We've been very fortunate to have had great care for Cate pretty much since birth. All of her sitters have loved her, been patient with her, and made sure she was as comfortable as could be for those 6 and a half hours away from mom or dad. So when a friend of ours suggested doing some "structured activities" with her daughter (who is just a bit older than Cate) and asked if Cate could join in too, we couldn't resist. It's kind of like home-school pre-preschool (or preschool readiness). So today was really the first day they had a few structured activities. They talked about the weather outside (chilly, damp, and gloomy). They talked about the day being Monday (Cate is lost when it comes to days of the week, but my friend's daughter is a little older and seemed to get it more). They talked about a few rhyming words. And they talked about the letter A. Their goal is to do one letter a day. So my friend showed them what an A looked like and made some to trace. In the picture above, the marking on the top left and the small triangle shape are Cate's attempt at making an A all by herself. The big, shaky A (top right) is Cate's A with my friend simply steadying the marker for her. The rest were examples or tracings. Developmentally, I know Cate probably won't grasp true letter writing for a year or so. But tracing lines is a fine motor skill that will get her ready for when she can developmentally write letters. I was just excited about her being able to really recognize the letter A when she got home (on a sippy cup, on the computer keyboard, on book titles, etc.). She also colored this cute A alligator today. I have some magnetic stripping so I think I'll put some on the back and make it a magnet for the fridge. We also have a set of alphabet books. So when we got home today, we pulled out the A book and read it. I'm thrilled that Cate is getting the opportunity to do some of these activities-- which she'll continue to do twice a week until I'm home with her and her new brother on maternity leave. I'm hoping it's something I can continue with her. And not just letters-- we talk about sorting things by color or size at home, making patterns, very simple math (if I have one red dinosaur and one blue dinosaurs, how many dinosaurs do I have).
Please don't misunderstand either. I'm not seeking to get Cate ahead or get her that "gifted" label when she's in elementary school. I feel like this is more like capitalizing on a time when she is soaking up everything and meeting her at a place where she is developmentally. We've always done that sort of thing. When she was little we worked with feeling the different textures of things on her playmat, or stacking blocks, or taking things out of containers and putting them back in. As she has shown us she's ready to move to the next level, we've simply tried to guide her as she develops new skills.
It's one of the coolest things about being a parent...in my opinion. I love watching her grow, develop, and learn new things. And I'm not sure that will ever get old.