our term will run from 11 January - 26 March 2015. There will be no classes running from 15-19 Feb.
Please visit our website for our full schedule for Jan-March 2015 as well as all other information on our workshops.
Toptots on Sassymamadubai.com
Check out our monthly crafty contributions and lots of other fun stuff on sassymamadubai.com
Many of you have attended our talks at both Just Kidding and at Appleseeds. These are free to attend and have been very successful so far.
Look out for more of these talks and do let us know if there are any topics in particular that you would like to see addressed.
HELLO AND WELCOME :)
A big hello and welcome to all our members and prospective members for 2015. I trust that you all enjoyed the holidays with your families and that you’re feeling fresh and ready to start the new year with a bang.
We said a very sad goodbye to our lovely Claire last term, but we are very excited to be welcoming Carla Kimber to our Toptots teaching team this coming term. Carla has recently completed her studies in Early Childhood Education and is no stranger to Toptots, having been through the program with both of her children - Ella, who’s 7 and Dean, 3.
Our new term will start on 11 January and we very much look forward to welcoming back our members from last term and lots of new members too. Sign up for the term and in addition to being entered into the draw for our exclusive Toptots hamper, each member family will receive a free photoshoot with a complimentary framed photo from Pink Pepper Photography.
I look forward to seeing you all soon,
I have often been asked in class when we can expect our children to decide whether they're left or right handed. "Not yet" is usually my reply and I do believe it's beneficial to allow children to decide in their own time. As you will see in Liz's article below, this is not something that we can force. We should continue to provide plenty of opportunities for children to use both hands to perform tasks so that they can decide which hand is more dominant themselves.
Here's an article sent through by Liz Victor - owner of the Toptots franchise.
Left or right handed - Liz Victor
Many parents are concerned when their toddler starts to reach with his left hand. We live in a right handed world and many fear that the child will be disadvantaged should he be left handed. Being a parent of a left hander does have its draw backs.
I urge you not to encourage the right hand over the left if your toddler is showing signs of using the “wrong” hand. There is so much research that shows a child’s dominance is determined in utero and therefore genetic. If both parents are lefties there is a more than 50% chance that your tot might be left handed. If one parent is left handed it drops to 17%. If neither parent is left handed it’s only a 2% chance.
Toddlers tend to show handedness at around three but some will take much longer to decide. During this time they will use both until such time as the brain decides that the left or the right is the one to use.
As the hand is wired pre birth it can result in some problems with handwriting and fine motor activities if we force them to use the incorrect hand.
It’s a bit like wiring a house. The electrician comes in and pulls all the wires through. If all the connections are made correctly and they all link up to the DB board in the correct way, the lights and plugs in the house work well. If the electrician traces a wire incorrectly you might find that when you switch on the kitchen light the lounge light comes on. This is what happens in the brain when a tot is genetically left handed and forced to use the right. You could unintentionally be causing a learning problem.
Some research indicates that left handed people do better in fields that require a good sense of spatial relations, such as art, architecture and athletics. They can be prone to more accidents though; this might just be because they are forced to live in a right handed world.
Make sure your lefty has the tools he needs like a good pair of left handed scissors, this will make his life so much easier. There are websites devoted to left handedness that supply left handed mugs etc and yes you get left handed mugs!
Embrace your lefty he is special do not try and change him.
A couple of activities to help encourage hand dominance
Happy Easter to all our wonderful Moms, Tots and their families. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and were able to take advantage of the beautiful weather, beaches and parks.
As summer eases its way in, at Toptots we'll be providing you with lots of fun activities and crafty ideas to keep your little ones engaged, happy and healthy.
This term, we're delighted to be welcoming a new group of babies to our program. For these little ones, we place an emphasis on the importance of touch and providing your child with plenty of sensory experiences throughout the day. We firmly believe that this forms the foundation for lifelong learning as well as developing happy, healthy, balanced little human beings.
And while we're on the subject of being balanced, I recently came across an article written by the brain behind the Toptots program, Liz Victor. It's titled "These shoes are made for walking" - please read on...
These shoes are meant for walking…. Liz Victor
Are they really? The best shoes for your toddler are NO SHOES at all!
We often see moms so obsessed with buying the correct shoe that they forget that the toddler needs to walk barefoot as well. Walking bare foot helps build arches and strengthens ankles. Walking on uneven surfaces like sand and the grass helps to further strengthen those muscles and ads great tactile experiences to the sensory system.
Running and playing outside is best done without shoes. Climbing a Jungle Gym you will find that your toddler has better balance without shoes as they are able to feel the rung and “grasp” it with their foot.
So what about that special occasion where shoes will complete the outfit? Choose shoes that are closest to no shoes. They must be flexible. Leather or rubber soles are best. You should easily be able to bend the shoe between your thumb and forefinger. Although the brand names look ever so cute you can not see what is happening inside the shoe and what it is doing to those bones in the feet.
The shoes must be low cut and preferably be leather so they can breath. I know the high cut shoes stay on better but experts believe they restrict ankle movement.
Flat bottoms with no heal! A toddler has enough to cope with just training to balance without adding to it with slippery soles and heals. I am shocked to see heals for 2 year olds. They are lovely for play but not to wear out and for everyday walking. In fact we should only allow our daughters to wear heals at around 18 when the bones in the feet are better formed.
Look for soft flexible shoes in leather with plenty of room for those cute toes to move in. Bigger is better. Keep checking the fit as they seem to grow overnight. Don’t pass on shoes to siblings and friends shoes mould to the foot and wearing shoes that have moulded to someone else’s foot is not a good idea. The exception here is shoes that have hardly been worn.
Last thought remember that socks that are too tight have the same implications as shoes that are too small.
Enjoy seeing those gorgeous bare feet running around the house and playing outside - its good for them!!
Sarah, Brigitte and I are really looking forward to welcoming all our lovely Moms and Tots back to Toptots next week (resuming 15 April).
See you soon,
It's hard to believe that January has already come and gone... What a whirlwind the start of this year has been. February has arrived, the fog has cleared and I seem to be regaining some sort of order back into my life. Phew!
For me, the most exciting thing about the start of this term, was that I finally get to bring Max along to Toptots. He absolutely LOVES his Wednesday mornings at Toptots and we both have so much fun together. Honestly - I've always known that TOPTOTS is a fantastic program, but seeing the excitement in Max's face and hearing him shriek with delight at the activities has given me a whole new perspective and I can totally understand why our classes are in such high demand.
Our garden area has been a real hit this term, with our lush grass, safety gates and the ever-so-popular playhouse making a comeback. We've been managing to conduct some of our Gross Motor activities out in the garden and with our "little people" tables and chairs under the date palm, we've been having lots of fun in the creative and texture department. Conducting these activities outside allows the children to get even more messy while breathing in the fresh air. For the most part, the weather has been gorgeous, so let's make hay while the sun shines weakly!
Those of you who have known me for a while will know how much I love to promote "sensory integration". I will carry on about the importance of Texture forever and a day and have included a short article from Toptots, SA on this very subject.
Until next time, wishing you all very happy moments with your little ones.
THE IMPORTANCE OF TOUCH
From birth until the age of 7, children learn primarily by means of sensation. This is the reason that they put everything into their mouths, touch everything, fiddle with everything, and watch everything that goes on around them. The brain functions as a computer - everything that is felt or experienced by the baby or child enters the brain (input), and is processed to establish its meaning. Once the information has been processed, the child can then act on that information in a meaningful way (output). This input - processing - output system is generally on a subconscious level, and is happening all the time. An example of this would be someone putting their hand on a hot stove. The tactile (touch) system sends a message to the brain that it is feeling something hot, the brain processes this, and sends a message to the hand to get off quickly before getting burnt.
The child's brain is receiving messages from all the various senses at the same time through hearing, taste, smell, sight and touch. It is also constantly receiving information regarding the child's position in space, and his/her movements. All this sensory information gives the child the sense of knowing who and where he/she is in relation to the world around him/her.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, which gives some indication in terms of its importance as a sensory organ. Babies naturally require touch to develop - from the time they are born they require cuddles, kisses and contact from familiar people. Later on they rely on touch when learning how things feel, how things work, and how things fit together. Touch is important when learning to handle tools, such as cutting with a pair of scissors, or writing with a pen. One needs to be able to feel how firmly to hold things in order to use them, while not holding them so firmly that they break.
Exposing your child to different tactile sensory input is vital to his/her development in this area. Allowing them to feel different textures on their bodies, or to manipulate different objects with their hands, enriches their experience of the world around them. Talk about what they're feeling - if they're stroking a cat comment on how soft she is, or how rough the tree's bark is. Make textured pictures using things like cotton wool, string, polystyrene, tissue paper, etc. Allow your child to play with messy substances - give them finger paint or play dough. Make up a big bowl of jelly on a hot summer's day, and watch them get stuck in. Playing in sand or in water also provides tactile experience.
Children follow their parents' examples, so encouraging them to take part in tactile activities often means that you need to get stuck in too. Make it fun, and be enthusiastic. Do it somewhere where they can feel free to make a mess, and provide cloths or water to clean up afterwards - it's all part of the experience. Have fun!!!