The foundation skills

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					                                              Get Ready for School: The Foundation Skills for Formal Learning


                            The Formal Learning Skills
                                                                                      Reading                        Writing                             Maths



                            The Foundation Skills



                                              Visual                         Visual                                Visual                            Visual figure
      Vision Perception




                                                                                                                   Sequential                        ground
                                              Association                    Memory                                Memory


                                                                                                                                                                     Visual
                                                                                                                                   Visual
                                     Visual                         Visual                          Visual                                                           Completion
                                     Discrimination                                                                                Completion
                                                                    Pattern                         Consistency


                                                                                                                        Auditory                         Auditory
                                                                                       Auditory                                                          comprehension
                                                      Auditory                                                          figure ground
      Auditory Perception




                                                                                       sequential
                                                      association                      memory



                                                  Auditory                                                           Auditory
                                                                                        Auditory                                                          Auditory
                                                  discrimination                                                     synthesis &
                                                                                        pattern                      analysis                             completion



                                                                             Oral                                    Concept &
                                                                                                                     Directional
                                                                             Language                                Language
      Motor Development




                                                                                                                                                                     Integration L &
                                     Fine Motor                 Spatial                             Directionality                 Midline                           R Brain
                                                                                                                                                                     Hemispheres
                                                                Awareness



                                      Gross                         Body                            Eye/hand &                     Laterality                          Dominance
                                      Motor                         Awareness.                      eye/foot
                                                                    Image                           coordination
nt
Developme
Sensory




                                      Vestibular                    Vision                          Hearing                          Smell, Touch,                       Kinesthetic
                                                                                                                                     Taste, Feel                         Sense
                                      (Balance)                                                                                                                          Proprioception
   Development
   Reflex




                                                                    Infant Reflexes                          Postural reflex
                                                                    Involuntary                              Voluntary
                                                                    movement                                 movement

                                                                                                                                                                               1
Vision Perception - the ability to interpret, analyse, and give meaning to what is seen.
Visual perception refers to information that is perceived through the eyes. In preschool children
this perception is still developing, and will continue to develop right through primary school.

Although most children develop the ability to focus visually and to make fine discriminations in visual
images as they grow, some children will take longer to develop these skills and may need some additional
help, or additional practice.

Good visual perception is an important skill, especially for school success. Children need good visual
perception to discriminate well, copy text accurately, develop visual memory of things observed, develop
good eye-hand co-ordination and integrate visual information while using other senses in order to perform
tasks like recognising the source of a sound etc.

Visual perception skills can be broken down into the following areas:

       colour perception and colour constancy – the ability to distinguish different colours and to
        recognise different shades of colour and light intensities.
       shape perception and shape constancy – the ability to recognise shapes and to recognise a
        shape regardless of size, colour or the angle from which it is viewed.
       spatial relations – interpreting the position of one object in relation to others.
       visual analysis and synthesis – the ability to differentiate between parts and whole objects e.g.
        letters that make up words.
       visual closure – the ability to complete an incomplete image e.g. a dot-to-dot picture or a puzzle.
       visual conceptualizing – making pictures in the mind based on observations, experiences and
        data.
       visual discrimination – interpreting differences between objects observed e.g. b versus d
       visual figure-ground distinction – focusing on important impressions amidst many, e.g. selecting
        a blue pencil among many or focusing on a particular word among others
       visual memory – the ability to store and recall information perceived with the eyes either spatial
        e.g. remembering where an object is situated, or sequential, e.g. remembering a phone number
       visual pattern-following – recognizing and repeating a visual pattern.
       visual sequence – observing images in a realistic order


These are all skills which can be developed and improved with practice, until they become skills that are
performed almost effortlessly.

Developing Visual Perception
Remember, that each individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. I believe that in life, we
all need to learn to improve our weak areas to an acceptable standard, compensate for them where
necessary while focusing on, developing and enjoying our strengths and talents.

No one is good at everything. The object of these stimulating activities, is to help your child develop each
area to their unique potential, not to over-stimulate or try and develop super-babies!

The following are suggestions of activities you can do with your child to develop visual perception. They are



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aimed at 3-5 year olds, but since this is a wide range, you should adapt them according to your child's
proficiency.
   Make a scrap book with a page for each colour. Let your child cut out pictures of objects of various shades from
    old magazines and paste them on the appropriate pages.
   Discuss and draw various shapes for your child to identify. Look for objects of similar shapes in your
    environment.
   Using construction blocks, press a few together and ask your child to copy the colour sequence.
   While looking at a picture in a story book, say, “I see something that is blue, brown and red.” Ask your child to
    identify what you are looking at.
   Draw an incomplete figure and ask your child to complete it. Adapt your drawing to match her/his ability.
   Find a picture book with „busy‟ pictures. Ask your child to look at the picture for a while, then close the book and
    tell you about the picture.
   Talk about the use of colours in society – red fire trucks, warning signs and danger signs, colours of police
    vehicles, ambulances, traffic lights etc.
   Let your child complete dot-to-dot pictures
   Let your child match socks while you sort and fold your clean laundry.
   Place five small objects on a table in front of your child. Ask her/him to look away while you remove one and
    replace it with another object. She/he must tell you which one you removed.



Auditory perception: The ability to identify, interpret, and attach meaning to sound
Auditory perception includes:

       auditory closure -the ability to complete indistinct or inaudible words to create a clear auditory
        image
       auditory conceptualising - the ability to interpret and form a clear impression of a sound or
        combination of sounds
       auditory discrimination – the ability to interpret information relating to the differences between
        sounds, which facilitates understanding spoken words and spelling skills
       auditory localization – the ability to determine the source of a sound using only the sense of
        hearing
       auditory memory – the ability to store and later recall the impression perceived by the ears
       auditory sequential memory – the ability to store a series of information in the order it was heard
        and later recall it, to facilitate following instructions and memorization of rhymes, songs etc.

Developing Auditory Perception
Remember, that each individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. I believe that in life, we
all need to learn to improve our weak areas to an acceptable standard, compensate for them where
necessary while focusing on, developing and enjoying our strengths and talents.
No one is good at everything. The object of these auditory perception activities, is to help your child
develop each area to her unique potential, not to over-stimulate or try and develop super-babies!

The following are suggestions of activities you can do with your child to develop auditory perception. They
are aimed at 3-5 year olds, but since this is a wide range, you should adapt them according to your child's
proficiency.
   Let your children listen to a wide range of different types of music and develop music appreciation.

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   Play and sing action songs and rhymes.
   Talk to your child and let her/him talk back to you in different intensities of voice: softer, louder and with different
    intonations
   Teach your child the sounds associated with familiar animals and objects e.g a clock ticks, a sheep says b-a-a
    etc
   Blindfold your child outside. Then call to her/him from different positions nearby and let them turn towards you.
   Read or tell your child a story and ask afterwards ask a few pertinent questions about the story. Speak or sing in
    a high pitched voice and then a low pitched voice and ask your child to imitate you.
   Play musical statues with your children. Play music and dance. When you stop the music they must stand dead
    still.
   Clap a rhythm and ask your child to imitate it. Repeat with your backs to each other so that she/he cannot see
    you clap.


Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills that are automatic to adults, like manipulating the fingers accurately, require
concentrated effort by young children, especially as they are still developing related skills such as
hand stability, muscle tone, strength and balance.

Fine motor skills require movement of small muscles, usually in co-ordination with the eyes, but also
include movements of the tongue and lips, wriggling of the toes and foot-eye co-ordination.

They are often for communication purposes, functional and expressive, e.g. writing or typing text,
manipulating tools or creating works of art.

Between the ages of three and five children usually make rapid progress in developing fine motor skills and
manual dexterity. However, these skills still require time, patience and plenty of practice. Fine motor skills
include:

       Ocular motor control – the ability of the eyes to follow and focus on an object in the field of vision
        as required.
       Hand-eye co-ordination – the ability to execute activities with the hands, guided by the eyes
        requiring accuracy in placement, direction, and spatial awareness.
       Foot-eye co-ordination – the ability to execute actions with the feet, guided by the eyes.
       Manual dexterity –the ability to accurately manipulate the hands and fingers for neat handwriting,
        drawing, cutting skills etc.
       Stereognosis – the ability to recognise unseen objects using the sense of touch.
       Tactile perception – the interpretation of information transmitted via the fingertips to the brain.

In order for children to develop good fine motor skills, there are also other supporting skills that need to be
well-developed. For instance children need to have strength and dexterity in their hands and fingers before
being required to hold a pencil correctly and begin writing activities. This can help avoid incorrect pencil
grips.




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Developing Fine Motor Skills
No matter how proficient your child is at any given skill, always encourage and motivate them with
plenty of positive reinforcement for their efforts.

Remember, that each individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. I believe that in life, we
all need to learn to improve our weak areas to an acceptable standard, compensate for them where
necessary while focusing on, developing and enjoying our strengths and talents.

No one is good at everything. The object of these stimulating activities, is to help your child develop each
area to her unique potential, not to over-stimulate or try and develop super-babies!

The following are suggestions of activities you can do with your child to develop fine motor skills. They are
aimed at 3-5 year olds, but since this is a wide range, you should adapt them according to your child's
proficiency.


Manipulation activities:
    Manipulating playdough: rolling it into small balls, long rolls etc.
       (Playdough Recipe)
    Tearing paper into fine strips – use them for collage or crumple them
       into balls.
    Screwing up whole pieces of newspaper in one hand at a time to
       develop strength.
    Threading beads or macaroni onto string.
    Lacing activities.
    Cutting out with scissors, using the correct grip.
    Manipulating clothes pegs to pick up small objects.
    Performing fingerplays.
    Preschool Sewing Activities are an excellent way to develop fine motor skills .

Sensory activities

       Finger painting or manipulating other liquids with the fingers and hands e.g. slushy mud,
       Picking up small objects with the fingers, like pegboard pegs, rice grains etc.
       A variety of surfaces to walk on
       Bubble wrap taped to the floor

Activities to develop stability

       Wheelbarrow walking, crab walking, hanging on playground apparatus to develop strength of the
        upper body.
       Working on a vertical surface such as a blackboard or easel which requires the wrist to be bent
        back is good for developing fine motor skills.
       An upright surface encourages a stable wrist position to develop good thumb movements,
        strengthen fine motor muscles and encourages the use of both the arm and shoulder muscles.
       If you don‟t have a blackboard or easel, tape some newsprint to the wall and have your child draw
        and scribble on that.


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       Let her draw large circles, using each hand respectively. Let her draw lines right across the sheet
        from top to bottom, diagonally and horizontally in both directions, using each hand respectively.


Gross motor control
Refers to the movements of the large muscles of the body.
A baby starts developing gross motor control from birth, beginning with the control of her head and torso,
continuing until she has mastered sitting, crawling, standing and eventually walking, running, jumping and
the range of activities that an adult can do.
Children learn new gross motor skills by practicing until a particular skill is mastered.
Gross motor skills include:
balance – the ability to maintain equilibrium
body awareness – for improved posture and control
crossing of the mid-line
laterality – awareness of the left and right sides of the body
major muscle co-ordination
spatial orientation – awareness of the body position in space and in relation to other objects or people

As a child develops increasingly better control of the arms and legs, she begins to develop fine motor skills,
such as grasping, touching, feeding herself etc.
Without reasonable gross motor skills, children often struggle with the fine motor skills that are required for
formal school work.
This article by an occupational therapist, explains how Gross Motor Activities Improve Handwriting
                               There are other added benefits derived from the physical exercise that
                               practicing gross motor skills provides:

                                “At this age a child needs several hours of physical activity a day. This helps
                                to build the body, purify the blood, promote good digestion and calm the
                                nerves.”
                                (Raymond Moore, Homegrown Kids, p113)

                              “For we are an over wrought generation, running to nerves as a cabbage
                              runs to seed; and every hour spent in the open is clear gain, tending to the
                              increase of brain power and bodily vigour, and to the lengthening of life itself.
                              They who know what it is to have fevered skin and throbbing brain deliciously
soothed by the cool touch of air are inclined to make a new rule in life: Never be within doors when you
can rightly be without.”
(Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Volume 1)

Make sure your child has plenty of time to run around, climb, play and even do some work, such as
gardening or helping with other chores out of doors.
Even if you are a city dweller, find a park, a vacant lot or other suitable place where you can go and get
enjoy some physical exercise. Even in cold weather, dress up warmly, go out and develop your child's
gross motor skills, while enjoying the outdoors.
“In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother’s first duty to her children
is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it
for the most part spent out in the fresh air.”
(Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Volume 1)
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Besides the physical benefits of being outdoors, for the purpose of physical activity, other valuable learning
opportunities may also arise as your children encounter objects in nature or other subjects that captivate
their attention.
From about three years of age, your child will be ready to make good use ofplayground equipment that is
designed to use her large muscles vigorously and develop gross motor skills. Don‟t deprive her of climbing
– just help her to do it safely and within limits. Climbing is particularly good for stimulating a child‟s sense of
laterality.
Country living usually provides small trees and fences for this activity, but city parks or playgrounds with a
jungle gym or slide will also achieve the same. Encourage your child to use and many of the apparatus at a
play park as possible.

Developing Gross Motor Skills

No matter how proficient your child is at any given skill, always encourage and motivate her with plenty of
positive reinforcement for her efforts.
Remember, that each individual has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. I believe that in life, we
all need to learn to improve our weak areas to an acceptable standard, compensate for them where
necessary while focusing on, developing and enjoying our strengths and talents.
No one is good at everything. The object of these stimulating activities, is to help your child develop each
area to her unique potential, not to over-stimulate or try and develop super-babies!
Click here for gentle, educational, toddler activities for 1 year olds .

The following are suggestions of activities you can do with your child to develop gross motor skills. They
are aimed at 3-5 year olds, but since this is a wide range, you should adapt them according to your child's
proficiency.

1. Play with a large ball. Encourage your child to kick the ball, using one foot and then the other. Then
throw and catch it too.
2. Encourage your child to ride a bike, a push bike or pedal bike with or without side-wheels, according to
your child‟s ability.
3. Play “Simon says - do this.” Say those words and do an action that your child must copy. When you say
“Simon says do that” she must NOT do the action.
4. To teach your child spatial relations. Ask her to stand in front of a chair, behind a chair, next to the chair,
on top of the chair and crouch under the chair.
5. To develop her sense of laterality, let your child kneel on the floor, then instruct her in turn to lift her left
hand, lift her right leg etc.
6. Tell your child that she must be your shadow and mimic all your actions as your walk about and perform
simple actions.
7. Learn action songs and perform the actions as you sing them.
8. Ask your child to imitate the movement of different animals: creep like a snake, waddle like a duck, hop
like a rabbit etc.
9. Encourage her to balance first on one leg, then on the other for as long as possible.
10. Ask your child to gallop like a horse.
At www.best-child-toys.com there are descriptions of various types of toys that will help develop your child's
motor skills and cognitive ability.




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   Sensory development –
   A great Blog at http://sense-ablebeginnings.blogspot.com/2009/08/proprioception-knowing-where-you-are-
   in.html

   Proprioception: Knowing Where You Are In Space

Proprioception is one of the less known senses. It is the sense that lets you know where you are in space. This is
needed to not bump into things or to turn around and back into a chair without falling. It also contributes to
coordination, grading the pressure of your movements, timing, and speed. If it weren't for proprioception, we
would look clumsy during our movements and they would appear segmented or robotic. Timing and speed are
obvious during a game of soccer or when a baby is learning to walk and then can't stop because he's using
momentum! Also, proprioception deals with grading movements such as when you pick up an item you think will
be heavy, but it was light-weight. If your body didn't correct for this, the item would go flying across the room. Kids
with problems with proprioception may break toys, crayons, and pencils accidentally. They may also be messy
eaters and known as a "Dennis the Menace" or an "accident waiting to happen".

Proprioception is the information from throughout our bodies that effectively locates us in space. It is what
enables us to move, grasp, lift, run, talk etc.

Essentially it is the sensory messages that are sent to our brain from throughout our bodies from Muscle, Tendon,
Ligament and Joint sensors. These sensors (ie. Golgi Tendon Organs), inform our brain of the amount of tension
in a particular muscle, how much stress a tendon or ligament is under, and what position a particular joint is in.
This allows our brain to "locate" our body in space, or to put it more simply, it is our positioning system.

   http://www.wobbleboard.co.nz/default.asp for a simple but effective resource
   So, where are the receptors for proprioception? All throughout your body, but especially at your joints,
   muscles, and also within your vestibular system (sense of balance and motion within the inner ear)

   Below are some suggestions on promoting a good sense of proprioception in babies and toddlers:

          Let the children play with a variety of toys: balls to roll, rolling cars, tummy time mat, exercise ball,
           rocking horse, ride-on toy, push and pull toys such as a wagon, doll stroller, or "grocery cart"
          Let the children play in a variety of positions: tummy time, sitting, rolling, & standing while on the
           floor; climbing on the furniture and crawling under or over items.
          Let the children play in a variety of locations: inside different rooms of the home, restaurant indoor
           playground, playground indoors at mall. Outdoors: your yard, park, swimming pool, etc.
          Play animal walks: bear crawl (AKA downward dog in the yoga world), donkey kicks, slithering
           snakes on the belly, crabwalk, and any other pose that requires that the child hold his body weight
           with his muscles
          Resistive activities: carry backpack, push wagon or inverted laundry basket, pulling toys that are
           lying on a blanket for a "magic carpet" ride, or any activity that is "heavy work". Remember to limit
           the weight to only an extra 5-10% of the child's body weight. 2 rolls of pennies is a pound and
           these rolls could be placed within a backpack or pockets to jacket to add resistance as the toddler
           is running around. Adult wrist weights could also be added to the tot's ankles for extra resistance. If
           the tot weighs 30 lbs., do not add more than 3 lb. of weights to his ankles.

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        Basically, remember that the first two years of life are known in the child development world as the
         sensorimotor stage. Young little ones should not be couch potatoes...which means neither should
         we as parents and/or caregivers. Get down on the floor and JUST PLAY!
        During daily routines, offer sensory input to all of the senses: touch, sight, movement, taste,
         smell, hearing. See http://tiny.cc/MY9F9 for ideas to do this with a baby during daily events such
         as car rides, bathing, etc. as well as during play
        Minimize the time a baby is in a positioning device! The baby needs to feel movement against
         gravity unassisted by a device that he/she is likely to lean on.
        Exercise classes such as "mommy and me" are fun too
        Infant massage aids in body-in-space awareness as well as the sense of touch


How to Improve a Toddler's Balance & Vestibular Processing Skills During Play

Toddlers are known for falling alot. That is because they are new to walking, running, climbing, and all of the other
gross-motor activities that they enjoy doing. They also tend to get in a rush and overly excited causing them to fall.




               The vestibular sense which is located in the inner ear contributes to balance abilities. Everytime the
head moves, the vestibular system should be activated, and help the person balance. That is why it is important to
offer a toddler a variety of movement opportunities to help them gain better balance skills.


    1. Have a variety toys for your toddler that are for indoor and outdoor gross-motor play. "Hand me downs" from
       neighbors, consignment stores, garage sales, and clearance shelves are a good place to look when on a
       budget. If not, most retail centers and toy stores have a variety of options. The vestibular system is activated
       by the head (and body) moving in 5 different ways: up & down, front-to-back, side-to-side, upside down, and
       rotation (AKA spinning).
    2. Toys and activities that promote the toddler to move in an up & down pattern are: jumping on two feet off of
       the ground, hopping on one foot off of the ground, marching, jumping on a mini-trampoline, jumping on a
       "moonwalk", bouncing on an adult's lap, jumping off of a stair, bouncing on an exercise ball (AKA pilate's
       ball), riding a teeter totter (AKA see-saw), climbing up a ladder or park equipment to then go down the slide
       on the other side, and bouncing while seated on a horse on springs. For a toddler who isn't walking yet, a
       standing activity center that allows the child to bounce is a good choice.
    3. Toys and activities that promote the toddler to move in a front-to-back pattern are: swinging, climbing
       through a fabric tunnel, climbing through a tunnel or obstacle on playground equipment, rocking horse that
       is low to the ground, being pulled in a wagon, pulling toys or sibling (or pet) in a wagon, any push toys (e.g.
       grocery cart), any ride-on toys including a tricycle, pushing a laundry basket with toys or laundry in it,
       pushing a stroller with shopping bags or another child in it, rocking chair, gliding chair, rocking porch swing,
       and walking/running with a pony on a stick between the legs.
    4. Toys and activities that promote the toddler to move in a side-to-side pattern are: swinging while seated to
       the side such as on a glider swing, galloping sideways,dancing while swaying side-to-side, and laying on a
       blanket while being taken on a "magic carpet" ride as the adult pulls the toddler sideways across the room.
    5. Toys and activities that promote the toddler to move his head upside down (AKA inverted)are: flip flops,
       forward rolling, cartwheels, rough-housing, going down a slide head first (for safety have the arms out to the


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         front), hanging upside down over an exercise ball that is held by the parents, "wheelbarrow" walking on the
         hands as the adult holds the toddler's waist or legs, lying upside down over a sofa, and animal walks (bear
         walk, donkey kicks, etc.).
    6.   Toys and activities that promote the toddler to move in a spinning (AKA rotary) direction are: "Ring around
         the Rosy", sit-n-spin, twirling around like a ballerina, running in circle, merry-go-round, rolling within a sheet
         pretending to be a burrito, spinning on a tire swing, spinning in an office chair, and sliding down a circular
         slide. Remember that to stimulate both sets of vestibular receptors in the inner ear when spinning, go each
         direction when possible such as stopping the tire swing when spinning to the right, and then spin it to the
         left. Many toddlers get dizzy easily because their vestibular systems can't handle alot of spinning prior to
         age 2 years, so be careful. Signs of overload would be turning pale, nausea, vomit, dizzy, and getting quiet.
    7.   Vestibular input (all movement) can be accumulative especially when intense. So, to work on better balance
         while climbing, maybe all that is needed is a small amount of swinging and jumping prior to the climbing
         activity. Also, if your toddler seems extra hyper-active, he may need more play sessions or for a longer
         amount of time, or more intense activities. For example, swinging at a slow speed may not be intense
         enough for some toddlers to get "the wiggles" out, and may need more climbing and activities that require
         their muscles to work and not be as passive such as with swinging.
    8.   Some vestibular input is calming and other input can "perk up" the toddler. If you want your toddler to get
         calm down such as before bed time or when he's acting too silly, use movement that is side-to-side or front-
         to-back in a slow rhythmical manner such as in a swing or being rocked in a chair. All other vestibular input
         tends to be alerting, especially when it is fast-paced.
    9.   Movements that "perk up" are: spinning, upside down, up & down. Movements that tend to "perk up" a child
         are especially beneficial for the "laid back", under-responsive child, or child with low muscle tone and
         muscle weakness


REFERENCES
Get Ready for School DVD
Producer Robyn Cox & consultant Gill Connell available http://www.getreadyforschool.co.nz/

http://www.shirleys-preschool-activities.com/free-preschool-activities-school-readiness.html

http://www.wobbleboard.co.nz/proprio.asp




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