When helping children, stay positive as much as possible and focus "more on the strengths" than the weaknesses…
Tho’ no two children are alike, there is still this saying that nothing is impossible. Have faith, that thru’ all your patience will come the fruit of your labour. All we need is more knowledge to assist our children to the best of THEIR abilities.
1st I’d like to touch on the Phonics issue… The best bet is to not introduce phonics before the child knows the letter of the alphabets and its shapes. From my experiences with children, those who are introduced to Phonics first tend to display delay in writing effectively. They do read a lil’ faster and better than their peers of similar age range but not in writing. All the excitement from being able to read will slow his motivation to write… I’ll emphasize another time on this, yea..
As for teaching the letter of the alphabets, always start with small caps first.
Reason being, curves are harder to learn to write compared to more of the straight lines of the capital letters. So when learning to read and write focus on lower caps first. Its best to teach children to learn the shapes of the alphabets from concrete to abstract. Example, if you have sandpaper letters, embossed flash cards, normal letter cards its good to start from there. Enforce tracing practise if you can as tactile explorations works more than you realise. (Tactile = Sense of touch)
In one of Maria Montessori’s famous quotes, she says… "What goes thru’ the hands, goes to the mind…"
I fully agree with it. Why is it project based and hands-on thematic work very well with children? Cause when children can touch, feel, smell, etc other than just see they learn better… More interesting lah. Buuuuttt, still depends on the child’s teacher, whether she ON type or not. Being ON (pro-active and interesting) carries a lot of weight in her teaching strategies and dealing with children.
Apply this rule to tracing, writing or reading. Always go from left to right, top to bottom. Easy peasy, right..
Next, suppose everyone knows about the genius who came up with the popular slogan pre-school centres so loooove to use? Its that they practise, implement, promise its included in their curriculum… The Howard Gardner’s famous – Multiple Intelligence.
Whats Multiple Intelligence anyway?
Since no two children are alike, they all learn in different ways which is most interesting to them. Hence, coming to my point that as for teaching children its also vice-versa.
Observe the child that you so love and wish to help, but in strengths. What is your child best at? Not just good, but BEST…? Mummy knows best right… Errrm, ok that didn’t come out right. Lemme rephrase…
Parents know best. What does your child love to do? What gets him/her interested that he/she can do it for hours? What usually gets their attention? Not senang diri position, but really at attention?
Ok… Enuf hints liao.
Ok, now use those strengths to teach your child starting NOW!
Hehee.. But how to right?
Lets jot a couple, ok..
If your child loves drawing, go paint together! Paint those letters away! Great kiddie shops sell stencils, alphabet sponges for dipping the nice, colourful, "messy" and gooey paint… Low on the $$$ side, cut the sponges yourself. No sponges? Carve out from potatoes, carrots, turnips also caaann.. Most importantly, dun give excuse not to learn thru play with your child, ya.
If your child loves nature, go for a short excursion to your nearby park. Yippee they’ll say.. Pack a cute basket for picking up dried twigs, leaves or small pebbles. (Not those nice ones from the foot reflex path, ok! Please!) Or lazy to go out? Use some of those red beans you use for soup.. Never eat soupy sweet beans soup like most Chinese also never mind, the Malays and Indians can use dhal too… Use these inexpensive ingredients to stick to letter templates. What letter templates, you asking? Haiyah… Just make nice thick ones using your Word Art and print, no need to buy activity books even..
Mirror image? Settle already…
Play sticking those small stuff , (so children concentrate better) using their cute fingers in the fashion mentioned. Left to right and top to bottom. Since many has the "bee-dees" problem… Lets, go thru more clearly. Stick from the top of the head of the letter with your ingredient of choice, going downwards in a straight line down. So every head must have a body right? So when you reach the body/waist, you stop.
Next, this man has big belly… Make the belly shape from top of the curve and all the way to the right and back to the body. Belly must stick to body so must connect ok. ( Teaching no-gaps when writing letters ) Now people, thats the letter b.
Wanna extend to Phonics, that letter we just did makes the sound, /b/. Now dd lets go outside the house and play bubbles! Yeai!! Big big bubbles /b/, /b/, /b/… 3X /b/ is the sound we hear..
That my frenz, you have just successfully taught your child fun learning thru play and no worries, he’ll remember that challenging letter b, without the screams or (almost screamed).. In what way? By exploring nature ( collecting twigs, leaves, beans, etc ), by using the artistic side as well ( painting, drawing, crafting, etc ) and by music cause we sang TOGETHER.
Have fun! Stay happy. Thats the only way to stay sane!