Thursday, February 24, 2011

Block Play Constructs a Math Mind (ages 2-4)

Here is an interesting article on how playing with blocks develops math skills. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Block Play Constructs a Math Mind (ages 2-4)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tips To Stop Your Preschooler From Interrupting

How to Stop Your Preschooler From Interrupting

Tips To Stop Your Preschooler From Interrupting

Ask a parent what tries patience most in raising a preschooler and you'll find that being constantly interrupted tops the list. With a preschooler in the house, it's very difficult to have an adult conversation, talk on the phone, or even do a simple task like paying the bills without being interrupted.

But your child is not trying to annoy you or be rude. According to neuroscientist Lise Eliot, Ph.D., author of "What's Going on in There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life," young children have very immature frontal lobes (and actually resemble adults with frontal-lobe brain damage!), which is the slowest part of a child's brain to develop.

This means that physiologically preschoolers have a poor understanding of time, a very short attention span, and a lack of self-control. Unlike adults, their short-term memory is underdeveloped and they might not be capable of holding onto a thought while waiting for an adult to finish what he is doing.

Does this mean you should allow a preschooler to interrupt? No. But it should help to know that as their frontal lobes develop and they gain social experience and maturity, children will interrupt much less frequently.

Tips to Get a Word in Edgewise

  • It's Mommy's Turn: When your child starts to interrupt, stop him and say: "It's Mommy's turn to talk now. Then it will be your turn." While it's hard for preschoolers to understand interrupting, they're usually pretty good at turn taking and this technique will get them to let you finish your thought.
  • Ignore the Interruption: For example, if someone asks you for directions and your child starts screaming from his car seat, trying to interrupt you, simply ignore it. The less attention he gets for interrupting, the less likely it is he'll do it.
  • Plan Ahead: If you know you need a certain amount of time to make a phone call or balance the check book, give your preschooler an activity that will take the same amount of time. Have him listen to a book on tape, or do an easy craft project (one that doesn't need adult help) so you can have your 15 minutes of uninterrupted peace.
  • Catch Him Doing Something Right: When your child waits patiently without interrupting, be sure to notice and praise him for it! We all like to be caught acting good.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The Burlington Integrated Preschool will be closed for the week for winter break. We wish you all a safe and relaxing break.

While the students are not in session the preschool will be receiving a makeover. The hallways will be getting a fresh coat of paint. A big thank you to LeighAnn Shaw from the Safari Scouts for taking on the project of trying to find a new color. It was a huge task to take on and after trying to decide on several different colors, we decided to stick with a beige. We are excited for our makeover and can't wait to come back to freshly painted walls.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

PAC Meeting

Dear PAC Members,

Our next PAC meeting will be held on Wednesday March 2, 2011 at 7:00 P.M. in the school committee room at Burlington High School.

The topic being discussed is as follows: Understanding My Child’s Learning Style: The different ways people take in and generate information can greatly affect how and whether they succeed in school and in life. This workshop will delve into different learning styles and show how they can be understood and harnessed to achieve success in many different environments, including the classroom. This seminar will be presented by Melinda Parry from the Federation for Children with Special Needs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Five Simple Listening Games
This post was written by Christie Burnett.

Learning to listen attentively is important for both social interaction and academic success. Looking for opportunities to play simple listening games with your child will help to more finely attune their listening skills and develop auditory discrimination skills. Here are five simple games to play with your child;

1. Playing with Loud and Soft: Experiment with a drum or pot and spoon, first making loud sounds and then very quiet ones. Get progressively louder, then quiet again. Repeat with stamping feet on the floor and clapping hands.

2. What sound is that? Collect four or five different sounds (for example, paper to tear, a bell or maraca, two blocks to hit together, a spoon and mug to stir with, a pair of scissors). Make a sound with one object out of view of your child (under the table or behind a small box) and ask your child to guess what they just heard.

3. Playing around with rhyming words: Children love to listen to silly nursery rhymes which you can make by altering the rhyming words of familiar nursery rhymes. For example,

“Twinkle twinkle little bat,
How I wonder where you’re at”


“Baa baa black sheep
Have you any eggs?
No sir, no sir,
But I have some pegs.”

Younger children love ‘spotting’ the funny rhymes whilst older children (4 years+) will enjoy making the rhymes with you.

4. Where’s that sound? Choose one sound which is familiar to your child (for example, a drum or maraca), place a blindfold on your child and move around the room and make the sound, asking your child to point to where they hear the sound. Then let your child have a turn making the noise whilst you are blindfolded.

5. Matching rhyming words: An activity best suited to children aged 4 and up, collect a variety of toys and small objects which rhyme. For example, toy cat and a hat, a block and a sock, a toy frog and dog, a toy car and a small star, a toy train and plane. Present two pairs at a time and ask your child to match the ones which rhyme. Once they are familiar with the game, present three items (a rhyming pair and one other item) and ask them to find the one which doesn’t rhyme.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friendly Frogs

The Friendly Frogs have settled nicely into their new classroom space. Thank you to Andrea, Pat, Diane and Megan for all of their hard work to get the room set up and organzied.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Benefits of Play

By. Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert

12 Scientific Benefits of Play

We’ve always known that “kids and play” are just a natural combo. But new research also shows that letting kids engage in self-directed play has immense value for their social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth. Here are just a few of the proven scientific benefits of letting our kids get messy and doing something besides clicking those darn keypads and video controllers and paper and pencil tasks:

1. Play boosts children’s creativity and imagination. Play gives children the chance to invent, build, expand, explore and develop a whole different part of the brain.

2. Play stretches our children’s attention span. Playing outdoors just 30 minutes a day increases child’s ability to focus and pay attention.

3. Play and rough-housing boost boys’ problem solving abilities. The more elementary school-boys engaged in rough-housing, the better they scored on a test of social problem solving. (Don’t ya love that one!)

4. Play boosts self-confidence and self-regulation. Kids learn to become masters of their own destiny without an adult directing, pushing, managing or scheduling.

5. Play forges friendships, strengthens social competence and teaches social skills. Undirected play allows kids to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, communicate and develop core social skills they need not only now but for the rest of their lives.

6. Play helps kids learn to enjoy just being in their own company, entertain themselves and develop identity. Ease that guilt when your kid says, “I’m bored, Mom!”

7. Play reduces children’s anxiety and diminishes stress. A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry shows that play is also critical for our children’s emotional health because it helps kids work through anxiety and reduce stress.

8. Play creates joyful memories of childhood. Come on, no kid is going to remember the car pools and worksheets but the swings, jumping in leaves, playing leapfrog in the mud, blowing bubbles, building forts–those are the unforgettable childhood moments. Sigh!

9. Play boosts physical health and reduces risk of obesity. Henry Joseph Legere, MD, author ofRaising Healthy Eaters points out: “Rises in screen time have led to the rise of a sedentary lifestyle for our children. In 1982, the childhood obesity prevalence in the United States was actually less than 4 percent. By 2004, that number had grown to about 30 percent.”

10. Play expands our kids minds and neurological development. Self-initiated play improve skills such as guessing, figuring, interpreting and is important to brain development and learning

11. Play builds new competencies, leadership skills, teaches lifelong hobbies, and develops resilience. “Play is what allows kids to manipulate their environment,” says a report written by Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D. of the AAP, “And how you manipulate your environment is about how you begin to take control, how you begin to develop your senses, how you view the world.”

12. Play nurtures the parent-child bond. Child-driven play also improves our parent-kid relationship.Play offers a wonderful opportunity for parents to see the world from our children’s eyes as well as strengthen our relationship when we join in.

In fact, playing with our kids is one of the few times when clocks stop and stress fades. There’s no judgments, schedules or time constraints that worry us. It’s just a glorious opportunity to give our kids our full presence, be in their space and enjoy each other’s company, and build those wonderful childhood memories. Keep in mind folks, there’s no rewind button when it comes to childhood!

So parents, why not just this week push pause and tune into your kids’ schedule? I dare you: take a Reality Check and see just how how unstructured, unsupervised time your kid has. While you’re at it, here are a few questions to help you assess if play should be added to the “Endangered Species List” at your home.

Reality Check: Could Your Kids Be ‘Play Deprived’?

How much are your kids plugged into some kind of a digital device?

How often are your kids glued to that TV or clicking that keypad?

How much free time do your kids have that is unscheduled, unplanned, unsupervised?

How often do your kids go outdoors to just recompress?

Do your kids know how to entertain themselves solo an adult, coach, teacher, or you whether it be indoors or out?

Do your kids enjoy the great outdoors?

How often (if ever) do your kids see you throwing off your shoes and joining in the unplanned, spontaneous fun with them?

Do your kids know outdoor age-appropriate games and have the equipment for those activities whether it be hopscotch, jump rope, Red Rover, I Spy, basketball, freeze-tag, kick the can, skateboarding?

Do your kids know how to self-entertain and do activities that would nurture their creativity or imagination on a regular basis?

Do you set a rule that when friends come to the house a minimum or no plugged-in devices are allowed?

Would your kid say that you encourage them to play unstructured?

How do you respond when your kids get messy? (Just asking…but remember letting your kids get messy every now and then is actually a great way to teach them that nobody’s perfect, accidents do happen, and teaches them to enjoy themselves and their own company).

Let’s remember: Play is an essential — not a luxury – for our children’s well-being. Thirty years of solid child development research confirms that play is crucial for our children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive growth. So check into your kids’ lives and make sure at least a bit of “free time” is a part of their waking hours.

What do you think? Are our kids becoming play-deprived? And if they are, what do you see as the disadvantages?

Dr. Michele Borba, Parenting Expert. You can also refer to my daily blog, Dr. Borba’s Reality Check for ongoing parenting solutions and late-breaking news and research about child development.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wednesday February 2, 2011

School will be closed on Wednesday February 2nd, due to snow.