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Mother’s Day Card Craft Activity for Kids

Help you child to make this pretty and simple Mother’s Day card.

You will need

Coloured card or paper

Pencil

Scissors

Glue

Mother’s Day card template

Download and cut out the template and trace the the pieces onto  coloured paper or card. If you don’t have coloured paper or card, just use white paper and colour in using crayons or pencils.

Cut out the flowers and fold each petal in towards the middle of the flower.

Glue the flowers on top of each other using a small blob of glue and leave to one side to dry.

Use scissors to make small cuts all the way along the strip of paper that will make the centre of the flower. Take care to stop approximately 1 cm before the edge.

Roll the strip of paper and glue the end. Leave to one side to dry.

Once the flower centre is dry, spread the trimmed paper apart. Put a small blob of glue in the centre of the flower and glue the flower centre in place. Allow to dry.

Fold a piece of card in half to make a card. Discuss with your child which way a card opens and point out that it is the same as a book.

Write a greeting on the front of the card. You could draw dotted letters for your child to trace. Now is also a good time for your child to write a message or draw a picture on the inside of the card.

Glue the flower onto the front of the card and leave to one side to dry.


Five World Book Day Activities for Kids

Visit a library

Take your child to your local library to browse through the books and choose a new story to read. Libraries can become magical places of discovery and enjoyment. Take the time to read a few short picture books to your child while you are at the library and choose some more to take home.

Have a book picnic

Take lunch and a book to the park and read with your child while you enjoy your picnic. If it is raining out, have an indoor picnic instead. Lay a rug on the carpet and play make-believe. You could even invite some toys to join the book picnic.

Download a free book

Did you know that classic books (books that are over 100 years old) are free to download on Amazon Kindle books and Apple ibooks. There are many great classics that you can download today to read with your child, some of them include; The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

Write a story

Help your child to write a story. Choose a simple topic such as their favourite colour, toy or food and encourage your child to think of short sentences that describe the topic. For example, I like yellow. Chicks are yellow… You could even create a simple book by writing each sentence on a separate piece of paper, allowing your child to illustrate each page and then stapling the pages together.

Publish a book

If your child enjoys writing why not help them to publish one of their books. There are many websites that provide a DIY publishing service where you can make and order your own book. Here is a cute example from blurb.com. This website even lets you sell your book to other people.

I hope that these ideas inspire you to have some reading and writing fun this World Book Day!

FACT: World Book Day is celebrated each year on the 23rd April, the same date as the death Shakespeare and the birth or death of many other significant authors, including Cervantes and Maurice Druon.

Three benefits of learning to read with phonics

Children can start learning to read at a young age

Most children will be able to start learning phonetic sounds and how to combine them to read and spell by the age of three years. Different schools of thought recommend different starting ages for reading, and to some extent, it does depend on the individual child. However, neuroscience research shows that the area of the brain associated with reading does not begin to mature until approximately the age of three years. Pushing reading before this age can create negative reading experiences that may give children a less than positive view of reading. The good thing about phonics is that you can start teaching letter sounds informally, and healthily, when you think your child is ready. Simply learning the sounds that letters make will have a huge impact on a child’s later reading ability.

Phonics empowers children and boosts confidence

Using phonics to learn to read is a very empowering experience for children. After learning the first sounds taught in the phonetic alphabet, children begin to be able to read and spell simple words. This is because, by using phonics, children can clearly hear and decode the sounds that make words. For example, the word ‘sat’ has three simple phonetic sounds, s, a and t. By saying these sounds together children will soon realize that the word is ‘sat’. Because phonics allows children to begin reading so quickly it gives kids a real confidence boost. This positive experience is important in developing an openness to learning, especially and skills become more difficult as children get older.  It also encourages a love of reading.

Teaching reading with phonics is easy for parents

Once you know what phonics is, using phonics to teach your child to read and spell is easy and effective. Simply learning the alphabet is not going to help in learning to read and spell and can often confuse children when they begin trying to sound out words. By using phonics to teach reading skills you will be supporting what your child will learn in school and be providing them with useful skills that can be built upon to develop successful readers.

You don’t need to understand all of the technical language that goes along with phonetic reading strategies to be able to teach your child phonetic reading skills. At the simplest form phonics is basically using letter sounds instead of letter names.

Reluctant Readers

How to make learning to read fun!

Many parents struggle to get their children to read at home. This is often because kids find reading a difficult chore, rather than an enjoyable escape into a magical world.

Here are five tips parents can use to encourage reluctant readers.

Make it active

Learning to read does not need to be sedentary. In fact, learning to read should engage all the   senses in order to support different learning styles and generate a true understanding of the usefulness of reading in the real world. With young children, learning letter names and sounds can be made into a fun game by sticking letters on the floor and calling out letters or sounds for your child to hop onto. Children who are beginning to read and spell can also practice spelling simple words by hopping onto the   letters needed to spell words that you call out. With older children you could create a treasure hunt with written clues leading to a treat at the end of the game. The possibilities for creating fun, active games that promote reading skills are endless! You can discover more in our programs.

Engage their interests

Find books that will appeal to your child’s interests. Visit the local library or a bookshop and show your child that there are many books about their favourite characters, personalities and topics. Suggest books your child may enjoy with lots of images and not too much text that it is overwhelming. Non-fiction books may be more appealing than storybooks to some children. Discovering new facts about favourite topics can be an excellent way of enticing children into the wonderful world of books.

Make it a challenge

Some kids love a challenge or a competition. Start a reading challenge at home that links to rewards or pocket money. Children could earn points towards a reward for each word, page or book that they read, depending upon their age and learning stage. Have a family leader board tracking which family member reads the most books, or set a goal for a number of books to be read. You could even get involved in reading events, such as the MS Read-a-thon. A little positive motivation can often go a long way.

Don’t use negative pressure

Children who don’t like reading usually avoid it because they find it difficult, and it makes them feel bad about their abilities. Boost children’s confidence through encouragement and praise their efforts and achievements. Acknowledge that reading is difficult, and that you can see their struggles. Explain that reading will get easier with practice, and that everyone becomes a good reader at different ages. Draw their attention to new things that they have learned and celebrate their successes. Show them that you are there to support them and help them to improve, not to chastise them for struggling. Be your child’s cheering squad on the road to independent reading.

Create special moments

Kids who do not like reading often feel this way due to negative experiences struggling with books. Try to create a positive reading experience by making time for special moments to read to your child. Spending a few minutes cuddled up with your child, and a book is not only enjoyable; it creates a special, bonding experiences and cultivates a positive perception of reading. Reading to your child daily is also an important part of teaching your child to read and use language. Children who are read to daily are proven to have a larger vocabulary and a better understanding of language. They also tend to develop literacy skills more easily than those who are not read to.

I hope that these tips help you to convince your child that reading can be fun. Become a member to access our daily activities.

Help! My child is struggling in school

As we approach the middle of Term 1, now is the perfect time to put an action plan in place to deal with any struggles that your child may be experiencing at school. Your action plan should ensure that your child receives the support needed, inside and outside of school, in order to have a positive, productive and happy school year.

What you can do

  • Help with homework
  • Meet with the teacher
  • Seek specialist information
  • Work with your child

Help with homework

Helping your child with homework gives you the perfect opportunity to assess how your child is coping with schoolwork. If you notice that your child finds homework, such as reading, difficult, it is a good indication that some difficulties may be being experienced in the classroom. If you feel that your child is struggling, seek the teacher’s advice immediately. The sooner an action plan can be put in place, the better.

Meet the teacher

Your first point of help will be your child’s teacher. In many cases, teachers may request a meeting with you before you realise that your child is experiencing some difficulties. When meeting with your child’s teacher, discuss specific skills that your child is struggling to grasp and ways in which you can help to develop those skills.

The teacher may suggest that your child work on an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This simply means that throughout the term, your child will be focusing on developing a few specific skills that are essential to their progress. An IEP is an excellent way of working towards your child’s individual goals.

If the services are available, the teacher may also suggest meeting with other in school experts, such as a school psychologist. This is a perfect opportunity to screen for specific learning challenges such as dyslexia, visual and auditory processing disorders, attention deficit disorder and more. The information gained from these specialists can be crucial in developing a successful action plan for your child.

Seek specialist information

If your child’s school is unable to offer access to in school specialists, seek professional advice independently after discussing potential issues with the teacher. Your family doctor will be the best place to start.

After meeting with school specialists, or your family doctor, you may be referred to a more specific specialist such as an optometrist. Even if you disagree with the initial suggestion, it is worthwhile exploring every possibility in order to identify or eliminate causes of your child’s struggles. The roots of many learning issues are tricky to pinpoint but once correctly diagnosed can be easily addressed.

Work with your child

After identifying the learning issues affecting your child’s progress, start working with your child at home to develop their areas of weakness. Your child’s teacher, and any specialists whom are working with your child, will be able to offer you some suggestions.

Working with your child at home will help to develop skills and confidence. Look for programs to use at home that focus on building early literacy skills in conjunction with memory, concentration and processing skills. Programs such as those offered by Little Learning Planet are designed to effectively teach early literacy skills as well as essential cognitive skills. The programs are based on practices currently used in exemplary schools and support different learning styles and abilities. Members of Little Learning Planet also have access to a teacher for extra guidance.

Get started

It can feel quite overwhelming when your child is experiencing difficulties at school. However, by tackling the issues quickly, and supporting your child at home, you can proactively help your child to overcome their learning issues and find success at school. Get started now by talking to your child’s teacher and engaging your child in fun learning experiences at home. Above all, build your child’s confidence by encouraging and praising their efforts and helping to make learning achievable and fun.

Reducing your child’s anxiety on the first day of school

The first day of school is an exciting and happy time. However, many children and parents experience anxiety on the lead up to the big day and on the morning itself.

Whether it’s the very first day of school, or the first day at a new school, here are 10 tips for making children’s first day at school, a happy, memorable and anxiety free experience.

1. Do a Dry Run

A few days before the first day of school, take a drive or a walk to school. Have a look around with your child and locate the classroom. Teachers are usually at school during the week before school starts, so you may even be able to introduce yourself and your child to the teacher.

2. Stock Up

Before the first day, take the time to make sure that you have everything on your child’s booklist. On the first day of school your child may need pencils, books, an art shirt or even sports clothes. Making sure that your child arrives with their full booklist will avoid any anxiety resulting from not having everything they need.

3. Label Everything

Pencils, hats and everything else that chidren takes to school can easily be misplaced which causes upset. Labeling belongings including hats, bags and uniforms will help to identify any belongings that get mixed up or misplaced.

4. Be Prepared

The night before schoo beginsl, have everything, including clothes, bags, recess and lunch, packed up and laid out ready for the morning. You could even plan exactly what you are going to make for breakfast. Having everything prepared the night before means that you can have a relaxing, hassle-free morning before leaving for school.

5. Make it a Celebration

Make the morning of the first day of school a joyous time. Enjoy a special breakfast, take a special photo and plan a celebratory afternoon tea or dinner where your child can tell loved ones all about their first day. Keep it positive! If your child feels your anxiety or concern they will worry too.

6. Be Clear

Explain exactly what is going to happen on the first day. Tell children what time you will drop them off and what time you will pick them up. Explain how the school day works including playing with other children, having a recess break and a lunch break and learning some new things. Knowing what the schedule will be helps to remove fear of the unknown.

7. Don’t Get Upset

As emotional as this day can be for parents it is important that your child does not see you get upset, as this will only cause them distress. Enlist another family member as a distraction and a cheerleader if you feel that you are going to find it difficult to control your emotions. It is important to add excitement and happiness to the morning, not apprehension or dread.

8. Leave Quickly

This sounds difficult but it is the best thing to do. No matter how upbeat and prepared you have been most children are likely to feel some anxiety. The longer you hang around, the more difficult it will be when you do leave. Take your child to their classroom, get them settled in 5 minutes or less, wish them well for the day and remind them that you will be back soon and then leave with a smile.

P.S. Don’t stand outside the window peeping in and thinking they can’t see you. They nearly always do.

9. Save Introductions

If you have not met with your child’s teacher before the first day of school you will be eager to do so. On the first morning your child’s teacher will be extremely busy meeting the children and organizing name tags, seats and belongings, as well as managing children’s and parents anxiety. Introduce yourself briefly and let the teacher know that you will arrange a time to speak to them later to introduce yourself properly and discuss anything that you feel you need to. If there is something important that you need to tell the teacher, such as who will be collecting your child, write it in a note and give to them when you briefly introduce yourself. This helps to leave the teacher free to tend to the children’s needs on their first morning and also ensures that the teacher has all of the information that they need for the first day.

10. Don’t Worry

If your child does get a little emotional try not to worry. After reassuring your child that you will be back soon, leave. This sounds difficult but as a teacher I can honestly tell you that I have never seen tears last for longer than 5 or 10 minutes. Within no time, a child that was sobbing for their parents will be happily engaged in an activity with other children and smiling. If for any reason your child does not settle down within 10 minutes or so, the school will most likely call you. If you are worried you can visit the school office before you leave and ask them to give you a call in 10 minutes to let you know if your child has settled. The teachers and administration staff at your child’s school are there because they care about children’s well-being. They wouldn’t want your child to be distressed either, so try to relax!

By working towards creating an anxiety free first day you will help your child and yourself to adjust to school life more easily. At the end of the day you will be greeted by the smiling face of your little one, excited to tell you about what they have done on their first day! Celebrate this milestone and congratulate them on how clever they are to now be going to school. Congratulate yourself as well for preparing your child to embark on their next, exciting learning adventure.

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