Monday, January 31, 2011
- lower case letters only
- upper case letters only
- combination of lower/upper case letters (once confident with letter recognition)
Using a magazine your child can search through the pages looking for letters they recognise, cut them out and paste them on top of the letter on their sheet. This is a fun activity to sit down and do with your child or to set as an independent activity if they are confident with scissor use.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Self-esteem comes from having a sense of belonging, believing that we're capable, and knowing our contributions are valued and worthwhile. Like you, nurturing my preschoolers self-esteem seems like a hefty responsibility. After all, a feeling of self-worth lays the foundation for your preschoolers future as he sets out to try new things on his own.
I'd like to share with you something I do each night, just before I kiss the boy's goodnight. Together with each boy I spend a few minutes talking about the day - what they enjoyed or didn't enjoy. I then hand them their personalised "Positive" Box, a hand painted simple white box with meaningful pictures (they chose) from the computer that I printed off and we pasted on together. Inside the box are words that I have chosen to share with them about how they conducted themselves, problem-solved, showed kindness etc in situations on that particular day. I give one word for each year of their life. (Master 2 gets 2 words per night, and Master 4 gets 4 words per night)It is a really lovely way to build your child's self-esteem, discuss in a calm setting any challenges the day presented and also help your child build a wide vocabulary. Since doing this on a nightly basis with my 4 year old since he was two, I have to say that he certainly uses many of the words in his daily vocabulary. Using this box isn't always about praising the boys. I use it also to highlight situations where I felt they have not "given something a go" or "stuck at something". I make sure I have a balance of words (praise and encouragement) in the box. There's a difference between praise and encouragement. One rewards the task while the other rewards the person ("You did it!" rather than "I'm proud of you!"). Praise can make a child feel that he's only "good" if he does something perfectly. Encouragement, on the other hand, acknowledges the effort. "Tell me about your drawing. I see that you like purple" is more helpful than saying, "That's the most beautiful picture I've ever seen." Too much praise can sap self-esteem because it can create pressure to perform and set up a continual need for approval from others. So dole out the praise judiciously and offer encouragement liberally; it will your child grow up to feel good about himself.
Factors affecting children's self esteem
How much the child feels wanted, appreciated and loved
How your child sees himself, often built from what parents and those close say
His or her sense of achievement
How the child relates to othersYour child's self esteem can be increased by you:
Appreciating your child
Telling your child that you love them
Spending time with your child
Encouraging your child to make choices
Fostering independence in your children
Giving genuine importance to your child's opinion and listening
Taking the time to explain reasons
Feeding your child with positive encouragement
Encouraging your child to try new and challenging activities
Saturday, January 29, 2011
3 sheets frozen ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
500g bacon, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup chopped chives
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Cook bacon in a small frying pan over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until light golden. Drain bacon on paper towel and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Place three-quarters of bacon into base of each pastry shell.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is cooked. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Season and serve hot.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
This simple recipe is so much fun to make with the kids! It is a great little cooking activity to do with them when you are looking at colours.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes +
3 x 85g packets jelly in, red, green, yellow
375ml pineapple juice
1 1/2 tablespoons gelatine or equivalent from the sachets
300ml thickened cream
3 cups hot water
- Set jellies individually using 1 cup of hot water with each jelly.
- When set, cut into small cubes.
- Dissolve gelatine in half the pineapple juice over a gentle heat or for 60 seconds in microwave.
- Stir until dissolved. Once dissolved add remaining juice and chill for about 10 minutes. Do not let it set.
- Mix pineapple juice with cream and then add cut up jellies.
- Rinse jelly mould in water and without drying it pour it all in mould and refrigerate until set.
- Cut into small servings and enjoy!
* You can use a Tupperware mould and the jelly comes to the top when set and on a plate it looks like a mosaic of coloured glass.
Monday, January 24, 2011
We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life choices, and feelings of self-worth.
How can we best prepare children to meet the challenges and reap the benefits of the increasingly diverse world they will inherit? We can raise children to celebrate and value diversity and to be proud of themselves and their family traditions. We can teach children to respect and value people regardless of the color of their skin, their physical abilities, or the language they speak.
As our nation grows increasingly diverse, there has never been a better opportunity for us to learn to live respectfully together and benefit from one another's wisdom and experiences. But sometimes fear, uncertainty, or discomfort prevent people from talking to each other. This is especially true when it comes to the topics of race and racism, cultural differences, language and bilingualism, and the myriad questions that arise in a world where these issues have such a powerful place in children's lives.
My children are immersed in their father's Maori culture, but we still see it as very important that we raise our kids knowing about world cultures, which hopefully will help them appreciate the differences in people and their traditions.
Ways in which you can celebrate other cultures within your family:
- Read picture books about different cultures and compare their cultures to your own. Here are some books that might be useful:
Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the Worldby Maya Ajmera, Anna Rhesa Versola, Marian Wright Edelman
Houses and Homes (Around the World Series)by Ann Morris, Ken Heyman (Illustrator), Ken Hayman (Photographer)
Children Just Like Meby Susan Elizabeth Copsey, Barnabas Kindersley, Anabel Kindersley, Harry Belafonte
Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Encourage Cultural Awareness and Global Respect (Williamson Kids Can! Series)by Susan Milord
Celebrations Around the World: A Multicultural Handbookby Carole S. Angell
Children Just Like Me: Celebrations!by Anabel Kindersley (Contributor), Barnabas Kindersley (Photographer)
- Cook Authentic Recipes - doesn't have to be anything special. We have nachos on Mexican night, Fried Rice on Chinese Night, Sushi on Japanese night, Cornish Pasties on English night, Seafood on New Zealand night. We have lots of fun doing this and have incorporated it into our family night. A book that may help you with recipe ideas is The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook: Food & Fun Around the World (Williamson Kids Can! Series) written by Deanna F. Cook and illustrated by Michael P. Kline.
- Get Crafty - try to do some different types of crafts with your children from cultures around the world. The Kids' Multicultural Art Book: Art & Craft Experiences from Around the World (Williamson Kids Can! Series) written by Alexandra M. Terzian
- Map It Out - Print a world map and use push pins to illustrate where the country's located.
Every time you learn about a new country, use another push pin on your world map. See how many countries she can visit.
- Make a small booklet to serve as her passport. The pages should be blank on the inside. That way, you can draw, use a sticker or glue a picture of the country's flag to stamp the pages of her passport as she "travels" from country to country to learn about world cultures.
Friday, January 21, 2011
The boy's had lots of fun making Echidna's with playdough and craft match sticks. Playdough is always a great opportunity to develop fine motor skills.
I love giving the boy's different tools to paint with, so painting spikes on an Echidna seemed the perfect opportunity to use cotton buds. Master 4 drew himself an Echidna after reading the story and then used a cotton tip to create spikes. I didn't have any brown paint so we used some of my foundation!! I'm all about using whatever you can around the house for craft activities!!
- Discuss the animals’ enclosures as
Edward visits them all.
- What shapes can you find in the book?
Circles for eyes, diamond teeth. Draw the
shapes. How many objects in your
classroom are also these shapes?
- Symmetry: Look at the patterns on the
- Make some snakes with play dough, great for fine motor skills.
- How many animals were involved in this quest of Edward’s?
Talk about: ‘next morning’, ‘today’, ‘that night’. Also talk about the times used in the book
e.g. ‘morning at nine’
- Edward is a unique creature to look at. Facts like emus can’t fly, they have very
strong legs, make funny grunting noises and can run very fast.
What's the perfect job for an emu? The wonderful sequel to Edward the Emu is Edwina the Emu. Now, we all know what happened after Edward met his mate Edwina, little emus of course! But with a completely modern challenge for their mother, hilarity is bound to happen as Edwina goes job searching while Edward stays on the nest.
Make this super cute emu using a paper plate, pipe cleaners and bits of any brown paper or material that you have in your craft box!
Monday, January 10, 2011
- All children react differently to crisis situations. Some may withdraw and become very quiet. Others may appear to be coping well but inside may be feeling hurt, sad and scared. The stress of crisis situations may also cause some children to become more aggressive.
- In crisis and emergency situations children need constant love, affection, security and hope that the situation will improve. Try to avoid punishing or scolding children during this time as this may add to the suffering they are going through.
- Play and sporting activities are one of the best ways for children to deal with stress.
- Both boys and girls can promote good hygiene and safety practices, illness prevention, and provide emotional support to both children and adults.
- Some children may question why disasters happen or feel guilty or responsible for the problem. Adults should spend time listening and talking to them about their feelings during and even months after the disaster.
What can adults do to help the children?
- Try to give children regular routines again so that they feel secure and stable. Set times for going to school, eating, playing and sleeping.
- Create a safe and clean area for children to play with one another.
- For children who may not be able to attend school, spend a few minutes each day to tell or read them stories or play simple counting games.
- Reassure children that their lives will be re-built and improved. Also discuss how the children themselves can help others so that they feel part of the solution and empowered to take action.
- Make sure, however, that children are not burdened to take on responsibilities that adults should be doing or tasks that would put them in harm.
- Talk to other adults in the family or community about ways to support children’s emotional health and well-being.
- If adults need to leave the children to go somewhere, tell them where they are going, when they will be back, and who will care for them so the children do not feel insecure or frightened.
- Spend time with children comforting them, talking to them, singing to them or telling them stories regularly.
- If children react severely to stress for a long time, seek help from a counselor or someone who knows how to help children.
With all the storms about I have been talking to the boy's about why we are having so much
rain and why we have lightning and thunder. Today we were talking about the lightening we had seen in the sky the other night and how there were lots of different colours. I decided to do get the boys to do some string painting to make a "lightning" picture.
Put some paint in old meat trays or paper plates and give your child a piece of string. Give your little one as big a piece of paper that you can find to paint on. Show your little one how to take the string and streak it or twirl it around on their page. Once the colour is done give your little one the next colour, this will prevent him from mixing all the colours and ending up with a brown page.
Paint splattering activities like this are so much fun and great for the development of your child's senses. By playing with paint, touching it and learning its texture your child is developing the tiny muscles and also creativity, imagination, hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
School Lunch Box Ideas
Children need to eat a variety of foods everyday to stay healthy, so it is important to pack their lunch box with foods that are good for them and taste great too.
A lunchbox should always include:
- At least 2 pieces of fruit (fresh, dried or tinned)
- At least 1 serve of dairy food such as yoghurt, milk or cheese
- At least 3-4 serves carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, crispbread, grain and fruit based bars, pasta, etc.
Lunch Box Lunches
- Bagel with Vegemite and cheese
- English breakfast muffins with tomato and cheese
- Pita bread with peanut butter, grated carrot and cheese
- Corn or rice cakes with peanut butter
- Cold pasta spirals mixed with salad vegetables and lean ham
- Mini pizza with cheese and pineapple
- Sandwiches with various fillings such as:
o Vegemite and cheese
o Lettuce, grated carrot and cheese
o Peanut butter
o Tuna/chicken/ham with mayonnaise
o Avocado or cream cheese and salad
Hint: cut sandwiches into different shapes for younger children and vary the bread from day to day, eg. white, wholemeal, rye, bagel.
- Fresh, dried or tinned fruit or fruit salad – bananas, apples, pears, mandarins, nectarines, grapes, sultanas, dried apples or apricots
- Uncle Tobys grain and fruit based bars
- Grissini sticks (thin Italian bread sticks) with cheese dip
- Crackers with spread
- Plain popcorn
- Fruit muffins or fruit loaf
- Cheese sticks
Hint: freeze yoghurt overnight to prevent bacterial growth
- Carrot and celery sticks with cheese dip
- Sultana and peanut mix or mixed nuts
- Small can of baked beans or spaghetti
- Creamed rice with fruit
- Hard boiled egg
- Pikelets or scones
- 100% Fruit juices or vegetable juices
- Flavoured or plain milk (Longlife)
Hint: frozen water or tetra packs can be used as a freezer brick to keep foods cold such as yoghurt and meat.