Petting Lessons

My seven-year-old nephew, Kiko, runs a zoo in their house. He has fishes, love birds, turtles, chickens, pigeons, dogs and eel under his care. Though this may sound like a crazy circus, it is quite amazing to see Kiko grow and learn from these animals.

Keeping pets at home provide ample opportunities of learning to little kids.  Aside from the obvious benefits of learning about animals, children can learn a lot about life while taking good care of their pets.

Lesson # 1. Responsibility – Feeding the animals, giving them baths, cleaning their houses and petting them can teach a child understand that everyone has a role in the house and in life.  Fortunately my nephew plans to be a veterinarian someday, so he does all these tasks with enthusiasm. But if your child doesn’t really like doing a lot of these things, you can start by giving him a very easy task. For example, you can give him the job of a pet feeder. I am sure that your child  will enjoy watching the fishes gulp up their food.

Lesson # 2 . Moderation –  When Kiko had his first set of fishes, they all died the next day.  Kiko was so excited that he ended up feeding the fishes every hour even against his mother’s order.  When all the fishes died, Kiko learned that too much food can kill his pets. So, the next time we bought him new victims he became very careful about feeding his pet.

Learning about moderation in this manner can teach your child understand why he can’t have too much ice cream or spend all his time watching the TV.  Inevitably, the same lessons can help your child understand the importance of being contented and purposeful in life.

Lesson # 3 . Letting go –  I think one of the most important lesson in raising pets at home is learning about death.  When Kiko’s first dog died, he was devastated. He cried nursing her in his little arms. while my sister and I tried to console him at no avail. Until now, even if  he has new dogs, he still becomes very sad when we mention the name of his old dog. But he knows it is impossible for his dog to come back and all he could do is to move on.

While death  is something that I really hate teaching my pupils about,  it is something that we all have to go through at some points in our lives.  Witnessing the passing of a pet provides a subtle way of learning about letting go and being left behind. And more importantly, it makes your child realize that life can go on even without the people and the things that they value so much.

Lesson # 4 . Cycle of life. –  When Kiko’s chicken laid eggs, everyone in the house were so excited….to eat the eggs, that is. But Kiko refused to cook them even if the hen would keep on laying eggs almost every day. Because of this, the chicken population in their house just kept on growing and growing.  When asked about why he did not want us to eat the eggs, Kiko said that the chicks need to grow up so they could lay their eggs too.

The cycle of life teaches respect to history and the importance of family. It gives the child an idea of the changing roles of each man as he grows up.

Lesson # 5 – Love – I think the most important lesson to be learned from raising a pet is  learning how to love. Putting somebody else’s needs before yours, thinking about the welfare of others and finding time to spend with somebody else are some of the things you will learn if you keep a pet at home.

I remember Kiko when his dog died, he told his mother that his chest hurts a lot. It was a very heartbreaking scene but it was also very very sweet. Imagine a three year old kid learning how it feels to love unconditionally? Now, no other lesson can top that!


April 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

More on Selective Mutism..

I received a comment from a concerned mom. Let me share it with all of you…

Mommy Wheng says:

Hi! I have a son who’s eight. He has selective mutism. He didn’t talk last year in school and still not talking in school right now. I’ve been reaching out to others with same problem. I feel so alone with the battle. How’s Angelo?

Hello Mommy Wheng!

Thanks for dropping by to my blog. It must be really tough for a mother to see his son not talk in school and seeing him so talkative and jolly at home.

We all struggle to make Angelo talk in school. He has not spoken a word throughout his Kindergarten years and now, he’s still not talking in my preparatory class.

Recently, his mother brought him to a developmental pediatrician and she was referred to a child psychiatrist. The child psychiatrist gave our school some guidelines on how to help Angelo overcome his anxiety. Some of these things were:

1. Angelo should be in small class setting. Fortunately, our preparatory class has only six kids.

2. We are not supposed to force him to talk. So, right now, we just take it as it is. We even asked his classmates not to talk about Angelo’s problem. Most of the time, I alter my teaching style to suit his needs and to assess him on a specific learning task.

3. We encourage his classmates to go to their house to play with him. And last week I started to do some home visitation too.

4. We made it a point to make the school as cozy as a home.

These guidelines proved to be very helpful since Angelo’s tantrums has lessened significantly and we observed that he is starting to control his fine motor skills (writing, coloring, etc).

In addition, Angelo now joins us when we sing our action songs. When he usually just sit through it last year. But of course, he only does the action part.

I know these may sound so trivial but for Angelo it is such a big feat since he was also diagnosed to have a mild attention deficit disorder.

I suggest that you consult a developmental pediatrician first, so that she could give you an idea on what to do next. It is very crucial that you work hand in hand with your child’s teacher. I know it may really take some work on her part but I think (and hope) that she will take this as a great challenge.

I understand your frustration about being alone in this battle since this problem is not that common. If you want, I can give you the contact number of Angelo’s mom so you could talk to her about it.

Please keep me posted on your son’s progress. I know that with proper help and a little patience on your part, your son will grow up to be a happy and smart boy.

August 17, 2008 at 4:22 am 3 comments

Good Read: Papel de Liha

Papel de Liha
Book Title: Papel De Liha
Author: Ompong Remigio
Publisher: Adarna House, Inc. – Philippines
This award-winning story honors the untiring love a mother has for her family. She works all day: cooks their meals, does the laundry, cleans each nook and cranny. All this work must make her hands as rough as sandpaper! This distresses the little girl in our story who overhears her aunt say that sandpaper hands will make her father leave her mother!
My review: This heartwarming story provides a perfect jumpstart for our Family Theme. My pupils love listening to the catchy rhythmic rhyme at each end of the sentence. Though the book has a plot and a length intended for a grade schooler, my pupils never get tired and bored with its whimsical use of words.
The colorful and vivid illustrations are as magical as the book is. Every time, I read this book to my pupils, they always end up finding new interesting objects in each page.
The lesson of the story is very simple: The love of a mother is perfect. Surely, everyone can relate to that.
Preschool Rating: (4/5) ♥♥♥♥A very good read!
  • Very good and practical storyline
  • Fun use of words
  • Interesting and colorful illustrations.
Other themes you can use this story with:
  • Sense of Touch (Texture of Objects)
  • Rooms in the House
  • Rhymes
  • Roles of each family member
Tips in using this book:
  • It will help a lot if you can show a sample of sand paper before reading the book.
  • If you’re using this for preschoolers, you may want to use the big book version.
  • Make this book more interesting by letting the kids chant with you some of the repeating phrases in the story.

December 27, 2007 at 8:07 am Leave a comment

Time Out…

In the school, we adapt the Time Out principle of disciplining a child. This means that if a child becomes too rowdy even after several warnings, he or she will be taken out from their group and will be asked to stay in a corner for awhile.If you’re having a hard time disciplining your child, Time Out may be an effective way to get your message across. However, this technique should be done as delicately as possible. Here are some tips that I find very useful when using this kind of disciplining approach:

1. Set the rules beforehand – At the start of the school year, I use the first week as an orientation to my pupils. Each day, I tackle a handful of rules and explain carefully to them why the rules are there. Preschoolers often get bored and their attention usually just wander away, so to make these rules stick to their little heads, I use different types of fun materials such as: props, puppets, etc for my presentation. NOTE: When setting the rules, make sure that you give emphasis on the consequences (not the punishment) of their actions if they do not follow the rules. Why? Refer to # 2.

Setting the Rules

2. Involve the kids in establishing the discipline for each violation. – After explaining the consequences for the misbehavior, try asking the kids on how they think they should be disciplined if they fail to follow the rules. Some kids might give you good answers while some kids might give you bizarre ones. But nevertheless, accept all suggestions and write it in the blackboard. Giving your pupils a sense of ownership will give them a boost on decision-making and in addition it will provide a great degree of sense of responsibility for each member of the class.

During this stage, suggest the TIME OUT principle and explain to them what it means. In my class, I swayed my pupils into thinking that TIME OUT will be the ultimate punishment of all.

Involve the kids

3. Write down the final rules and post it anywhere in the room – After we have finally decided on the rules in the classroom, I write down the rules in a big sheet of Manila paper and post it in the bulletin board. Though most of my pupils still can not read, the big sheet of paper is a symbol of an agreement between me and them. If you want to give more emphasis on this agreement, let the kids write their names around the written rules. This may sound a bit trivial, but believe me, it works. Every time a child misbehaves, I just refer to the big sheet of paper and point to his/her name and just like magic, the child comes back to his senses.

4. Remember the rules and always ( and I said always) be consistent. – If a child misbehaves, remember to provide the corresponding discipline for the violation. Always remember that children never forget anything. So if they see you giving the wrong discipline or not disciplining at all, they will lose their trust on the agreement.

5. Discipline do not punish – What’s the difference between the two? Well, Discipline is actually more of guiding a child to a more positive behavior. While Punishing is putting a halt to a bad behavior by using an extreme measure. When you discipline a child, you try to explain to the child why is he being isolated from the group. After the disciplining period, you need to follow-up the discipline by guided activities that will further explain to him the consequence of his action. However, if you punish a child, you just disengage him from the scene of the crime and probably put the child in an embarrassing situation. I know this is kinda tricky. I will try to provide a separate article for this.

6. Talk to your child about his/her behaviour – When a child misbehaves, there is always a chance that someone or something triggered that kind of behavior. Before reprimanding a child, try talking to him in a calm and relaxed manner about his misbehavior. Who knows, you might be persecuting the wrong person.

7. Allow a short transition period from TIME OUT to TIME IN. – When a child comes back from a TIME OUT session, I usually give my pupil a task to complete before returning to his seat. Sometimes, I just let him arrange our bookshelf or probably just put some toys back to their proper places. This transition period is done so the child can acclimate himself again to the social set-up. If a child has offended another classmate, I let them do the task together.

Disciplining a child can be a very tricky job for teachers and parents. But, I think, if this process is executed in a calm and delicate manner, it can provide your child with a good moral blanket when he grows up.

November 5, 2007 at 7:45 am Leave a comment

What to look in choosing a preschool for your child?

Izo, one of my preparatory pupils always come to class with incomplete set of crayons and always turn in assignments with silly crayons scribblings. When I ask him what happened to his work, he would always complain to me that Paula ransacked his bag again.

Paula is Izo’s 3-year-old little sister. Like any kid her age, Paula is beginning to show interest in going to school. So what does a parent like you should do if your kid shows interest in going to a preschool? Well, then you better start scouting for a good learning center for your child.

Now, picking a preschool for your little angel should not be taken lightly. Preschool years are very critical to a child’s development so it is crucial that you put a careful eye in choosing the right school for your child.

Below, is my personal 10-point checklist for choosing a good preschool. You might find some of these things in this list kinda trivial. But believe me, it does matter.

  1. Is the school near your house? – Going to school the first time can be very scary for your child. Don’t add up to his anxiety by subjecting him to a long and tedious trip to school. A small preschool in your community may be an ideal place for your child. It gives him the feeling of being near you plus you can easily go to him in case of emergency.
  2. Does the school resembles a home? -Transitioning from a house setting to a school setting should be done gradually. If you enter the school and you feel like you are at home there, then I think you found what I’m referring to.
  3. Is the class size small? – I think this one doesn’t need any explanation at all. A small class size would mean the teacher can give more attention to her pupils and thus to your child. Class size would also give you an idea on the type of curriculum that the school has. Big class size tends to adopt the traditional method of teaching while a small class size usually uses a more flexible and individualized mode of instruction.
  4. Does the school provide initial assessment before admitting your child to school? – Though some schools give admission test as an income generating scheme, this should not be taken so lightly as well. If the school does not provide any type of assessment process, this may tell you how much they put importance your child’s level of learning. A good initial assessment may take about a day or two half days or even a week. Take advantage of this opportunity to get to know your child as well. Asking the school about their assessment process is also advisable so that you’ll know what to expect from your quarterly conference.
  5. Is the school interested in your child’s family history and likes and dislikes? – If the teacher or the school staff ask you about the child’s family history, don’t be offended. This would only mean that the school is really keen in getting to know your child and puts importance on his needs.
  6. Is the school safe and clean? – Of course, everyone wants the best for their little angels. Try to go around the classroom and observe how they manage their classrooms. Always remember to check on their comfort room, kitchen and their playrooms.
  7. Does the school have a good teaching staff? – Asking about the educational and professional experiences of the school staff is your right. The school must know that you put value on the credentials of the teachers. It is your right to know if the school staff has a strong professional experience in handling your child.
  8. Does the school have a good disciplinary method? – It is important that you understand the school’s system of disciplining pupils. The rule of thumb is: If you’re not comfortable with their process of disciplining pupils, don’t put your child in there. These things should not be overlooked for in the future it might leave some traumatic experiences in your child.
  9. Does the school allow you to observe classes prior to enrollment? – Every year, I advertise the school at least six months before the start of the school year so I could provide ample time for would-be clients to observe our class. I do this because it gives the parents an idea about our schools method of instruction and furthermore, it serves as an orientation to the parents. Ask the school if you can observe the classes during the school year. Of course, this means that you should start scouting for a school at least 6 months prior to school opening.
  10. Is the school accredited or recognized by the government? – Simple reason: Schools accredited by the government follow a certain standard to be registered. So, enrolling your child to a government-accredited school would give you the security that your child will be learning at least the minimum required competencies for his age.

November 1, 2007 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

Help! My pupil won’t talk……!!!!!

It is hard to manage a class of noisy and hyperactive kids. But it is much more challenging to have a kid in the class that refuses to talk a word.

This school year, I am up to another challenge…I am going to try my best to make Angelo talk. Who is Angelo? Well, Angelo is one of my kindergarten pupils. He is a transferee from another nearby preschool and he hasn’t uttered a word from day one. Nope, he is not deaf and mute. Angelo can talk at home, he can talk in the mall, he can talk in any other place…but he just won’t talk in the school.

Angelo is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism. Selective mutism is a rare anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak in select social settings. That means, Angelo can easily express himself in places that he feels secure and comfortable. Unfortunately, our school is not one of them.

Right now, making Angelo talk has been a class concerted effort. My pupils are all trying so hard to make Angelo talk while in class. One time, Mimi (his classmate) tried bribing him with a date in Jollibee just for him to talk. But alas, Angelo won’t budge.

Anyway, according to an article that I’ve read, kids with Selective Mutism needs to be assured that school is a secure and non-judgemental place for him to express himself. Well, so far we have been trying to get close to Angelo but he still keeps everything to himself. I guess this one will surely test my patience….Oh God…help me!!!

October 31, 2007 at 6:28 am 4 comments

May 2018
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RSS My Little Milestones

  • The Importance of Being Funny October 10, 2009
    I grew up in a house of wits! My parents, my siblings and now, my nephews and my nieces are always ready to crack up one witty punchline in a middle of a conversation. All my friends say that a visit to our house is just like going to a stand-up comedy show. Most of the time they would end up going home with a stomachache (no joke) or tears due to incredible […] (Kela)
  • Petting Lessons April 11, 2009
    My seven-year-old nephew, Kiko, runs a zoo in their house. He has fishes, love birds, turtles, chickens, pigeons, dogs and eel under his care. Though this may sound like a crazy circus, it is quite amazing to see Kiko grow and learn from these animals.Keeping pets at home provide ample opportunities of learning to little kids. Aside from the obvious benefits […] (Kela)