuck inside don't forget to have a preview of the take home sheets we have provided over the term to get some ideas for activities around the home. If you have forgotten to pick up a sheet just flick back through the blogs for some ideas.

We will try and post some holiday ideas on our Facebook page as well but please feel free to put some ideas up when you come across them, or even better why not get together at an event with other Head Start adults and children.

So some highlights for me this term have been, Mrs Bunny (I don't seem to get tired of this song at all and I love watching the kids faces while we are doing the actions), the enthusiasm of the children (I take tears at the end of a class as a compliment, sorry Mum's and Dad's), the confidence of the children as the term has progressed and our day out at the Meridian Mall (we saw some of you there).  So thanks everyone for a great term and we look forward to seeing you all back real soon.

Take Care over the break
Jo, Anna, Sonya, Di and Avis :)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cross and Cross and Cross the midline

Well we are in the middle of winter now.  I am always reminded of this by the mid winter festival, this can only mean that the weather can only get better from here on in (fingers and toes crossed).  Speaking of crossing that was the foundational skill we were looking at this week, crossing the midline.  This means we have the ability to reach across the middle of our body with our arms and legs to the opposite side.

This is a skill that takes time for some to develop but is really useful for reading (looking from left to right across the page), handwriting (being able to write from the left to the right side of the page with one hand), getting dressed as well as many other daily activities.  Why not have a look at what you do in the day and see how many times you
have to cross your midline!

So this week at Head Start Headquarters we have seen some old favourites out such as posting activities but this week we have put the midline crossing as the focus.  Its been great to see Mums, Dads, and carers encouraging out little Head Starters to use their non dominant hands and to cross their midline,  Well Done To you All!

Jo's fishing didn't work to well for my Tuesday guys, sorry about that, but with a bit of adaption it is now up and running so we can go fishing for our last week before the holidays.   The beam with the bean bags and pipes has been a good one for all our classes, some walking along others standing and posting to the opposite side, while those with a little more "monkey" in them have been having a go at the swinging bars.

If you are interested in some more activities to enhance this skill you may want to check out or or

We have one more week before the holidays and if you know of someone who wants to sign up for term 3 at Head Start then send them to the Meridian Mall this Saturday where Anna and I and a couple of others will be set up all day introducing the wider Dunedin community to our Head Start program.

Have a great weekend :)

Jo and the Head Start Team

Friday, 15 June 2012

Visual Sequencing

Wow can you believe we are almost at the end of term 2.  We have now put out the timetable for term 3 so make sure you sign yourselves up for another exciting term with us at the Head Start Headquarters.  If you want to let all your friends know about our classes then direct them to our website, here you will find our timetable and contact details.  Otherwise just give our friendly office ladies a call at (03) 487 9698, and they will be more than happy to help you out.

Well this week was visual sequencing, do you remember what this means and why it comes in handy for our wee Head Starters???  Well what it is, is the ability to see objects like letters and numbers, in a specified sequential order.  This is really important for handwriting, maths and reading.

So for example do they understand that the letters
c   a   t = the word cat    OR that the numbers   1 0 0 = the number 100
The other example we looked at this week was the sequence of a specific activity.  On the white board were examples of what order we clean our teeth in or have a bath.  This kind of sequence is all around us all the time and you can use it as a conversation starter both before and after an event.

For example, what is it you do first to get ready for bed?? or when we went to the park today did you go on the slide or swing first, what did you go on next?  You can also help them to learn to follow particular sequences by playing games that get your child to copy a sequences of moves they see you doing (no matter how silly they are!)

Well I hope you all have a good week, we only have two more sessions before we break for the school holidays.  Take Care

From the Head Start Team :)