Friday, 24 February 2012

Visual Discrimination

Hey Head Starters. What a busy week it has been at Head Start Headquarters this week. Visual Discrimination has been the name of the game this week and this has meant that on the white board the Ready/Steady groups have been spotting the differences in the animals, "why is that elephant different to the other one?" and hanging out the washing making sure all the pairs of socks are hung together. What a great job they all did too, well done :)
Just as a wee reminder, visual discrimination refers to your child's ability to recognise similarities and differences between objects. So for future formal learning visual discrimination is important for children to be able to recognise different letters, numbers, mathematical symbols and words. So next time you are out for a walk or in the car don't forget to get the kids reading the street signs and letter box numbers or if they are too little make a point of stopping, showing them some numbers and letters and explaining what they are e.g. "hey this is the number 2, you are 2 (show them that many fingers)".
Our Puku Play Date Mums have been learning some new massage skills over the past couple of weeks as well as doing lots of gross motor songs with their wee ones. My favorite song for this group the Silly Sock Song (R. Crowe, G. Connell, K. Hanratty)
Thanks to those who attended our seminar on Foundational Skills last night, great to meet you and thanks for sharing and spending time with us at the end. Always great to learn more about those who attend our groups, thanks :)
Well hard to believe we are coming into week five (you do know that is half way through the term already, ahhhh...hhhh) and next week we will be looking at Concept and Directional Language. Looking forward to seeing you then, have a great weekend, hope it drys out a bit. Jo

Friday, 17 February 2012

Catch and Throw

Hi Head Starters. This week has all been about Gross Motor Skills, namely catching and throwing. This has meant for our Ready/Steady kids rolling balls, playing with balloons and knocking bottles over with balls on string. The slide has been a favorite in my classes as have catching bubbles on our noses.

Gross Motor skills use that larger muscle groups in the legs, arms and trunk. They are important for creating a strong and stable base from which to perform more precise fine motor skills. The motor skills of catching and throwing help develop strength in the upper body, stability in the core trunk muscles and hand-eye coordination.

Don't forget to sign up for our seminar next Thursday evening (23 Feb), 7.30pm on Foundational Skills.

I am looking forward to next week when we focus on visual discrimination. Have a nice weekend out in the parks and sunshine (hopefully). Jo

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

- Oral Language -

Hello my name is Jo and I am an Occupational Therapist and I am very happy to be helping out while Lizz is off having her baby (will keep you posted). If this is your first time with us then I hope you have had as much fun as I have in the last week and a half. It was great watching all the little faces light up as they came through the door at Head Start and it hasn't taken long for everyone to settle in. As one of the new faces my challenge is to get to know every ones name by week 4 (feel free to test me). Welcome also to Chris who is a physio student visiting with us for 6 weeks. Chris has been a big hit with some of our boys (and he seems to get lots of smiles :) from the girls too).

This weeks focus is ORAL LANGUAGE, this refers to your child's ability to express their needs, thoughts and observations of the world around them. You can help them build a 'bank' of words by talking about what you're doing and what you see; this deposits words in their word bank. Oral language is important for children to express themselves. The more they can express orally the less they will need to rely on alternate means of communication, e.g. pointing, hitting, crying etc.

IDEAS to HELP with LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT
*Use meaningful language and activities
*Be aware of background noise and distractions
*Gain their attention before speaking
*Keep it short and simple
*Use specific vocabulary
*Create the need to talk
*Allow time to respond
*Give positive reinforcement
*Repeat, repeat, repeat
*Reduce the number of questions
(Ministry of Education. Much More Than Words)

Finally keep an eye out for our language seminar later in the year. Talk, talk, talk to you children. Catch you later, Jo :)