| JULY/AUGUST NEWSLETTER 2011|| |
DATES WEE WATCH
1st - Canada Day
18 - 22nd - Together Wee Can "Mad Science Water" week
1st - Civic Holiday
18th - Together Wee Can "Wee Watch Kids Have Talent"
Summer is a wonderful season to enjoy the outdoors with your family by spending this time visiting local parks, outdoor swimming pools, and splash pads.
If your plan is to stay close to home this summer and you're pondering what to do outside with the children, how about turning your wading pool into a giant science experiment. If you really want to excite the children, add food colouring to the water. Here is an easy experiment: try mixing two different colours together to create a new one (e.g. blue + yellow = green). Encourage them to take on the role of the scientist and have them guess what colours they can create.
The great thing about wading pools is that they can also be converted into sandboxes. Young children love the sensory experience of sand. The bits of sand between their fingers and toes will be a soothing experience for them. Allow your children to add water to the sand, as they will love changing the texture of it. Wet sand is heavier and denser, and they will be intrigued by how they can pick up wet sand easier than when it is dry. Your child will find pleasure in making many different sand creations with you alongside them. Children will develop their gross motor skills (i.e. their large muscles) by digging and scooping the sand.
If your goal is to keep your children active this summer, try having a scavenger hunt! You can do this by making a list of items that they will need to find outside. Nature watching will be exciting as they collect objects and take pictures of animals and flowers. They will get to see all that nature has to offer.
Whatever you have planned with your children, whether it's swimming, camping, fishing or traveling, cherish the time spent with the family enjoying these summer months.
TOGETHER WEE CAN
During the week of May 23-27, Providers and children took part in "Safe Kids Week - Walk and Talk Parade". The children made stop & go signs from recycled materials, and then carried them for the parade. It was great to see so many pictures of children proudly displaying their artwork. The children and their Providers practiced the pedestrian safety rules they learned during the week through several activities and games.
June was an exciting month as the children and Providers proudly displayed their love for Canada. It was wonderful to hear about the different games and baking activities the children participated in. It was so nice to see the pictures of the children happily partaking in the "Happy Birthday Canada" celebration. The children made Canadian Party Hats, and played lots of games such as "Pin the Tail on the Beaver".
July 18 - 22nd
Together Wee Can "Mad Science Water Week"
During this week, Providers and children will participate in a wide variety of science experiments using water and common household objects. From "Float and Sink" to "Solid or Liquid", we have given your Provider ideas for activities that can be played inside or out each day. Children will have the opportunity to guess what will happen before they perform the experiment.Look for your child's "My Favourite Experiment" certificate at the end of the week.
Together Wee Can "Wee Watch Kids Have Talent Show"
On Thursday August 18th in front of family and friends, children will showcase their unique talents for everyone to see. Together Providers and children will determine what their talent is, whether it's juggling, dancing, singing, colouring or reading. We are excited to see the special talents our Wee Watch children have, and everyone who participates will receive a Wee Watch Idol certificate.
Our exclusive "Wee Learn Program" is designed to meet the specific learning needs of each of our children enrolled. The Wee Learn Program provides the flexibility for each child to participate at his own pace and is designed to allow each child from the youngest Wee Beginner to the oldest Wee Mentor to learn as they play. As there is a mix of individual and group activities in the homes, the children are also given lots of opportunities to develop their social skills as well.
Your Provider is given resources that include age appropriate activities addressing areas of language, cognitive, math/science, fine motor and gross motor development. These resources include a Calendar of theme related activities, an Activity Handbook full of easy homemade activities for each age group, website activity pages to further build on fine motor, math and language skills they have already been working on in their Play and Learn booklets.
Each month, take a look at the progress your child is making in his Play and Learn booklet. These booklets are a great keepsake and give you an opportunity to see the skills such as cognitive, math, fine motor skills your child is working on each and every day.
Spending time together gives you an opportunity to see how your child using skills that he has learned at home and at day care. Each day your child is progressing through stages of development and continually working on new skills and mastering others.
We are pleased to provide your child with his/her very own portfolio "My Wee Watch Work". Look for opportunities to praise your child in new accomplishments and milestones achieved, however small they may be. Your child will be proud to show you the activities, crafts, Play and Learns and worksheets in his/her portfolio.
Your Provider and agency staff continue to assist your child in reaching goals by participating in the Wee Learn Program. Please click on the stages below to find new ideas to do at home to assist your child in reaching his milestones.
Problem-solving skills are an important tool to help children succeed in school and throughout life. There are many ways to help your child develop and enhance his ability to solve problems and think outside the box.
Activities that engage children in problem-solving help them to identify and set goals and to develop attention and persistence. They also assist children in developing flexibility in thinking and to begin to recognize and reflect on consequences and relationships of cause and effect. Importantly, success in finding solutions helps children gain confidence in themselves as individuals, social beings and learners.
Piaget states that children understand only what they discover or invent themselves. It is this discovery within the problem solving process that is the vehicle for children's learning. By including problem solving in early childhood, we equip children with a life-long skill that is useful in all areas of learning.
Children gain a great deal when adults model problem-solving strategies and dispositions. Disposition is more than just a positive attitude. An effective problem solver perseveres, focuses attention, remains flexible and exhibits self-regulation.
No matter what the problem or the possible solutions, talking it out will help increase a child's ability to solve problems independently. Asking open-ended questions will get them thinking, using their analytical skills to come up with creative solutions.
Wee Beginners 0 - 18 months
Wee Explorers: 18 months - 3 years
Wee Builders: 3 - 4 years
Wee Learners: 4 - 5 years
Wee Experts: 5 - 6 years
Wee Mentors: 6+ years
Infants slowly begin to problem solve. Most problem-solving for children of this age is focused around attention from parents. At this stage of development, infants learn to turn to a sound and can focus on items that move. As many parents can attest to, infants also learn early stages of communication through crying in different manners for different needs such as soiled diapers, hunger or pain. Children at this age begin to understand that certain behaviours will get them what they desire. Crying, throwing food on the floor or touching something that is off limits will likely illicit reactions from the parents. A child will use crawling as a problem-solving tool to get from one place to another. Wee Beginners are constantly problem solving when they dump and fill toys in buckets, or when trying to put one object on top of another.
Building & Stacking
Building and stacking simple household items is a great opportunity to practice problem solving. Try offering them wooden, foam, or cardboard blocks, board books, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, and plastic cups. Adding different shaped objects to the mix will also help with problem-solving, as they will have to test stacking different surfaces on to one another. Watch as your baby tests each piece to see whether or not the objects can be stacked. Look for the excitement in his eyes when he makes his tower so tall that it falls over. He will be determined to make it as tall as the first one.
Toddlers have a unique ability for using toys and materials in unexpected ways. One child may turn a cup into a hammer or a basket into a hat. Another may stand on a truck to try to reach a toy or pull over a chair to climb onto a bookshelf. These are signs that young children are learning to use their thinking skills to solve problems.
Experiences in problem-solving help children develop curiosity and patience, along with thinking skills and the understanding of cause and effect. They learn to work toward achieving a goal, and gain confidence in their ability to reach a solution.
As your toddler gets older, he will begin to use objects in more complex ways. Allowing him to explore blocks will increase his awareness of cause-and-effect. Encourage him to build a ramp or an incline out of the blocks, and then test different objects to see what rolls down the fastest. He will identify that rounded objects, such as a car, will go down the ramp a lot faster than a flat object. He will also begin to realize that the harder he pushes the object, the faster it will go down the ramp.
Preschoolers are fascinated by exploring new materials and will try to solve problems by hands-on trial and error. Preschoolers depend primarily on their senses rather than reasoning. So it may take several experiments before they understand that what they are testing may not work.
They also enjoy using their imaginations to solve problems as they arise. When your child is partaking in pretend play, they may pretend an object such as bowl is their construction hat. Preschoolers sometimes become frustrated in their problem-solving attempts because they can see only one possible solution - which may not be workable.
When your child is using puzzles and other toys that need to be manipulated or put together be sure that they are appropriate for their skill level. If it is too easy, they won't learn from it and they will become bored. If the puzzles are too difficult, your child will become frustrated and discouraged, and give up quickly. Be sure that the puzzle is challenging without being too difficult. Puzzles are great for developing problem-solving skills. Children have the opportunity to test which pieces will fit and which ones will not. They will learn that not all pieces go together when they want them too. Allow them time to complete it on their own. If they ask for help or seem to be getting frustrated, offer help in the form of suggestions and asking questions that will get them to think. Don't be too quick to do it, or tell them the solution. Puzzles don't always need to be store-bought. You can easily create a homemade puzzle by taking a picture, postcard, or even a cereal box and cutting it into pieces.
Adventuresome kindergartners frequently charge ahead in their quest to solve problems. While they may need some help in focusing on the actual problem, they are more patient than preschoolers and can try out different solutions.
Using their larger vocabularies, kindergarteners are ready to negotiate with one another. Their developing language skills help them work together and engage in group decision-making. With practice, they learn to choose from various solutions.
Draw two parallel lines in the yard with a piece of chalk, about four feet apart. Place a piece of crumpled paper just inside one line. Ask your child to get the paper to the other line without touching it. Together brainstorm different ways they can do this - the obvious one would be to blow on it. See if there are other ways to move the paper forward - fan it with a plastic plate or magazine, perhaps.
"How can I get this tower to stay up?" "Why won't the paint stick to this carton?" "How can I weigh these rocks?" "They won't let me have a turn!" Every day, you can hear the voices of children facing and solving problems. As children confront these seemingly small issues, they're developing and applying important thinking, social, and emotional skills.
Five- and six-year olds' problem-solving skills differ in many ways from younger children. One of the most important changes is their developing ability to tolerate frustration. Kindergartners are much more likely to be able to withstand a period of frustration as they confront and work though a difficult problem. While younger children may give up on a puzzle piece that doesn't fit, this age group will take time to observe and identify the problem, try out a few solutions, and draw a conclusion.
Children at this stage are often very verbal. They're able to explain their thinking and can expand on their ideas in great detail.
You can make patterns by making sounds such as clap, pat, clap, pat. Ask your child what the pattern is. You can also choose to use objects, such as delicious summer fruit. Take three different fruits and start a pattern, for example: blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry...., and then ask your child to finish or continue the pattern. Children will need to problem-solve by coming up with a solution to the pattern that has already been dictated for them.
During this stage of development, children are learning to become a part of the larger world through school, activities, and friends. They become more independent, begin to understand cause and effect, and learn to reflect on their own actions. During this stage it is important to promote development in problem-solving by encouraging your child to reason by asking them open-ended questions like "Why do you think that happened?" or "What do you think will happen if..."
Setting the Table
Encourage your child to help you set the table for guests that will be coming over. When the child determines the amount of places they need to set at the table, ask them "what do we need to set the table?" The child will then need to decide whether spoons, forks, knives, etc. will be required based on the meal you will be serving. Let your child know the menu, and then let them decide what utensils are required at the table for the meal. This encourages your child to think, reason, question and experiment. Your child is learning to reason and to be more independent, while increasing their problem solving skills.
PLAY IT SAFE
Exhibits such as petting zoos and fairs allow children of all ages to have the thrilling experience of coming face to face with animals. Let's make sure it is a healthy experience as well. Below are some tips to help you prevent illness when visiting animal exhibits.
Wash hands. One of the simplest precautions is to be sure children wash their hands with warm, soapy water after touching the animals or animal enclosures. If hand-washing facilities are not immediately available, anti-bacterial gel hand sanitizers (for children over the age of 3), or wipes, can do the trick.
Keep hands out of mouths. Very young children should probably be carried as an extra precaution. Older children can be instructed not to kiss the animals or touch their own eyes, noses, or mouths after petting the animals. And don't forget to warn against nail biting and thumb sucking, two other possible ways to become infected.
Keep food and animals separate.
Eat and drink before going to the petting zoo rather than doing so during or after. If the children are feeding the animals, make sure they are old enough to understand they should not share the treats.
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Bring a change of clothes. It's easy to forget that a jacket can become contaminated when a child leans on the railing, or that shoelaces dragging in the mud can transport bacteria back home. The safest bet is to have the children change their clothes after petting the animals, not to be worn again until they have been washed in hot, soapy water.
Ask about hygiene. Make sure the animals and the petting areas are clean and well kept. If there are a lot of animal droppings in the petting area, or if the animals appear excessively dirty, it's best not to visit.