From Principal's Desk
Little Helping Hands ….. Develop Responsible People
Did you ever observe a neighbour’s child helping his dad in cleaning car without being asked? Or, your cousin’s one year old putting her finished cup/bottle in the sink without reminders? Did you ever feel where these wonder children came from?
Did you ever feel that your child never puts away toys when he is done playing? Is it a struggle to get your child ready in the morning? Is your child forgetting his/her belongings frequently?
Being in the teaching field gave me opportunity to observe quite a number of children at both extremes. Even older children depend on their parents to pack their school bag. They watch cartoon/TV till late night and skip school the next day. On the other hand, a six-year-old who goes to a nearby shop to fetch things for her mother. Or a 2 year old who will put all the things back in place after using. Or a 4th grade child who follows play and study schedule without any reminders.
When we observe children who are quite responsible, we wonder if they got that quality by birth or if it’s an acquired quality. Being responsible is not an innate quality for everyone. It is developed by consistent practice and observation.
"Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character."
--By Vince Lombardi
As parents, we always want to take best care of our children. We try to provide everything they wish for. We help them by all means and even assist them in doing the simplest tasks. Often, we don’t realize that our over protective, caring and perfectionist attitude can result in our children being dependent on others and they might grow with an irresponsible attitude.Children who do not have responsibilities at home grow up to be adults who rely on others to do things for them.
You might be wondering if this is applicable for children at Sproutz, as they are very young. But, it is very important to develop the habit of being responsible from quite young age in order to turn them into responsible individuals. In fact, young children actually take a lot of pride in developing the skills needed to be independent. Children gain a sense of accomplishment, competence and self-esteem when appreciated for being independent and responsible. Furthermore, when a child is allowed to make contributions in daily activities, we are helping them to become an independent adult.
But the big question is how to start?
We can try to inculcate the habit of being responsible by taking baby steps. Both school and home should take equal responsibility in shaping a child’s character. At school we help children develop a routine. They place their shoes, bag and bottle in their respective places. After each activity children take up the responsibility for cleanup. They help teacher in distributing the stationery to the class. In the dining hall, children take the responsibility of placing plates and spoons for their friends. They are constantly reinforced with the habit of not wasting food. These small chores give a sense of pride to the little ones as they feel accomplished of helping self and others.
Parents also have an equal share --some times more than teachers-- of making their children develop responsibility.
At home, children as young as 2 year old can be involved in doing some reasonable jobs and routines. The key is to make the practice consistent. You can make them responsible for :
- Getting ready to school willingly
- Putting away toys and books after use
- Putting dirty clothes in the basket
- Dressing independently
- Helping to bring and sort groceries
- Putting plates, cups and spoons on the dinner table
How to keep up the child’s interest in the chores?
Keep it Simple – keep the task manageable and age appropriate. Don’t assign tasks with too many steps. Also, don’t assign too many chores at the same time. Increase gradually.
Offer choices - come up with a list of jobs and let the child choose the task. Involving them in the process helps them in owning the task.
Make a routine - set up a routine for the tasks that need to become a habit. For example- Cleaning up after each play, going to bed on time, limited screen time.
Be a role model - Children learn by observing adults. So, dear parents, please be aware of your routine and habits when you try to instill responsibility and positive behaviour in kids. We can’t expect the child to leave the dirty clothes in the laundry basket if we don’t follow it ourselves. More importantly model the desired behaviour and talk about it. Use the same inclusive "we" phrases over and over to show how you can easily solve problems. Ask other family members and your helper to follow suit. You'll be surprised how quickly these actions become a habit for kids.
Give positive reminders - Remind the child of his routine/task in a positive tone. Say “ Please put your socks in the basket!” Instead of saying “don’t leave your socks on floor!”
Appreciate positive behavior – Notice positive behavoiur and give positive attention to it. Let the child see how thrilled you are with their positive behavior. Anything you see that you want to happen more often- let the child know that you like it by giving a high five, hug or praise. Do it right away and be specific. “Great job! you kept all the toys back in place!” Taking pictures of the child doing the task and displaying them with pride will motivate him/her and make the child feel great about it.
Start a reward system -Make a game of it. Award a point after each positive behavoiur. Pool up the points and reward them of their choice. Reward can be anything a child really wants and doesn’t have to be monetary. May be going out for shopping with mom, extra story at bed time.
Don't be a perfectionist - Kids need a lot of practice before their skill matches your expected outcome. If you are perfectionist, please refrain from fixing what they have done. For example, if they folded a napkin, don't praise them and immediately undo what they have done in front them. Kids are keen in observing and they pick-up your true intent.
Set clear consequences for undesirable behavior – Not only should we appreciate positive behavior, but also, set rules about undesirable behavior as well. Set clear expectations about the negative behavior and the consequences the child needs to face. When the child breaks the rules, remind them of the consequences. Keep it brief and don’t delay. Make the consequences consistent like time out or loss of toy privilege. Remember to appreciate generously for positive behavior (90% of the time) and keep the consequences for negative behavior brief and crisp (should not be more than 10% of the time).
Children feel capable when they are assigned certain tasks that they can accomplish. They believe that they can handle challenges and that they are able to make a contribution to their parent’s work. When children feel capable, they willingly meet their responsibilities. Do not hesitate to offer help; try new tasks and feel good about what they do. All of these things will increase a child’s responsibility.
Praising children by giving rewards and messages can increase child’s sense of responsibility and also help them to feel that they are capable. So, do not undermine to appreciate children when they showcase the sense of responsibility.
Remember, “wonder child” is a result of wonderful parents’ diligent efforts. They don’t happen automatically or accidentally or luckily.
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are
the roots of responsibility & the wings of independence.”
SALUTE TO ALL THE TEACHERS IN OUR LIVES
Making a Difference
Here is a story of an elementary teacher that happened many years ago. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners ... he is a joy to be around." His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle." His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class." By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson's ear, "Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."
Salute to all teachers….you make a difference in your students’ lives.
(Contributed by Dr. Andrew Jenkins, Central Washington University)
Highlights Of The Month
Independence Day Celebrations
A feeling of patriotism emanates in the hearts of all Indians on the day of independence each year. We ensured that our children understood what Independence Day meant to all Indians and celebrated the day with great joy.
Ms. Vijaya Lakshmi, former director of Kids Are Kids preschool, hoisted the flag followed by a graceful performance by our PP2, PP1 & Nursery children. Quite a number of parents also attended the program and expressed their patriotism.
For Janmashtami, our cutie pies of play group and toddlers performed and entertained all of us. Dressed as little Krishnas and Radhas, they all looked incredibly adorable. It was mesmerizing to see the little ones move their legs and hands rhythmically to the music played. All our children kept jumping up high to reach the matka and break it. Obviously, they are learning to be strong and developing “never give up” attitude at school :).
We are pleased to share the onset of morning assembly at school. Every morning our PP2 & PP1 kids march to the assembly hall; assemble in rows and recite the morning prayer. Each day a child or two share their thoughts or a rhyme or a story to the gathering. School morning assemblies help children understand routine, make them disciplined and develop the skill of public speaking.
Theme of the month
Our children successfully completed their journey to southern India -- Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Now our kids know that Onam is celebrated in Kerala and Pongal in Andhra Pradesh. Churmure from Karanataka is now one of their favorite snacks. They also know that we may be buying fruits from super market but, they actually come from trees in a farm!
One of our Keralite parents, Bindhya Yohanan, brought the culinary flavours of Kerala right into Sproutz. She demonstrated making Uniyappam and kids got to watch as well as taste the yummy snack. They decorated rangoli using rice flour and flowers showing amazing creativity. It was a great fun and learning opportunity for kids knowing about different states and their specialties.
We are all set for our expedition to North India in the month of September. We are excited to explore Rajasthan, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. We will be exploring the hot deserts, snowy mountains and the rich culture of West Bengal.
Note: Parents, if you have any pictures taken in North India please share them with us. Nothing excites children to see familiar faces. Also, if you have any specific items for show and tell to make it more concrete, please lend them for few days. We will return them safely.
Creative Birthday Cake
Hats off to Ms. Kranthi (mother of Saanvi Chowhan of Nursery) for her creativity in making a cake with suji rawa, beetroot, apple and pine apple juice on her daughter’s birthday. The halwa was set as a 3 tiered cake each tier with a different flavour and colour. Halwa was so appealing and tasty that kids finished the entire cake.
It is almost three months since the school started and most of my kids got settled and started participating in all activities like circle time, theme talk, storytelling, creative activities and most importantly, they started enjoying the class routine. Now my kids identify and name some colours and shapes. My kids know some facts about India. They can also point at the map and name Telanagana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. I am so proud of my kids!
During Karnataka theme, we made Bhel churmure – Karnataka’s famous snack. Children enjoyed eating that. During the circle time, when I was talking about national bird- peacock, Praneesh stood up from the place and started saying “ maya mam, I saw two peacocks in the botanical garden. I was very happy that he started connecting the classroom discussions with his experiences.
Children can comprehend better if all their senses get stimulated. In order to give a rich multisensorial experience, we brought a coconut (as a part of Kerala theme). Children enjoyed seeing, touching and feeling it. We broke the coconut to show the coconut water and the edible part and made them taste. Our children also liked the uniyappam (kerala’s famous sweet) made by a parent.
My children enjoyed knowing about Pongal which is the main festival of Andhra Pradesh. We made rangoli and toranalu( decorative door hanging) with mango leaves. They talked about the colour of the leaves, counted and felt the texture of the leaves.
August is the month of many festivals. We celebrated Rakshabandhan and Krishnaastami. My children made rakhis in the class and we explained the significance of Rakhi celebration. We celebrated Krishnashtami with great joy and excitement. Kids rocked the stage with their dance performance and ramp walk as little Radhas and Kanaiahs. Matka breaking was the most exciting part of the day!
Next month we are exploring Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. So, if you have any pictures clicked at these places, please share them with us. It will be very useful while introducing those states in the class. When we talk about Andhra Pradesh, kids immediately start talking about Ruhi’s grandparents. They also mention that Anvi is from Gujarat. Kids comprehend better when they can connect with something personal when we talk about these states. In this month we will also be talking about domestic animals, desert and common plants.
OMG!! September is already here. August went off so fast. My kids and I are keeping each other busy and excited every day. The last month was filled with excitement, new games, new activities and new stories. We celebrated Independence Day, Rakhi and Krishnashtami. Kids participated with full enthusiasm.
This month we continued our journey on how to be gentle with others (plants, friends and things around us). Children learnt new letters, numbers, rhymes and gained knowledge about their own country. Children loved the rangoli made by them. Ridhaan saw the rangoli and told, “Ma’am India flag”.
During free play time, I gave slates and chalk pieces when Aniruddh came and showed me the rocket he made. He said, “Mama sitting rocket”. While doing cupcake activity, Aadhya came and told me, “ma’am I like apple cupcake.” How creative these kids are...
In this month our main focus was on the letters p,n,c,k and e and when I was revising the sounds, Varsha made a snake with play dough and told, ‘ ma’am, I am scary, snake, sh sh sh.” This is what I call imagination.
We covered the concept of community helpers in this month and while we were discussing about doctors Samar said, ‘mamma patients waiting”. I must say, their vocabulary is improving.... Children had a lovely time during our field trip to the coconut farm. Rishon kept talking about trees. I was amazed to see his knowledge on trees. He could identify Coconut, Banana and Papaya tree.
This month ended on a very sweet note. I thank Ms. Bindhya, mother of Rishon, for coming to school and teaching us a Kerala delicacy ‘ uniyappam’.
Theme zone of August- Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, India, Kerala
Karnataka --The day of introducing Karnataka state began with Aditi (Aditi is from Karnataka). Kids enjoyed knowing about coffee plantation, they enjoyed the flavor of coffee by touching and smelling the coffee powder. Tavvishka said my papa drinks coffee, kids don’t drink coffee. While talking about jog falls, when teacher asked where do we get water from? Samira said I get water from my home in bottle.
We had so much fun practicing dance for Independence Day celebration. Next day Kaahini came to class and said, “ Ma’am, I want to dance on Mein ne sab kuch dekha” ( I love my India song) While talking about our national symbols, I was amazed when Aditi knew all the national symbols before I taught them.
On our trip to coconut farm, kids enjoyed a lot by launching rockets with coconut leaves. They collected a lot of things like leaves, buds, fruits and twigs. On reaching school they took care of their collection like a treasure.
As part of rakshabandhan celebration, kids made Rakhi with shapes. They were so excited to stick shapes of hearts and triangles on circles.During Janmashtami celebrations, kids were so excited to break matkha and collect chocolates. They showcased their physical skills while jumping up to break the matka.
Upcoming theme for the next month is Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. We request you to share the pictures and artifacts native to those states, if you have any.
August has been the time kids are into “school atmosphere”. It has been a month of festivals and celebrations -- Rakhi, Independence day, Krishnashtami. Karnataka, India-Independence day, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala include this month’s themes. Kids have been enjoying a lot of activities including field trip and cooking. We start the day with the morning assembly which includes morning prayer, National Anthem, warm ups and a small talk by one of the students.
Kids made Rakhis as part of Rakhi celebrations. I was told that Shanvitha did not leave her brother’s side the whole day. Maybe, she felt that special brother and sister bonding on the day of Rakhi. Practice for Independence Day was an open up for kids who were shy. Although they were reluctant in the beginning, they chose to dance away to the music. Taran’s dancing came as a big surprise to me. The girls were at their best.
The field trip to the farm was like an adventure for the kids. They explored the field,
examining, touching, feeling and smelling fruits(lemon, custard apple, banana, coconut, mangoes and pomegranate).They were very excited to see the butterflies whiz past them and chicks following the mother hen everywhere. Taran asked,” ma’am, where is the father?” It was definitely a new experience for them. A few of them collected mangoes, lemons and tender coconut buds.
Most of the kids have mastered the first set of phonics(s,a,t,i,p,n) sounds. They love the rhymes and stories connected to the sounds. You can follow the link given below for phonics practice at home.
We’ve started on a few cvc words like sat, cat, pat. Kids started to blend sounds to make words. Kids enjoyed the “feeding shark with phonic fishes” activity. Charvi touched the shark’s teeth and said, ”ma’am, teeth are sharp.” Most of them identify and can count till 10. A few of them are still working on it. So, we do have a differentiated plan for them.
It’s good to see kids improve in their own way overcoming their fears, learning to cope with situations, communicating their needs, trying new foods, caring for friends and even their teacher. Aashrith enjoyed the special moment when his friends circled him and sang the birthday song.
All my children are picking up new languages. While Dhonika, Chitransh, Krishav and Aashrith are picking up English speaking skills, Charvi is learning a few words in Telugu. Kids are trying to connect English with their mother tongues and translate/form sentences. It was funny when Shanvitha said, “My eyes are spicy” to communicate that her eyes were burning.
The themes for the upcoming month are Rajasthan,Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. We would like for the parents to volunteer for these states-- to give guest lectures, organize field trips or cook a native dish.
August is indeed an auspicious and festive month, as we celebrated Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan and Janmashtami. We engaged with our little ones in bright and creative ways around these important events and festivals. Kids enjoyed dancing during Independence Day celebration. They had fun breaking Handi (filled with chocolates) during Janmashtami celebration. Children made colorful Rakhee for Rakshabandhan. The only little angel Marina tied Rakhee to all the boys in our class. Akhil told Marina “I will bring teddy bear for you as you are my sister now”. How sweet of him!! These events have undoubtedly laid the foundation for social and emotional well being of young minds.
As part of daily routine, we have started Assembly. Kids pray, sing National Anthem and talk about different topics in front of everyone.
In this month, we explored India, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala with introduction of new topics like community helpers and parts of plants. While introducing Kerala, I talked about coconuts. When I asked kids, “Where do we get coconuts from?” Anish promptly responded “Madam, in temple”. :-)
While talking about community helpers, Aariz told “I want to be fighter pilot”. Immediately Anish asked “Madam, Does fighter plane mean police plane?” Kids are on right path when I remember the great quote from Albert Einstein “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”.
Kids are grasping and understanding concepts very well. Along with that, I have started sight words and blending & segmenting CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant) words which children picked up with ease. To enhance their knowledge, worksheets are also provided. All the kids are ever ready to do worksheet for English and Maths.
Mathematics is doing mathemagic as children are absorbing all concepts like more/less, big/small, before/after in fun learning way. Game activities are used as learning tools. Oral counting from 1 to 100 became a routine as they are playing number game daily.
As part of the theme learning – Kerala and Parts of Plants, we visited a Coconut farm near by. Kids saw Mango, Custard Apple, Pomegranate, Lemon, Banana and Coconuts trees. They collected different twigs, fruits and leaves. They thoroughly enjoyed the field trip.
We will explore Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal next month. Please share photos or story or specialty of these places.
After school children spend their time at Sproutz making new friends, playing with different board games and participating in structured activities. Children enjoy and show willingness to share knowledge with one another during the discussion time. It is one of the major take back for the kids because, it happens in a diversified group. Our after-school children participated in our Janmashtami celebrations and enjoyed breaking the matka and grabbing the chocolates.
Upcoming events and Holidays
2nd Sept’ 2016 - Make and Take Ganesha- An open workshop for all
6th to 10th Sept’ 2016- Teachers appreciation week
5th Sept’ 2016- Ganesh Chaturthi Holiday for school & day care
12th Sept’ 2016- Bakrid Holiday for school
13th Sept’ 2016- Ganesh Immersion Holiday for school
30th Sept’ 2016- Dussehra vacation starts for school
Star Readers Of The Month
Congratulations to Play Group A and their parents for being the Star Readers Of The Month! Play Group A children together read for 979 minutes. Together, all Sproutz parents contributed 2529 minutes towards reading! This is a good contribution!
We appreciate all the parents for taking time to do what matters the most for their kids development at this age-- reading to them. Thanks for helping us in progressing the reading program. We are very proud of you!
Congratulations Arjun, for being the STAR KID of the month for reading for the second time. You contributed 475 minutes to the total reading time.
Other Top Readers:
Alaysha- 360 minutes
Praneesh & Suvaneesh- 250 minutes
Anvi- 249 minutes
Keep it up Kiddos!
We hope to see many more kids join this list soon!