Every moments that I spend with my children is a blessing from Allah. Inshaa Allah I will try to stick around as long as I could through out their childhood, loving and guiding them all along the way. Hopefully they will remember me, their only mother, when they lead their own life.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Children's Renegade Rights

A child has :
  • A right to unstructured free play.
  • A right to choose her own playmates.
  • A right to use props and choose his own play themes.
  • A right to uninterrupted play during playtime.
  • A right to feel safe.
  • A right not to have objects taken from her (forced sharing).
  • A right to move and use his body vigorously.
  • A right to be outside.
  • A right experience and express full range of her emotions.
  • A right to ask questions and know things.
  • A right to stand up for his own rights by setting limits on others' behavior.
  • A right to be listened to, to be respected, and to have her rights consistently supported by adults.
  • A right to grow at his own unique pace, following the natural course of child development.
But the must and most important rule need to be applied, that is : It's OK if it's not hurting people (physically and emotionally) and property.

And of course, rights and limits go hand in hand. It is also important for parents to set appropriate limits.

From the book : It's OK Not To Share.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Measurable Parameter to Profile Child Development

2 to 3 years
  • opens and closes doors
  • runs well
  • enjoys climbing
  • walks down stairs one step at a time
  • stacks objects higher (i.e 6 or more)
  • uses a crayon to make circular scribble
  • can fold paper when shown how to do it
  • helps dress and undress self
  • puts 2 or more words together when speaking
  • listens to stories with pictures
  • can jump from a higher to a lower level
  • participates in active games
  • helps put toys away
  • knows full name
  • knows own sex
  • knows own age
  • imitates actions and sounds
  • can balance briefly on one foot
  • understands simple concepts (up/down, hot/cold, big/little, open/close)
  • engages in quiet games (sorting/matching)

3 to 4 years

  • goes up and down stairs alternating feet
  • attempts to copy drawn shapes; circle, square, triangle, rectangle and oval
  • counts 1 to 4 similar objects
  • puts on and takes off own shoes
  • repeats at least three numbers in sequence
  • recalls a simple story or experience
  • plays simple games as an individual beside other children
  • unbuttons own clothes
  • rides a tricycle (demonstrates coordination)
  • speaks in short sentences
  • engages in role playing (pretending)
  • gallops
  • cuts with some skill
  • identifies most of the basic 8 colors
  • problem solves (sink/float, nuts/bolts, puzzles)
  • identifies shapes - circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval
  • identifies some letters of the alphabet
  • balances and walks on a narrow board
  • complete simple, independent tasks
  • hops forward on one foot with some skill

Scoring :

- If 10 or fewer parameters are recorded, development is delayed.
- If 11 to 15 parameters are recorded, development is slightly delayed.
- If 16 to 20 parameters are recorded, development is satisfactory.

from the book 'Slow and Steady Get Me Ready'.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Boosting Your Baby's Development

Parents, teachers, siblings, and even other children all help the young children learn about the world. Vygotsky introduced a term that is very popular today : the zone of proximal development, or the ZPD, for short. He recognized that there is a range, or zone, of tasks that the child cannot yet handle alone but can accomplish with the help of more skilled partners. And this, of course, is where parents and caregivers come in. Consider the following scenario.

Three year old Matthew is on a rug in the kitchen working on a puzzle. But he is getting very frustrated. He just can't get the wooden pieces to slide in easily. Usually he's very good at puzzles, but he refused to have a nap today and is a bit short on patience. His mother, making dinner, watches him for a bit out of the corner of her eye, and when she thinks he's tried on his own long enough, she sits down on the rug with him. Without saying a word, she turns the puzzle frame in a way that matches his puzzle piece. Voila! He gets the piece in and she says, "Wow, Matthew, you are really good at these puzzles!" They go through this little routine seven or eight more times until the puzzle is complete. Matthew looks very pleased with himself and goes on to something else, as does his mother.

The ZPD might be translated as the "zone of near development", development just outside one's own expertise when working alone. The ZPD captures the difference between what we can do alone and what we can do someone's help. What Matthew could do alone was one thing. But what Matthew could do with a little help was something else again... Vygotsky argued that this is just how cognitive development works : Children develop the leading edge of their competence in interactions with others. We can help children to go that extra step, to progress just a little bit beyond where they are today. How do we do this? Another world-renowned psychologist gave it a name : scaffolding. Professor Jerome Bruner of New York University said that this concept of scaffolding invites parents to be participants in rather than spectators of their children's development.

Discovering Hidden Skill : Scaffolding 

This time, you're going to observe a "hidden skill" that adults, rather than children' possess. Because it may difficult to interact with your child and watch yourself in a detached, scientific way at the same time, ask another parent or adult to interact with your child as you observe. You are watching for ways in which the adult scaffolds a task for your child. Ideally, your child should be 3 years old or less. Have the adult give your child a new toy - something that requires manipulation and is a bit beyond your child's skill level. Sit back and observe the ZPD in action as the other adult goes out of her way to make the play session a success for your child. Watch how the adult manipulates the object and sets up the situation so that your child can do things with the toy. We might call these "motor hints" - things that adult does to help your child use her body to make the toy work. These include things like re-positioning the toy, shaping a child's hand, pushing something closer to the child, holding the toy so that it's easier to manipulate for little hands and so on. Also watch for "language hints" - things the adult says to tip off the child about what to try to make the toy work. Watch for encouragement and exhortions, things like "That's right! You can do it! Press a little harder." All of these adult behaviors constitute scaffolding. Adults go out of their way to make children feel and look smart by helping them (a bit) to complete the tasks that children set for themselves.

It's important to note that the ZPD works best when it is the child, not the adult, who decides what "work" need to be done. The parent or caregiver needs to follow the child's lead, letting the child determine which particular goal she wishes to fulfill. Parents are often amazed at how long their young child's attention span can be. The circumstances when this occurs are exactly those times when the child is pushing to get something done, not just following the adult's lead.

Zone of Near Development

Di sini saya taipkan semula antara rumusan daripada buku 'Einstein Never Used Flash Cards' dari bab 'The Quest to Define Intelligence'.

Work within your child's zone of development.

Remember that your child learn best when they're encouraged to move just slightly beyond what's already comfortable for them. Most likely you're already doing some of the following steps at least some of the time with your child, but describing them can help you appreciate how important your role is.

  • Follow your child's interest. Don't try to make your child do a task you assign, but instead figure out what the child wants to do. Let her set up the problem she wants to work on, whether it's putting shapes into matching holes or finishing a puzzle.

  • Reduce The number of steps your child has to go through to achieve the goal she has set for herself. For example, if your child wants to put shapes into a box with holes that match the shapes (a toy many of us have) but can't stabilize the box and put the shape through the hole at the same time, you stabilize the box. If your child needs to open a door and press something to make an event occur but she can't open a door, you open the door to allow the child to do the next step.
  • when your child gets frustrated, encourage her to stick with the task (note : encourage not force!). Don't try to make her stick with it; try to motivate her by saying things like "We can do it together!" or "Let me help you." Frustration is often a sign that the child can't figure out what to do next. If necessary, go back to previous step : Break the task up to small steps.
  • Demonstrate : Flagging motivation often indicates a good time to show your child how the task is done. As you demonstr, continue to encourage your child with language such as "See? The ball went into the box! Now you do it!" Demonstrations are very helpful since we all learn from imitating others.
  • Talk about the difference between what your child did and what need to be done. By describing the child's actions, you help him understand why A doesn't work, but B will. For example, you can say something like "It doesn't work when yo force it, but it might work if you put it gently." By calling attention to the differences, you are teaching him alternative means to an end. 
  • Make connections for your child to things she does know how to do. Effective teachers for people of all ages help the learner to link what they are learning to things they already know. Say things like "This is like the toy you played with at Andrea's house. Remember? This one works almost the same way!" This helps the child bring knowledge she already has to bear on the new task she has set for herself.
Stress effort, not achievement.

Your children will miss 100 percent of the shots they don't take. If we're critical and fact-driven, we're teaching our children not to take those shots. what we need to teach them more than anything is that it's okay not to be perfect., that we make mistakes, too, and that we love for their effort. In contrast, an intense emphasis on early learning teaches them not to think outside the box. Yet this is just the opposite of what develops an intelligent person. We should be teaching our children to think creatively, to recognize that the walls of the box are only made of cardboard. 

Have you heard the old saw about genius being 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration? sometimes the old saw are true. One of the differences between people who achieve and people who don't is motivation. Professor Carol Dweck of Columbia University has made her life's work from understanding what motivates children to learn. When recently asked whether IQ was a reliable measure of children's real abilities and potential, she responded, "IQ test can measure current skill, but nothing can measure someone's potential....Research on creative geniuses shows that many of them seemed like fairly ordinary. Yet at some point, they become obsessed with something and pursued it avidly over a long period of time...Many of these contributions could not have been predicted by IQ scores."

So how can we create children who love to learn? Children start out that way -as Piaget has made so crystal clear. They are like little sponges. To keep them that way- to avoid drying up their curiosity- we need to be encouraging, not critical. We need to praise the strategies they use to solve a problem, rather than their intelligence. This implicitly says to children that with the right approach, they can do most anything. In this way, we free our children from the anxiety of disappointing us ("If I try something new and fail," they may otherwise reason, "my mom will no longer think I'm so smart,") and enable them to focus on persevering in challenging circumstances. The result is a mastery-oriented child, a child who doesn't give up when faced with a difficult task but instead embraces and enjoys the challenge.

Read also : Boosting Your Baby's Development

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February 12

We did a few activities on numeracy and science. For numeracy, i made the clip counting activity. The idea is from the book 'Playful Learning'.

Clip counting offers a tactile experience that is hard for young children to resist (It is true because as soon as Abdullah saw those clips on his table, he said that he wanted to play with it :) ). By leaving the materials out on a table or shelf, children, who are naturally curious, will want to engage with the project.. This experience is great for developing number recognition, one-to-one correspondence, and knowledge of chronological order. Taking on and off the small clips is also wonderful for strengthening fine motor skills.

All you need for this activity is a set of number cards from 0-9, small wooden or plasctic clips and a number line (it helps with the chronological order).

Later in the afternoon, we made a science project. He discovered things that float and things that sink. I made a chart and gathered a few common items around the house.

I asked him to guess first, it's like making a hypothesis. And so, he came up with a conclusion that heavy things will sink and the light things will float.

While Abdullah was doing school, Umamah was flipping some books! :)

In the evening we strolled around the lake of Putrajaya. There was a swimming pool there in the club. Abdullah was so upset with the fact that we didn't bring some extra clothes!

Alhamdulillah for a wonderful day.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Apple Tree

Abdullah painted an apple tree yesterday. You can try this with your child. It's so easy and kids will love this!

Make the tree trunk using the arm.

Then, make the leaves with the palm, all above the trunk.

Woo hooo...

Get a half-cut apple or whatever that is similar, and paint it red. Let your child stamp it on top of the 'leaves'.

And voila, there you go.. it's an apple tree :)