Friday, June 24, 2011

Preschool is on Vacation

The Burlington Integrated Preschool is on vacation. School will open on September 12, 2011 for the 2011/2012 school year. You will receive a letter from your child's teacher in late August. The letter will share with you who your child's teacher is as well as when open house is. I will be around all summer if you need anything. Feel free to give me a call, 781-273-7632.

Preschool 2010 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

IPAD Training

Last week Tiffany D'Abbraccio, Special Education Preschool Teacher, along with Deb Clark and Melissa Angelo, Speech and Language Pathologist at Francis Wyman School, provided local Special Education Directors a tutorial on how we are using i Pad's in the Burlington Public Schools. Participants had the opportunity to explore applications that are being used in the preschool as well as in speech and language therapy.

(Tiffany's presentation to workshop participants)

IPADs in the Burlington Integrated Preschool

The Burlington Integrated Preschool supports the school district’s initiative to integrate technology in our classrooms. Each classroom in the Burlington Integrated Preschool has 4 IPads. The IPads have proven to be an effective teaching tool for several reasons.

Our students are digital natives; born into a society dependent on constantly evolving technologies. Many of the students in the preschool have been exposed to similar technologies at home prior to their first school experience. Many children enter the preschool with the prior knowledge necessary to navigate personal computers, IPods, smart phones, and IPads.

Another reason the IPads are an effective teaching tool is that children are highly motivated by this technology. Young children who have difficulty attending to task, following multi-step directions, working independently, working in a group, or taking turns with a peer are motivated to attempt these difficult tasks when presented in the form of an IPad activity. Children are so motivated to use the IPads that teachers can use IPads as an incentive for children who earn a reward in school. The IPad is a wonderful reward for students because they have earned a reward that allows them to engage in an educational experience, rather than enjoy their reward by spending time out of programming.

The use of technology in classrooms, including IPads, supports a multimodal, multisensory approach to instruction.

The IPads serve several functions at the Burlington Integrated Preschool. Here is a list of some of the apps we use and their functions:

· Developmentally appropriate apps to enhance lesson plans for curriculum-related activities

o FirstWords - literacy

o Preschool Lunchbox

o Game Factory – vocabulary

o Preschool Adventure

o Counting – number skills

· Augementative Communication Device

o Proloquo2go

o Look-2-Learn

o TapToTalk

o Baby ASL

· Data Collection

o Behavior Tracker Pro

o Skills Tracker Pro

· Fine Motor Development – navigating an IPad includes practices with fine motor skills and visual motor integration

o iWriteWords

· Discrete Trial Training

o object function, receptive vocabulary, identify category, etc.

· Eye Contact

o Look!

· Video Modeling/Social Stories

o Going Places

o Stories2Learn,0,943811.story

Educational Games


Data Collection

Social Development

Cognitive Development

Storytime/Music Enhancement





Behavior TrackerPro

GoingPlaces Alphabet (flashcards)





Stories2Lears Actions (flashcards)

Five Monkeys



IEP Checklist Receptive By Class (discrete trial)

Sesame Street Playground


Baby ASL Receptive By Feature (discrete trial)

Look! (attending skills)

Grace Receptive By Function (discrete trial

Preschool Playground

Intro to Math

ABC Phonics


iWriteWords (literacy/OT)

Pocket SLP


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Preschool's Benefits Linger Into Adulthood, Study Finds - US News and World Report

There has been a lot of research lately on the long term benefits of high quality early childhood programs. This article outlines the long term benefits to students when they have the opportunity to participate in preschool programs. We are very fortunate in Burlington to have high quality early childhood programs that support the development of Burlington's youngest learners.

Preschool's Benefits Linger Into Adulthood, Study Finds - US News and World Report

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"M" IS FOR MONKEYBARS: Getting Ready for Writing

I found this great post on how gross motor development relates to the development of fine motor skills. It is interesting reading and has great ideas of things you can do with your child to develop gross motor skills.

A child's hand is a powerful tool for learning. With his hands he can control the world around him, build and create all that he can imagine, and express himself, first in gestures, then with scribbles, and eventually, with the written word.

Parents know the importance of fine motor control -- especially when it comes to handwriting -- which is probably why I'm frequently asked for advice on this subject. Here's what I say...

Put your pencils down and go play on the monkeybars

Children's muscle control and coordination is developed in a natural, orderly way -- from the top down and from the inside out -- starting at the head and working towards the toes while building out from the torso to the limbs. This order of priority, established by the brain, insures that the large muscles necessary for coordination and locomotion (getting from here to there) are well organized and in control, before taking on the complex mastery of the more than 60 combined muscles in the hands (let alone the dozens of bones, hundreds of ligaments and tendons, etc., etc.)

So you see, on the developmental totem pole, the hands come last.

Now, that doesn't mean that your child's hands aren't active as he's growing. Young hands begin with simple, reflexive, whole-hand grasping. Over time, early reflexes integrate and the pincer grip kicks in, allowing him to use his forefinger and thumb together in unison. Each day, you'll see more and more deliberate hand and finger movements. But that's not fine motor skills -- not yet.

Fine Motor Skills are the highly precise motor control necessary to bring all five fingers together to do detailed work requiring minute, almost imperceptible movements, such as using a pencil to write your name.

But writing your name isn't all in the wrist, so to speak. In fact, it involves much of the whole body...

1. The upper body must be strong enough to hold the body in an upright standing or sitting position.
2. The shoulders muscles must be strong enough to control the weight of the arm, and flexible enough to rotate freely to position the arm for writing.
3. The upper arm holds the weight of the lower arm and hand, delivering the hand to the page.
4. The lower arm provides a sturdy fulcrum on which the wrist rotates.
5. The wrist holds the hand steady and rotates to the appropriate position.
6. The fingers fold around the pencil which is held in place by the thumb.
7. Together, all five fingers do a precision dance on the page: a. placing the pencil at the exact angle to meet the page, b. pressing down and maintaining the right amount of pressure to leave the imprint, and c. coordinating the tiny up, down, left, and right movements across the page.

If any of those muscles in that chain of events don't do their job, writing his name will be a very hard thing to do.

Which brings us full circle back to the monkeybars...

Climbing, hanging, swinging, and any other high-energy activities that build strength in his upper body and core musclesare vital precursors to fine motor skills.

Twisting, turning, dangling, and swinging helps develop theflexibility and agility necessary for rotating the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.

Pushing, pulling, tugging, and lifting himself up builds strength while developing an intuitive understanding of simple physics such as weight, pressure, and resistance.

And when he comes off the monkeybars, messy play is ideal for building up strength and dexterity in the hand muscles. Play-Doh, sand and water play, mud (yes, mud!), and any other tactile play is great sensory experience for the brain and hands which one day may mean neater handwriting!

So remember. When it comes to getting ready for writing, "M" is for Monkeybars!

Sometimes, it's just not possible to make it over to the playground for a turn on the monkeybars, so here are a couple of my favorites you can do at home to build upper body and core strength while the hands "wait their turn" in the developmental chain of events.

Wheelbarrowing around the playroom or out in the backyard is great for building up arm strength (in between the giggling, of course.) Importantly, I recommend holding your child at the hips rather than by the feet. This prevents an unnatural bow in the back, while lightening the load on those little arms.

Kids love this and you'll be amazed how far they can go with a little practice. Sit on the floor and raise up your seat using your hands and feet. Then crab - crab - crab along as far as you can go. Have kids go forwards and backwards too!

See how slow you can go, inching along like a caterpillar! Walk your hands out in front of you, then walk your feet up to your hands.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Research Shows that Books without Text Can Increase Literacy, Vocabulary Skills in Children with Developmental Disabilities - Business Wire -

I recently found this article that shares how young children can develop vocabulary skills using books without text. It's interesting reading and makes you stop to think about using different types of literature to expand children's vocabulary. I hope that you will take a few minutes to read this article and consider adding books without text when reading and interacting with your child.

Research Shows that Books without Text Can Increase Literacy, Vocabulary Skills in Children with Developmental Disabilities - Business Wire -

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Last Day Notice

Dear Families,

The last day of preschool for the 2010/2011 school year will be on Thursday, June 16, 2011.

We have had a great time teaching your children this year, thank you for sharing them with us. We wish all our friends heading to kindergarten in the fall the best of luck.

To our friends that will return in the fall you will receive letters in August from your new classroom teacher.

The staff of the Burlington Integrated Preschool wishes you a wonderful and safe summer.