January East Network Meeting
First Meeting of the New Year! January 14: Zion-Concord in Bensenville
New Start Story:
1. Aimee Walsh shared with us her experiences today with a new family with a Morman background. They are very excited to be joining her new child care center. Aimee also is happy to announce that Trinity is adding a new pastor who will be working primarily as the spiritual, on-site leader of their new worship site at Trinity’s Early Learning Center. Aimee has already talked to him about this new family and how to reach out to them.
1. Concordia University Early Childhood Conference: Friday, August 5, 2016
It will be a special celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Early Childhood program at Concordia.
Doris Knuth is looking for sectional leaders for the conference. Julie Klopke is looking for some new vendors. Please share ideas for both of these areas with Doris or Julie.
2. A number of the participants talked about how they are going to celebrate National Lutheran Schools Week at the end of the month. Discussions focused not only about the NLSA week theme and activities, but how also how some of them would be using these events as outreach to their communities.
Topic of the Night: “Handwriting”
1. State Board of Education no longer promotes the teaching of handwriting through the publication of any state goals for it. Many public schools are no longer teaching handwriting as one of their subjects. Very few companies are presently developing and/or producing handwriting materials due to a lower demand for them as well as company mergers.
2. Even with technology, there is a need for individuals to be able to write legibly. What will our society be like even in five years without basic handwriting instruction for many of our students?
3. When will the holding a pencil appropriately be assessed? No recommendations are currently being given from the state of Illinois or NAEYC.
4. As early childhood professionals we need to share our rational for promoting developmentally appropriate methods and materials in the area of handwriting to our families. Many of these families, who often have very high standards for their children, just want guidance on what to do with their children at home to promote appropriate handwriting. Share some ideas and research with them verbally, on-line, in newsletters, etc.
5. “Handwriting Without Tears”-
o This program is being used at Zion-Concord, Bensenville and Immanuel, Crystal Lake. Zion, Hinsdale has also gone through the training for it.
o Basic principles:
o Use of appropriate handwriting “vocabulary” (sticks, circles, etc);
o Use of wooden“hands-on” sticks and circles for students to use to make capital letters.
o Primarily instruction is learning capital letters
o Workbooks/sheets available but expensive
o Encourages the use of a variety fine motor activities such as clay
o Primarily geared at 4 year olds and above
o Additional materials in this program “Mat Man” (hero of this program)
3. “Print Path”
o St. John, Lombard uses some of their website ideas to make their own materials which are somewhat similar to the manipulatives used with the “Handwriting Without Tears program.
4. “Zaner Bloser”
o Used by St. Peter, Arlington Heights
o Promotes top to bottom strokes
o Many materials available but costly
o Helpful materials: Smartboard apps and desk strips
5. “Heidi Songs”
o Elements of it used by St. Philip, Chicago
o Letters are learned primarily through the use of large motor activities
o CDs/DVDs/apps/You Tube/ Facebook materials & ideas
6. Great materials to use to promote the fine motor development needed by young children to have successful development with handwriting:
o Clip clothespins
o Melted crayons
· Use as spacers: large version great for model writing in front of a full group of students and small versions can be used by individual students at their tables
o Cray Pas
§ Very sensory and success oriented
§ Can be purchased on Amazon; somewhat expensive though
o Spray bottles with colored water
o Rock crayons
§ Helps with pencil grips
§ Looks like jelly beans
§ Can be purchased on Amazon
o Small golf pencils (short and light weight)
o Well stocked free choice writing centers
7. Related Handwriting websites:
o http://intheplayroom.co.us/2015/01/04/fun-ways-work-handwriting-skills/ (lots of ideas both developmental and worksheets, some free and some $)
o http://www.sugaraunts.com/2013/09/improving-pencil-grasp-with-fine-motor.html (article on pencil grasps)
o http://kim.marxhausen.net/ (Kim Marxhausen’s blog)