THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE: THE UNIMAGINARY FRIEND BY DAN SANTAT
READ BY NATALIE
Now that you have heard Beekle’s story of becoming Alice’s imaginary friend, it’s your turn to imagine your new friend!
Your imaginary friend can be whatever you need them to be. I know being home away from your friends can be lonely, so let your imaginary friend help you through this time.
If you need a silly friend, your imaginary friend can be silly. If you need a friend who is really great at cuddling, you can imagine a big, soft, fuzzy friend. If you have a lot of worries, maybe you can imagine a friend who is a really good listener. Anything is possible in your imagination. And as one of my favorite fictional teachers, Dumbledore, says:
Here is a list of activities that have been posted on the blog already that would be amazing to do with an imaginary friend!
March 23- Take your imaginary friend with you to space in your recycled material spaceship.
March 24- Make your own mini book and write a story about your imaginary friend, draw what they look like, and tell a story about their adventures.
March 25- If you don’t have siblings or parents to play with, play Hide and Go Seek with your imaginary friend.
March 26- Build a fort and have a tea party or read a book with your imaginary friend.
Also, just for fun IKEA put out instructions on how to make different forts at home. Here they are:
March 30- Talk to them and tell them your feelings, just like your puppets.
April 1- Put on a dress-up fashion show with your imaginary friend.
April 13- Tell them your fears and take them to rest time with you.
April 24- Have a book picnic with them and show them your favorite stories.
May 1- Bring them on your Nature Walk and tell them about all the things you see.
Enjoy your new friendship!
THE IMPORTANCE OF NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION IN THE EARLY YEARS
These are commonly used signs for children to communicate their basic needs.
Everyone has had moments in their lives when they could not communicate their needs in a way others could understand. The result is a level of frustration beyond compare. Sign Language gives children a means to express needs in an effective way. Try thinking about a time, as an adult, when you have wanted something and not been able to explain what exactly you wanted. Well for children this often is expressed through loud crying, utter frustration or tantrums. Which are all developmentally appropriate for young children. Now imagine being able to support your children in expressing those needs in any given moment. Well… Sign language facilitates the confidence necessary for children to begin expressing themselves verbally. This exchange allows for more reciprocal interactions which allows children to express their thoughts while developing social norms for communicating with others.
Signs frequently used in the baby room to express our needs.
When signing with your child repetition is key! Sign the word every time you say it, and you will have more chance of them signing it back. Just remember a lot of signs we use at school and those are the ones that will be most familiar for your child. We have been signing with babies since the start of the school year, they should at least comprehend: Eat, More, All Done, Please, Sleep, Milk, Help, Play, Gentle, Baby & Turn.
Two of the most commonly used FIRST signs.
The frequency of when and how your child uses Sign Language varies greatly depending on the child. Some children use signs before any words, some use words and signs together, some children use words and then show you the sign for reassurance of a known need.
Your child may seem resistant at first or seem to show no interest. Children are all different and respond to Sign Language in different ways. Sometimes children understand and respond to signs without ever trying to copy them. Learning sign language and children putting signs into practice takes time. It may take months for your child to start using the sign you have been showing them.
Baby signing ‘more’ – in their own way!
Although sometimes it can be frustrating and time consuming to repeatedly use signs when seeing no change in your child, stick with it! The benefits will soon pay off. Even though they are not doing the signs, they are comprehending and absorbing so much from seeing these signs in action.
Check out these videos showing you how to sign these songs. Since children love music and hand-motions, these are a fun way to incorporate signs into your child’s day, potentially encouraging more use!
Itsy Bitsy Spider in ASL https://youtu.be/-_ugzwuVwEM
Twinkle twinkle Little Star in ASL https://youtu.be/hl1j9797Z38
VERMONT EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS (VELS):
RECEPTIVE LANGUAGE (LISTENING)
Goal 1: Young children attend to, comprehend, and respond to increasingly complex language.
Turn towards voices and focus on speech directed towards them
Respond to simple requests when accompanied by gestures
Demonstrate receptive vocabulary of 50 or more words in home language
EXPRESSIVE LANGUAGE (SPEAKING)
Goal 1: Young children use increasingly complex vocabulary and grammar to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Vocalize and use gestures to communicate (e.g., wave hi/bye)
Combine gestures and words to communicate thoughts, feelings, needs (e.g., shake head ‘no’ with a vocal ‘no’)
SOCIAL RULES OF LANGUAGE
Goal 1: Young children initiate and maintain conversations with others while developing knowledge and use of the social rules of language.
Watch for signs of being understood by others and repeat efforts if not initially successful
Continue to initiate and engage in communications with others through gestures, words, and facial expressions.