Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And the Letter of the Week is....

I have been reading a lot on child development lately and often wonder and worry if I am giving Z all he needs throughout the day. I want to make sure that I am helping him to grow into a strong and independent person who cares a lot about people and the world around him. I want to make sure I am providing him with enough experiences that will help to stimulate and cultivate his little mind. My reading has been quite interesting and I really like the book Baby Minds by Dr. Linda Acredelo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn. They have so many great ideas and activities for children 0-3 to help with their brain development. One of the activities I was most attracted to was the "Letter of the Week". They say to set your home up like Sesame Street and to introduce a new letter each week. This introduction is not meant to teach them their letters and sounds but meant to be "food for thought". You expose them early so that when they come across letters later they will be familiar (giving them that prior knowledge). I thought Z was a little young for this but felt as long as it was fun and light (no drill and kill, forcing flashcards down his throat).....I would give it a try.

Then I visited my friends daycare center last Friday and as always was blown away :) Her 16 month olds knew letters! They could point to the B, C, G, O and a few others. They recognized the first letter of their classmates name!!!! It was remarkable to see these little guys identifying different letters. I was blown away and planned to start our letter of the week the next week:)

My friend E who owns and operates the daycare center is amazing. It is unbelievable what these kids have already learned at such a young age and she has only been open for 3 1/2 months!!! Last June when trying to figure out a way to stay home with her daughter (and not return to teaching) she decided to open a daycare center. And so 4 months later (after a lot of sweat and tears) a daycare she opened! My friend E is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic people I know and I was not surprised to see her turn one of her rental properties into a cute and adorable daycare center.

The center has 10 children right now (most of them between 13-16 months) and is doing some amazing things. They cook every week, create amazing art projects, have circle every morning (imagine a circle with mostly one year-olds!!!) and all of the children are learning Baby Signs (R) (which I had a small hand in because I trained her staff and did a workshop for the parents of the center).

Now this place is wonderful and if I lived closer to her I would be more willing to return to work and allow my Z to grow up under E's love and care. Z is now an honorary member of the center and we plan to visit at least once a month to see all the amazing things they are up to :)

Well I am happy to report that this week is all about the letter Z (hmmmm I wonder why we started with Z :)). We have Z's hanging all around, pictures of Z items (mostly Z himself), have been singing about the letter Z (mostly songs we make up) and have been making Z's out of cheerios etc. It has been a blast and Z can even say Z and point to it when we ask :) I am having so much fun "teaching" my son and can't wait until next week...maybe it will be M week for mom?????


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