Social and Emotional

Kindergarten Readiness – Playground Fun #6

Playing in the playground is not just good for kids’ physical development, it’s also great for their social and emotional development. (Social and emotional can be thought of as two sides of the same coin, one side for how we get along with others and one side for how we manage our own selves. They are interwoven rather than separate.) Some children are reluctant and hesitant on the playground equipment, for example on the slide. After a few times, watching other children, feeling a little bit more secure, they conquer their own fears and venture down the slide. 

A playground has opportunities for practicing social strategies.  Asking other children their name and telling his/her own name is a beginning social skill. Adults may need to model this for younger kidlets. Learning to share the equipment is also part of the social scene. Shy children may simply need to become accustomed to having other children in the same space. Playgrounds are to kids what offices can be to adults. After all, playing is their work.
P.S. Please see previous blogs for lots of  ideas to develop skills in other areas. Have you any others to suggest?

Kindergarten Readiness – Father’s Day

Tomorrow, is Father’s Day.  Several children in my kindergarten class live in a different house than their dad or have minimal contact. Even at this young age some of them have lost their dad. The issue of Father’s day and Father’s day cards and gifts has to be handled with sensitivity, just as Mother’s day does. One little boy, all on his own, made a card and wrote Happy Father’s Day to  Mom. Another student made a card for her godfather. 

Acknowledging all the family groupings in my class with one craft project was a challenge. Each student was asked to draw and color a picture. We framed our creations with pages trimmed with zig-zag scissors.  Then, I laminated them and attached some magnetic tape on the back. Each child now had a Memo board to take home and put on the fridge. If they wished, they could give it to their dads for home or wherever they worked. Memo boards are quite generic, most kids do not attach them particularly to parents, but they are still special enough for children to be proud of them. Because the page would be for writing on, we couldn’t put any writing on the page, so the project did not say Happy Father’s Day.  Phew, we managed to meet the needs of  the kids.

This same idea can be used for children of any age, although for wee little ones, the picture may just be a few lines. It can also be sent in the mail for dads who may be working or posted away from home. Laminating is usually very affordable and can be done at a paper or office store.
Does this answer an issue for your family?

P. S. Do fathers always snore? No, only when they are asleep.

Kindergarten Readiness – Card Game Fun

A deck of cards is a super easy item to pack for vacation. Card games can be played just about anywhere, even in a tent when waiting for the rain to stop. Go Fish is one of my favorites. There are all kinds of decks, too, numbers, fish, people, animals, etc. Here is a sample deck that’s all A,B, C’s. On long, rainy days at home, find some paper, magazines and make your own cards. Or a quick Internet search turns up some printable Go Fish cards that can be colored or even painted. Lots of social skills are practiced in the context of a card game. Taking turns, asking, sharing, being a good sport, how to both win and lose, handling disappointment, and self-regulation of emotions are only a few. Oh, and how to have fun, too!  Go Fish -do you have an idea for vacation fun?

Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation :) or :(

Some new research was just released that studied children’s recognition of facial expressions. It was previously thought that even infants could recognize expressions for the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. Dr. James Russell’s study questions this and he says that at age 2, kids can identify happy but they categorize all negative faces as … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Vacation 🙂 or 🙁

Kindergarten Readiness – Memorial Day

Making Memorial Day meaningful for kids can be challenging. Especially for little children. They are too young to understand the concepts of military service and sacrifice. They can and will remember though what we, the adults, do to observe this day. It’s possible to create your own commemoration that is meaningful for your family and can be woven into … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Memorial Day

Kindergarten Readiness – Don’t Wait to Play

Did you happen to see  the headlines this earlier this week: First Ladies Play With Kids. The Mexican President’s wife Margarita Zavala accompanied First Lady Michelle Obama to an elementary school where they hopped, skipped and played with the kids. The key word is Play. Play is children’s work; that’s how they learn. When we help … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Don’t Wait to Play

Kindergarten Readiness – Games for Waiting

Songs for waiting, stories for waiting, activities for waiting and today some games for waiting. The most recent blog posts have been all about helping children learn skills and strategies for coping with having to wait. Ring around the rosie is a traditional favorite that really young children can do. There is an element of … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Games for Waiting

Kindergarten Readiness – Waiting Activities

Being able to wait is an important social skill for children–see earlier posts from this week. I enlist the help of a few stuffies to show kids some waiting strategies. A stuffie conversation may go something like this:  Well, hi there guys. Today, we’re going to take you for a walk in the stroller, as … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Waiting Activities

Kindergarten Readiness – Songs to Wait By

Music can help children–and adults–cope with many challenges. Waiting is something we all have to do and it helps if little ones have some skills and strategies for waiting. Mr. Rogers has a waiting song as well as Daddy Kooala, Boowa and Kwala but these only have a couple of verses. Sometimes, songs need to … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Songs to Wait By

Kindergarten Readiness – Stories for Waiting

For patiently waiting, this story’s character takes the prize. He waits on every page. As mentioned yesterday, being able to wait is a skill that gets easier with practice. It even has it’s own label: Strategic Allocation of Attention. Being able to wait is so helpful for little ones because they will have to do so … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Stories for Waiting