Category Archives: pre-reading

Is Your Preschooler Ready to Learn?

Do you, or someone you know, have kids that are preschool age? Are they ready for social interaction and learning, but you are not sure where to send them? We would love to have your kids in the fall. Call us today for a tour 480-447-7668. Check out some of the great things our preschoolers have been learning at Square Roots… Blubber experiment  This was a blubber activity we did for science. Scrape Painting Scrape Painting building site words  Building sight words for hands-on learning.  hurricane lesson  Learning and building hurricanes.

The Power of the Sticker

Sticker Ah! The sticker!  You remember those as a kid, right?  And how you would do just about anything for a sticker?!?!  Well, I don’t think that has changed with the new generation.  But…have you ever thought what it takes to peel and stick those stickers?  As adults, we peel and stick and don’t even think about it.  Give a sheet of stickers to a young child though and you will see an intense look of concentration.  Or…tears … if a sticker happens to get ripped!  Let’s take a look at what goes in to peeling a sticker…

  • Developing the pincer grasp. This is the fine motor skill that enables you to pick up small items with your thumb and index finger. Getting a hold of that sticker is not an easy feat! As this relates to pre-handwriting, it helps a child to develop the strength to hold a pencil with a 3 or 4 fingertip pinch.
  • Hand-eye coordination is so important for so many life tasks but as it relates to learning, it is vital to reading and writing. The child needs to put their hand precisely where the sticker ends. A little to the left or a little to the right and it won’t work…they’ve missed the target!
  • Persistence. The desire to keep trying and trying to get a hold of the sticker. And when a child does, watch them beam with pride! This fosters self-confidence and independence.
  • Perseverance. Who gets distracted? Or wants to do something easier? Me, me, me! Peeling that sticker and sticking it gives a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. I did it!
  • Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time. Imagine how hard it is for a young child to hold the sheet of stickers with one hand while using that pincer grasp to peel the sticker off! And this will pay off down the road when it comes to sports and playing a musical instrument.

Go buy some stickers! Don’t feel guilty when you give your child a sheet of stickers and piece of paper so you can make dinner.  You are fostering a lot of important skills!  You just might find them on the refrigerator…cabinets…in the laundry…on the couch…you know…

A Book Report for Preschoolers

Mother and child drawing together

A book report for preschoolers? Isn’t that something reserved for grade school?

Not necessarily.

Preschool-aged children can often recall the plot line of a story, especially a tale they have heard multiple times. Remembering what happened after the story is over and being able to relate that to others is an important part of comprehension, story telling, and reporting that can be built upon, and this process can start during the preschool years.

So if my child does not yet know how to read and write, how can he do a book report?

While reading a favorite story to your child, ask him questions about the story. These questions will help him remember details and digest the most important plot points. Ask him to draw a picture of her favorite character or scene. Ask him why he likes that particular character or scene. As he dictates, write what he says at the bottom of the page.

Once you have written what he has to say about his picture, reread it to him. When we take dictation from children and then reread what they said, they learn that oral language can be written down and then read. Making this connection helps reinforce the concepts of reading and writing and how they are intertwined.

You can help your child create a collection of characters or scenes this way, then staple them together to create a complete book report!

Photo source: familyliteracy.tiu11.org

Learning About the Letter “H”

At Square Roots Preschool, we believe in tackling a concept from a variety of angles. When this approach is used, the concept becomes more concrete in the mind of a preschooler.

We typically focus on studying one letter each week, and we try to make the theme of most of our activities that week about that letter. This past week, we studied the letter “H.” It is our goal that the students can recognize the letter and it’s sound, as well as identify words and objects that begin with the letter of focus. All children are given the opportunity to write the letter, as well. Some of the activities we worked on this week are described, below.

1. “H Hearts.” The students were given a traced outline of the capital H and were asked to decorate the outline with heart stickers. They can focus on the letter and the sound, as well as identify an object (heart) that begins with that letter. In peeling each sticker, they have the opportunity to work on their small motor skills. Preschoolers love decorating with stickers, so this activity was fun for our students.

2. “Writing the Letter H.” During circle time, our students have the opportunity to write our letter of focus on their white boards. The older students can typically write the letter independently, while the younger students may need a bit of assistance or may opt to draw a picture of something that begins with the letter we are working on. We couple this activity with working as a team to create a long list of things that begin with the letter “H.”

3. “Hula Hoop Fun.” During outdoor exploration time, we brought out the hula hoops! The sound of the letter “H” is reinforced in this activity, and the students had a chance to work on gross motor skills while burning off some energy. They had the opportunity to use the hula hoop in the traditional way or jump in and out of a circle on the ground, depending on their physical development.

4. “Hurricanes.” Our science study was all about hurricanes. We discussed hurricanes, watched a video about hurricanes, and got to create our own hurricanes. While reinforcing our letter of focus, we got to learn about something new, work on our pre-writing and writing skills, and work on our gluing skills. The students made predictions and learned about cause and effect.

LetterH

These four activities are just a sample of the letter learning we did this week. By incorporating a variety of skills, subjects, and concepts centered around a single letter, we are able to reinforce letter recognition and letter sounds which are vital to reading and writing. The students are able to work as a team and individually in all sorts of ways, ensuring that we touch on each student’s learning style. In doing so, we build confidence and work on skills that need further development, all while having fun!

Letter Learning for Transportation Lovers

LetterTransportation

Children learn in all sorts of ways, and what works well for one might not work well for another. For this reason, we design a variety of play-based learning activities to touch on the learning styles of each of our students. By planning different types of activities, the students are exposed to different media and ideas and have the opportunity to see what works best for them, even if they aren’t aware they are learning.

One of our favorite letter-learning activities is “Letter Parking,” which is a big hit with transportation fans. This activity is simple to create at home and can be done with any number of letters as your child learns them.

Create a letter “parking lot” by masking of spaces with painter’s tape or drawing them out. Each space should contain one letter. Next, find as many cars as you have letters and tape the same letters on the roofs of the cars.

The students work both independently on this activity and with the teacher. Children just learning how the letters look may not even be able to express the name of the letter, but they will still be able to match the car to the corresponding parking space. Children who know their letters can say them aloud as they park, or a teacher or adult can ask “can you park the B car in the B parking spot?” Children who are working on letter sounds can make the letter sounds, and the teacher or adult can ask him or her to park the car that “sounds like…” As your child begins to read, you can even put words on the cars and the spaces. This activity can work for learning sight words, as well!

In addition to building pre-reading skills “Letter Parking”–when done on the floor– can build strength in the hips and shoulders and work on hand-eye coordination.

Once you’ve tried “Letter Parking,” come back and tell us how your child liked it! We’d love to hear from you!