A part of the preschool program Ariel is in requires that I attend my choice of various parenting classes. This can be frankly tedious at times, but right now we’re in a class I enjoy.
We did this class last year, but Ariel really wasn’t ready for it and was not at all interested in participating, so we’re doing it again this year. Hopefully she will want to learn more about reading and writing this time.
Each week the classes are broken into three sections so that we can focus on different parts of getting our children ready to learn to read and write. This keeps it interesting for the kids, since one is always an activity.
One of the things we discussed this week is teaching children to understand how stories can be the same but different. Ariel was very interested in having me read different versions of Cinderella to her today. She was also quite intrigued by a Sleeping Beauty book that first told the story from Aurora’s point of view, then from Maleficent’s, but we ran out of time before getting started.
That first session also discussed explaining to children that books have an author and the pictures are drawn by the illustrator. The concept of beginning, middle and end were also discussed.
The next session was about encouraging children to tell stories. They made storybooks with felt characters to move around available. The kids could also use stamps to make their own books.
The activity session had various tactile things out, such as shaving cream for the kids to play with. They could also make streamers on a stick.
There are good reasons for the physical activities beyond just keeping things interesting for the kids. In order to learn to write well, children need to develop good fine motor control. The games help the kids with this.
One of the skills focused on today was crossing the midline; that is, having the hands cross over to the other side of the body. Playing with the streamers encourages children to do this. These activities help develop the large muscle control which is necessary before the fine motor control can develop.
These classes are a lot of fun for me and Ariel. It’s a bit of time where we can focus on being together, which any child loves.