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Archive for the ‘movement’ Category

Good teaching is interactive!

Parents always worry about their children’s education. Some start thinking about what school their children should attend even before they are born. Although thinking about school early on is a great idea (we could explore that in another post!), parents sometimes forget that they are their child’s first teacher! That means that good education starts as soon as they are born.

One of the characteristics of a good teacher or good education in the classroom, is that education and good teaching is interactive. What does that mean? Well, variety is the spice of life and every good teacher knows that you have to use a variety of teaching and learning styles that appeal to the different learning strengths of the students. For example, schools are now using Interactive Whiteboards to make learning more interactive. The use of this tool helps the visual, kinesthetic and auditory learners to create memorable lessons that stick in their minds.

But how can parents apply this at home with their children?

When playing with your children or just talking about any topic, you could do some the following:

  • Question them, rather than lecture: When a child wants to know about something, ask them questions that will help them think about possibilities, rather than just give them the answer.
  • Use hands-on experience: Any opportunity that your child can experience and manipulate the learning, will get stuck better in their heads. Crafts, manipulatives, building materials, and science kits, are some examples of hands on experience.
  • Share knowledge and ideas: Brainstorm together. When your child is involve in a problem-solving situation, it helps them to think about and come up with solutions themselves, rather than being told what the solution is. This way they can absorb the lesson much better!

If you still have no clue what I mean, think about the show, Dora the Explorer. In this show, kids interact with the TV. Dora asks a question and she waits for the kids to answer. This is an example of interactive teaching for young children.

Do you have some ideas how you can make teaching more interactive at home? Please share!

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Barefoot is best!

Did you know that there are 200,000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet and toes? Have you ever told your children, they can’t go outside without shoes?

I remember my dad not letting me go outside without shoes, ever! It was a big deal to him. Actually, he didn’t even like it when we were barefoot INSIDE the house (which was always clean, thanks to my mom!). To this day I have no idea what he thought was so wrong about it. I guess i’ll call him and ask him.

However, podiatrists agree that barefoot is best for our feet. First of all, shoes do not follow the feet’s shape. We are squeezing our feet for hours in very uncomfortable shoes (I am guilty!), that leads to foot problems! Research shows that footwear can obstruct proper foot development (ouch!)

Here are a few reasons why barefoot is best for children (and adults too!):

* To feel and sense the world around them. This information helps them keep equilibrium.

* To stimulate the muscles of the feet and lower legs and help strengthen dozens of muscles and tendons as well as the joints around them including ankles, knees and hips.

* To reduce the risk for fungal infections (yuck!)

* To develop good posture.

* To improve children’s awareness of the things around them.

* To receive feedback from the ground making them look down less and making them be off balance and causes them to fall down less.

Now, when you go to the beach, or walk in the grass (making sure it’s safe first) or at home, take off your shoes!

So, go home, tell everyone in your family to take their shoes and socks off! Doesn’t it feel great?

Music and movement

Children and adults naturally move to the sound of music. From soothing music to relax to vigorous music to dance and have fun, we have a tendency to move our bodies when we hear music. The good news is that music helps children (and adults) develop and strengthen their muscles. Physical movement helps balance, coordination, self-esteem and body awareness and music makes us move in fun ways! Have you ever tried a Zumba class at the gym? or a Bellydancing class? Well, you probably had more fun doing that class than working out in the treadmill!

I recently discovered a new Wii game, about dancing. It’s so much fun AND you exercise and sweat a little (or a lot!). I think this “game” is a fun way to incorporate music and movement in your lives. However, not everybody is interested in buying expensive video games and you really don’t have to!

So, here are some ideas to incorporate music and movement in your daily activities!

clap: follow the beat of the song. This helps learn rhythm and it helps children practice the rhythm of  same-pace activities such as walking, cutting and bouncing!

play instruments: playing instruments helps develop fine motor skills. Shake those maracas!

use your body as instrument: stomp your feet, snap fingers, or click tongue. This helps children be aware of their bodies and fine tune their muscle movements.

dance, dance, dance: Have fun dancing following the rhythm of the music!

The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy music and exercise a little while having fun! So turn on the radio and move!

Are you ready to move? Let us know how it goes! I’m going to go dance with Michael Jackson! 😉 


Autumn is here!

My favorite season! Leaves are changing colors, some are already falling off the trees, the weather is changing and I am loving it! I happen to live in a place where I can see all of these changes.  Waking up and feel the cool breeze…hmmmm nothing like it! So, this is a great time to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. Children love exploring their surroundings. Why not make it a family event?

Here are some ideas of what to do with your children:

  • collect leaves – I know, i know, it was an obvious one. You can take a paper bag and collect a few (or alot!) of leaves. Then, classify them by color, shape, or any other creative way you can think of! Maybe even do some craft work with them after.

 

  • apple picking – Well, it is the season to do just that! Find out where to go apple picking and of course when you get home, bake some yummy apple pie! Everyone in the house can help with this.

 

  • pumpking picking/carving – Another season goodie! With pumpkins you can carve them in different shapes and use them to decorate the house, or you could also bake some yummy pumpking pie!

 

  • go out, hike, walk, enjoy the cool weather – Sometimes it’s just fun to walk with your family and talk about what you see around you. Who knows? maybe your neighbors will join you and it could be a neighborhood activity!

 

  • Rake the leaves into a huge pile and jump in – Well, maybe some parents  won’t like this idea, but you know what? sometimes we have to have a little fun too! Join your kids and jump in!

If you don’t live in a place where you see the seasons change or the leaves fall off the trees, what other outdoor activities can you do with your children this Fall? 

 

photo: iStock

How do kids learn? Part 3

So, for the last 2 learning styles… we are going to talk about musical (woohoo!) and bodily (?). Oh if you are reading this blog for the first time, the last 2 weeks we’ve been talking about the 7 different learning styles. Check How do kids (and we) learn Part 1 and Part 2 (if you are interested).
 
Musical: If your child is always walking around the house humming a tune, or always needs music to study by, then he/she is likely a musical learner. This type of learner is best at noticing details, pitches, and rhythms that escape the normal listener. They are excellent at keeping tune, and are adept at turning the abstract into concrete objects. These childern learn best through rhythm, melody, and music. When they need to learn something for school encourage them to write a song about the lesson (rap maybe?), or teach them a song. Encourage their natural love of music, and try to incorporate music into as many lessons as possible.
 
 
Bodily: This type of learner is always on the move. They are also called Kinesthetic learners. They constantly walk around, they have to touch everything, and they use body language to convey their feelings. They would rather play sports or do a craft than sit down and read a book. They need active education hands-on activities. As babies, kinesthetic learners are in constant motion, their movements are well coordinated, and they are anxious to crawl and walk as quickly as possible. In a classroom, kinesthetic learners can be fidgety. They’ll often be the first to volunteer to do something —anything—active. They want to do an experiment not watch it or read about it. Keep them moving. These are the learners who can do more than one thing at a time. Interdisciplinary lessons are very successful with these types of learners.
 
So, to summarize, the 7 learning styles are:
  1. linguistic
  2. interpersonal
  3. intrapersonal
  4. logical
  5. spatial
  6. musical
  7. bodily
 I think I am a combination of linguistic, interpersonal and musical. How about you?