Sunday, 15 June 2014

Good books: From Head to Toe, Eric Carle

Eric Carle is a very famous author and illustrator of children's books, most famous of all for 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. However, there is more to Eric than this very popular board book. In fact my son and I came to know Eric Carle through his illustrations of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, so captivated was I by the book that I went on to find out more. I came across this delightful reading or singing by the author Bill Martin, here he is reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

This set me off to find other Eric Carle books. I love his style. The simplicity of the story lines for younger ones and then progressively getting more interesting and detailed for toddlers and pre-schoolers. In all the books we've borrowed or bought, there is always something to learn. Eric's illustration style is well known and easily recognised. His illustrations are collages of brightly coloured painted tissue paper. Very attracting, striking and engaging for early readers and adults alike!

'From head to toe' was the first of Eric Carle's books that I bought almost three years ago for our son. This book as the name suggests takes the reader through the movements of animals which the child can imitate, starting at the head right down to the toes. For example the first one is "I am a penguin and I turn my head, can you do it?" "I can do it!". In our home, this book is referred to as the 'Exercise Book'. It's the one the children stand up while I read out and they do all the actions. It certainly is a lot of fun, great for those gross motor skills!

Following on from the last book review of Davy and the Duckling and my daughter's interest in hand actions. Here are a few of our current ones which we love to move to. I thought I'd share these with you, to enjoy with your little ones. These work well when I'm preparing dinner, a great to keep the children occupied or at the end of the day at story time.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground
Teddy bear, teddy bear, dance on your toes
Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch your nose
Teddy bear, teddy bear, go up the stairs
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say your prayers
Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn out the light
Teddy bear, teddy bear, say good-night
We certainly add to this with other actions which makes for a lot of fun!

Clap your hands, everyone together
Stamp your feet, turn around
Reach up high, then down low
We're friends with Jesus*, hello! 
*I go on to change to other names of people we know

Incy wincy spider, climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed poor incy out
Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain
So incy wincy spider climbed up the spout again.

Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap
Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap
Creep them creep them creep them creep them, right up to your chin
Open wide your little mouth, but do not let them in!
Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap
Open shut them, open shut them, lay them in your lap
wave them wave them wave them wave them, right up to the sky
Wave to me, I wave to you, let's all say goodbye!

I'd love for you to share any that you are enjoying with your children too!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Friday at home and a practical life work

Today my son stayed for a 'long day' at school which includes lunch and Montessori Home Environment with a pick up in the afternoon. This is only the second time he's stayed for MHE and he was very excited. He had a very full lunch bag and a big smile. He cheerfully and excitedly gave us multiple kisses good-bye at the gate and headed into his classroom for the day.

It is rare that he is apart from me for such a long time and I was going to take the opportunity and catch up on things at home. The laundry piles, the ironing, the folding, the washing, putting things away … all those things which are very everyday but to me can be so very very satisfying once completed. Clean surfaces and order restored. I had the energy and the motivation and I had a bonus set of little hands willing to help.

I set up a folding work for my helper at the nearby table. Showing her how to fold the first cloth, she set off quietly, setting her own pace. While I ironed my way through the overflowing basket, my little helper folded the cleaning cloths, lined them up, (at this point I stepped in to direct her) put them into her tub, took the tub over to the drawer and neatly packed the cloths away ready for the next person. This is the first time she's had the concentration, without the distraction of her older brother, to do this work and it was a success. The focus was there and the job was done in a methodical and ordered manner. The smile on her face said it all and the smile on my face matched hers. 

The importance of presenting these important works to willing hands, at the right time, goes a long way. 

From little things big things grow.

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