First Blog by gRandma gRace

We are actively and excitedly creating additional materials and curriculum to be
included on this website in the near future. Our materials are intended to support
the growth and development of children with an emphasis on their language skills.
Unfortunately, in some schools children are not expected to perform at high levels.
As parents (and grandparents) we must educate ourselves about what children
should be doing at what age so we can better prepare them to reach their maximum
potential. The standards we used as a basis for their growth, both social and
academic, must be on target to at least ‘normal’ developmental growth according to
their age. Of course, everyone develops at a different pace so this is not a
competition. However, use of standards based instruction helps prevent the
‘lowering of the bar’ that too often is done with children of color. Thus high
expectations are one of the keys to success.

High expectations alone are not sufficient. We have to work at helping our children
reach these high expectations. What motivates them? What makes them want to
learn? What can we do to have fun with our children as they learn? Learning should
not be a chore but something that our children want to do. This love of learning
mind set should be nurtured early in a child’s life.

We do know that our children learn better when there are actively engaged in the
activity. They also do better when they believe and can see what they are learning is
relevant to their lives. For preschoolers this relevancy can be in ‘real life’ and in
their ‘fantasy play’. So, for example, if you encourage your child to tell stories to you
and then show real excitement as your child is telling their story to you (whether it
makes sense or not), your child will feel good about their story and encouraged to
tell you more. Using the child as the center of their learning experience by
establishing the relationship between what you want your child to learn and their
everyday experiences as children at home and in their community supports active
learning. This is authentic teaching from the perspective of the child.

I have purposefully used these guidelines in working with my granddaughter in
creating our first book, Akira’s Animal Alphabet Alliterations. She has been ‘hands-
on’ at every stage of the process. We were playing with one another and leaning
about animals when we began coming up with the animals used in this book. She
regularly gave Steven, our artist, input on his work. For example she, like many
young kids and her father before her, really loves dinosaurs. This love of dinosaurs
was a great incentive for learning their “big word” names. One of the alliterations is
Tyrannosaurus tinkling triangle. Tyrannosaurus is her favorite dinosaur and she
loved the picture Steve sent for us to review. He then asked me to ask her what
would she like to be doing on this page. She told him she wanted to be playing the
tuba. I didn’t even know she knew what a tuba was!!! But, she obviously did as
shown in the following video clip of me asking her to tell Steve what she wanted.
Needless to say Steven drew her playing the tuba …

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