Sensory Play Essentials

by Dana Smith Bader
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My youngest daughter used to put everything in her mouth.  That’s how she explored the world.  From toys to table edges, and Ritz crackers to remote controls, her need to explore the world with her mouth was never ending.  Even when she entered nursery and later when she moved on to KG1, she craved oral sensory satisfaction.  When she graduated from chewing on toys to gnawing on pencils, I became concerned.  First, she would chew off the eraser and then she would bite and gnaw the pencil until all of the wood was shredded into bits. If I let her, she could go through 3 or 4 pencils each week.  Luckily, she had a very experienced KG teacher who took the time to explain to me that my daughter was craving sensory experiences and that I needed to provide more sensory play so that she could satisfy her cravings and move beyond her fixation on oral stimuli.  She also promised to include more sensory play in her EYFS classroom for all of the children, explaining that sensory play was essential to all of the children’s growth and development.

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Eating Habits and Harms

by Dana Smith Bader
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Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important for children to receive all of the necessary nutrients for growth and development.  Just as essential are healthy eating habits.  We can cook and prepare healthy food for our children relatively easily.  The internet is full of advice about suitable portions and healthy menu options for toddlers to teens.  It even offers advice about ways to ‘hide’ extra nutrition in sauces and casseroles so our children get enough vegetables, fruit, and grains.  However, if we continue to prepare healthy food, but allow our children to eat it in an unhealthy manner, our children will still suffer the consequences of unhealthy eating.  To ensure our children get good nutrition, we need to focus on what we put in our children, as well as how it goes in.

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Learning Through Play, Really?

by Dana Smith Bader
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I was first introduced to the concept of “learning through play” when my middle child entered KG2.  I had enrolled her in a British school, and they followed the EYFS curriculum.  Thus, the teachers assured me that my child would be learning through play.  At first I was sceptical.  I had just paid three post-dated checks to the school Accountant totalling more than AED 50,000.  If the school thought playing would get the job done, I could get a refund because we had plenty of play going on at home for free.  I wanted my child to learn how to read, to write her name and letters, and to be able to do some math.  I really did not believe that play was going to get the job done.

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