Greetings, Oak Grove Family!

This month I wish to talk about the concerns that parents have over their child losing skills that they have obtained at school or preschool when summer comes. Often there are extended vacation times, family transitions, or simply summer breaks from the routine of a structured learning environment.

Not to worry, very young children learn primarily through play….

“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning between the things he or she does just for fun and things that are educational. The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.”

Penelope Leach

What this means is that as long as a child has the opportunity to play, to interact in new and novel ways with their environment, they are continuing to learn. Play is often a rehearsal, a practicing, or experimenting with information that they have obtained. Rote learning may diminish without repeated instruction and practice, but is never really absorbed by a child until it is encoded through play and imagination. So allow your child to play, to experiment, to pretend. Provide the raw materials in the form of toys, experiences, and interactions. Read to your child, have them “read” to you. Activities such as swimming, the playground, water play, hiking, travelling, and just playing in the backyard provide experiences which lead to new and exciting learning.

For the older child that does struggle with learning academics, it is a slightly different story. Because skills are so hard earned, some support and structure is a good idea, but for good readers and those with other good academic skills, experiences are usually sought out in new and different ways. Trips to the library, independent reading, story time, and creative writing serve to develop these skills.

Enjoy the summer months. Be sure to spend fun time with your children and you as parents will grow and learn as well!!

Sherry Jordan



Dear Oak Grove family !

The topic for this month is Responsibility. Perhaps as much as any skill, parents hope for children to be responsible and as with many characteristics, the foundations begin in early childhood. So let us take a look at some things we can do even with very young children to help develop responsibility.

Start with choosing one or two age appropriate tasks. Even very young children like to “help” put things away. After starting to put things away, have your child put one thing away. “Put your shoes in the box” for example, instead of “clean your room”. Have your child watch you and praise attempts to do the same things that you are doing. Do not expect a very young child to follow multiple or complex steps.

Be a good role model with your own belongings. The car keys go in a box or on a hook, shoes go by the door, coats are hung up, the table is cleared after use.

Begin the habit of work first, then play. Put your toys away then we will read a story. Or put the puzzle away, then we can paint.

Make doing chores fun. Play music and dance while putting things away ! Sing a special song every time you start to do a certain task.

Establish a routine. Dirty clothes go into a hamper before the bath. Rituals before and during routines help cue your child as to what comes next.

Be positive. Praise and encourage approximations. Be specific. “Putting your shoes away really helped me today !” Plan for lapses or “oopsies”. Praise the attempt and not so much the result. Do not criticize or it will squelch your child’s desire to please and be responsible.

Then slowly, as your child matures you can encourage more complex “helping” and responsibility that is appropriate for their age.

Happy Spring !

Sherry Jordan