Let’s Learn Colors! Montessori-inspired worksheets for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

Teaching preschoolers with T21 about colors can be challenging. Many of these kids have difficulty generalizing. It’s one thing for them to understand that a banana is a banana. But abstract concepts such as colors are harder to grasp. A banana is yellow and a lemon is yellow? It takes time for kids to understand that a color is an attribute and not an object of itself.

However, the Montessori method of matching, selecting, and naming is really effective at helping children to generalize. Developing the skills of matching, selecting, naming, and reading has really opened the door of learning for Junior. So nerdy mom here has made these worksheets to help Junior learn his colors, generalize them to real objects, and read the written words :

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12 Great Christmas Gifts for Preschoolers with Down Syndrome

“Oh well, I do nothing but shop all day.” This is a quote from St. Zelie Martin, the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux. I think any mother of a large family can relate… I certainly do! My kids are constantly outgrowing and outwearing everything. She goes on to write, “Your father says, amusingly, that it is a passion with me! It is no use explaining to him that I have no choice; he finds it hard to believe.” (Letter 143)

I find these words so consoling, especially nowadays when I feel I have stupendous amounts of Christmas shopping to do. A saint shopping all day… can you image? Shopping seems so materialistic, but we can find holiness even in shopping if we do it out of love for our family and friends.

So for those of you with littles, here are some Christmas gift ideas to make your shopping a little easier:

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Nativity and Christmas Picture and Word Cards

Just over a year ago, Junior began learning to read sight words using DSE’s See and Learn Reading program. We have been amazed at how quickly he learned to read, and since then he has completed all three of the See and Learn Phrases kits and the See and Learn Sentences kit (which is huge!). Now there are no more See and Learn Kits for him to use, but I don’t want to slow down his momentum. We have since moved onto phonics. However, the process of matching, selecting, and reading sight words is such a powerful learning tool for him that I want to keep using it in addition to learning phonics.

So I am making my own picture and word cards, See and Learn style. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort, especially when I see how quickly and eagerly Junior learns new words. Here are two sets I am sharing with you today: A Nativity Set and a Christmas Vocabulary Set.

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Numicon-Based Math Activities for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

Last spring, I read more research by Sue Buckley, Joanna Nye, and colleagues about educating young children with Down Syndrome; this time it was about teaching math. They ran a study in the early 2000s assessing the effectiveness of the Numicon System in helping young children with T21 develop basic number skills.

Their findings were promising:

The key benefits of using Numicon for children with Down syndrome in the classroom are:
• The materials and methods clearly support the development of early number concepts, and in particular the ability to calculate – for some children, using Numicon enabled them to develop these skills for the first time
• It enables teaching staff to ‘see’ what the child is thinking, which is important for identifying both successes and confusions in the child’s understanding
• It can be used to support everyday number skills such as time and money
• It is especially beneficial to children who use a visual and/or multi-sensory approach to learning
• Children are motivated to engage with the materials as they are so attractive, and they develop confidence in maths work as they can succeed with the materials
• The clear structure of the teaching system is useful for teaching staff looking for a way to differentiate the numeracy curriculum.
The benefit of using the Numicon approach was seen most clearly at the stage when the children were learning to manipulate numbers – to add, subtract and multiply.

Teaching Number Skills to children with Down Syndrome using the Numicon Foundation Kit

Of course, I had to go purchase the kit and play math with Junior. And being very pleased with Junior’s progress, I shared the 50-page study with my sister. As many of you know, she also has a young son with special needs. Quickly she emailed me back: TLTR. (Too Long to Read) Can you write up a dummies version?

Of course I can. So this post is for my sister and all other super busy moms who want to know how to teach basic number skills to young kids with or without T21.

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Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: More Free Resources

As many of you know, I’ve been teaching Junior to read using Down Syndrome Education’s See and Learn series. Teaching Junior to read has been one of the most gratifying experiences in all my years of homeschooling because he is so eager to learn. One of the things that keeps him motivated is getting to read new books. Every time I bring home a big bag of new books from the library it’s like Christmas… he’s that excited. Then Junior sits on the floor and digs into the bag, happily flipping through each of the books and lining them up neatly as he finishes each one.

To keep him motivated and to give him continual review of previously learned words, I make him books using the words he has learned from See and Learn and from the Faith and Freedom Primer.

A few posts ago, I shared some books I made to go with See and Learn Phrases 1 and 2. Here are ten free books to supplement See and Learn Phrases 2 and 3.

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Let’s Learn Letters! Early Handwriting Skills for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

Last spring, I began teaching Junior to write letters. The more I work with him, the more I realize that he is capable of so much — I just need to find the right materials for him and/or make adaptations.

When all my other kids were preschoolers, we used materials from Handwriting Without Tears. However, while Junior is able to use the Wood Pieces Set for Capital Letters with ease, but he is not ready for the other materials.

So I made my own handwriting worksheets for him:

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Renaissance Art Masterpieces for Elementary Students

A Happy New School Year to you!!!

Here’s a little gift for those of you who like to do picture study with your kids: a collection of eighteen Renaissance Art Masterpieces with a bit of background information and questions that encourage close observation.

Because exposing our kids to lovely art is so important.

Renaissance artists believed in the beauty and nobility of mankind – a belief so sorely lost in today’s society. All the more reason, then, to help our children study and enjoy the masterpieces of the Renaissance artists, which radiate with goodness and beauty.

So without further ado, here are some sample cards and what we’re doing with them:

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Faith and Freedom Primer B – Adapted for Children with Down Syndrome

Here is part 2 of the Faith and Freedom Primer, which I adapted for children with Down Syndrome. The original book, published by Seton Educational Media, has three parts. This is the second part. You can find the first part here.

The Faith and Freedom Primer an excellent tool for teaching children to read high-frequency sight words with fluency. Once a word is introduced, it is used repeatedly throughout the book so you child does not forget it. Junior has learned to read all three parts of the primer, and he is now learning to read the next book in this series without any adaptations!

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Story of Civilization Vol. 2 Medieval World: FREE Workbook Supplement

Here’s a free resource for those of you using Tan’s Story of Civilization Vol. 2 this fall. It’s a BIG one…. 180+ pages! My friend Sue Clement and I collaborated on this project. We love Story of Civilization, but we wanted our kids to think critically about what they have learned and to have cumulative reviews.

This resource includes:

  • vocabulary lists
  • dates for a timeline
  • book suggestions for each chapter
  • map work suitable for older students (Gr. 5-8)
  • critical thinking questions that encourage students to think beyond the page and to make connections with previously learned material
  • cumulative reviews after every other chapter.
  • And, of course, a complete answer key.

It’s a HUGE project, which took a lot of time. (I think we burned some Purgatory time working on it). So I hope your kids will benefit from it.

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