Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.
The holiday season is a great time for young students. It provides a chance for them to help prepare for family holiday events while reinforcing academic skills. Here are some simple ways to incorporate math, reading, writing, and science while giving your child an opportunity to lend a helping hand.
Gather mixed coins from around the house. Have your child separate the coins into piles of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Practice counting by ones with the pennies, by 5’s with the nickels, 10’s with the dimes. Count and add the quarters. Give your child the opportunity to earn some mixed coins for various holiday jobs, such as helping you wrap presents, setting the table, helping to decorate, etc. If possible, these coins could also be donated to charities or used to buy simple gifts for loved ones.
Together read “The Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Moore, “My First Chanukah,” by Tomie dePaola, or your family’s favorite holiday book. After reading, have a discussion about the book. Ask questions to make sure that she understood the main idea of the story. Have her show you evidence in the text to support her idea.
Enlist your child’s help in signing and addressing cards. The recipients will love the children’s touch on the envelope or card. After the holidays, help your child write thank-you notes for gifts, especially to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives
Bake cookies or cook favorite holiday recipes together. Young chefs learn about measuring, predicting, experimenting, and the chemistry of making food when cooking together.
The holidays offer a unique opportunity for young children to help, learn, and have fun at the same time.