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Monday, 24 February 2020

Raising Bilingual Kids When OPOL Doesn't Work


         
The one parent, one language approach is one of the most widely used language strategies for bilingual families. I have previously written about different bilingual language strategies and how it is best to speak to your child in the language you are most proficient in. This may not necessarily be your first language, or mother tongue. For example, you may have stopped speaking your first language once you started school and not picked it back up again. You may have moved to another country and started speaking a different language and now you feel more comfortable speaking, and are more proficient in, this new language. There may be other reasons for it too. You may be equally proficient in more than one language and, therefore, you can choose which language you would like to speak to your child. 

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Sunday, 16 February 2020

Emergent Literacy and Beyond - Online Course


Literacy is one of the most important skills humans can learn. According to the National Literacy Trust, 'Lacking vital literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life.' Without the ability to read and write, children will struggle at school and in the work place. As parents, they will struggle to facilitate their own children's learning. The National Literacy Trust has carried out a lot of research into literacy and a person's ability to read and write has been shown to affect life outcomes and even life expectancy! The National Literacy Trust found that life expectancy can be shortened by 26 years for those living in areas with poorest literacy skills. So, having good literacy skills is highly important for learning throughout life and improving life chances.

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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

The Trouble With Phonics


In 2006, British schools were told to teach children to read using a method known as systematic synthetic phonics. Prior to this, phonics was not used across the board and other methods, such as the whole word method, were used too.

If you have been following me on social media for some time, you will know about my dislike of systematic synthetic phonics as a method for teaching young children to read and write English. Let me tell you why.

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Friday, 31 January 2020

Barnes Brothers Book Reveiws


I am thrilled to be taking part in Multicultural Children's Book Day for the third year running! Multicultural Children's Book Day is a great initiative that aims to promote and celebrate diverse children's books as well as get more of these books into libraries and schools.

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Sunday, 26 January 2020

10 Outdoor Activities For Kids in Winter

 

Getting out and about in winter can definitely be a challenge. When we look out of the window and see the bleak, winter sky or frost on the grass, it can seem easier to stay indoors in the warm. However, bad weather always looks worse through the window and once you get out in it it really won't be so bad! 

Motivation to get outdoors


Feeling motivated to get outdoors in the winter is all about your mindset. You need to believe that going out will be enjoyable and that it will be a fun thing to do for the whole family. Therefore, I am going to share my favourite outdoor quotes to inspire and motivate you!

"Never be within doors when you can rightly be without." - Charlotte Mason

"Once get in touch with nature and a habit will be formed which will be a source of delight through life." - Charlotte Mason

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it in inexcusable to live in a world so full of marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things." - Charlotte Mason

"The sense of beauty comes from early contact with nature." - Charlotte Mason

"When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength." - Maria Montessori

"The land is where are roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth." - Maria Montessori

"There is no description, no image in any book capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them." - Maria Montessori

"A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature." - Maria Montessori

Now that you feel inspired, I would like to share my top 10 outdoor activities for kids to do in winter.


10 outdoor activities for kids in winter


1) Go on a winter scavenger hunt. Put together a list of things for your children to find outside and then go out and search for them. You can even get a FREE printable scavenger hunt HERE.

2) Look out for winter plants and animals. You may think of winter as a time when a lot of plants and animals are dormant but there are plenty of signs of life if you look closely! Try looking out for different winter plants and animals next time you go on a nature walk.

3) Explore ice. Playing with ice will offer children lots of fun learning experiences. You can talk about how ice is formed and watch it melt using different methods. See if you can spot some ice in frizen puddles when you go out and about or create ice by leaving trays of water outdoors over night.

4) Make patterns in frosty grass. I did not know how exciting frost is for children until we went on a nature walk recently. There were large expanses of frosty grass and the children spent a long time running through it, listening to it crunch under their feet and creating beautiful patterns. Perhaps your children will enjoy this simple activity too!

5) Build a fire and toast marshmallows. When it all gets a bit too cold, you can always light a fire and toast some marshmallows or other treats. Building a fire and doing some backwoods cooking is one of my children's favourite outdoor activities.


6) Draw winter trees. Many trees lose their leaves in winter so you can see their trunks and branches clearly. They can look quite impressive against the winter sky. Take some paper and sketching or painting materials outdoors and create pictures of the winter trees.

7) Make bird feeders for the birds. In winter food is scarce so making some bird feeders for the birds is a great thing to do. Bird feeders are simple to make. Try putting lard or peanut butter on a pine cone and rolling it around in some bird seed. Then tie it to a tree with some string. Alternatively you can thread multigrain hoop cereal onto a pipe cleaner or piece of string and hang those up for the birds. This make a great fine motor activity for littel ones!

8) Learn about snowflakes. I didn't know how interesting snow was until I read the book 'The Secret Life of a Snowflake' by Kenneth Libbrecht. This book is brilliant for teaching children all about snowflakes; how they are formed and what shape they take. It also includes stunning pictures of snowflakes close up. I highly recommend it!

 

9) Record the weather. The weather may be cold and wet but there may be some interesting things to record. Apart from temperature, record things such as frost, fog, snow, ice, rain and cloud formation. See if you can predict the weather from the types of clouds you see.

10) Have fun in the snow! Unfortunately we do not get much snow here in the UK but if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with snow, you are sure to have a lot of fun. Go sledging, build snowmen and have snowball fights!

What are your favourite things to do outdoors in winter? Let me know in the comments below! 





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Saturday, 25 January 2020

Creating a Phenology Wheel


A phenology wheel is a lovely way to record your nature observations each month. It is a perfect, visual memoir to look back on the seasonal changes that occured in your local area over the last year and a wonderful activity to add to your nature study.

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Monday, 13 January 2020

Goals for 2020


At the start of the year I like to do what most people do and set myself some goals for the year. These are things that I would like to work on and improve over the coming year or something new that I would like to do. Sometimes I stick to the goals and my life feels better for it. Other times I fail miserably and that's ok. The point is to try your best and see how it goes, remembering not to be too hard on yourself if what you planned to do doesn't materialise.

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