Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Making the Most of the Preschool Years

Making the Most of the Preschool Years
By Valerie Bendt

Bendt’s books seem to be a wealth of resources and information, This book gives many games and activities specially created for the young learner. This is such an important time for any child, but especially for the deaf child. This is a crucial time for language growth and Bendt lists lots of fun activities that could easily be used for language development.

The book includes games and activities that involve creative play, fine and gross motor skills, math, reading, life skills and more. I only found a few games that would be either inappropriate for a deaf child or needed to be adjusted.
1) Water bells – page 38 – Isn’t beneficial as the child can’t hear or feel the difference in sound.
2) Sock Puppets – page 88 – Or any of the puppets. Puppets are fun to play with, but to sign for the puppet would not work unless you had those cool puppets where you are the hands. I’m not saying that deaf children shouldn’t play with puppets, they are great fun and could encourage acting out the story instead of signing or reading the story. I just wanted to bring up that this small adjustment would be needed.
3) Books on tape – page 92 – This can easily be adjusted to books on video!
4) Sound Search – page 152 – This game just isn’t going to work as the child is supposed to search for the item by following the sound.
Those were the only games in the entire book that I felt were worth mentioning. The rest of the games would work well for deaf or hearing!

The great thing about these games is that she uses common household items and they are so easy to implement. She supplies many patterns, mazes, dot-to-dots, and puzzles for copying, which saves the parent/teacher time. Many of the activities the child can participate in creating!

A few more notes on this book: These early years are crucial in language development. These activities are a wonderful way to encourage communication among family members. Another note: A hearing child may pick up on common knowledge information, but a deaf child misses a lot of that. Be sure to spend time on instruction and example of each activity. Don’t get frustrated, just keep giving examples and enjoy the time with your child.

I recommend this book for the young learner and parent.

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