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My child loves gadgets more than me!!

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it-Proverbs 22:6

“Ma, I am bored. Can I watch TV?” ” Dad can I play one game on the mobile, please?” Sounds familiar??Just giving in to these demands without thought, may make you wonder later- “Why does my child not communicate?   Why is he always with that gadget??”  I believe that the habits and attitudes aquired in childhood sticks on, even as one grows into adulthood. Young parents, hard pressed for time due to the work pressure, household and financial responsibilities, find it difficult to make time for their child. So the easiest way to  finish that grocery shopping, or sending that email out is by keeping your child engaged with something, right? Yes, you are right!!  Only … you need to think what is that ‘something’, you are offering the child?

As a teacher, I have had parents request me to speak with the child and tell him/her to refrain from watching/playing on the tab. They have come to a stage where the child is addicted to the device…and any form of addiction that takes you away from your basic wellbeing is bad! Then we wonder why are children lack basic social skills. So what do we do?

Few tips for young parents to get their children engaged in the ‘right’ things:                     1.Manipulatives and Games: Building blocks, linking cubes, puzzels, crayons, playdough, big picture story books etc. Ensure they are safe and age-appropriate. Sit with the child to get them started. Involve children in household chores like sorting the laundry, washing the vegetables etc. Play board games, hide and seek, find the thing/picture- (you say the word and the child has to go around the house and find the thing/picture for you) or reading a story or asking the child to look at the pictures in the story and tell you what they see or think about it.  Children love doing activities with parents.                                                         2.No-Gadget time: Make it a point to keep the phones aside during meal times and talk time. “Now it is dinner time, so let’s all keep our phones aside.” Set an example for the child, by being one!                                                                                                                                                   3.Screen-time: Keep a set time aside to watch television/play games- ensure that they watch good and clean stuff.                                                                                                                                     4.Hobby Fun: Get your child engaged in hobbies- like music, singing, art, sports.

These  little steps that  you take to help your child grow holistically, will go a long way. Your child will enjoy speaking to you and bonding with you. Remember today’s children are tomorrow’s parents’!!

Enjoy your child…and try out the tips..

Bye for now…

Norma.

Tips for Early Childhood Learning Skills

Hello once again!  It’s been a long time since I contributed to this blog of mine. Today we will venture into a new chapter of how to equip our children with the skills that they need to develop in early childhood. This will prepare them for pre-school. Young parents are always wondering if their child is reaching his/her milestones at the right time? Early childhood development is a little easier to understand when you break it into categories of learning. The four primary areas:

  • Social and emotional
  • Language/communication
  • Movement/physical development
  • Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving.

Today we will be looking into the Physical development domain and I will be providing parents helpful tips on how to develop their child’s fine motor (Small muscles/finger muscles) skill. Without much ado, here you go….

Material needed: Old newspaper, playdough/home made playdoug (Playdough recipe), plastic tongs , a bowl and  cotton balls, medium sized blocks. You can begin these exercises from as early as 18 months. These are skills that will develop the finger muscles and help a child later to develop his/her writing skills.

Week #1: Let your child use his hands to tear the newspaper into long strips. He will need his hands to hold the paper and tear and not just the fingers. Collect the strips in a box.

Week#2: Encourage your child to tear the stripes into large bits of paper using the fingers to hold the strip and tear. Collect these in two boxes.

Week #3: Now encourage your child to tear the large bits of paper from Box 1, into smaller bits. Once done, take the Box 2 and ecourage the child to crush the lage bits of paper into balls.

This is all for today. Keep the materials ready. I will take you step by step on how to develop this domain in the child.

Happy Learning! :)

In these times- Blessing not a curse- Part 2- Talk

Hello Everyone! It’s weekend again….did I hear someone say all days seem like weekends?? Not really…for those working from home- it’s our weekend. So did you do the simple task of ‘Listening’ to your child /children? If you did, I am sure, you would have realized that you discovered so much about your child that you were not aware of! So now that you have let the child express- it’s your turn to speak.

Speak words that build, encourage, strengthen, motivate, comfort, guide and bless. Yes… did you know that your words have the power to change your situations, your atmosphere? It not, now you do!  If your child says, ” I am no good at Math. I struggle with Geometry.” Instead of saying, ” I have always told you to practice more. It is all your fault.” Why not try saying ,” I know you are struggling. Do you need help? Would it help if you practiced with your friend ( who is good in the subject) on Zoom? or Do you have a better solution? ” Discuss, Encourage, find solutions together. However if your child is plain lazy, then I think you need to be firm. The end result whether through politeness  or firmness is always with the best interest of the child at heart.

Spend this week speaking about your childhood, hobbies, the fun times you have had , with your child. It will help you bond and I am sure by the time we are out of this pandemic- you and your child will have a strong relationship.

So until next weekend….talk to your child. Have fun. Make the best of what you have. Remember there are many people who want,but, do not have children. Enjoy your child.

See you again with yet another tip to build a strong relationship with your child…Have a blessed week!

Love,

Norma

In these times- A Blessing not a curse- Part 1( Listen)

All are talking , texting and writing about the corona virus- friends, media, colleagues and  all…. so what are you thinking? Are you allowing your mind to be swayed and clouded by the information you are receiving or are you using a filter to just take in what you think is relevant and important to you? Well,well, well….we are all taking the necessary precautions and are home bound now. Right?  So why not do something interesting this week?

I will say as a early years educator and a mother – to all those with children- here is the perfect time to bond with your adorable charming adventurous offspring..You don’t agree with the adjectives I used? Look at your child once again and this time- closely. You have been so busy with the chores and the job that you have missed out precious moments to connect with your loved ones. This is the time, the season- to bond, to forgive, to love , to laugh, to understand, to feel, to play, to embrace – your son, your daughter. Invest in this time to get to know your child. More than talking I would suggest you – Listen. Sometimes all that the child wants is someone who would listen. So here is your first task for this week- Just LISTEN to your child….give a patient ear. You will be surprised to realize that there were so many things, you were not aware of, about your child. Listen, with love and not sitting on a judgement seat. Until we meet next weekend with a new task….remember to…Listen ( It’s a learning in itself).

Distance Hugs :)

Norma

Inquiry based learning- makes children thinkers

Hi again!

How do children learn best? Many a times parents come up with this question asking me to suggest methods , on-line sites which can enhance the knowledge, skills and understanding of the child in a particular area of learning.

The answer is simple: Children learn best by ‘doing‘ that is, when they are allowed to explore the possibilities of doing a task.  Let me give you an example:You are teaching the child to make lemonade. One method would be to direct the child to use the ingredients and prepare lemonade  as you explain the process. The child does as instructed and prepares the best lemonade ever!

Alternatively, you could tell the child, “Let’s prepare some lemonade- what do you think I will need ? The child may say water, lemons, a glass/container. Provide the materials and ask them to proceed. They may squeeze the lemons, you have cut, into the glass of water. Let them taste it and watch their expression- Ask questions like ” What does it taste like? What can you do to make it taste  better? Would you like to add any other ingredients? ” You are allowing the child to think thereby developing his cognitive  and creative skills as well as problem solving ability. He learns to use all his  five senses, measure the ingredients-how much sugar/ salt do I need to add( numeracy skills)? At this point of time you will notice that you are merely facilitating the process through inquiry based questioning.

Next time you are in a hurry to explain an activity or tempted to show the child how it is done – count till 5! Use the inquiry based method – ask open ended / thinking questions. Allow the child express himself.  Allow him make mistakes , learn from those mistakes and find alternative solutions to do the task.

You will be amazed to see his /her innovative skills!  Happy Learning.:)

Failure – A Stepping Stone

It is all about perspective.

You can see the glass half empty or half full.  If we did not have night we would never be able to appreciate the first ray of sunshine that breaks into day. If there was no school, no work, we would never have learnt to enjoy, what is called, a holiday.  You can look at someone and think, ” I wish I were like him/her?” The grass is always green on the other side.

Recently, I did not get the promotion that I had applied for. Initially I was a little disappointed but I have learnt one thing, that ALL things ( even the ‘not so good’ ones) happen for good if we learn from those disappointments. The key is don’t get discouraged. Remember it is in your hands how you react to failures and people. Be grateful for disappointments for they teach you a couple of things. Don’t believe me? Here it is:

  • Humility- Disappointments keeps me rooted to the fact that I need to be more willing to learn and have a teachable attitude.
  • Resilience- It teaches me that successes and failures are just a part of life. Life itself is much bigger that this. Life is about your relationship with God, yourself, your family and friends.  So enjoy what you have!
  • Discernment- Having mentioned ‘Friends’ – failures will show you who are your real well-wishers and who were the back stabbers. Be happy that this is life’s way of teaching you how to discern. Better than staying in the dark about your so called ‘friends’…what say?
  • Focused-  Failure has made me more focused while doing my work. It has taught me to continue what I do with a spirit of diligence and excellence.
  • Encourage someone- Now that you have tasted disappointment and have overcome it by not letting it get the better of you, go ahead and encourage someone. I promise it will only do YOU good!

Let me end with this note- failure is not the  end of the road. It is a stepping stone to something bigger and better. This was not meant to be and not meant for me. Period.

So what now? Well, I continue doing what I do with all my heart , joyfully and passionately for I believe the BEST IS ALWAYS SAVED FOR THE LAST and having said that I believe -MY ‘BEST’ is yet to come.

Cheers and keep smiling:)

Home is the First Classroom.

Young children are paying attention to the world around them every waking moment. They watch how their parents and caregivers talk, eat, react to situations and interact with others. You are your child’s very first teacher!

I say this from experience not only as a Kindergarten Teacher but as a Mom too. Few months ago my husband lay on the hospital bed and I was attending to him when suddenly our 20 year old elder daughter said, ‘’Dada, I would love to want to have a marriage like yours. You and Mama have stood by each other through thick and thin. We have seen both of you love each other through happy times and through trials.’’  This brought tears to my eyes. Immediately our younger daughter endorsed the same by saying, ’’Me too’’.

At that moment my husband and I smiled. I realised that even though I had given them good sound advice on marriage and love, the impact was more because of what they witnessed at home.

I am driving home a really important fact.  Your children are watching and copying everything you do. Choose your words and actions wisely. Be very careful about what you do and say. Set a positive example for your children, even when they are infants and toddlers.

Our home is our first classroom. I leave you with that food for thought.

Until next time ..goodbye!

 

Is Reading a challenge for your little one?

The year 2016 has been declared the year of reading in the UAE to create a generation of book lovers and consolidate the UAE’s position as a global capital for culture and knowledge.

Yet many parents face a challenge in getting their child to read. Here are simple tips to encourage the habit of reading in our little ones:

  • To begin with get some large print simple story books with many pictures   for your child.
  • Make it a habit( preferably at bed time, since you would have finished all your chores for the day too) to spend 15 minutes  everyday reading a book with the child. Initially you may have to point at each word and read.
  • Ask questions- what do you think would have happened to the bear? Get the child excited about wanting to know what will happen next.
  • Have a chart with a few large print sight words ( high frequency words- This , That, The, have, is , our, to…) Keep this at a place where the child can see and read with ease. It’s just to help the child recognize the words and NOT learn how to spell them. I had the same done for my daughter when she was 5 and we would lie on the bed and read the list that was mounted on the wall in front of us.  It was a game we played.
  • With that we come to make reading fun! Help the child create her own story book. Use half an A4 sheet for one sentence and then encourage the child to draw /stick pictures related to the sentence. Put the papers together with a ribbon. Your little one is the author of the book!
  • Check on line for good reading sites.

Remember , patience is the key.  Every child is different and so while some pick up fast there will be some who will need more time.  These few tips will help the child to develop  her reading skill.

Until my next post….goodbye and happy reading:)

Love,

Norma Gallyot.

Why is character so important in a child?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary ‘Character ‘ is defined as ”The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.”

Why is character so important? I believe it is essential for success. It is what makes people believe in you.

As a teacher apart from imparting knowledge and life skills I am responsible in helping a child to build his or her character. For example my children know they can always speak the truth to me without fear.  It takes courage to speak the truth and that courage needs to be applauded.

How do I build character in a classroom of 30 students?  Simply put, by building optimism. Encouragement , love and appreciation are the keys to building optimism. This helps them to self regulate their emotions and have a positive attitude in life. In face of being tempted to do something that is wrong they learn to say ”No”. They face their daily challenges without fear. They also know that ”Ma’am is always there when we need her.”

I think there is plenty of food for thought in what I have written.

Let me leave you with this note:

More than all that I have mentioned above, please remember that your child learns from watching  you live your life everyday!

Kind regards,

Norma Gallyot.

 

 

Servitude in a Child

As a child , I remember my mother telling me to always help those in need and to treat others as you would like them to treat you.

Today as a Facilitator or Teacher I am expected to instill the value of servitude in the children I teach . This begins with doing little things for others. And as it turns out kids are actually hardwired to be considerate and kind. The desire to help is innate.

In class, the children take turns to help around . For example, helping  a  classmate who is feeling unwell to  carry  his bag, holding the door for others , assisting me in distributing the books , rubbing the white board ,to name a few. My kids in class love doing it! I have children who ask me all the time” Can I help ?”  They slowly start doing things at home too.  As a teacher you can instill good virtues in children( especially the five year olds)!

All want to be leaders.  To be a leader one needs to be responsible and a team player. The sense of responsibility comes with servitude. In serving one does not become small but more aware of putting others before self. It gives one the sense of self worth and joy.

In conclusion, to be able to lead , you must first learn to serve.