1. Tell us more about yourself and what do you do.
I am a SAHM and is currently home-schooling my 29 months old daughter, Heidy.
2. Tell us more about your child.
Heidy is a chatty and adventurous girl who is also into reading, music and craft work. She loves little animals and the nature.
3. What would you say is your parenting style? What is your belief when it comes to helping a child learn?
My hubby and I are learning to be authoritative parents, as we believe in setting goals and rules that are realistic and attainable for Heidy. We believe kids learn through purposeful play and exploration and that every child develop and learn at different paces. That said, I will try to match her ability to her learning resources/activities so as not to overwhelm her. Both my hubby and I will remind ourselves to be good role models and use teachable moments to impart moral values to Heidy.
4. How kind of home learning activities do you plan/create for your child at home?
I normally tap on her areas of interest to teach a concept (eg. Using songs from ‘youtube’ and storybooks) I match what she learns from enrichment classes and reinforce it at home i.e. letter of the week. She is not keen in numeracy hence I have to think out of the box and ‘Preschool Resources’ is a great platform for ideas. Lately I used her favourite ‘toys’ and even food to teach counting. I also improvise a board book for some sensory play.
Our ‘mystery box’ and the chosen book- using Velcro to attach buttons to form every number in the book. After which Heidy will match a number sticker to that number.
Recognising numbers in various forms. This also gave her a chance to practise using fingers to count. Concrete animal counters are used and she is supposed to take an equivalent number of raisins to ‘feed’ them.
I also set up a permanent sand/water play area for her to improve her fine motor skills while engaging in sensory play. I use them for sharing general knowledge on farm/sea animals.
Sometimes I will eplace the motion sand/water with real, dried food/water beads and Heidy will be excited to play with them.
A lot of scooping, pouring and moulding and even ‘pegging’ are done here!
I am very grateful (and guilty!) as my parents are the ones imparting Chinese to Heidy. This is one major area that I need to work on as I tend to neglect the teaching of Chinese. They are very supportive and will read Chinese books to her. My mum speaks to her in Mandarin and sometime purposely mispronounce some English words so Heidy can correct her.
5. Do you face any challenges in keeping your child engaged during your home learning session and any methods you tried will prolong her span of attention?
Yes! I think Heidy’s attention span is rather short. Hence the actual learning time will be in the morning when she’s most alert. I will ensure the learning area (her play mat) is free from unnecessary distractions.
Recently, I prepacked manipulatives and put them in a ‘mystery box’ to capture her attention. This prevents her from messing/’destroying’ them and get distracted. Different bags contain different sets of learning resources for the day.
I will always display great enthusiasm throughout the learning process and lookout for tell-tale signs of boredom/disinterest. When it happens, I will start talking in a sing-song manner or use hand puppets (“Heidy, Elmo also want to know how to…”) to demonstrate what we were doing earlier. Sometimes I will quickly whip out a book related to the concept to retain her interest. Then, I will let her take the lead to showcase what she understood. Letting her explore the learning resources in her own ways normally keeps her at the activity longer.
6. How do you go picking books for your child? What is your favourite child author?
I normally let Heidy pick her own books from the library! Books with flaps, rhymes, her favourite characters (eg. Frozen) and more. I also chuck in books/magazines with real life photos and literature with a simple moral or look out for books recommended by the library or friends. I usually purchase books by her favourite authors (eg. Lucy Cousins and Julia Donaldson)
7. Share with us some of your child favorite books/ crafts.
We also include bedtime stories as a bonding routine.
These are her favourite craft work. They are done according to the theme/letter of the week. This was done for the letter ’K’.
After making her crown we read the story together and she started roleplaying the king spontaneously in her own words!
A counting octopus- We did this to let her practise using a scissors and glue stick. With assistance, she had to cut out the 8 tentacles and use stickers for pictorial representation of the various numbers. The rooster came from a ‘project box’ meant for toddlers (available from Amazon). I use it for the Chinese New Year theme. I love it because all the materials are provided and this saves me a lot of time! She decorated the rooster creatively all by herself.
Other craftwork materials I used (eg. buttons/label stickers/eyes/glitter glues/number stickers/zig zag scissors) are easily available from Daiso. More useful materials spotted are pom poms, self-adhesive felt, ribbons, paints etc.
8. Please share with us some favourite activities that both of you like to do together.
We love painting, using sponge, dried leaves, cut fruits/veggies and even using body parts! We also enjoy doing sand/dough art.
‘Play Doh’ and cooking set are her favourite toys. We love reading at home or participating in weekly toddlers’ programmes organised by the library!
As Heidy is always curious and loves exploring, she enjoys our weekly strolls at the neighbourhood park to catch insects and collect dried leaves/petals for art work. We also exercise together at the playgrounds and fitness corners, climbing and riding her scooter. Our weekly family bonding sessions include kite flying, going to water parks, indoor playgrounds and even visits to farms.
9. Do you have any home leaning corner that can share with us? If possible, do provide an image.
I try to pin up her work as I think that gives her a sense of pride and ownership. I love the bomb shelter! We use that for learning/playing as it is magnetic.
Other than her easel (for painting) and an empty play mat for learning, this is Heidy’s cozy reading corner, coupled with charts and her favourite toys.
Content Source: Mummy Mandy Tan
Edited By: Preschool Resources
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Preschool Resources.