Welcome, 2020! January 1st is the perfect time to commit to turning everyday activities into learning opportunities. As a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and mother of three, I instinctively can turn just about every moment into learning moments.
While working with parents I have learned that optimizing learning opportunities is not a natural process for some parents, especially busy parents. Well, I am here to help. Time is a difficult concept for preschool and school-age children. The new year is a great time to teach or reinforce this concept.
We also observe Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January. I am a firm believer that children should know about history. Time concepts can easily be applied to both New Year and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Holiday
Here are 5 learning targets to use when the opportunities in January pop up.
Number 5: Vocabulary is always one of the easiest information you can teach your children. Please, do not think that using large vocabulary words with younger children is unacceptable, exposing young children to higher vocabulary words allow for opportunities to increase what your child understands and the vocabulary your child will use (expressive).
- NEW YEAR: Resolution, annual, decade, goal, future, present, past
- Martin Luther King Holiday: annual, national, rights, civil, nonviolence, boycott, integration, segregation
Number 4: Learning to reciting the days of the week. You could recite the days of the week, identify the present day, yesterday (past), tomorrow (future), identify days extracurricular activities occur (i.e., dance is on Wednesday). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday discuss that the holiday is observed on the third Monday in January.
Number 3: Learning/reciting the months of the year. You can follow the same strategy as number 4.
Number 2: New Year Discuss present, past, and future using real-life experiences. I often use my body in space moving forward (future), backward (past) and standing in place (present) to help teach these concepts. Using age is also a good way to teach the present, past, and future. Most kids understand turning a new age, growing to a larger age. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday discuss/compare/contrast African American Rights past, present, and future.
Number 1: New Year Counting backward. Counting backward during the year change is a great time to practice. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Happy New Year. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday count how old he would be in 2020. Older kids can subtract, to find the number of years since his I have a dream speech in Washington, DC.
I hope you all have an amazing New Year filled with everyday learning.