I have to confess that this week I have neglected to take photographs of the angels doing their thing. It has been a crazy week of teaching and assessing, Speaker-Reader Round One and Athletics trials to interrupt the normal routine. I am super proud to announce that one of my girls has been chosen to go the the Foundation Phase Final with her poem. This will take place next week – more on that then.
In addition to the daytime chaos – organised chaos of course – my evenings have been pretty hectic too. It is my own fault for having a life outside of school! Isn’t it weird how everything always falls in the same week! There was Book Club and Bird Club and a meeting at school on consecutive nights. In spite of it all I still managed to get all my assessing done and my reports in to my Grade Head by 8:00 a.m. this morning! No I did not do an all nighter – I am an early riser and was determined to get them done before the obligatory trip to the mall!
Instead of writing about the angels today I have decided to tell you about the Wednesday evening meeting I attended at school. At our school we are big on teaching in a brain-based way. We believe strongly in gearing our day to suit the child. We move frequently, we vary our activities, we consider the learning style of each individual child and make our classrooms as child friendly as possible. Much of our movement activities are based on what we have learned from the speaker who spoke on Wednesday night. She is highly qualified in her field and is listening to her is truly inspirational.
She reminded us of how early development is so essential to the school readiness of a child. If they have not suckled correctly, rolled and crawled, their later development will be delayed. The good news is that it is correctable but ideally it should be done before entering Grade R. All too many of our children still have developmental delays which is why they cannot sit still, listen attentively or hold a pencil correctly.
Of course we don’t always have the ideal so we have to help our children bridge that gap. Parents can help in so many ways too. Give your child plenty of opportunity to play outdoors. Let them build their own obstacle courses, swing in a tyre, roll down hills, crawl through pipes or tunnels, climb on jungle gyms or trees. Teach them to listen first time. Make sure there is routine in the home. Have your child do things for herself even it it takes longer. Can she do up her own buttons, put her toys away help with simple household chores? Do you read to her every day?
If you have a baby or toddler, now is the time to get them school ready. Do not make the hole in the feeding bottle too big – working hard to get the milk is essential for the development of the small muscles in the mouth and will ensure that the child is able to talk correctly later on. Do not even think of purchasing a walking ring. Rolling, creeping and crawling are essential. Occupational Therapists have their work cut out to correct the damage that these contraptions cause.
A simple rule of thumb is to do things as naturally as possible. Let your child develop the way nature intended and you will avoid problems later on. Some delays are unavoidable due to premature birth, cesarean sections etc. But there are things that you can do to make up the lag in development.
I am now looking at my girls with fresh eyes and I insist that our mind moves, movement songs and other physical activities are done properly. Together we can make a huge difference to our girls.