Occupational Therapy News from Ms. Sherwin for January, 2020
The holidays are over and winter has arrived. Hopefully all the students had a great winter vacation and will be returning to school eager to learn and ready to work hard. Over the past few months I have noticed that some children are forming their letters at the bottom or with a right to left directionality. It is important to remind children to start their letters at the top and with the correct formation. If students get in the habit of forming their letters incorrectly at a young age, it is a difficult habit to break. Reasons it is important for a child to start their letters at the top and with the correct formation include -
1. Handwriting is an essential skill for both children and adults. Handwriting continues to be a primary tool of communication.
2. Research shows that handwriting is also linked to early literacy and academic performance.
3. Handwriting is important for the development of fine motor skills and is incorporated throughout their school day.
4. Handwriting in the elementary grades increases tremendously, and typically students spend 85% of their time working on pencil and paper tasks.
Another important piece to handwriting is the proper grasp on writing implements. I strongly encourage students to hold a pencil/marker with three digits (thumb, index, and middle finger). I say “pinch at the tip and have the pencil rest on the bed of the hand (web space between thumb and index on the top). The last two digits are “sleeping,” or tucked into the palm of the hand. You may also have your child hold a pom pom with the last two digits.
Children enjoy working at a vertical surface, so have them practice while in the tub with shaving cream and have your child write the uppercase letters in the shaving cream on the wall. It’s a great way for students to learn their letters, but it also keeps the walls clean as well!
Hope this information is helpful. Parents/guardians can also go to the LWT web page for more assistance at www.lwtears.com and search for “Parents” at the top.
Amy Sherwin, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Ms. Ferris's Speech and Language Update for January, 2020
Happy New Year MSKC families! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday break.
We were busy with lots of fun activities all through the month of December. We read the story,
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow, by Lucille Calandro, and did a variety of
activities such as rhyming, following directions, sequencing, and re-telling the story. In
January, we will read The Mitten, by Jan Brett, and will continue our winter-themed activities.
Social language concepts this month will include “thinking thoughts and feeling feelings,”
focusing on having our own thoughts, and sharing thoughts with others. We continue to focus
on whole body listening and peer interaction as well.
Home activity: Since it is cold outside, you may be looking for some indoor activities. Play a
game with your child and have your child direct you on what to do and how to play. Then, take your turn to direct him/her. This is a great activity to work on following and remembering
directions. You can do this too when performing an activity in the kitchen. Try making some cookies, but please remember to save me some-yummy! Have fun!
Email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns, or to just
tell me about all the great things you’ve been doing at home!
Lisa Ferris, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech Therapist
Physical Therapy News from Ms. Dillon - January, 2020
Stuck Indoors? Here are some fun inside activities!
- Create an obstacle course indoors! Use blankets, pillows, seat cushions, chairs, brooms, stools, anything you can find. Create an obstacle course where children need to climb over, crawl under, go around, stand on, jump over, jump off, step over, hop, skip, jump, gallop, etc.
- When watching television, doing puzzles, reading, or coloring, have your child watch/work while lying on his/her belly, propped up on elbows.
- Have your child play with blocks, playdough, or puzzles on a low table where he/she has to kneel without sitting on the back of the legs (called high kneeling).
- Have a “challenge” - who can stand on one foot, hop on one foot, do the hula hoop, volley a balloon, do sit ups/push-ups, jumping jacks, etc. for the most repetitions or longest time?
- Participate in a family yoga or exercise video—many cable on demand services have fitness videos for children free of charge.
- Dance to music, play freeze dance.
- On an uncarpeted floor, go “skating”- have your child “skate” around in socks or stand inside empty shoeboxes and slide around the floor keeping the boxes on. Set up obstacles for them to “skate” around!
- Practice throwing using rolled up socks or crumpled newspaper. Throw at targets such as a laundry basket or trash can. You can even make targets to hang on a wall to practice throwing at.
- Enjoy baking activities such as stirring thick batter with a spoon or kneading dough.
- Play with modeling clay (firm, not soft clay).
- In the tub, blow bubbles and have your child use a squirt gun/toy to pop the bubbles. Or, draw targets with washable markers - again have your child use a squirt gun/toy to hit and wash away the targets.
- Have a tug of war - do it standing, high kneeling (kneeling without sitting on the back of legs), or sitting.
- Bowling - fill 2 liter soda bottles about ½ way full of water for bowling pins, and use an 8” ball to roll and knock pins over – again, do it standing, high kneeling, and sitting.
- Play a game of Twister.
From Our School Psychologist: Ms. Kidd’s Corner - January 2020
December has been flying by, with so many fun holiday activities. We have been busy in lunch bunch, and enjoying working together. Thank you for your support, and for sending your children in with peanut free lunches for lunch bunch.
During the month of December, we have been further working on feelings, and demonstrating empathy through compassion. We have enjoyed visits from Pushy Puppy and Slow Down Snail, and some fun games to practice our caring words and behaviors. We are learning what being frustrated means, and different ways we can help ourselves to work it out.
As our kindergarteners are learning how to be great cooperative learners, they are now navigating the challenges we all face when working with others. Handling accidents, being caring friends, and coping with feelings such as frustration, are all part of the process. As always, modeling with our own responses to these obstacles is so helpful, and helps our children to see we all experience these challenges. It also helps our students when they are experiencing these feelings and situations, to verbalize what you are seeing. For example, when your child seems frustrated, identifying the feeling and asking what kind of choices they have to address the problem (asking an adult, choosing a different activity, etc), can help if your child is feeling stuck.
In January, we will be working further on handling accidents, on managing frustration, calming down strong feelings, and handling waiting. It is such a pleasure working with your children!
Please feel free to reach out at any time. Thank you for your collaboration in your child’s educational experience.