School Success Rx

 

Guest Blog by Calgary’s Child — original link here

With Preschool and Kindergarten Registration starting now, Calgary’s Child share their prescription for school success:

Read, read, read to your child

“Being read to is the single most consistent and reliable predictor of academic success later in life,” says Kurumada Chuang. She recommends reading to your preschooler for 20 minutes every night at bedtime. While you’re at it, stop every so often and ask your child a question about the story before turning the page, such as: “Gosh, why do you think she was sad?” Or, “What do you think is going to happen next?” Making reading more interactive makes it more fun and helps build your child’s comprehension skills.

Help your child learn to follow directions

To help your preschooler get the hang of following directions, practice at home by giving simple commands, such as: “Please help me pick up your toys and put them in the
toy box.” Then, encourage your child to follow through by offering an incentive to do whatever it is you’re asking. Tell your child they can play outside, for example, once they’ve finished putting away their toys. An incentive helps your child understand that following directions makes other fun activities possible. If they don’t follow your directions and, for example, don’t put their toys away, calmly explain that they won’t be able to play with those toys for the rest of the day or go, for example, to the park. Keep it positive by focusing on how clean the playroom will look when you’re done. Then praise your child when they’re successful. “You followed my directions so well. Thank you for helping me put your toys in the toy box like I asked you to! That was so helpful.”

Help your child master sharing and turn-taking

From age 3 to 5, children tend to hoard coveted toys and objects. They’re not really ready to grasp the concept of sharing yet. But you can help your youngster practice by having them ‘take turns’ with toys and catching your child when they share on their own. To help them develop the empathy that true sharing requires, state what they did and how it makes others feel, such as: “Thank you for sharing. It makes your sister feel good when you share the ball.” Your child should be able to ‘own’ special or new toys, though, so keep them out of sight on playdates or in their room, away from siblings. By Kindergarten, children are capable of sharing well and taking turns. If your child isn’t there yet, help them get the hang of it by inviting a friend over for a cooperative task such as baking cookies. If things aren’t going well, calmly ask your child to sit out. Pretty soon, they’ll get the idea and want to join in on the fun again. You can also read your child books about sharing and discuss them. In the classic tale, Stone Soup, retold by Heather Forest, two hungry travelers make soup from ingredients everyone in the town contributes. What makes the soup extra delicious is the sharing it took to make it.

Help your child make friends

If you get the sense your toddler or preschooler needs a little help in the social department, try hosting playdates with others your child likes or with whom they have common interests. Playdates offer an opportunity to break away from the group and foster individual friendships. You might begin by asking your preschooler: “How about a playdate with Grace? I notice that she likes to draw too.” If you’re not sure whom to invite over first, ask your child’s preschool teacher if there’s anyone in the classroom who might be a good match for your child. Then feel free to go from there and make the rounds so your child gets the chance to know several children better. To help your child play host(ess), let them pick the snack and ask them beforehand what games and activities s/he and their friend might like to do. On the playdate, feel free to play along and stay close by to make sure everyone stays safe. But give your child and their friend the chance to play on their own too. To help things go smoothly, keep playdates to two hours; children start to get tired after that. And keep it simple by inviting just one child over at a time.

Practice sharing

From age 3 to 5, kids aren’t yet capable of grasping the concept of sharing, but you can help your preschooler get the hang of it by having them ‘take turns’ with toys and catching them when they share on their own. “Stating what she did and how it makes others feel, such as: ‘Thank you for sharing. It makes your sister feel good when you share your toast,’ helps her develop the empathy that true sharing requires,” says Marcy Guddemi, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Gesell Institute of Human Development. You can also read your child books about sharing and discuss them together. Hone your child’s listening skills. At the dinner table and during car rides, help your preschooler hone their listening skills by asking them to wait to speak until their brother (or vice versa) has finished his sentence. When it’s her turn, remind her, “Now it’s your turn to talk. Thank you for being patient and for being such a good listener while your brother was talking.” Explain that being a good listener shows respect for the speaker, whether it’s her brother or her teacher and the other students at school who are trying to hear what the teacher has to say. Mention that it’s a two-way street: When she’s a good listener, she’s showing the same kind of respect that she gets when others listen to her. If she continues to interrupt, keep reminding her that she’ll get the chance to talk. Becoming a good listener, like many things, can take lots of practice.

The Twelve Days of Christmas — Gift Ideas for Families

It’s the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!
We know that the holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, and gift-giving is not the least of those stressors. If you need some gift ideas for interesting, novel, and super fun presents for the families in your life that have young children, look no further!

day-1-birdbird

Learn sequencing and patterns with this tactile portable flannelboard from BirdBird Handmade — now with a Christmas Tree pack! We love how precise and carefully made these felt shapes are… and kids love working with miniatures… it makes them feel so big!

day-2-magic-paper

Magic Paper (Chinese Calligraphy Paper) is reusable hundreds of times, is perfect for developing grasp & pincer-grip (important pre-writing skills), fine motor coordination, precision, manual dexterity, and patience!

It’s great fun for ALL ages, and is made of ground slate, pvc glue, and flocked fabrics, so really safe ‘ingredients’ for such a magical object!

day-3-books-and-certs

We’re bundling our favourite books with Gift Certificates for classes! A perfect little present for the whole family at once!

$100+ gst for the bundle! And you can get it gorgeously gift wrapped for a donation to Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta at Northland Village Mall‘s Coat Check/Gift Wrapping centre!

day-4-pebbino-birds

These sweet little Pebbino Birds are made with slate, twigs, silver wire, and air and poly clay, and we love them.

They’re just $15, and if you want one that looks like YOUR family, our artist will make a custom piece for $20.

SUPER CUTE!

day-5-tribe-of-lambs

Our friends at Tribe of Lambs have sent us some of their awesome, unisex ‘Kashish Bracelets’ — if you’re into gifts that keep on giving, you can’t go wrong with jewellery from this amazing company.

Check out more about their mission at tribeoflambs.com

And more about Kashish below:

An open-ended bracelet with square ends, adding just a touch of the Tribe with a small lamb engraving on either side. Molded and handset by Indian craftsmen, this piece looks simply stunning on its own or is perfectly stackable to add a bit of heart to any arm party. ($58)

*Kashish is an 8 year old girl who comes from a family of Tibetan refugees. Northern India has a large community of Tibetans who often live well below the poverty line due to lack of jobs and resources. This results in terrible living and family situations for children, often pulled out of school or just left to fend for their own. Kashish is now happy and flourishing at Sudeshna’s children’s home, one of the Tribes Compassion Project Partners.

day-6-anthologies

On the 6th Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me… an illustrated anthologieeeeeeeeee!!

A whole collection of beautiful stories makes the perfect gift that any child can grow up with and cherish forever.

We’ve got all sorts in store; classic fairy tales, snippets of new favourites, cultural compilations, editions with illustrators and authors from around the world and across time… and at every price range, starting at just $20.00!

day-7-wee-free

On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me… a perfect Wee Free Librareeeeeeee!

Alex loves these little libraries so much she’s got one of her very own at home (that’s it in the pictures!)

You can stock yours up with books to help bring your neighbourhood closer together, or non-perishable food items and warm winter clothing for people that need them this season (Wee Free Pantries)!

We’ve got one in store for you to check out — and ‘Wee Free Librarees’ is giving Rhyme and Reason families a discount — they’re usually $295.00, but you can get one through us for $280.00, AND you can get your initial stock for just $20.00 — they’ll load you up with lots of titles!

The quality of these little shelters is amazing, so the price is totally fair, but we know it’s a tricky time financially for a lot of communities! Why not try splitting the stewardship of a library on the property line between several homes, or fundraising for one in your community!

Check out more at the link below:
http://weefreelibrarees.wixsite.com/homeday-7-story-box

For Day 8, we are sharing “Story Box”, a gorgeously illustrated wordless story puzzle, that helps even young children to develop their understanding of sequencing, narrative and conflict, characterization, imaginative and creative thought processes, and improvised oration.

This particular set is a fragmented fairy tale, so it uses archetypes that kids are familiar with to help build confidence in their storytelling!

$22.50 in store!

day-9-dandelion-seeds

We pull out these Dandelion Seeds Tonal Bar sets in class all the time, but we don’t use the framework that they come with nearly as often as we’d like to!

Arts for the Very Young International has the bells on for just $29.95, which is a phenomenal deal, but better than that, you can get their education framework as pick-and-pulls, which we can guarantee are so fun, entertaining, and informative. It’s a colour-coded method of learning musical notation that also helps develop your child’s sense of pitch, timbre and tempo. Instrumental play is always such an amazing thing to witness, and is so, so good for little brains!

We can’t say enough good things about it! Check out the AVY-I online store here: http://www.avy-institute.org/online-store/!/c/0/offset%3D18%26sort%3Dnormal

day-10-dixit

Think ‘Apples to Apples’ or ‘Cards Against Humanity’ but… you know, really lovely and educational and fun for young families instead!

We’ve played this game with kids as young as 3, though you have to adapt it a little. One player says a word (like ‘love’ or ‘sadness’ or ‘playing’) and the other players choose a card from their hand that best represents that word! You can play as a card-collecting game or a race, and you don’t need the original game to play, you can simply use one of the booster packs.

The artwork is indescribably beautiful, and this is MASSIVE for developing our children’s symbolic and creative thinking, narrative and literacy skills, and empathy. Learning to lose at a game is also important for emotional maturity, although really, when you’re playing this game, no one loses, and it can be an amazing collaborative opportunity! Try playing in teams!

day-11-cubeebs

Day 11 sees us pricing our Cubeebs to move!

Normally $15, we’re pushing at $8! And our tactile cubes, with a different fabric on each face (perfect for sensory stimulation, problem solving, and gauging force and pressure exertion) are just $10!

Get yours before they’re gone!

day-12-full-steam-gear-and-fabric-of-our-lives

For the last day of our Twelve Days of Christmas features, we wanted to share the love with a couple of socially-conscious local clothing companies!

The first is Full Steam Gear, and if the force is strong in your family, you’ll want to check out their tiny clothes for nerdy fams. A portion of all their proceeds goes to Heart Beats Children’s Society, which supports families dealing with congenital heart disease. Their Etsy store can be found here, although the majority of their work is on demand: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/fullsteamgear

Our second company is Fabric of our Lives, and their seamstress, Donna, refashions heirloom fabrics into new items. You could make a onesie out of Grandpa’s favourite sweater, or a blankie out of Auntie’s old linens. It’s a great way to repurpose fabrics otherwise sitting around, and in such a joyful way that carries on the spirit and specialness of our loved ones! You can contact them through their Facebook page for more information or for a consultation!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

National Child Day 2016 — Celebrating Every Child’s Right to BELONG

Sunday November 20th marks “National Child Day”, the day we recognize Canada’s commitment to the United Nations’ Declaration of, and Convention on, the Rights of the Child.

On this day we celebrate every child’s right to dignity and respect, and their abilities to be active participants in their own lives and communities!

national-child-day-logo#WeBelong Sign

This year, we asked children of all ages to create images that show ‘what belonging looks like’. We also asked the people that work with these children, adults from all different disciplines and domains, to describe what ‘belonging’ means to them, to create a collaborative art exhibit.

We love what resulted — an explosion of colours and connectivity that helps us remember our own early understandings of belonging, how far we’ve come, and the ways that we still have to grow!

Thank you to all of our families for participating in the early art invocation, and to our colleagues across Calgary for their insight and honesty into this topic.

at-the-fence

at-the-table

a-house

flowers-in-their-hair

giving-hooray

hugs

i-belong

tree

loving-picture

part-of-everything

There are some amazing activities happening in Calgary this weekend to celebrate National Child Day! We recommend that you check at least one of them out, to help your child live out their ‘Right to Belong’!

Upcoming Workshop: Gathering of the Geese

gathering-of-the-geese

Saturday November 5th 2016

11:00-2:00 at Rhyme & Reason (in Northland Village Mall)

Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers gather together to share new songs, rhymes, games, and stories, and discuss best practices and new early childhood research!

We will start the morning with a meet and greet, and will then swap content in our own circle time!

Add new material to your program repertoire and grow your network of other service providers in Calgary in this fun and educational workshop.

The day will include a potluck lunch, door prizes, and Words & Lyrics Handout

 

$15.75/Person + a Potluck Contribution Proceeeds donated to The National Parent-Child Mother Goose Program

REGISTER HERE

Multilingualism in the Early Years

Despite years of research to the contrary, the idea often still persists that using more than one language to speak to very young children somehow delays or confuses their language acquisition…

But children’s brains are HARDWIRED to learn language — as much and as many language[s] as they possibly can — and it is actually hugely adaptive and beneficial for them to do so!

We’ve gathered some of our favourite external resources in one place to help spread this message! Let us know if you love one that we’ve missed!

Patricia Kuhl “The Linguistic Genius of Babies”(available with subtitles and transcripts here)

 

Mia Nacamulli “The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain”

 

 

Articles:

“BILINGUALISM FINE-TUNES HEARING, ENHANCES ATTENTION: Dual language speakers better able to encode basic language sounds and patterns” (April 30, 2012 | Northwestern University | by Wendy Leopold)
“Why Bilinguals Are Smarter” (March 17, 2012 | The New York Times | by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee)
“The Benefits of Multilingualism” (May 1, 2010 | Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw | Michał B. Paradowski)

“The Pros and Cons of Raising a Multilingual Child” (2004 | Multilingual Children’s Association)
“Preserve rare languages to spread benefits of multilingualism, says expert” (February 15, 2016 | The Guardian | Press Association)

bubble talk watercolor abstract background. hand drawn illustration. language and speech

It is important to remember that multiple languages are best learned from people who can speak confidently and fluently using them! Our models for language-learning can be found easily in a culturally diverse city like Calgary! Make new friends that can speak languages you can’t! Encourage family and friends to speak in their first languages around your children! Join a fun bilingual program! Open your lives up to the sounds of multiple languages and you’ll also open up to some amazing benefits and experiences!