Preschool for English Language Learners

Kindergarten is not the best place for five year olds to start learning English. Unfortunately, too many English language learners (ELL) preschoolers are not getting the head start in learning that they need. Some parents have a belief that preschool is an expensive luxury and not necessary for children whose first language is not English. There is a belief that these children will somehow “pick up the language “ quickly. While this may be true, enrolling these children in preschool gives these children a better advantage. These same children who have been given the benefit of English Language Learning in a preschool setting are much more prepared for a kindergarten classroom. Too many families who don’t speak English do not realize or know that select approved licensed preschools like Think Sun have Alberta government approved agencies that provide free assistance for English Language Learners. Further there are subsidies available for stay at home parents that will enable these preschoolers to have a head start on English Language Learning.

This is not to say that preserving first language is not important. It is saying that giving all children a head start for kindergarten is something that shouldn’t be missed.

Chew chew chew

Parents are fed a daily avalanche of fear through their devices. Every day there seems to be stories of children dying from bizarre or even every day activities. This fear has parents cutting up their childrens’ food into tiny little pieces and avoiding all food that is considered to be “chokey”. By not allowing children to cut their own meat, etc. their hands are weak. Jaws are not developing because they are sucking applesauce out of pouches instead of biting into an unpeeled apple. Children need hard crunchy food to develop strong jaw muscles which enable speech sounds to develop correctly.

What to do? Start putting a knife and fork at your child’s place setting. Children as young as three can begin cutting deli meat, etc and then graduate to cutting their own beef/pork/chicken as they grow. Get those whole apples, carrots and hard raw vegetables into their snacks. Get your children helping to prepare meals. It might help with picky eaters to enlist them in making meals. Enforce eating at the table and no talking with food in their mouths. It may take awhile to get your child to enjoy eating hard crunchy fruit and vegetables, but persevere.


Summer is fast approaching and parents are bombarded with frightening warnings such as “avoid the summer slide”. They rush to enroll their children in academic activities out of fear that their children will somehow forget an entire year’s worth of learning in two months. While educators disagree as to how much learning is lost in a summer, my advice is to embrace the summer and utilize the outdoors to enhance your child’ brain development through physical activities.

Here are 10 activities for development of gross motor skills
1. Scooter board races
2. Shooting baskets
3. Volleyball
4. Swimming
5. Playing with yo-yo’s
6. Jump rope
7. Riding a bike
8. Swinging
9. Playground climbing walls or just climbing rocks
10. Wheelbarrow races/hide ‘n seek

Here are 10 Rainy Day Activities to develop visual motor skills
1. Copy patterns using shapes, pegs
2. Put together models
3. Dot-to-dot
4. Mazes
5. Puzzles
6. Tracing pictures/letters
7. Cut straws into small pieces and string them to make a necklace
8. Cut play dough into small pieces
9. Cut shapes out of different mediums like foam, tag board
10. Make books utilizing old magazines or cereal boxes

Everyday activities such as baking cookies enhances and supports math and readiness skills. Encouraging children to be creative in developing their own activities supports problem solving skills. Boredom is not something to be avoided. Try not to jump in with planned activities for every moment of the summer. There is learning in lying in the grass looking up at the clouds. There is learning in allowing your child to develop her/his own list of “stuff” he/she would like to do. The act of doing nothing is actually rejuvenating for all.

Finally there is no APP for a child to enjoy her/his summer. Throw out the routines and embrace randomness. Sneak in a little learning with everyday activities. HAPPY SUMMER EVERYONE 🌞🦋🌺

Unplugging the Yell Machine or how to regain your sanity


It’s bedtime and your strung out four or five year old has collapsed into a heap over the suggestion that it’s time for bed. You both know it’s going to get ugly, but you are now caught up in the drama of screaming at each other. So how do you avoid the conflict? You can’t avoid every battle, but you can reduce the drama.

If Junior/ess is motivated by rewards, here’s something to try. You will need
1. A small clear jar (about 8 oz 236 ml).
2. A bag of little plastic beads
3. A bigger jar or jug 4 litre size

Start by figuring out what issue is making you lose your mind the most. Is it bedtime? Eating? It will be different for every family, but decide before getting little one involved what is most important for you to work on

Here’s an example for bedtime issues

Make a chart(pictures help) for order of bedtime activities and the reward earned.
1. Bath time and ending when asked equals one bead
2. Pajamas equals one bead
3. Teeth, hair, bathroom equals one bead
4. Story time, drink lights out equals one bead
5. Staying in bed til morning equals one bead

That makes 5 beads in the little jar. Making a fuss? Lose a bead. Screaming hot mess? Two beads and so on. Hopefully the entire contents of the day’s beads won’t be lost, but be firm on the loss. Once your child realizes that you are not engaging and that the beads are disappearing, it is to be hoped that the histrionics cease.

Now when the little jar is filled, your child can decide if he/she wants to use the bigger jug. The little jar can be a little reward ( it doesn’t have to involve buying a toy-it can be a fun walk in the park or whatever activity you decide upon). You can involve your child in deciding whether to defer the reward by dumping the contents into the bigger jug for a bigger reward. It can be whatever you wish to use as an incentive. It can be saving for a very expensive toy, or a vacation. Use your imagination to think of what will be a suitable motivation for you and your child.

You can expand the chart into other areas as your child grows. For example technology time and number of beads needed for a certain amount of screen time. You can decide what needs to be accomplished to earn a bead and how many beads are needed.

Hopefully you can regain your sanity, have a calmer home and above all a more harmonious family life.



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.