Posted February 25, 2012
There's a slew of Raymond Seminars coming up in March! Easy to register for, fun to attend.
Take a look and make your choices.
March 1 Sleep from the Start
In France, babies "do their nights" as early as one month of age. At this prenatal seminar, parents-to-be learn La Pause sleep method to use with your newborn. You may not need to do "sleep training" later on. Kitty also addresses attachment, breast and bottle feeding and how to set up a very workable schedule to cover everything your new baby will need.
7 PM to 8:30 PM (newborns, grandparents welcome)
March 6 Sleep from Now On (12 lbs. and up)
Based on research that tells us babies and children require 11-12 hours of sleep overnight plus long refreshing naps for good growth and brain development, Kitty teaches you a 3-night sleep plan that will accomplish all the changes needed for your child to learn the lovely skill of self-calming. Sleep basics to last a lifetime! 7 PM - 9 PM
March 13 Setting Healthy Limits for Children Age 1 to 4 Years
Touching everything. Not listening to "No." Clilmbing. Pushing. Hitting. Talking back. "You can't make me!" Are these normal behaviors? The answer is yes but for tuned-in parents, it's really important to plan how you will react when faced with these difficult behaviors. Learn how to minimize the impact of these normal stages of development. Kitty fills your toolbox, takes your questions, and helps you make a plan. 7 PM - 9 PM.
March 20 Toilet Learning the Easy Way
Who knew that YOU are the key to your child's easy path toward using the potty. There is an easy way. For parents of 18 month olds up to and beyone age three. 7 PM - 9 PM
March 27 Independent Play
Helping your child learn to play independently (rather than needing to be entertained by an adult all the time) is an important part of a parent's job. This class is for parents of children all ages through preschool. Learn how to prevent problems from occuring and how to wean your child away from your constant presence -so the real learning can begin! 7 PM - 9 PM
If you cannot make a seminar date or do not live in Calgary, you may access the same information for any of the above seminars through a Telephone Counseling appointment.
Posted February 20, 2012
French Immersion? Montessori? Neighborhood? At this time every year, parents are making preschool choices for September. You may feel the pressure of deadlines, worry about programs filling up and yet aren't sure if you should line up overnight to get a spot or relax and see what's available in the neighborhood.
Before initiating the Infant Resource Center (1984) which later evolved into Raymond Parenting, I was involved professionally in the world of preschool education. A great deal of research was being done at that time on how three and four year old children learn best. The intellectual nuggets from that time when early childhood research was at it's peak, confirmed that children learn best when motivated by curiosity and opportunities to make discoveries of their own. These recommendations still hold.
What kind of program will offer this for your child? Often it will be the parent co-op in your neighborhood. You will need to book an observation day (without your child along). Look for interest areas such as a puzzle table, nature table, blocks centre, reading corner, a model kitchen, trucks, dolls, a basket for dress-up clothes and a sand/water table. As children arrived they can move to any centre that catches their interest. A parent volunteer (or hired assistant) may be at a table, perhaps offering a ball of play-dough or a dress-up hat to an arriving child. The teacher will draw the group together for circle time, later for snack time, and there will be a low-key flow to the rhythm of the morning.
In this video, you'll see the amazing way an interested adult can subtly facilitate learning, conversation, discovery and mastery for young children. (Video is from The Perry Preschool Project run by HighScope in Ypsilanti, Michigan.) To watch, cllck on either video on the right hand side.
But what about a Montessori preschool ? A Montessori preschool, if it is being true to Maria Montessori's model, is strongly adult-directed as opposed to child-directed. There are no actual toys in a true Montessori classroom, which disappoints some children. Instead there are 'work stations' where children choose a tray of learning materials. The 'work' on this tray must be arranged and put away before a child may find another tray to work on. I recently observed children at the tracing/cutting table cutting dinosaurs out of paper. One child began to "roar" his dinosaur toward another child's dinosaur. I was happy to see this normal interaction - but an adult immediately arrived to correct and quiet these children and get them back to work. A true Montessori is a quiet classroom, tempting parents to hope their possibly rambunctious four year old will learn manners and self-discipline here. Here is a Montessori classroom video. There are many more ways to be in trouble in a highly structured classroom and children need to start their day shaking the teacher's hand and saying good morning on the way in. As you'll see in the above video, there are some children who appear to be thriving here. But as you watch, notice there are "right" ways and "wrong" ways to use the materials. "Wrong" ways are corrected.
I should mention that many excellent, play-based preschools in Calgary use the Montessori name (why, I wonder) but are offering true child-directed learning under highly sensitive teachers who are not trained in the Montessori method. So keep your eyes and ears open for one of these. Instead of reading the preschool's words about play-based learning, however, you'll need to go see for youself before making a decision. Words can be misleading.
French Immersion may be your choice, of course, depending on your language goals for your child. If you speak French at home and your child is already familiar with the language, this could be a good fit. Even in this case however, you should note that an Immersion preschool will have an agenda (teaching French) which inevitably makes it more adult-directed. If your child is not already familiar with French my bias is for him or her to attend an English preschool first, requiring only one new variable to adjust to at a time.
My recommendation is to visit an inexpensive preschool without a big name and which is close to your home, first. If it looks like a fun, relaxing room for play with a warm, friendly teacher, I think you'll be in the right place. Ideally and developmentally, consider two, half-days for your 3 year old and 3 half-days for your 4 year old. Kindergarten is soon enough for 5 days in a row of school.
Now, I hope you will weigh in with your opinions of my opinions...on the subject of preschools. Tell us which type you chose and why you are/are not happy with that choice for your particular child.
Posted February 12, 2012
Maddie, mom of a 9 month old and a 3 year old, seldom has any time to herself. "This just isn't a stage of my life when I can expect to have free time. There are so many things to be done during naptimes and if the baby wakes up early from a nap I have to stop whatever I'm working on, anyway - it's just too frustrating! I try to get on my fitness machine in the basement but I keep my monitor close by and I seldom get to finish a routine before somebody wakes up and needs me. Maybe later in my life I'll have time for myself."
Maddie is caught in a familiar bind. She feels that as a mom, she isn't being fair if she makes her children wait. But trying to get everything done (for oneself, for a job and for the house) during nap times - isn't practical and puts too much pressure on a parent. Plus, Maddie doesn't realize yet that her children need to grow up observing all she does and how she does it. This includes seeing her follow her fitness routine to the end and seeing her sit down for a break with her novel (not a parenting or accounting or cookbook). Children need to see their parents taking time for themselves and practicing healthy selfishness.
Yes, but what if my kids cry or whine while I'm sitting there reading a book, Maddie might ask. My answer is to think of the value of what you are modeling. First, you are showing your children your love of books and how much you value the secrets found inside. Even more important, you are showing how much you are valuing yourself as a person. You are modeling your self-respect so your children will grow up respecting you. It's a slow process, of course (all of parenting is), and your kids will certainly protest along the way, trying to talk you out of it. Hold firm, be confident.
Other ways to practice healthy selfishness include taking a shower for as long as you used to... pre-kids, finding a babysitter and going out for a weekly (monthly?) date with your partner even if your toddler beggs you to stay home, having daily conversations with other adults without allowing yourself to be interrupted, eating your dinner without a child on your lap, driving without needing to be engaged in constant conversation to keep your child happy.
What else can you think of that is important to your personal well-being? Let's find a way to build it into your day - for the sake of your kids.
Filed under: Interesting Parenting Matters
Posted February 5, 2012
In his book Paranoid Parenting British Sociologist Frank Ferudi states that "It is the exaggerated sense of children's vulnerability that justifies contemporary obsessions about their safety. Today, safety is no longer about taking sensible risk. Parents are bombarded with advice that demands that they create a risk-free world. Every parent must have experienced that nervous grab in the stomach as you watch your child balance to walk along a wall or struggle to climb a tree. The words 'come down now' are on your lips becaue you KNOW that a fall will hurt and you also know that a fall is possible. But you also know that if your child doesn't fall, he or she will have demonstrated a new skill in physical agility, learnt a new lesson and gained a new sense of confidence."
Slivers, bumps, scratches and scabs used to be expected during childhood. Parents took them for granted. Not any more. Parents have been made to be scared and are constantly being warned that a sliver may fester, bruises may look suspicious to a nurse or other health professional and a nasty scab could have been avoided if only you had demanded that a new playground be built at your school.
In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv tells us that the (US) Soccer Association has 3 million members. Obviously, demand for laying fields is up, just as it is in Canada. Expenditures on parks are falling. When parks are funded, the designers focus on reducing liability. Encouraging a variety of play styles is less of a priority. A flat patch of grass or artificial turf (Seattle) may be perfect for organized sports, but not for unstructured or natural play. When a park is graded to create a playing field, children gain soccer capacity but they lose places for self-directed play. Louv tells us that "Research suggests that children, when left to their own devices, are drawn to the rough edges of such parks, the ravines and rocky inclines, the natural vegetation. A park may be neatly trimmed and landscaped, but the natural corners and edges where children once played can be lost in translation."
Two children in my life made up spy games in our park - inside the bushes that surround the outer edge. One day, when the city had sent a crew to trim up those bushes - we walked to the park and the kids wondered what happened! "Why would they do that?" That day they just sat on the bench with me, contemplating how to be spies - with nowhere to hide.
I have more to say about this wonderful book, Last Child in the Woods by Louv, but first tell me your thoughts.
This week's seminar: Sleep from Now On. Tuesday, February 7, 2010
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