Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preparing for First Grade

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It is every parent's desire to adequately equip their children for future academic challenges and this is why I do my best to teach Noah what I can when we spend time at home.  My son's just in preschool and though I am clear about not having unrealistic expectations of him, as well as not giving him unnecessary pressure, I also believe that it won't hurt to experiment and try to push his limits every now and then.  Sometimes you'd be surprised at what a preschooler is ready for.  

This is why I've always appreciated learning tools that can help me make the learning experience more interesting and appropriate for my son without sacrificing my objectives.  Such is what is offered by SmartFirstGraders.com and here to tell us more about it is Michael Baum.  I hope you can check out the site and have fun exploring it with your kids!

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Fun Learning for First Graders

When I was young, I used to love reading a feature in Reader’s Digest magazine called The Most Unforgettable Character I’ve Ever Met. Some of these “characters” were famous, others were not, but I always enjoyed learning about them. 

Over the years, I’ve met a few unforgettable characters of my own—ordinary people who impressed me with their meaningful contributions. One of these people is Kelli Pearson—or Miss Kelli, as I knew her when I began volunteering over nine years ago as a homework tutor in an exciting after school program at a community learning center in my hometown.

At the time, Kelli was the director of the K-5 program at the center. I watched as she taught and engaged kids, introducing them to the fun of learning. She also had a knack for handling difficult situations, making the environment a welcoming and safe place for children. I was impressed not just by her ability to teach kids, but to reach kids.

Now that reach extends farther than ever before. Earlier this year, Kelli launched www.SmartFirstGraders.com, a web site devoted to making learning fun for kids. While plenty of teachers find exciting ideas here, Kelli’s main goal is to give parents ideas for helping their kids learn. 

Since kids have a way of resisting being taught by mom or dad, the web site’s learning activities feel more like play than work. Who would have thought that playing card games, making bubbles, going on scavenger hunts and baking cookies could be used to teach math and science? But it works, and kids love it. I know because I have used some of Ms. Kelli’s ideas with my young grandson.

Success in first grade sets the stage for young kids to develop into good students, and what better way to do this than by making learning fun. With the help Kelli offers on www.smartfirstgraders.com, parents can help their first graders reach this goal. 

From articles on fine motor skills to tips on how to deal with bullies and mean kids at school, from cool science experiments to lists of classic books for first graders, www.smartfirstgraders.com is a valuable resource for parents and teachers on math, science, reading, child development, and more.

I am happy to call Kelli both colleague and friend. She taught me how to reach kids on their level, and this has made me a better tutor. If you have a first grader and want to give your child a learning boost while you and your child have a great time together, check out this site. (You can say you heard about it from Mike B!)











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Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net