Monday, November 30, 2009

Toddler Milestones:Qiqi is Dressing Herself

Freedom and independence are big parts of growing up. And as your little one grows from a dependent baby into a confident toddler who's ready to take on the world, she will want as much control over life as she can possibly get. So naturally, by the time your child is 2 1/2 to 3 years old, she will start to express the desire to dress herself. And this is a big step toward your child's independence.

You may also find yourself having to chase your toddler to get her dressed, sometimes because she thinks it’s great fun and other times because she is too distracted or busy to stand still. How you react will probably depend on your mood (and it’s not easy to be patient when you’re running late), but getting angry doesn’t help. Try joining in the game and moving it in the direction you want – that is, towards getting the clothes on.She may refuse to wear certain things because she doesn’t like the colour or the fabric or just because… As long as she’s not going to freeze, let her wear what she wants.

Watching your toddler grow independent and learn to dress herself is as rewarding as it is challenging. When you use these strategies for guiding your child through getting dressed, you can help her learn this important skill without losing your patience.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun Ways to Get Young Children to Eat Healthier

Parents and caregivers have the sole responsibility to introduce healthy food choices to young children. Children learn from the meals you offer, the way you serve food, the way you shop, and the examples you set. They develop habits early that, once learned, can last a lifetime, so it's never too early to make a change. It's important to take every opportunity to promote a healthy active lifestyle. Try these ten creative ways to get young children to eat healthier.

1. Prepare Healthy Meals Together

Engaging children in the preparation of kid-friendly healthy dishes is so fun and so very messy, but children are more likely to eat something that they have helped to prepare. So, bring out those bowls, spoons and cups. While kids are helping, it is a good time to introduce portions, simple fractions and units of measure.

When you are finished preparing, show children how to set the table. Don't forget to dine together. Children who eat meals with their families tend to have better diets, not just because meals are planned, but because of the positive examples that are set at the table

2. Get Creative

Make silly food faces out of fresh fruit and vegetable slices, and come up with amusing, silly names for the healthy foods you prepare. Celery and raisins become "ants on a log," peanut butter and pretzels can be "mud on a stick," and spaghetti with tomato sauce can turn into "wiggly worms."

The golden word is "distraction." The apple wedge is a boat, and their mouth is a river. Peas are a food made out of green. You can become a consummate actor or a verbal Picasso to get them to taste something new.

3. Pack Snacks Together

Children can also benefit from packing snacks for the day, or packing for a picnic. When planning a long-term getaway, encourage them to help with bagging individual portions of fruits, chilled veggies, cheese sticks, crackers, trail mix, water, 100% juice boxes, and other good choices. These are the images they will carry with them throughout their day.

4. Take Children Shopping

Young kids love to play grown-up. On a real excursion to the grocery store, allow the children to pick a new fruit or vegetable to try at home. Let them weigh their choice, bag it, and put it on the conveyor belt. Once home, let them help you present it to the family. Try to avoid flying through each aisle like a secret agent on a mission. Slow down and turn shopping into a learning experience.

** Children were preparing their simple breakfast last morning.They were enjoying it so much ^^

more useful information:

Maslow and Montessori: Education of the Human Potential

[The child] learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love. ~Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Abraham Maslow developed a humanistic approach to psychology in the early 1940’s. Rather than focusing on behavior as a result of stimuli and reinforcement or the psychoanalytical idea of unconscious instinct, Maslow focused on the capability of humans to reach their fullest potential. Rather than looking and trying to make sense of the dysfunctional brain, he searched for what it was that made humans exceptional. In a sense, he looked at what it was to be human.

Maslow created a set of hierarchical needs that best describe the growth of the human psyche. By analyzing the environment, he synthesized that given the right environment, humans will develop to their fullest potential, that of self-actualization. If the environment is not right, therein lies the potential for damage to the human spirit.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is usually portrayed as a pyramid, with the most basic needs providing the supporting foundation. He theorized that if these basic needs were not met the higher needs, such as loving others, contributing to society, and expressing unique talents, could not be actualized.

Maslow’s Hierarchy in the Montessori Environment

Educational humanism is a philosophy which believes that developing the human intellect is what makes humans stand apart from the rest of the animal world. Humanists, such as Maslow and Montessori, believe it is necessary to study and develop the whole person over the course of his or her lifetime. Teacher candidates in traditional training programs are often asked to look at how their classrooms and lessons are addressing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The same can be done in the Montessori environment.

* Physiological – A Montessori environment is full of movement. Children are free to move about the classroom at will. In addition, the activities of Practical Life provide the opportunities to develop both gross and fine motor movement.
* Safety – The Montessori Environment is prepared with the child in mind. The classroom and materials are beautiful, simple in design, accessible to all children, and kept in a tidy, precise order. The Montessori environment is organized which allows the child to feel safe and secure, knowing his or her world is in order.
* Belonging – There is a sense of mutual respect in the Montessori environment. Children learn to develop friendship through the lessons in Grace and Courtesy by being helpful and kind to others.
* Esteem – Success builds self-esteem. The materials and lessons in the Montessori environment are self-correcting with a built in control of error. This allows the child to immediately see mistakes and learn from them rather on relying on others to point out his faults.
* Self-Actualization – Montessori said “No one can be free unless he is independent.” (The Absorbent Mind). By helping a child to develop independence and autonomy, the Montessori teacher is helping the child reach self-actualization or his full potential as a fully functioning member of society.

The Role of Education

Maslow and Montessori both felt that traditional education systems had the potential to be more of a hindrance than a help to development. Both recognized that children are to be respected as fellow human beings. Indeed, Maslow’s ideas on educating children coincide with Montessori’s own philosophy. He believed that education should help children:

* Be authentic.
* Transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens.
* Find their vocation and right mate.
* Know that life is precious.
* Be good and joyous in all kinds of situations.
* Learn from their inner nature.
* See that basic needs are satisfied.
* Refresh their consciousness; appreciate beauty and other good things in life.
* Understand that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad.
* Transcend trifling problems.
* Grapple with serious problems such as injustice, pain suffering and death.
* Be given practice in making choices.

~Abraham Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation (1943).

Is your Montessori environment meeting the needs of all your children? Observe closely and ask yourself how you are addressing Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs within your Montessori environment and what you could add to make sure you are reaching and following all in your care.

The word education must not be understood in the sense of teaching but of assisting the psychological development of the child. ~Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method

NAMC’s Upper Elementary Health Sciences manual contains further related information and activities.

North American Montessori Center:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Habits Training

Beyond learning the academics, I am now working on building good habits into the two kids. One of which is for Seng to clean our dinner dishes and Hui is helping mummy do house chores.Now that they'd old enough to do a neater job.

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children." ~ Charlotte Mason

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Letter Of The Week ! C c

Caterpillar C !

There are so many children’s books with caterpillars in them that they are very familiar to most young kids. One of our favorite picture book is < The Very Hungry Caterpillar > by Eric Carl

1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of different color construction paper, color papers paint, a marker, glue, a pipe cleaner, and scissors.

2. Draw a big C with your marker on one piece of construction paper.

3. Have your child cut the slices

4. Add as many glue lines as you have paper slices.

5. Draw the eyes and mouth. Let dry.

7. Add the pipe cleaner by poking two small holes and threading it through.