Gross Motor Development Cheat Sheet

Watching a child makes it obvious that the development of his mind comes through his movements - Maria Montessori

Children love to move. Sadly though, Gross Motor Development in the preschool years is often over looked in classrooms. Many teachers think outside play is enough to develop any gross motor skills that are needed. The truth is, developing gross motor skills needs more attention in the classroom! With a big push for academic learning, planning gross motor activities gets brushed off to the side.

But, gross motor development is important and here is why…

  • School readiness: building up core muscles help children’s sitting posture for sitting at a desk doing work and with the important skill of writing.

  • Healthy Habits: gross motor activities help create healthy habits of exercise at a young age.

  • Stress Relief: long school days and high academic expectations can be stressful on little bodies. Gross motor activities help alleviate that stress.

  • Confidence:...

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Preschool Teacher's Data Collector

One day I was getting ready to do a whole group alphabet activity.  It was a simple 'swat the letter' game where you call out a letter name or sound and students take turns whacking the letter card with a fly-swatter. I was trying to decide which letters I wanted to focus on for this activity. I knew that I couldn't focus on all the letters of the alphabet because that would become too tiresome and I would let loose the ants in my kiddos pants.  

But--- which letters do I choose?

I needed to know, as a whole, which letters my students were struggling with the most.

That sounded like a data nightmare. -data is not my favorite thing, fyi-

But, now my curiosity was peaked.  Which letters on average were giving students trouble?  While were at it... which numbers, shapes and colors were learning curveball culprits as well?

So, even though -data is not my favorite thing- I made it work.  I created a template that can be used in Adobe Reader (free btw)...

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Do This, Not That = Assessment Edition

Remember that time I told you about how I set out to make my own assessment program?  If not, you can read it here.  

It wasn't the most fun I have ever had... it was time intensive and not easy.  And you can bet your bottom I learned a lot.

Teachers work hard and teachers need more love!

So, I wanted to share with you what I have learned in this Assessment Edition of....'Do this, Not That' (read that with a gameshow host voice!).

When getting your assessments in order....

DO plan ahead: planning ahead can make sure that you are ready for year in regards to assessments.  You don't want to be spending your weekends during the school year figuring it out!

DON'T wait until the second week of school (like I did one year).  Not wise, I don't recommend it.  It leaves you feeling 'off' and unprepared.

DO be intentional: Don't just create assessments and/or goals because they seem like what a preschool teacher should be doing.  Be intentional. Ask...

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Streamline Your Assessment Process

Sooo... you know that feeling when things aren't fitting together right? It is like a feeling of disorder and it brings an uneasy feeling... like you can't wrap your brain around how it all is supposed to connect.  Please tell me it isn't just me!

I remember the time at the beginning of the school year, last year, when I felt this feeling.  I struggled to map out how my assessment pieces would fit together.  Like, I knew I needed some sort of sheet to record data and I also knew I wanted to have student portfolios.  But, how they connected and the pieces that were missing were bring me that 'disorderly feeling'.  

Unfortunately for me, I drive myself completely crazy until I find a 'map' to the problem that makes sense for me.  So, last school year, at the beginning of the year, I was driving myself crazy!

But folks...I got it done and I feel so.much.better.

Want to go through the same process I did to get my assessments streamlined?

Let's go!

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Observation Form for Preschool

You know how people say they have the memory of an elephant? Yea, that's not me. I think it is me, I wish it to be me- but when I face the hard facts my memory seems to be as bad as Dory's in Finding Nemo! So, I find myself making notes (shout-out to my best friend- the sticky note) all over the place. Can you feel me?

Well, that same "Oh, I'll remember that" attitude crosses over to the classroom. Guess what? I just saw my little preschooler Gabby take the sorting bears from the math center and sort them by color and size at the same time! Um, this noteworthy! This should go in her portfolio ASAP! Wait, who is upset? Oh, I'm sorry my friend Ben, but we don't knock down other friends' towers.

Yep, I got distracted (like I do 5,982 times a day) and I forgot all about that wonderful thing Gabby did earlier. I'm telling you what, a teacher's brain is pulled in so many different directions during the day, I truly wonder how I find my car at the end of the day!

So, this brings me to...

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Developmental Milestones Checklist

Do you have a child in your care that you want to make sure is on track developmentally? Eight years ago, as a new parent I was always concerned if my first born was meeting all her milestones. 'Concerned' may be an understatement - I was borderline obsessed with making sure I was giving her the best start to life. I mean, I know how important those first years are and I was bound not to jack it up!

Lucky for me, I had just started a new position as a Parent Educator and was trained in helping parents provide experiences to help their children meet their developmental milestones. I had some really good tools in my toolbox, but even I felt the need to have a checklist --- there is something so gratifying about making a checkmark!!! Which experiences did I need to provide her with? How could I help her meet a milestone that she was struggling with? Well, first I had to see what she could do, then I would checkmark it with a highlighter.

Serious Sidenote: I do not feel that drilling...

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