Tuesday, 17 November 2015

FACIAL MIMICKING - EARLY COMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT.

Early communication skills are important for young babies and children. They are born with an inbuilt desire to connect to others and part of this is their ability to mimic facial expressions. Babies as young as 6 weeks have shown the ability to copy the expressions that their parents have made to them. 
My favourite is sticking my tongue out and watching them copy back to me. I have always done it and never really known why until I started to learn about child development in the 90's. I guess it is hardwired in to us adults as well!

Other fun things to try include making your eyes wide or opening and shutting your mouth. Very often the baby or toddler will make the same face back to you.

This isn't just play. It is early language and communication skills. Babies are primed for social interaction and have a preference for zoning in on faces. They respond to you when you look at them and make eye contact, but if you look away they will go quiet and  look somewhere else. They can pick up on your expression and many tests have shown that they respond better to someone that smiles rather than a neutral facial expression. 

This early form of non verbal communication is all part of the important development for successful language and social skills. This sounds like a perfect excuse to sit and play with baby for as long as possible!


Saturday, 14 November 2015

ICT IN EVERYDAY PLAY!

I have always found ICT to be a tricky area to cover with my little ones. I am not a lover of using  apps and tablets with young children. I have been trying to find ways to include ICT in my setting in as many areas of play as I can. 

I bought this cool diggers book from The Works a couple of months ago and it has been a big hit. It folds out in to a track and the children can wind up the 2 vehicles that come with it and then let them go so that they follow the grooves in the board. It is quite fiddly to hold the trucks and turn the little knob on the side. I showed the children how to do this a few times and before long they were trying to do it for themselves. They did quite well! They managed to get enough wind in to them so that they would move along the board a little way. 

•Operates mechanical toys, e.g. turns the knob on a wind-up toy or pulls back on a friction car. (EYFS Understanding the world-technology  22-36 months)
•Shows skill in making toys work by pressing parts or lifting flaps to achieve effects such as sound, movements or new images. (EYFS Understanding the world-technology  30-50 months)




It was lovely to see them taking turns and playing with the same toy together. They liked to watch each time the truck was placed on the board, to see how far it went.




Another big hit has been the Vtec Kidizoom cameras. These are used daily and I often have to change batteries! The children like to see the pictures that they have taken and I often link the camera up to the laptop so that everyone can see the pictures and we can talk about what we are sharing together. Some of the children have worked out how to add funny hats and glasses to the pictures with the special effects setting.




Another ICT resource that I am happy to have invested in is the TAG reading system. The pen makes the story books interactive. There is no screen so I feel much happier about the young children using it and it is great to show that written words have meaning. Great to share with friends as well!



So ICT does not have to be tablets and phone apps! All of the items shown here, I found cheaply on eBay and at carboot sales/ Facebook sale pages. It doesn't have to be expensive and there are so many other items that you could get that cover this area of learning that can be incorperated in to every day play.

  • Radio control cars 
  • Toddler toys with flaps and lights that flash when a button is pressed
  • Jack in the box
  • Tape and CD players
  • Karaoke machines 
  • Stop watches
  • Battery operated toy tills, microwaves and other homecorner items
  • Walkie talkies
  • Boggle Flash game
  • Cot mobiles
  • Electric keyboards and drum pads

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