Monday, June 6, 2011

Moving On to our Next Lessons

Our Summer Sing and Learn Toddler Playgroup was finally finished last week. It was my two year old son’s first experience of “school” – complete with classmates, certificates and awards. It was a fun experience for both of us. We both gained new friends. He gained new friends and playmates. I found new friends through the parents and guardians of the toddlers who registered in our playgroup. I was happy to share ideas and activities with the parents, guardians and nannies of the toddlers which proved to be helpful in teaching my own son basic concepts. Whatever profit we earned from our summer business was just bonus.

This past summer was truly memorable for us; not only because of the summer business we had, but also because it was during this summer that our son was diagnosed by a developmental pediatrician to be a potentially gifted child with the intelligence of a four and a half to five year old child. With the expert’s assessment, we discovered his capacity and potential as well as the areas where we need to work on. Based on the assessment, his writing skill was just right for his age but his intelligence is so far advanced. So, we need to help him develop his fine motor or writing skills so that we can engage in more activities that are intellectually stimulating to him. Since he has been playing with shape sorting toys, building blocks, doodling pen and big crayons since he was around a year old, my husband and I started our search for new toys for our little genius. We looked for new puzzles he can work on because he has already mastered his three-letter-word puzzles and his 12-piece body parts puzzle. Unfortunately, we did not find interesting and age appropriate puzzles for him last weekend. However, we found a washable coloring book with colored markers and some activity books to help our son learn and practice his fine motor skills. We are still looking for moldable clay with matching molds and other toys that he can manipulate.

We have already started using his washable coloring book and he liked it. It was like magic when we put the colored pages under the faucet with running water. The colors get washed off easily. The not so good thing about the product though is that the colored markers that got to my son’s hands were not easily removed even with soap and water. We had to use some alcohol to ensure that there are no traces of color left from the markers. The other books we got him have practice exercises on connecting dots from one number or letter to the next which I think would be interesting for him right now because he likes to count and he likes to sing the alphabet and the phonics. I just hope that he would have enough patience to connect those dots up to the last letter or number. Apparently, he shows very short attention span. This was one of the reasons why I have decided to introduce more art activities to him in the past months and why my husband and I encourage him to play with puzzles. So far, they have been working well and teaching him to finish what he has started. I certainly hope these new set of activity books would do the same.

At two and a half years of age, Yanthy has already mastered the alphabet, colors, shapes, days of the week, months of the year, row counting up to 30 and counting by 10s. He already knows the phonics and opposites. He can already read and spell a number of words, as to how many they are I already lost count because of the speed by which he learns new words. He still has a lot to learn but I’m blessed because he learns fast especially when we use music to teach him. He has a very good memory and music enhances his good memory even more. He loves to read books and he loves to hear us read his books to him even repeatedly. He never seems to get tired of hearing the same stories everyday. Because of this, he has memorized some of his books. He likes story-telling a lot. In fact, he has learned to weave his own stories. We sometimes encourage him to think of the next thing that will happen to the story we are telling him. And he’s doing really well. Sometimes, he just starts telling me stories which he himself imagined.

At his age, he has been showing very good self-esteem and growing independence. He can already wear his clothes, socks and shoes on his own. He’s already potty-trained. He can eat and drink on his own (of course, it’s still messy). He knows how to wash his hands but we still supervise him because he likes to play with the water. Sometimes, he takes the initiative to clean up his own mess. And if in a good mood, he is quick to follow instructions when asked to help out. He knows how to say “thank you” and “please.” But he still needs to be reminded sometimes to say “sorry” when he has done something wrong. Nevertheless, the more important lessons we want him to learn at this stage are patience, obedience and discipline. We want him to learn to identify his emotions and handle them positively without throwing tantrums or his toys to our maid when he doesn’t get what he wants. We want him to learn how to behave during the Holy Mass and to wait for the right time to sing instead of singing whenever he wants to.

I pray that God would continue to grant me and my husband the grace to be patient in teaching and molding our son for our parenting journey has just begun.