This week they started us off talking about the Poway school system’s PEPP program. I don’t recall what the letters stand for, but it’s a 2 year kindergarten program for kids who are on the young side for attending kindergarten. Pretty neat idea, as they explained the advantages.

The kids in PEPP are in a class together, so they don’t remain behind as classmates move ahead. It’s supposed to really help those kids who just aren’t emotionally or intellectually ready for kindergarten due to their age.

We did eventually get to the rest of the program. We talked a lot about how children learn from repetition. They had the kids sing three different versions of “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, changing it to the Great Big Spider and then the Very Happy Spider. So real quick I’ll share how I’ve been doing that one with my kids as a tickle game. I think you can figure out how the fingers and hand should go through the song:

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up (child’s name),
Tickled (his/her) tummy, and (he/she) laughed and laughed!
Then (child’s name) pushed the spider and it fell onto the floor,
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up (child’s name) again!

My kids love that, especially the tickling and getting to push the “spider” off.

There was a big emphasis also on understanding letters, focusing on the child’s name. There were different activities, such as making a book with the child’s name spelled out, one letter to a page, then having the child find a picture in a magazine of something starting with each letter, cutting it out and gluing it to the appropriate page.

Names are a great way to help children understand how important letters are to words. It’s the word that means the most to a child, so the name is a great teaching tool.

It takes time for children to learn to recognize that letters are more than just shapes. I know Ariel is still figuring that out. We actually got a great peek into her thought process when she was using the easel at her grandparents house. We have one here, but she ignores it. Go figure.

Anyhow, she wrote her name as she loves to do, huge and scrawling all over the place. Then she said, “I need to sign this so my brother knows who did it!” She then writes her name much smaller in the top corner. We all found that fascinating, since it shows that she’s thinking of writing as both art and as writing.