Let’s Learn Letters 2! – More Handwriting Worksheets for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

As I mentioned in my last post on Handwriting Skills for Preschoolers, here is another set of handwriting sheets. These are meant to be used once your child is proficient with the first set of Let’s Learn Letters and is ready for narrower (but not too narrow!) lines to trace.

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The “Hail Mary” in Art

Here’s a little Mother’s Day gift for you! For the month of May, I’m teaching Junior to pray the “Hail Mary”. Since he’s such a visual learner, I made these cards for him: an art masterpiece for each line of the “Hail Mary”. I hope they’ll help him to understand the meaning of each line in the prayer as he memorizes it. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Looking at beautiful sacred art is truly a path to prayer. If you have little ones who are just learning to pray, I hope this will help:

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Handwriting Skills for Preschoolers with (or without) Down Syndrome

This past fall, Junior and I really began working on early handwriting skills in a consistent and systematic manner. It’s been fun to watch his progress. Not only are his hands getting stronger, he is also developing better dexterity. Little by little. So today I’m sharing with you some of our favorite resources and methods for building handwriting skills.

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Building Phonemic Awareness: Three Free Books about Rhyming

Teaching children about rhyming is one of the first steps in building phonemic awareness and preparing them to read phonetically. It’s one of the reasons why so many books for preschoolers use rhymes.

To help Junior learn about rhyming, I made three silly books about rhyming. They’re silly because Junior gets a kick out of anything silly. When I read the first book to him, he giggled so much I just had to make more.

Of course, I thought your preschoolers might enjoy them, too. So here they are:

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Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: Ten More Free Books!

For those of you using DSE’s See and Learn Reading Program, here are ten more free books. These books are meant to go with See and Learn Sentences 1. Each book reinforces new words and reviews old ones. New books keep my little guy highly motivated, which I why I keep making them 🙂

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Adapted Books for Children with Down Syndrome

In past posts, I have shared some of our homemade books to supplement DSE’s See and Learn Reading Program. Sometimes, however, kids like to read from “real” books. Adapting real books is a great way to motivate them to read. Natalie Hale, author of Whole Child Reading gives some excellent guidelines for adapting books. My nephew Aidan, for example, LOVES the movie Cars. So my sister and I adapted several Cars books for him, which he was so excited to read.

Today I’m sharing some adapted books which your kids may find highly motivating:

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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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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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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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