Healthy Development at Home
By Katy Porray, Lead Teacher, Lotus Cottage in the Montessori Children’s House at Qingdao Amerasia International School
Spring has come to Qingdao, and the weather and air are gradually getting better and better. It’s a great time to be outside and to do things together as a family.
In our parent-teacher conferences this month, many families brought up questions of what to do with children outside of school that helps their development and their social, physical, emotional and intellectual well-being. Over and over, we heard parents express similar concerns: violent messages in popular toys, games, tv and movies; the strong pull of materialism and money-spending habits in shopping malls and stores; the apathy and inactivity induced by hours of watching tv and computer screens.
“What can we do with our children?” was the question we were asked, over and over.
To help our class parents, and other families facing similar challenges, we rounded up some resources for activities at home that parents can try with their children.
Children LOVE cooking and baking! Even young children can measure out and wash cups of rice; spread jam on bread to make sandwiches; slice cucumbers or hard-boiled eggs; mix together pre-measured ingredients and spoon into muffin pans. Children become more interested in trying new or unfamiliar foods (especially fruits and vegetables!) if they are involved in the selection and preparation of the foods. Kids in the Kitchen (by Sara Cotner) and many other great books are available on amazon.cn .
Finding Toys of Value
Truce 2015-16 Annual Toy Selection Guide
This guide, available on the TRUCE (Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment) website, breaks toys of value down into categories: construction, creative arts, active play, pretending and teamwork. Along with general tips for choosing good toys, the guide has a section titled “Toys and Trends to Avoid,” which includes items that promote consumerism and violence or make sexiness the focus of play, as a few examples.
Family Play Plans
Also on the TRUCE website are great guides that offer seasonal, screen-free ideas, using everyday items, to inspire whole families – whatever their ages – to play together. These guides have dozens of great ideas for using string, chalk, mud, water, gardening, bubbles… you will find many great ideas and inspiration here.
Books, books, and more books!
Our QAIS Literacy Week this month is just one example of our commitment to supporting a love of reading in all of our community members – children and adults alike! Reading to and with children is one of the most critical things parents can do to support their children’s development. Bring Me A Book has some excellent resources for quality children’s literature in both English and Chinese, as well as tips and helpful information for families.
We wish you and your families a spring and summer full of fun, engaging, interactive adventures!