Sunday, 30 August 2009

A Playtastic Day

We had a wonderful day on Thursday, playing at the new Playtastic soft play centre in Sinfin ( We'd been there 2 weeks before, having Iona's photo taken for the local Lots for Tots magazine ( competition, and she really enjoyed it then, but being dolled up wasn't really dressed for climbing. We had to return this week to collect the CD of photos we'd ordered, so I made sure Iona was dressed in trousers this time, and that I had socks on. We arrived at half past 11, had lunch in the cafe there, and didn't leave till about 3:30. I really like this soft play area, although it's pretty expensive, as it has plenty in it for the younger children, even having a little area for babies, which Iona still enjoys. Almost as good, the cafe has women's magazines on the counter, so you can have a little read with your lunch. Lunch, incidentally, is good, too, with crisp, non-greasy chips, ample veggie choices, and lovely, child-friendly crockery and cutlery, although, once again, it's not incredibly cheap.

With a bit of help Iona got into the toddlers' ball pool, then a little girl of about 4 joined her in there. Iona was a bit uncertain of her at first, but quickly accepted her, and I was so proud that she played so well with her. Prompted by me at first, she passed balls to her, and copied the little girl crawling around in the balls. On a couple of occasions I was a bit concerned that her little friend was starting to get a bit rough, and was tempted to intervene to remind her that Iona was only little, but I restrained myself and found that Iona was able to push past her quite well, with no worries on her part. This is really the first time that Iona has properly "played" with another child, really taking notice of her, and not just as another plaything.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

On the uses of reading

Despite my intentions to teach Iona reading by the "look-say" method, rather than phonics (as English is such a non-phonetic language), she has been determined to use phonics - she keeps pointing out individual letters and asking "Tha?". She has been very interested in the BBC logo for a while, and a week ago she spotted the ITV logo and asked about it. On being told it said "ITV" she happily kept repeating "I, T". Yesterday we had an ITV station on, and Iona looked at the little logo in the corner and said "I, T", without any prompting.

As Iona seems so interested in letter sounds, I have begun to help her make her own A, B, C book, using a presentation folder, paper, and cut-out photos. The advantage (besides cost) is that we can concentrate on words that have a meaning for her, so under "B" we have Boots and Backpack, and "D" contains Dora and Diego. 2 days ago we added the Asda logo, as we go shopping there quite a lot, and yesterday when we went shopping she was very interested in the logo. When we read the book she says her version of "Asda" when she sees the logo, so she is definitely beginning recognising written logos, a first step in reading.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

In's and out's of HE

For ages now I've been reading that Iona should be taking things out of containers and putting them back in - well the taking things out has been going brilliantly, but unfortunately not so the putting them in! Well, today we went to the Stay and Play session at the local children's centre and Iona decided to spend most of the time in the outside play area. They'd set up a sink full of water, with squashy fish and boats floating in it, and Iona was one of the children fascinated by this. Unsurprisingly, she started by taking the fish and boats out, and splashing in the water so much that she might as well have jumped in, her clothes were so wet! Then I watched, open-mouthed, as she put some of them back in the water - I was ecstatic! So much so, that I didn't have the heart to stop her splashing. She repeated it several times, so I began to believe that it might not be a fluke. However, I was a bit cynical about her repeating this behaviour at home.

Later, at home, the living room was a total tip where she'd been practising the "taking out" behaviour, so I started putting her building bricks away in their bag and asked her to help me. Incredibly, she put several bricks into the bag, before she got bored and started throwing them around the room. I even managed to persuade her back onto task again several times, before she started trying to empty the bag again. Okay, it wasn't just the bricks she was trying to put in the bag, but other toys too, but it's definitely a major advance in Iona's ability.

It seems to have been a day of advances, as she was asking during the evening about the ITV4 logo on the TV, and she was so taken with it that she spent the rest of the programme asking about it, then repeating "IT, IT, IT". She also got the idea that mice say "eek", which she also repeated copiously, and was very amused by the piano playing on "Show Me, Show Me".