Over the years I have had the joy of teaching and challenging students. Each one has something to teach me. This bright, challenging, and unique little girl(3) always made my drama classes just that much more fun. Here is the story of Lola and her valiant attempts to tell the Think Sun’s version of “The Queen of Hearts”.
The King of Hearts made some tarts all on a winter’s day. (So far so good)…
The Knave of Hearts stole the tarts….dead silence…Knight says “Oh Mrs. Khallad! It’s not looking good!”
Up pops Lola…oops Queen of Hearts inside of castle. She shouts, “Wake up Taras!” “Ya gots ta takes the tarts!” She looks aghast! She takes Taras by the hand…”here Taras ya havta take the tarts…” Taras stares in confusion…Lola places tarts in Taras’ hands. She looks at Mrs. Khallad with barely restrained patience.
“Well I guess I havta take him back to the castle”.
The King of Hearts called for his tarts…again dead silence…By this time Lola is barely able to restrain herself. “William! Ya hasta look for the tarts!” William is looking confused…Lola’s head pops up from the castle once more. “Here William…ya havta look for the tarts-see? No tarts!” dead silence…
And looked behind the door…
Lola sighs…William still looks confused. “Well I guess I have to take him back to the castle now”.
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts…didn’t happen. Lola took Taras by the hand and led him back.
And so ends Lola’s One Woman Show! I look forward to seeing my girl accept her academy award in future years.
Imagine that you have a line down the middle of your body from the top of your head and down through your trunk. Crossing midline is one’s ability to reach across the centre of the body with their arms and legs crossing over to the opposite side. This is a very important developmental skill that takes time for children to develop. It is a pertinent skill required for reading and writing, completing self care tasks, as well as for many sports. The ability to cross the midline is important on the physical level as well as one the brain level. On the brain level, a lack of midline crossing may indicate that the left and right sides of the brain are not communicating well together.
What are the symptoms of difficulties? You may see children switch hands when drawing and cutting. If a child is avoiding crossing midline, it will be difficult for them to establish hand dominance, which will ultimately affect the progression of their fine motor development. Children that have difficulty understanding how to sit cross-legged and seem oblivious to their limbs usually have difficulty with midline crossing.
Toddlers will first develop their bilateral coordination skills; the two sides of the body will learn to work together at the same time to complete a task. A child will then progress to using one hand as their dominant hand while the other hand is used as a “helper hand”. This development occurs at different speeds with individual children, but a dominant hand should be emerging by the end of the third year.
WHAT WE DO TO ENCOURAGE AND DEVELOP CROSSING MIDLINE
Here at Think Sun we use rhythm scarves and ribbons crossing the midline with music. Dancing and swinging arms in diagonal, up, back, sideways to music helps children to become aware of their arms and legs. Bean bag tossing games, Simon Says are all games we play at pre-school. We also use paint to develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, tri-pod grasp and yes crossing midline skills.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ENCOURAGE AND DEVELOP CROSSING MIDLINE?
Play with blocks stacking them
Using a washcloth to bathe
Household chores such as dusting, wiping tables, sweeping
Playing patty cake
Playing with cars on a large path
Playing with flashlights
Painting with a large paint roller (use water on your fence or sidewalk)
Draw a large figure 8 on a chalk board or sidewalk and have them drive cars on it
Watering flowers using both hands
Ball passing from side to side.
Encourage independent dressing and self-care such as combing hair, brushing teeth etc.
Nothing creates more angst, anger and defensiveness in parents than the discussion regarding the enrollment of late fall/winter birthday children in kindergarten.
Just to let you know dear readers, I am vehemently against a four year old in kindergarten. These children are generally socially, cognitively, physically and intellectually at a disadvantage if starting kindergarten at this time. These children are youngest in their classes. Their brain development is at least 12-18 months behind other children who’s parents have opted to defer their child’s entry into kindergarten.
These youngest children are four for over half the school year. Expectations for listening, printing, reading and understanding concepts of the curriculum are for a five year old brain. These children function not at the top of the class but rather in the middle or lower part of the class.
I want parents to look ahead to their child’s future. Junior high is hard enough for age appropriate students. These children are 11 years old in grade 7 for over half the year. And at the age of 13, these children must decide their high school courses! They will be in grade 12 at the age of 16. Somehow their marks must be high enough to open doors to their future. But they are competing with all those other students who have led the way simply by virtue of that extra year of brain growth their parents gave them back before kindergarten.
So I beg parents to think long and hard. Yes daycare is expensive and preschool is also a pain to get to. But it is 10 months of sacrifice. The benefits of deferring entry so that your child is amongst the eldest has far reaching results. Eldest in class has the advantage of more confidence in withstanding negative peer group pressure. These children are able to quickly grasp concepts, are physically able to coordinate their bodies to participate in sports activities and their brains have had that time to develop. This results in a happier, more confident child eager to tackle all aspects of education.
In 29 years of teaching preschoolers, I have yet to meet a parent that regretted that extra year. I have heard plenty of parents of junior high children who
regretted not giving their child that extra year.
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