Ages Stages Child Development

by Sheilla
(United States)

I have a question and really need some advice. I stumbled upon your site and love it. I operate a small home childcare and have two children that are 4.5 years of age.

These children can not write anything at this point. They are a bit delayed It has taken me this long to get them to where they could talk and not grunt, hold a spoon or fork and feed themselves and potty train them.

Now I feel they are ready for preschool work but I do not know how to do a lesson plan, either daily, weekly or monthly. They need to learn how to cut, write and spell their names, letters numbers, basically everything at this point. Is there a way that you can share with me a weekly lesson plan, from what letter you learn, what crafts and so forth..

I would really appreciate it. I feel that if someone would show me what they do (in detail from beginning of the day to the end) I would learn how to do it myself.

Thank you so much for working so hard on your site.

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Child Development Stages - Part 2
by: Z. Meltzer

Continued from previous comment...

I use my lesson plans as a guideline for specific ideas I try to educate children about. Such as being kind, healthy living, empathy and so on. Having a daily schedule is a large part of the planning. What do you do during circle time? Introduce a new topic? It is a great time to model mutual respect to the children and patience when listening to someone else talk. Often enough at this age it is not the topic that is discussed that matters but rather the way we discuss it in a group.

Outside is a great time to work on gross motor skills. Bring out balls, skip rope, large chalk.

Indoor play time is time for fine motor skills development with some of the ideas I mentioned earlier. It is also a good time to work one on one with the children.

With regards to the ABCs... I think the two kids in your class are simply not ready. Here are some ways to get them excited about letters and words (And please pass these suggestions to their parents and other caregivers)

1. Read to them - While you read show them the words on the page by following with your finger.
2. Direct their attention to words and letters in their environment. While going on a walk show the stop sign and how it says STOP on it. Explore the words on their toy boxes. This box says Lego.
3. Have a word wall and refer to it. Begin with the names of the children in the class and later you can add words by themes, (fall, winter) or by interest. Do the kids like a certain sport? Can we spell out the names of Hockey players?
4. What else can we do with words? We can write a letter to mommy and daddy. Even if it just says I LOVE YOU.
5. Finally, and this is one of my favorite things to do. I ask the children "How does your story start?" and they tell me their story. Whatever it is on that day. I simply write it down. I shows the value of their words and writing.

Regarding your question, what letter do you begin with, always always begin with their name. Once they recognize all the letters in their name you introduce the names of family members and slowly expand from that.

Z. Meltzer

Child Development Stages - Part 1
by: Anonymous

Hello Sheila,

Thank you so much for your e-mails.

It is my understanding that you strongly feel that the two boys in your care need extra work and lots of one on one time in order to catch up.

Let me begin by stating perhaps what is obvious: All children are different and therefore we cannot expect them to develop equally. Eventually we all get 'there' but each of us takes our own path and pace.
From your first e-mail it sounds to me that the children were not exposed to many activities (other than watching TV) and that seems to be the main source of the delay in development. If this is the case please read on but if perhaps the delays are the results of lack of physical development (the brain is not developing) than these children need to be seen by their pediatricians and a greater intervention than my advise to you.

Now here is my advise to you:

The beauty of 'development' is that it takes time. It is a suggested guideline and while a child may seem like they are way behind they can catch up quickly partly because of the right exposures to the tasks and partly because of the natural development.

Building a program is simple and logical. Think what is the final goal for these children. You can refer to the development charts on my site. Let's say you would like them to be able to hold the scissors correctly and cut a straight line. This is what the process will look like:

1. Pre Asses - Give them scissors, draw a line on the paper and ask them to cut.
2. Observe - As they are cutting take notes. Are they holding the scissors correctly? Can they do it?
3. Conclusion - Let's say they are unable to do it because they are holding their thumbs down instead of up or using their right hand when they show clear signs of being a lefty.
4. Make a plan - There is a need to improve the small muscles in their hands the following ways:
a. play with playdough
b. build with small Lego pieces.
c. pick up pompom balls with tweezers.
Expose the kids to many activities that help develop their fine motors while having fun. Integrate between the programs. While picking up the pompoms count how many the child is able to pick up. What colors are the balls and so on...

5. On going assessment - Keep on recording the progress of the children and their abilities to use scissors to cut. Correct them often and be like a scaffold and support them.

continued in the next comment...

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