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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET ›   Make music an integral part of every day. Sing to  boost language acquisition. Singing a simple set of  directions lends some fun to learning a necessary bit  of information. Give simple directions that are age  appropriate to help children be successful in their  listening. Start with one direction. When a child can  easily follow, add a second direction, then a third. try  to keep the activity positive and fun. ›   provide activities that introduce a variety of sounds.  use words that not only identify the sounds but also  are descriptive, such as “loud,” “soft,” “blasting,” and  “quiet” to increase both understanding and  vocabulary. ›   avoid exposing children to noisy atmospheres for  prolonged periods. Some children react to loud  noises with out-of-control behavior. Make sure  headphones and ear buds do not have loud music  blasting into the child’s ear. prolonged exposure  results in hearing loss. Seeing Even though the circuitry of vision is completed in infancy, visual discrimination continues to develop over time. Acuity, or the ability to see not just the object but also the details of the object, improves with age. Children need the ability to distinguish between spaces, lines, and shapes to be able to iden- tify letters. They need to focus on the differences between similar letters like “p” and “b” so they can read the difference between “pear” and “bear.” They will have to learn the difference between pastel blue and navy and distinguish between the shape of a seashell and a jellyfish before deciding to pick it up. All these visual clues have to be learned. From age three, children should have their eyes checked periodically. Only through a visual screen- ing can amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” be diagnosed. If not treated, the child could lose sight in that eye. ›   provide quiet periods as well as times with purpose- ful listening activities. Quiet can be very relaxing. ›   Spark interest with toys that make sounds, such as  balls, cars, and trains. help children mimic the  sounds as they play. listen to instrumental record- ings and help children identify and imitate the sound  they hear. ›   point out environmental sounds. help connect the  sounds to the object making the noise. discuss  the different pitches and tones they hear. ›   listen to children when they talk. this models  listening skills for them. ›   play taped stories and music to hone listening skills. ›   Be silly and creative with known nursery rhymes.  change the pitch of your voice and encourage the  children to follow as you sing “itsy Bitsy Spider”  and “Great Big Spider” or “i’m a little teapot” and  “i’m a Great Big teapot.” 20  c h a p t e r   2 p r e S c h o o l  ac t i v i t i e S support seeing ›   describe what children see, both real objects and  pictures. Make the descriptions more complex as  children grow older. ›   point out colors, objects, and shapes in the surround- ing environment. help children see the variety of  what can represent “blue,” “hat,” or “dog.” ›   teach children how to recognize body language and  connect it to feelings. examine faces, arm gestures,  and stances. connect feelings to the movements so  they can see the difference between anger and  pleasure. try to keep a cheerful, positive appearance  to give them a secure feeling. ›   provide a variety of colorful, culturally diverse posters  or pictures placed at eye level to entice and delight  children. Show various family confi gurations and  community helpers. talk about what they see. Give  children a descriptive vocabulary linked to what they  are seeing. Match the sentence structure to the  child’s maturity. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL