For me, the greatest joy in the world is to be with those I love doing what I love.
So you can imagine how joyful I was this past week, spending time in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family…and visiting Toll House Preschool in Merrimack, NH where I read a picture book story and did a simple craft with my grandson’s class of three and four-year olds.
The children were seated on the floor in their story circle and as soon as Jeremy caught sight of me, he jumped up and cried, “You came to my school…you really came!” The teacher welcomed me and ushered me to her story chair. “What’s your name?” asked one of the children. “I’m Miss Vivian” I answered, smiling down at their eager faces. “I traveled here on an airplane so that I could read you a special story.”
The children sat, listening attentively, as I read Yes I Can by Sam McBratney. They loved hearing about the three animal friends who are having fun in the autumn leaves. When the three friends begin to argue and make fun of each other, Little Roo’s mother comes over and encourages each one to show what they do best. Little Roo jumps VERY high, Country Mouse catches his tail and Quacker Duck floats on a puddle. The friends compliment each other…they are learning to give respect and value their own and others qualities and strengths.
When the story was over, we talked about the different talents that each animal had and we all got up and jumped like Little Roo, turned round and round chasing our “tails” like Country Mouse and pretended we were swimming in a puddle like Quaker Duck. This activity helped the children get a little exercise after sitting so quietly for the story. It’s important to provide a good balance of activities for young children…if we try to keep them sitting too long, they will get restless.
The next activity for this preschool class was “centers” where the children can choose painting, clay, etc. This was the perfect time for some of the children to work on the simple leaf family craft project I had planned. Using leaves of different sizes and shapes, each child picked a few leaves to trace on the page. Each shape became a member of their family as they added hair and features and colored them in.
As the children worked on their project, they told me about their families and their pets. I’m always amazed at how verbal young children are…especially when they are relaxed and at ease…which seems to happen all the time when children are engaged in arts and crafts activities. Parents can use this time as they participate with their children to listen and learn what is on their children’s minds.
I’m sure the next time I return to New Hampshire, I’ll have the opportunity to visit with the children at Toll House Preschool again. The teacher told me she had never seen them sit so attentively for a story before. Although I believe in the policy of “No Rules…Just Read”, I also know that there are certain things we can do when we read a picture book to young children that will help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both parent and child.
1. Find a comfortable place to read…child on your lap in a comfy chair or sitting side-by-side on the couch.
2. Make sure your child can see the pictures as you read the story.
3. Allow your child to point out things on each page and talk about them.
4. When the story is finished, encourage your child to retell the story as you turn the pages again.
These are some of the tips I give in my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. In addition to lots of story suggestions, you’ll find a matching craft and also a cooking activity for each recommended picture book.
PLEASE DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE OF THE BOOK! Don’t think of it as a BIG BOOK…IT’S A BOOK WITH BIG IDEAS! Every parent and teacher who uses it says it makes planning and doing activities QUICK AND EASY!
“Kirkfield lays out a brilliant and simple program with activities that will inspire parents and teachers.” – Diana Loomans, best-selling author of The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem and many other books
It’s available in the original print version with lots of lined spaces on every other page for recording your child’s memorable moments.
It’s also available on Amazon’s Kindle for those of you who don’t like a bunch of books taking up space in your home.
The gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching…there’s an online special on my website that can’t be beat…it would make the perfect present for any parent, grandparent, daycare provider, nanny, babysitter, nursery or preschool or kindergarten teacher.
To see the latest review of Show Me How by Lea, a homeschooling mom, please click here.