trio-tots preschool

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Questions to ask your child when they get home from Trio Tots Preschool?

Are you asking your child the right questions when you pick them up from Trio Tots? 
“What did you do in school”& “How was your day at school?” are the common questions I hear parents asking children when they receive children after preschool, but there are definitely better questions to ask. 

Generally children respond to these questions in one or two words. As a parent you want to know everything about your child’s day at school. Did they make any new friends? Did they learn anything new and exciting?  In order to gather these answers you have to ask the right questions.

Here are some of the questions to ask your children when they get out of Trio Tots preschool?

            1.      Who did you play with today?
It helps you to get familiar with different friends your child associates with. You can then ask name of those friends.

2.      What did you play today?

After asking your child who they played with you could also ask what they played.

3.      If you could choose to sit by anyone in your class, who would it be?

This encourages your child to talk about whom they currently sit next to and whom they would like to sit next to, likely two different people. As a result you get to learn more about their classmates in general.

4.      What word did your teacher use most today?
This question is often answered with what your child learned that day in school. Depending on the answer, it could also clue you into the quality of the teacher and what’s really going on in the classroom.

5.      What was your favorite part of your whole day?

Children enjoy reliving their favorite parts of each and every day. You can also prompt your child to share their least favorite part of the day.

6.      What rules are different at school than at home?

This question makes your child to think as he or she gets a chance to contrast or compare different sets of rules in his or her life. Make sure to ask if your child thinks all of these rules are fair and how they might change them (at school or at home). Our preschoolers can be so much insightful than we give them credit for.

7.      Can you show me something you learned today?

If your child says they did not learn anything ask them to show you something they did today. Both of these questions prompt your child to act out something as opposed to explain it—therefore eliminating any one-word answers.

8.      What was the hardest thing you did all day?

There might be many answers to this question, but whatever the answer may it indicates something your child is struggling with. It could be writing or be finding friends to play or eating.  Once you know what your child struggles may be you can help the child at home.

Thursday 23 February 2017

15 questions to ask your child's preschool teacher or daycare administrator

Your child’s teachers want the best for your child and are a valuable source of knowledge about your child’s development. Once the preschool term begins, an opportunity to meet your child’s teachers at a parent-teacher meet or another setting, usually presents itself. At Trio Tots Preschool HSR Layout, Bangalore, meetings and one-on-ones are scheduled at regular intervals, to help parents stay up to date.

It helps to prepare for a meeting by deciding what you would like to learn about your child and her/his education. Your meetings will set the tone for your relationship with your child’s  preschool teacher. Even if your child goes to a daycare centre, the centre’s staff can give you useful information about your child’s behaviour, preferences and development.

Questions you can bring up at the preschool or daycare parent-teacher meeting

  • What activities does my child enjoy doing the most?
  • How does my child interact with other people?
  • How is my child doing emotionally? Is she happy, playful, moody, angry or aloof?
  • Is my child reaching age appropriate milestones?
  • In what areas does my child need to improve?
  • How can I help him/her achieve this?
  • Does my child respond and obey class rules?
  • How good is my child at self-care?
  • Is my child able to focus on tasks?
  • Does my child complete his/her tasks without too much difficulty?
  • Please tell me more about your teaching methods.
  • What metrics do you use to assess a child’s performance?
  • Does my child need additional or special help with any task?
  • Is there any other advice you would like to offer?
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?

As a parent, you know your child best. However, keeping an open mind towards suggestions of experienced teachers, will help you partner better with them. You might discover a new perspective to your child’s behaviour or habits. Just like a child, being inquisitive paves a way for learning. However, It needs you to set aside your biases and preconceived notions.

Trio Tots preschool HSR Layout Bangalore, combines the best preschool education practices for a wholesome learning experience. 

Thursday 19 January 2017

The Parent Teacher Meeting - A Handy Checklist

Does the idea of a parent-teacher meeting worry you? It shouldn’t. This handy checklist will help you know exactly what to expect at the next one.
You and your child’s school have something in common: You both want your child to learn and do well. What better way to assess that than the periodic parent teacher meeting arranged by the school?
As the Dussera holidays are round the corner, every school will conduct parent teacher meetings (often referred to as the PTM). Being in this field for so many years now, I generally observe parents getting stressed and nervous about the PTM. If the focus remains on what is best for the child, then all should end well. Like all conversations, parent teacher meetings are best when both sides talk and listen. These meetings promote open discussion and keep parents informed of their child’s progress.
As a parent, you’ll likely find out how well your child adapts to social situations, to the class itself and how well he/she completes projects or assignments. Parent-teacher conferences are a valuable assessment tool for parents. As a parent, you are your child’s first and most important teacher.
When parents and teachers talk to each other, each person can share important information about your child’s talents and needs. Each person can also learn something new about how to help your child. This tip sheet suggests ways that you can make the most of parent-teacher conferences so that everyone wins, especially your child.

Here are some tips for Parents

1. Know about the PTM & be there

Most schools in India have their 1st term parent teacher meetings in the month of October or November. These dates are announced either at the beginning of the year or at least one month ahead. We know parents are busy, but it is important to carve out time to invest in your child’s education and ensure success at school. Please mark your calendar and be there for the PTM. Make sure both the parents attend the PTM.

2. Talk with your child

Ask your child what his/her strongest and weakest subjects are, and which subjects he/she likes most and least. Ask your child if he/she would like you to speak about anything in particular with the teacher. Make sure that your child understands that you and the teacher are meeting to help him, so that he doesn’t worry about the conference.

3. Prepare a list of notes

Make a list of topics that you want to discuss with the teacher and that you think the teacher should know, such as your concerns about the school, the child’s home life, any major changes in your family, habits, hobbies, part-time jobs, religious holidays, or anything that is worrying your child. Be sure to ask for input from your spouse or other adults that are caring for your child as well.

4. Prepare a list of questions like below

How is my child doing socially? Do not stick just to academics. This one question actually asks a lot of questions. By asking the teacher this you can find out a lot of things. Knowing if your child is doing okay socially is so important. Social development helps form who we become and you want to make sure your child develops proper social behaviour.

5. What do you feel are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?

This is another important question that asks more than one. You will find out where your child’s strengths are academically and what they enjoy to do. These are two very different things. The teacher may say your child excels in science and loves reading and art. This can help you encourage your child both academically and in creativity. By knowing what your child’s weaknesses are you can help at home to strengthen their abilities in that subject.

6. How is My Child Doing Emotionally?

It’s also important to ask about your child’s emotional health at school. For example, is your child generally happy?

Save this Checklist today!

7. In what Areas Does My Child Need Improvement?

Your child’s teacher sees him from a different perspective than you do. Ask the teacher what personal weaknesses your child needs to work on, and listen to the response with an open mind.

8. Is My Child Doing His /Her Best?

No matter where your child ranks in relation to grade-level, one important analysis of his performance is whether he’s putting forth his best effort. Does the teacher get the sense that your child is slacking off or not focusing?

9. Is my child participating in class discussions and activities?

This question will answer many questions about the child’s confidence, presence of mind and self esteem.

10. Does My Child Need Extra Help in Any Areas?

Your child’s teacher can tell you if your child is falling behind in a skill or a subject. Armed with that information, you can create a plan with your child to work harder in that area, before it gets too late.

11. What Can We Do to Provide That Extra Help?

Work with your child’s teacher to create a plan to help your child progress well in school. There may be specific things that you can do at home to help; the teacher might give you some ideas.
Stay calm during the conference. Respectful communication will be the most effective way to work together with your child’s teacher. Getting angry or upset during the conference will make it very difficult to have a positive conversation.
Ask for explanations of anything you don’t understand
. Listen carefully to what the teacher says. If you don’t understand something that the teacher talks about (such as an educational term or an explanation of a school policy), don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. It is important for you to understand what your child’s teacher is telling you.
Ask the most important questions early in the conference
,as you may run out of time, especially if other parents are waiting to have their conference after yours. You can always schedule another meeting with the teacher to cover any points you didn’t cover.
Respectfully discuss differences of opinion
. If you disagree with the teacher, respectfully explain why you disagree. If you don’t let the teacher know about your differences of opinion, the teacher may think that you agree and will move on to the next topic. Discussing your differences with the teacher may help both of you find a more effective way to help your child.
Create an action plan
. Ask your child’s teacher for specific suggestions of ways that you can help your child at home with homework, reading, organization, routines, behavioral issues, etc. Make sure you understand the teacher’s suggestions, and ask for clarification if you don’t.
This list of suggestions will become the action plan. Establish a way to keep track of the child’s progress, as well as the best way to stay in touch with your child’s teacher — through phone calls, emails, notes, or meetings. Review the action plan with the teacher as you end the conference to make sure that you both have the same expectations.
Stay in touch with the teacher.

I am also providing here a checklist that you can carry for the PTM based on the questions and tips mentioned here. Download PTM Checklist

Monday 16 January 2017

Fun phonics activities for reading: CVC words

Using phonics to teach your child to read is the first step to making them independent readers. See how CVC words can help build their confidence at the outset.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald
For children to start reading, parents have to first understand how to teach reading to kids. First step to reading is understanding the sounds of each letter. You can refer to this article for more details on sounds Learning Phonics the fun way at home
The second step is blending of words. Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word, then running them together to make the word. For example: sounding out /b/-/a/-/t/ making bat. It is a technique every child will need to learn and it improves with practice.
We will start with blending of CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant). As the name suggests, CVC words are made up of two consonants and one vowel. The vowel is found between two consonants.
To start with you should sound out the word and see if a child can hear it, giving the answer if necessary. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder.
Once the children can hear the word when an adult says the letter sounds, they are ready to try saying the sounds for themselves and listen to the word.
The children who can hear the words understand how the alphabetic code works for reading. They realize that it is something they can work out for themselves. This knowledge fascinates them and their confidence grows.

Let us look at some fun activities on blending CVC words

1. Walk the word

Image courtesy: Coffeecupsandcrayons
One of our favorite ways to play with phonics is the Walk the Word game! Children get to use their whole body to practice identifying and blending sounds together. Adding the gross motor aspect to it helps children to internalize the process of sounding out a word.

How to play

This game is simple to set up and easy to play! All you need is a sidewalk chalk and a place to draw. Write easy decodable (sound-out-able), very large words on the concrete. Ask the child to start at the side you start reading at. Then have them step on each letter and say the sound. Prompt them or give them the sounds if needed (this is a game not a test) and have fun walking and reading the words!

2. Flipchart

Image courtesy: kidsactivitiesblog
3 small size spiral diaries
A card board

How to play

Stick the 3 diaries on the cardboard. On the first and third diary write all the consonants, on the second diary write all the vowels. Let children flip the pages and read the word. The point of the phonics flipchart is not so much to “spell” words, but to practice sounding out words. “P-A-G” is not a word, but the practice of sounding it out can help our children in future words, helping them grasp the concept of letters and how they form words.

3. Cube game

Take the printout of the printable cube. Follow the instructions given on the page to form a cube. First roll the cube with initial sound, then the middle vowel and at last final sound. Ask the child to now sound out the word.
Initial sound
Middle vowel
Final sound

4. Stamping a word

Image courtesy: icanteachmychild
Play dough or wheat flour dough and alphabet stamps.

How to play

Parents can sound out the word and children can form the word by stamping the letters on the dough.

5. Spin and Read

Image courtesy notimeforflashcards
Paper towel roll, dry cleaner hanger, scissors and a marker.

How to play

Cut your paper towel roll into sections. Write the ending sound of a word on a section. Now write letters or the first sounds of words on another piece of cut tube. You can throw in some weird ones that will not make words, to get some giggles, too. Pull out one end of the hanger from the bar. Slide your tube pieces on and replace the hanger end back inside the bar. Now your child can spin the first letter (or sound) of the word to make different words.

6. Play I spy

Play a new variation to the children’s favourite game. Play I spy by sounding out the name of the object you are looking at. Children have to blend the sounds together to determine the object.
For example: I spy something that is moving. I spy a /c/ /a/ /t/
I spy something that is spread on the floor. I spy a /m/ /a/ /t/
For most of the children it is relatively easy. However some children find it difficult and need to be taught exactly what to do. There are two main reasons for a child not being able to hear the word when they have said the sounds.
They do not know the letter sounds well enough. As soon as they see a letter, the sound should come automatically to them. If they have to pause to think, they lose track of the word. To put this right, it is necessary to revise the sounds regularly with children.
The way the letter is emphasized by the children. The emphasis should be on the first letter sound. If the child puts emphasis on the last letter sounds, they may try to start the word with those sounds and fail to hear the word.

Here are a few simple and fun worksheets for children to practice at home:

Initial sounds 1
Initial sounds 2
Initial sounds 3
Medial sounds 1
Medial sounds 2
Medial sounds 3
Final sounds 1
Final sounds 2
Final sounds 3

Word wheels

Sparkleboxers Word Wheels
Sparkleboxers Word Wheels Resources

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Learning Phonics the fun way at home

Speaking out sounds and words is at the heart of phonics, and it is therefore a simple and straightforward way of teaching that you can use confidently at home. You could introduce the sounds one at a time.
As a Preschool Educator, I observe parents often wondering why their children are not articulating the name of the letter and reciting some weird sounds. That’s Phonics! Phonics is basically the sound and letter association. Letter names don’t always sound the same as the actual sounds.

For instance, the letter name for “P” is pronounced with a long E sound after the letter sound: we say ‘pee’, but that’s not the same as the letter sound which is /puh/.
Many children find this difference confusing. So, instead of trying to teach the two sounds at the same time, it is helpful to focus on teaching the letter sound first. Speaking out sounds and words is at the heart of phonics, and it is therefore a simple and straightforward way of teaching that you can use confidently at home. You could introduce the sounds one at a time.

Given below is a peek through various activities with which you can reinforce each sound.

1. Letter hunt

Tell the sound of the letter which you are introducing, now ask your child to repeat the sound and find the letter associated with sound. You can ask your child to highlight the letter.

2. Form the letter

You can first start forming the letter with dough/pasta/noodles/flour and ask your child to say the sound of the letter. Then you can say the sound and ask your child to form the letter.

3. Action words

When you are doing your house chores activities, try and say out the sound and word while doing it like all action words. For e.g.- /s/ /s/ sit

Boil, cut, dirt, exercise, fun, give, hold, invite, join, keep, little, make, need, open, push, quick, roll, send, turn, under, visit, wait, yesterday, zip

4. Conversations

Similarly, you can use it in your daily conversations with your child.
For e.g – I am going to /buh/ buh/ bank Please give me an /a/a/ apple.
Drink your /muh/muh/ milk quickly. /fuh/fuh/ finish your /fuh/fuh/ food.

5. Hopscotch game

Once you are done with 6-8 sounds & letters you can play a game of Hopscotch with your child by writing the letters on the tiles.

6. Objects hunt

You can provide a basket or a vessel to your child and ask him to collect all the objects he/she can see in the house beginning with the sound you are introducing.

7. Alphabet exercise
Let’s do some alphabet exercise.
A – Act like a cat
B – Bend at the knees, balance your body
C – Chair pose
D – Dance
E – Elephant steps
F – Fly like a bird
G – Gallop
H – Hugs
I – Itsy bitsy steps
J – Jump
K – Kick
L – Leg lifts
M – March
N – Noisy steps
O – Open and shut arms
P – Pop up
Q – Quiet hops
R – Runs
S – Side steps
T – Turn around
U – Under momma’s legs / under table
V – Vacuum
W – Wiggles
X – “X” jumping jacks
Y – Yoga (downward dog)
Z – Zig zag steps
I use some of the above mentioned activities in my classes as well so they are tried and tested. Please try these activities and let me know your experiences in the comment section.
We’ll be coming up with more articles on phonics as it’s not just about sounds. It has a lot more.

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