Get your children organized!
It’s January – the time of the school year that can bring doldrums, frustration, and havoc to a young child. One way to help your son or daughter get through the next few months of school is to get them organized. With the holidays over and new toys in the house, purging and giving away older, less used items can be the beginning of helping your child to get organized.
Getting organized can make life easier for kids with learning and thinking differences. It might take some effort in the beginning, but it’s worth it in the long run. When it comes to day-to-day organization and on-campus or online learning, here are a few tips to assist in these days of winter.
- Break tasks, school projects or household chores into smaller, more manageable steps. This will show your child that each project has a beginning, middle and end, which can make projects feel less overwhelming. For example, if your child’s nightly chore is to clear the table, explain first she should scrape leftovers into the garbage, then load the dishes into the dishwasher, then wipe the counters.
- Make checklists and to-do lists. Once your child knows all the steps involved with a task, help him add it to an overall to-do list. Include regular homework and chores on the list. Encourage him to keep the list in a place where he’ll see it often and to check off accomplishments as he goes. He might write it on a dry-erase board in his bedroom or print out a list to post on the refrigerator, checking it throughout the day.
- Teach calendar and time management skills. Encourage your child write down important tasks in a digital calendar or on a paper one. Then help her estimate how much time each task will take. After she completes the tasks, ask whether the time estimate was accurate or not. If needed, suggest adjustments for next time. It may also help to have your child write the due date directly on school assignments.
- Establish daily routines. Creating a regular schedule can help your child learn what to expect throughout the day. Use picture schedules, clocks and other time management strategies.
- Use color-coding. Assign colors to each school subject. For example, green folders and notebooks may be for English and blue for math. Use brightly colored pocket folders for items that need to be signed and returned. Suggest that your child use colored pens to help shift from the role of writer to the role of self-checker and editor.
- Create an organized workspace. Set aside a space at home where your child can work without interruption. It might work best if this is somewhere near you for times when he needs your assistance. Keep school supplies and technology such as calculators, tablets or laptops nearby.
- Help your child think ahead. Before bedtime, review plans for the next day with your child. This can make her feel more secure. Together you can plan how to handle things if a change comes up in the schedule.
For this edition of the Drum, the SUIMA staff spotlight is on Kathy Overman, a teacher in the primary level.
Ms. Overman has worked at the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy for a total of 10 years, previously working at Cottonwood Montessori School and as well as the Southern Ute Head Start.
Growing up in Gallup, New Mexico surrounded by educators, Kathy’s family includes two sisters, who are also teachers, her mom, a retired teacher, and her dad, a retired principal.
As Ms. Overman has worked in the early childhood field for many years, her favorite book is, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” When Kathy is not working with children, she enjoys tending gardens, hiking, hunting and reading. As a teacher, her tips to stay organized is to prioritize and to keep To-Do lists.
When thinking of the work she does, Kathy says the best part of working at SUIMA is the children and the love of the curriculum that is used – the Montessori method.
One of her favorite quotes “Patience, persistence, and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success” by Napoleon Hill. To all children, young and old, who are reading this, her advice to you is to – never stop learning.
Thank you, Kathy, for being part of the SUIMA family.
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