Archive | February, 2012

First the Egg

28 Feb

Okay, so upon reading Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s “First the Egg”, you may say “That’s it?”  Honestly, I had the same thought when I first read this book…until I discovered the fun in it.  At the nursery school, my kids learned a lot from this book.  It helps them to cognitively understand the sequence of events; for example: “First the tadpole, and then the frog!”  After the children became more familiar with the book, I allowed them to answer in unison what would come next.

“First the Egg” made some of my most quietest students yell out loud; this was so pleasant to see.  So, this is why I love this book so much–definitely in my top 10 favorites as far as children’s books go.

NIFTY CRAFT ALERT:

Really want to make your kids feel smart?  Try photo copying the pages and cut out the featured items.  Then, have the children glue them on a piece of construction paper in order.  They can decorate the project afterwards with crayons and pom-poms if they want.

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Nanny Stereotypes

16 Feb

My Nanny friends and I always discuss the ways in which people view/judge us–or at least what we believe goes on in their heads when they see us with the children that we care for.  I decided to Google “Nanny Stereotypes” and I stumbled upon a great article from “The Stir” entitled: “Nanny Stereotypes Need to End Now”.  I agree wholeheartedly with the angle of the article.  Those that are stereotyping Nannies need to come to the realization of how important our jobs really are.  Contrary to popular belief, we are not “babysitters”.  We do not sit around all day, sipping our coffee, chit chatting on the phone, without paying attention to the kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I know some Nannies that have these activities on their daily agenda, but all that can’t go unnoticed when the caregiver shows how much interest she REALLY has in the child.

Anywho, this is not a rant; I just wanted it to be known that we are important as Nannies.  Our good deeds should not go unnoticed and others should not be so quick to judge.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been at the park and neighborhood Moms are watching me like a hawk with the “Smith” children (names changed lol).  If I am not being outright lazy or rude with the kids, then please, refrain from the staring.  Similarly to Mothers, we care for precious cargo too.  That should earn respect in itself.

As Nannies, we are people too.  To outsiders: come over, introduce yourself, and get to know us.  You may be surprised.

And to my fellow Nannies: there is only one weapon of mass destruction; kindness.  Kill everyone with kindness–and I mean everyone.

(Photo Courtesy of Babble.com)

My “No David!” Praise

10 Feb

     So, I am a huge fan of the “David Series”.  The illustrations are not only happy and bright, but they are simple and fun to look at.  Even though “No David!” in particular has very few words on each page, I find that it enhances children both cognitively and social and emotionally.  David was a child like many children that often found himself in trouble-situations: spilling juice on Mommy’s carpet, forgetting to put his pants on before his walk to school, etc.  I used to read this book to my Twaddler class almost everyday; not only to teach them right from wrong, but it enabled me to ask them questions.  I loved asking them questions–it got them to think. “What is David doing?”  I’d ask.  They would answer: “He is skateboarding in the house!” “Where are we supposed to skateboard?” I’d ask.  “OUTSIDE!!!” they would respond.

So, before you pick up the book at your local bookstore and skim it prior to purchasing it for a child, remember not to judge a book by the inside pages.  Fewer words on a page can provide you with even more opportunities to help a child learn.   Happy reading!

Why It’s So Important to Expose Children to Literature

7 Feb

I am currently enrolled in a Studies in Children’s Literature course.  My first essay was due last night and I found the assignment very interesting.  After taking notes I realized that we do not understand how truly important it is for children to be read to.  With that said, the following post is part of my essay–Why is it so important to expose children to literature?

Having children read literature opens the doors to further information about the world around them.  It is agreeable that it influences the way we think about ourselves and in the world.  Reading to children at a very young age will influence the way in which they choose to live in the future; whether it be through decisions of interests, or education.  Therefore, a child’s exposure to literature depends on the parents, as well as the caregivers.  Not all pleasures can be taught, but that does not mean that they cannot be introduced.

If children do not learn how to read and or are not read to, then they will never get to make the choice between reading and television (or any other activity for that matter).  I have chosen the two strategies in which I feel are most important in gaining a child’s interest as far as literature goes.  The first is simple; make reading fun.  As explained by my instructor at college, Professor Williams agrees that speaking to a child is very important.  Children learn by being talked to and read to.  I believe that talking about what objects are on each page do enhance a child’s vocabulary, but it also allows them to express themselves, thus promoting cognitive learning.  After a child has learned what a “ball” is, then why not move on to the next step?  What can we do with a ball?  What do you like to do with a ball?  I do believe that these methods of the reading experience will allow the child to develop a greater interest in the stories.  They will look forward to the routine in which they were provided; cuddling up with Mom, helping to gently turn the page, and showing her what we remember about the objects in the story.

Another way in which we can get children interested in literature is by selecting the right literature to expose them to.  My theory is simple: if we enjoy it, then there’s a good chance that they will enjoy it too.

Remember, just because there are some “big” words in the literature, certain poems and stories may still be worthy enough to be shared.  We often underestimate children and their intelligence.  So what if they do not know the meaning of new vocabulary?  Should they be deprived of the poem all together because of minor obscurities?  Children are still able to enjoy literature even if they are too young to read it themselves.  Even if there are unfamiliar words, they can still enjoy it.  Children’s books have such significance to the lives of youngsters.  It is all about the initial experience of not only the way in which a book is presented to them, but the individual attention they are receiving from a parent or caregiver.  Even if the child cannot read, or even understand the meaning of a few words, therein lies a comfort aspect that children feel when hearing an adult read to them.

As mentioned in my introduction paragraphs, reading to a child at a very young age is crucial to their growth process.  Of course they learn language, facts, and enhance memory skills, but the real power in children’s book are the emotional effects they have on our lives.  These emotional effects are derived from the reading experience and this experience depends on those that wish to provide us with it.

It is like Aidan Chambers said: “Readers are made, not born.”  If it is true that when we become adults that we remain totally connected to the child we once were, then we should all be compelled to read to our children as early as possible.

*I will be recommending some of my favorite Children’s Literature here on The Nifty Nanny blogsite.  Please e-mail theniftynanny@gmail.com with comments, questions, and any suggestions you may have for fun books and poems for kids!

(Photo courtesy of apples4theteacher.com)