children and play

Parent Wishes #12: More support for kids experiencing learning or developmental delays

More support for kids experiencing learning or developmental delays was one parent’s wish for early childhood programs, especially before school entry. Waiting until kids arrive in grade one misses such a critical time of development.

support for learning and development

We know that children are all unique and learn and develop at their own rate, in their own ways, and in their own time. While kids follow a similar pattern, kids experiencing learning and developmental delays need extra support. This could mean more time, targeted coaching, special equipment, and other strategies. It also means an extra burden on parents.

In her article, What You Need to Know About Developmental Delays, Amanda Morin gives a helpful overview of 5 skill areas:

1. Cognitive Skills: These are the mental or thinking skills, like “learning to count, naming colors and learning new words,” and strategies, such as organizing, sorting, and solving problems.

2. Social and Emotional Skills: Interactions with others and dealing with feelings and emotions are not just children’s personality; these are skills that kids learn and develop.

3. Speech and Language Skills: No matter which language you speak at home, language abilities are tremendously important. Some children also communicate with sign language.

4. Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Kids like to move and be active. Skills like walking, running, jumping, rolling, use the large or gross muscles. Doing up buttons, building with blocks, fitting puzzles, and unscrewing the door stoppers use fine or small muscles. These are still developing even when kids start school.

5. Daily Living Skills: Self-care, being independent, taking care of bathroom needs, and others are daily living skills.

support for learning development

All children will have their own strengths and challenges. Kids learn the skills they need thru daily living, interacting with other people and their environment, and play. They need time and space to figure out themselves, others, and their world. In some cases, extra support for kids experiencing learning or developmental delays is required.

In the following posts, we’ll look at each of these areas and more specific ways to support children and play. In the meantime, another great article advises, “Focus on your child’s gifts and talents.” (Helping Children with Learning Disabilities: Practical Parenting Tips for Home and School) Could a favorite way to play or particular interest be part of your child’s day?

March & Play to a Different Beat: Respect Differences in How Children Play

Kids, like adults, can march to a different beat, and play to a different one too; it’s important to respect differences in how children play.respect differences in how children play

Play is not the same for all children. Parents only need to have two kids to see the tremendous differences there can be from one child to the other. While all children love to move, some are far more active than others. These kids seem to be constantly on the run, jump, or hop. Some children talk far earlier than others. During their play, kids kids talk to the stuffies and toys and pretend to be their voices. Favorite toys might be a pretend telephone, or a real one whenever they see it around! Hands-on is the interaction of choice for many children. Blocks and construction toys of all sorts lurk on the floor for unsuspecting adult feet. In this case, it’s not marching to a different beat but limping.block and construction play

While there may be some general similarities for the ways girls play as opposed to the ways boys play, there are vast differences for children of the same gender. Many girls engage in building with blocks, rough-housing, and zooming cars and trains around a track. By the same token, many boys will play with dolls and kitchens. Just as many boys as girls have baby brothers and sisters, so caring for younger family members is common for both. Girls and boys can snuggle a doll, take it for a walk in the stroller, give it a bottle, and tell it not to cry. These are natural activities and show how we care for each other. Boys can ask for an easy-bake-oven and girls can want a science kit.boy playing dolls gender equality

When we respect differences in how children play we are respecting children themselves. Kids can march to a different beat in what they want to eat, how they dress, the books they like, and the way they play. How will your child choose to play today?

 

Child’s Play Helps Discover New Planets

Child’s play helps discover new planets? Well, that’s a bit of a stretch but what we do as adults often grows from how we loved to play as kids. Many of the scientists at NASA were fascinated by space as children and on a radio show, one of them was quoted as saying she has been intrigued with searching for new planets since an early age.

planets child art play

February is friends and heart month. Following a passion is following your heart. Did you have an interest or a favorite way to play as a child that gave clues about what you are doing today? Of course, child’s play has been a lifelong interest of mine. Being a kindergarten teacher means being able to play at work. On the blog, I’ve included many posts about careers adults choose and the clues we find when we look at their play. This excerpt is from the post Child’s PlayReaches to Outer Space from a couple of years back:

Astronaut Chris Hadfield adventured far beyond Earth to the International Space Station Endeavour. He played the guitar and sang the first song ever recorded in space. He was inspired at the age of nine as he watched Apollo landing on the Moon, but his interest in flying began much earlier than that. Along with others written about in this series, an artist that drew on the wall about the age of 2, a nurse that played with Dr. Barbie, a mathematician that enjoyed numbers, a designer that always liked to draw, a scientist that took apart her toys and dolls, a crafter who created and sold products to her childhood friends, and a chef who wanted an Easy-Bake oven as a young boy, Chris Hadfield extended his play to a career. How can we so trivialize children’s play when time and time again, we hear stories like these?

Lego space playThe question is even more relevant with the discovery of these seven exoplanets. In a way, the curiosity to explore and the drive to discover are the fuel of play. We see from the time they are wee babies,  the immense hunger young children have to find out all they can about the world. They do this each and every time they play. That’s how we can say child’s play helps discover new planets.star wars science fun for kids

Although we mean well, we cannot fill our children’s days with activities that we plan and organize for them. We must give kids time and space for unstructured play and trust them to direct it. When we do, could we say the results are out of this world?

For Kids the Best Valentine is Together Play Time

To a child, love is spelled T.I.M. E. For kids, the best valentine is together play time. Today’s play-of-the-day is suggestions for doing just that. At the very start of the day, even before breakfast, how about a pajama snuggle. If the day isn’t too rushed, instead of a bedtime story, find a favorite book … Continue reading For Kids the Best Valentine is Together Play Time

New Year’s Resolutions: U = USE Non-Toys for Children’s Play

Kids impress us with their creativity and flexibility, especially in how to use non-toys for children’s play. So good, it happens almost daily! Have you had to search all over the house and car for something a little one was playing with? Like the keys or your phone? Kids play with almost anything. What appeals … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions: U = USE Non-Toys for Children’s Play

T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

This post was inspired by play-expert Jeff A. Johnson at Explorations Early Learning. The message is parents, educators need to trust and let kids play. It seems parenting and teaching are balancing acts. There’s so much we would like to do for kids, but at the same time we have to let them learn for … Continue reading T = Trust: Parents, Educators Need to Trust and Let Kids Play

Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

Children follow a similar path of developmental milestones; just like adults have different jobs, kids need different kinds of play. What does yours need? Being sensitive to children’s needs means recognizing some kids need vigorous outside play, some miss the social aspect of daycare or preschool and would like a friend to play with, and … Continue reading Kids Need Different Kinds of Play: What kind does your child need?

After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY

The day after Christmas comes without the celebration but, without doubt, the most wonderful present of all because the best gift for kids is play. Hasn’t that been the reason for giving them new toys and adventures, to encourage and extend their play? So today’s play-of-the-day is do that, to play. Sometimes, the adults are … Continue reading After Christmas –  The Best Gift for Kids is PLAY