Jun 28, 2013

Phonics, Cooking & Crafts

London's day care has started offering specialty classes at an additional fee. These classes cover phonics, music and cooking. Cameron and I have always agreed that we want to do whatever we can to encourage our children in growing and learning developmentally. 

After some discussions between ourselves and the day care director, we decided to have the phonics teacher do an evaluation on London to see whether or not she was ready for the Level 1 Phonics course. This course teaches the children to identify and write alphabet letters, hear the sounds of letters in words and listen to stories for meaning. 

While London wasn't able to identify the majority of the letters, as well as none of the sounds or words, she did show a lot of interest in the process. The director even reported that when London got a letter wrong she would ask what the correct answer was. And so we decided to sign her up for one 4-week session and re-evaluate at the end of it. My dad pointed out that the course may also be good in helping London better enunciate.

On Tuesday London had her first class. Three times a week, for 20 minutes, she will meet with the phonics teacher and two other children (the same kids each time) to learn her letters and sounds. 

On the first day, London came home with a paper explaining the program and feedback from the teacher was handwritten on it. After the first session, if we choose to continue with the program, each time London masters a letter, she will be sent home with a foam version of it, so we can continue working with her at home on it. A booklet will also come home for home practice at this time. 

That night, while I was giving London a bath, she saw a B on my shirt and said "B is for Betty" - seems she is already learning. 

So far the program seems to be going well, even after on one week. I love that it encourages practice at home. I had already been planning to create some simple flash cards for London and with London now being focused on her letters, I am making it a priority to make these flash cards this week.

I can't wait to see what the program sends home to help us keep up the learning at home. So far, we have gotten a handwritten note each day London has attended the program, telling us how she and what she did. The note is written on a paper that describes the lesson of the day and provides ways we can continue it at home.

On Wednesday, London learned and matched the letters in her name. Our homework is to work with her in identifying her name among other words and giving her blank writing paper with her name on it to practice copying and writing the letters. This could be a great activity to have London do while I clean this weekend.

I'd love to put London in the music and cooking classes as well, but then we would basically be doubling her weekly day care costs by 2. And while I want London exposed to music, I know she is through her normal preschool class. We hear her singing little songs in the car all the time these days. Sure, the music class introduces instruments for rhythm, but Cameron and I don't think London would get the same out of it as she will with the phonics class. 

As for the cooking, I figure I can do that at home with London. Before I got pregnant with Sydney and our lives ran away from us, I had planned to do some sort of Toddler Activity with London every weekend. With how busy our weekends can be, this isn't practical even today, but I do think I should be able to squeeze one craft-type/fun learning project and one cooking experience in with London once a month, maybe even a couple depending on the month and how busy we are. I'm going to try and implement this program in July, starting on the 4th with a cooking experience making S'mores Cookies for our BBQ that evening. I'd been looking forward to S'mores while we were in Fort Bragg (which didn't happen) and London is quick to point out the leftover marshmallows every time she enters the pantry. S'mores just scream summer to me. Plus, I'm betting London will love the 1:1 attention from Mommy. I'll be adapting my recipe based off of this one from Martha Stewart:

S'mores Cookies
Photo from MarthaStewart.com - Click here for the recipe
I'll be sure to share the recipe and photos soon.

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