Guest Blogger – Stephanie Hiday

Preschoolers and Scissors

By: Stephanie Hiday

 

One of the first skills I introduce my preschoolers to is scissor cutting. You should see the excitement and sheer amazement on my littles faces when I hand them a pair of scissors. For many, it is the first time they have been entrusted with this tool. It’s obvious that many parents shudder at the thought of giving their four year old a pair of scissors. I have to laugh when my littles say, “My mommy doesn’t let me have scissors!” Yes, hair stylists and clothes fashion designers have emerged from using a pair of scissors, but that comes with the curiosity of our little people. Of course, when teaching preschoolers about using scissors you must remember to teach them about safety first! Don’t forget to include how to carry scissors facing down and closed, the correct way to hold scissors, and the importance of ONLY cutting the materials being used. I have to admit, as a parent of five children, I didn’t always have scissors readily available either and I had to repeat myself many times on the safety issues and proper use of scissors.

Over the course of teaching young children, I have found some great ways to introduce the skill of scissor cutting. Here are some ways you might find useful when helping your preschooler at home:

  1. Engage your child by showing them a toy shark or alligator.
  2. Talk about what the animal looks like and question your child about the animal’s teeth. Explain that the animal takes big bites and little bites.   Use your hands to imitate little bites called nibbles. Use your arms to imitate big bites called chomps!
  3. Show your child scissors. Explain to your child how scissor cutting could be like an animal eating his lunch! Sometimes when you are cutting out things you need to take big bites and sometimes you need to take little bites.

I like to follow a progression of activities using scissors. Listed below is the order of cutting activities that I use when practicing scissor skills.

  1. Playdough
  2. Plastic drinking straws
  3. Styrofoam plates
  4. Craft foam
  5. Yarn
  6. Ribbon
  7. Construction paper strips
  8. Practice pages with lines (begin with simple lines then designs with zigzags)

Preschool Hiday

Preschool Hiday 2

After we have mastered those materials, we begin to cut out different craft activities.

Scissor cutting is a skill that requires hand strength which include finger muscles. There are many ways to improve your child’s fine motor skills which will help your child when using scissors. A few activities include: tearing paper into small pieces (making a mosaic), rolling and squeezing playdough, using a hole puncher, squeezing water squirt toys, using an eye dropper or clothespins.

Lastly, when practicing using scissors with your child, have fun! Remember that using scissors is a complicated skill that improves with time and practice!

 

Stephanie Hiday

Guest Blogger – Sarah Yergler

Quick Handwriting Tip for little fingers by Sarah Yergler

If your child has a poor pencil grasp, here is a quick tip on how to work on correcting it!

Look at the first picture of a child’s pencil grasp using a whole crayon.

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Now, after breaking the tip off of a crayon and giving the smaller piece to the child, check out the child’s pencil grasp. When the object to write with is small, the only thing they can do is use a tripod grasp!

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Guest Blog Post – Cheryl McClure, New Life Christian School

Back to School – Already?

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It is hard to believe, but yes it is back to school time! As much as I enjoy a summer vacation, I always look forward to a new school year. Teachers are getting classrooms ready, parents are buying school clothes and supplies, and children are anticipating who will be in their class and looking forward to meeting their new teacher. There is a lot of excitement as another school year starts.

According to the website education.com, research supports the fact that parents are the greatest influence on their children. Therefore, it makes sense that if school is important to you as a parent, it will be important to your child. When you are involved in your child’s education, s/he is more likely to be successful in school! www.education.com/question/influence-children

Here are a few ways to be involved in your child’s school work.

  • COMMUNICATE – When you and your child reconnect at the end of your work day and their school day, greet them and get a conversation going. Ask open ended questions about school. Who did you play with? What story did the teacher read today? What did you play at school? What did you learn about? What homework do you have tonight? Make sure that you as a parent make time without phone calls or texts that you to communicate with your child.
  • ROUTINES – Establish an after school routine. Routines help children feel secure and make transitions easier. Make sure there is time for homework, time to read together, time for a nutritious dinner and a set bedtime that provides adequate rest for your child.
  • READ TO YOUR CHILD – Reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways to help him/her be successful in school. The Children’s Reading Foundation (as cited in ksl.com) says, “Once a child begins to read, it is essential to continue reading aloud together.” Reading together can be the beginning of many learning experiences for your child, many conversations, and many lasting memories. Take time to read to and with your child. Continue this activity as your child grows. When it is ‘reading time’ in your home, make sure to turn off the radio, television and even your phone. The time invested in reading with your child will reap great rewards for you and your child. http://www.ksl.com/?sid=15431484 The importance of reading with children
  • KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CHILD”S TEACHER – As preschool or school begins for your child, talk with his/her teacher about communicating with him/her. Many teachers use newsletters and or email to keep parents informed.

May you and your child have the best school year ever and keep the excitement of learning, discovering and exploring alive every day!

Ah, July!

The month before school begins. A month of fresh garden veggies. A month of long hot days. The month Kindergarten Countdown takes place.

Kindergarten? In the summer? Well, kinda.

Kindergarten Countdown is a month long time for children getting ready to go into kindergarten to prepare for school. They get the chance to get to know the school, meet teachers, learn the skills necessary for them to learn in kindergarten.

I get excited every year at this time. I love seeing the little kiddos as they mature in just four short weeks. They start Kindergarten Countdown timid and unsure of what to expect. They end with new friends and new skills.

Developing children to be ready to learn is a process that begins at birth. How can you better prepare your child to learn? It really is quite simple. Talk to them. Read to them. Expose them to as many positive experiences as you can. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. But you do need to talk to them. Let them hear as many words from your mouth as you can.

IMG_2405You should also read to your child – yes, even an infant should be read to. It is a great time for parents to form bonds with their baby. Holding them and reading to them is critical for their development. Sign them up for the Imagination Library to receive a free book in the mail every month (until they turn 5). Take them to the library for books and for story time.

Expose them to the interaction of letters with their world. The most important letter for your child is the first letter of their name. As you are driving to the childcare or the grocery store, look for signs with that letter. They will be excited and it will reinforce that letter in their mind.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do anything perfectly. But you do need to do something.

Talk. Read. Experience.

Julie Meitzler, Guest Blog

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On May 29, the BHES staff waved as  631 Kindergarten – Fourth Grade Students left Bluffton-Harrison Elementary School for the summer. I have been sending kids off for the summer for 29 years.  I have to admit, I often tear up or even have  streams of tears running down my face when the buses pull away for that last time of the school year! I think it is such an emotional moment because over the course of the school year, we get to know our young students, their families, and we truly will miss them over the summer!

So the kids are home for the summer, now what?  Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or you work outside of the home, I wanted to share with you some great activities that are fun and educational in the summer! As my children and I spent summers together, we did a variety of activities that allowed me to spend time with them and also supported reading and math! And the beauty of it . . . they did not even realize we were learning! Below are my top ten things to do this summer to help your child continue to learn and still have fun while doing them:

 

  1. Community Scrapbook – Kids love to take pictures! One summer we made a community scrapbook by photographing various places in our community. We printed the pictures and created a scrapbook. Our pictures included local  parks, our church, places we liked to eat, the ball diamonds where the kids played baseball and softball, the kids’  school, where mom and dad both work, and even things such as the water tower or the mayor’s office. Be creative! Once the book is complete, your children can share with friends or family or even donate it to a local doctor’s office or possibly a realtor. We would love to have a scrapbook made and donated to our school office for visitors while they wait!
  2. Activity Jar – One summer, my kids and I brainstormed all of the things we wanted to do over the summer.  We made sure the ideas were all doable both from a budgetary perspective and a time issue. We put the ideas into a jar. Occasionally, we would pick something out of the jar and do it on that day! It was a fun change-of-pace from our normal routine and the “chance” at what we would be doing that day was always exciting.  If you are not sure what to put in your jar, check out this link: https://www.pinterest.com/sgaetano/summer-jar-activities/

 

  1. Service Project – Volunteer in the community or find a way for you and your children to give to others. This can be through your time or even donating your child’s artwork to a local nursing home! The residents enjoy seeing the colored pages and your children benefit by giving to others. We didn’t have the internet and sites such as pinterest when my children were young, but I am certain there are many ways you can serve others this summer: https://www.pinterest.com/penniesoftime/summer-service-ideas/

 

  1. Wells County Public Library Reading Program – The library has a fantastic summer reading program! Enroll yourself and your children! By modeling reading, you are showing your kids that reading is important and fun! I will be honest, I did not always want to do the program myself, but I am so happy that I did! Not only did I model reading to my kids, but I also developed a greater love of reading by spending time reading! Visit the public library and be sure to check out their website for more information! http://www.wellscolibrary.org/

 

  1. Bluffton Parks Department Programming – From swimming lessons to crafts, there are a variety of activities planned by the Bluffton Parks Department! This is a great opportunity to keep your children in some structured activities and have a great time learning new skills! http://www.blufftonindiana.net/parks-department/

 

  1. Car Activities – My children are now 26 and 22! I am not sure where the time went, but one of the things I miss most  is the time in the car with them! Use that time to sing songs, play an abc game, count, or play trivia games! Both of my kids shared more information with me in the car than any other place! They were comfortable and relaxed and would ask questions or share their thoughts and feelings much more in the car. Even today when I am riding with one of them, I find they love to talk in the car! And both would tell you that one of their favorite memories was playing an animal game with their grandparents in the car as they made adult and baby animal noises! They created memories, but also increased their vocabulary through interacting with others. Check out these great car games: http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ideas/8-fun-car-game-ideas/

 

  1. Board Games – On a rainy day, get out the Candyland, Sorry, Scrabble, or other board game! Kids also love to play Uno, Phase 10, Chess, and Checkers! There are many educational reasons to play Board Games from taking turns to math skills! Check out this list: http://geekdad.com/2014/01/play-games-kids/

 

  1. Family Notes – Use the summer months as a chance for children to write friendly letters to grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles! If they have a birthday, a simple thank you note  teaches the value of saying thank you while practicing their writing skills.  Check out this website which has information about writing a friendly letter, but is also good for other skill review: http://www.abcya.com/friendly_letter_maker.htm

 

  1. Cooking Fun – Let your child help out in the kitchen! Start simple with Kool-aid or Jello. The following website has easy-to-follow recipes for cooking with kids! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/recipes-for-kids/cooking-with-kids.html

 

  1. Have fun! Every day does not have to be an event! Your child simply wants to spend time with you! Enjoy and when  August 10 rolls around, we will be so excited to have our students back at BHES! I cannot wait to hear all of their summertime stories!