A Little Project

My school girl was following me around a little lost and bored yesterday morning so I decided to give her a project to do. I suggested she make a book about 10 things she has enjoyed doing over her holidays.

She was very keen, so to get her started, we sat down together and made a list of 10 things she had done and really enjoyed. I wrote the list so I could help spell tricky words like "Aquarium" and "Federation Square", but I deliberately did it in note form so she would have to think through how to construct sentences when she came to write the book (this is something she has done at school and is quite capable of).

Next, we downloaded the photos we have taken over the last couple of weeks. She chose her favourites and I copied them onto a word document, making each photo passport size.

Then I stapled together 6 pages of white A4 paper that I folded in half, and left her to her own devices. She collected up her own glue, scissors and textas and set herself up to work at the kitchen table.

I was doing some work around the house, so I was at hand if she needed help with spelling or when she took a break to show me what she had done, but for the most part, she worked on her own for a good couple of hours.

Putting together a book like this is a great way to practice literacy skills in a nonthreatening, fun way. It's also a great opportunity for self-reflection and when the task is completed, it provides a sense of mastery which boosts self-esteem. It also kept Em absorbed and occupied for over 2 hours which not only helped develop her memory and concentration, but also gave me some time to get a few things done.

School's Out But At Our House It's In

Well, we are having a lovely break from the daily grind of school lunches, uniforms, dropping off and picking up. But here at my house, we haven't left school behind altogether.

We have had a school corner set up in our loungeroom for about the last 4 or so months and it has been used a lot in the last week since we got back from our trip away.

The school corner came about when I got an old school desk and some chairs from a friend. I set it up in the loungeroom when em was having some friends over to celebrate her birthday. It never got packed away because it became a great place for the kids to draw and create which saved my dining room table.

It wasn't long before Em asked me to get out her whiteboard so she could play 'schools'. I also added whiteboard markers, rulers, calculators, pens, pencils, stickers and a few notebooks. The area has been used almost every day since.

Sometimes Ed Is the student, sometimes her toys are, sometimes I am, and a lot of the time she plays there by herself. It's been a great place for Em to play out and process all that has happened to her in her first year of school and, during the holidays, it's been a great way for her to revisit what happens at school when she's thinking about being there.

This is what it looked like when it was first set up. It's not quite as tidy now...

When I ran my own kinder room I would always set up the dramatic play area as a classroom in the last term. It would give the kids a chance to play out the big change that was about to happen for them. It also enabled the kids who had older siblings and knew a bit about school to pass on some of what they knew to the students that didn't and it also allowed for questions and concerns to naturally come up and be dealt with.

I set it up much the same as the one I've done for Em at home only I would include uniforms, school bags and lunch boxes. All of these things need time and practice to get used to.

If you've got a little one starting school for the first time this year or have some bigger ones who are a bit bored and missing school, a school corner at home could be just what your house needs.

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