Reading aloud to your toddler or preschooler can give them many advantages; expanding their vocabulary, insight on how to begin writing and reading themselves, knowledge of the world around them, and also empathy.
Children who are read to daily will quickly understand where to begin reading on a page, and learning that reading happens from left to right. This will also help them with their beginning writing.
As parents, you are speaking to your child each day, but by reading aloud to your child, you are enhancing their vocabulary as they are being exposed to new words they are not hearing on a daily basis.
A child’s concentration can also be affected positively by reading aloud each day. Their ability to sit and listen to a book for longer periods each time will help assist their concentration and working abilities in school
Reading to your child from an early age has many benefits that can be shown academically, socially, and emotionally. This is also a great winding down period for you and your child to bond at the end of each day.
Bilingual Kid Spot
Early childhood educators appreciate that growth and development happen in stages. Our job is to cultivate growth through understanding the behaviors that characterize each stage, and hold space for children to progress to further stages. At Children’s Garden Montessori, we recognize that just as a seed holds the potential to develop spontaneously into a plant, children too will blossom if they are provided with nourishment from their environment.
Creativity in young children also develops in stages. Rhoda Kellogg describes eight stages of growth in children’s creative work, progressing from scribbles to pictures that tell stories:
- Scribbles become shapes
- Shapes are combined with lines and outlines
- Outline shapes become designs
- Designs become symbols
- Symbols become pictures of humans, plants and animals
- Symbols are used to create pictures
- Pictures tell stories
Each stage of development is identified by certain characteristics, which describe the child’s needs at a given stage as well as their aptitude for fulfilling those needs. For our purposes today, we will focus on the first stage.
Typically observed in children ages two through five, scribbles are one of the earliest and most important spontaneous expressions of creativity. Scribbles are marks made at random for the sheer joy of doing, without premeditation or intent. Although scribbling seems chaotic and crude, it fulfills the child’s developing need to express themselves. If given the chance, children will often describe their scribbles with elaborate stories and language that the adult would not have perceived simply by looking at the seemingly random markings.
Just as in all other forms of development, a child can only progress to the next stage if their needs are recognized and nourished with experiences from their environment. If their needs are not nourished, they are neither able to progress nor able to return to fulfill that need. By allowing them to scribble at this time, they will gain the strength, skill and confidence to progress to the line and shape stage. And by encouraging and accepting their scribble work, they feel safe and supported to risk expressing themselves again as they continue to develop.
References and Further Reading
Let Out The Sunshine: A Montessori Approach to Creative Activities by Regina Reynolds Barnett
Psychology of Children’s Art by Rhoda Kellogg
Part of our day involves the preschool children doing their “work”. Maria Montessori called school activities work because she considered play to be the work of children.
One type of work in our classroom is practical life. This area is unique to Montessori and is always very popular with our preschoolers. The shelves have trays that hold various activities including tongs, tweezers, screwdrivers, nuts and bolts, spoons, buttons, snaps, a child size broom or mop, dust pan, clothes pins, and more. The children take the tray of work to a desk, do the work, and return the tray to the shelf when the job is completed. The children build their fine motor while learning to care for themselves and their classroom environment.
The reason practical life activities are so important is that they help children develop order, concentration, coordination, and independence. By developing these qualities, the children and the learning environment are calmer, and learning is easier. These are also prerequisite skills to learning other things, like math and reading. We love to see the concentration on their faces as the children work!
Building with the tree blocks.
Matching emotion pictures with Mrs. Bertsch.
Working with tools in the practical life area.
At group time today, we introduced “Mat Man” to the children. We built him using teamwork, and sang his catchy song. Mat Man is from the Handwriting Without Tears program. He teaches the children what the body parts are, and where to put them when drawing a picture of a person. The children may choose to do this activity during our work time.
We acted out the story of the first thanksgiving today. It starts with one person playing the mean king (James) who unfairly collects money from everyone. The pilgrims leave England and sail on a rocking boat for 66 days. They land, and meet the Native American Indians. Squanto helps them plant corn and hunt. They share a big feast after their first harvest.
Have your preschooler retell the story to you!
The cobra pose is a favorite! The children love our yoga corner.
A wonderful speller. We love the words he chooses to spell!