Helping Your Child Build Fine Motor Skills

IB Elementary School Students doing an Fine Motor Skills Activities at Strelitz International Academy

As adults, we probably take our fine motor skills for granted most of the time. Fine motor skills involve the coordination and synchronization of small muscles—usually in our fingers and hands or toes and feet—when performing complex levels of manual dexterity. This could be something simple such as catching a ball, or a task that’s a little more complicated, such as buttoning a shirt.

The reason we take these intricate movements for granted is because they are so well-ingrained in our minds that we can now do many of them without even thinking about it. However, there was a time in our development when someone helped hone those fine motor skills to give us the ability to write with a pen or type on a keyboard. These skills build over time. The idea is to practice them regularly to help establish better eye-hand coordination.

At Strelitz International Academy, we understand the importance of building fine motor skills, and regularly practice different tasks with our International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) students, to help them build strength in the small muscles and program the central nervous system to coordinate the efforts. As an IB® elementary school serving Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk, this is just as important as academics, and well believe that providing this additional training helps to make us one of the best elementary schools.

Here are a few things you can do at home to help continue building fine motor skills in your child:
Setting the table: Manipulation of flatware such as knives, spoons, and forks requires the grasping of objects and placing them back down in a uniform manner.
Using scissors: Draw shapes on a piece of paper and let your child try to cut along the lines with child-safe scissors. Your child can then use a glue stick to paste those shapes back on to another piece of paper creating a lovely piece of art.
Puzzles: Putting puzzles together not only sharpens cognitive thinking, it helps to build fine motor skills by picking up individual puzzle pieces and successfully placing them where they need to go to complete the project.
Building blocks: Crafts such as Legos® are fantastic at building fine motor skills and they help to bring out the creative spirit in your child.
Eye droppers: This will require several glasses of water and food coloring. Next to each glass of water, write down a color and the number of drops that should go in the glass. This not only helps with fine motor skills, it’s a great way for younger kids to practice counting.
Rice: This one is a little more difficult and probably should only be used with more advanced children. You need two bowls of uncooked rice, two empty bowls, and a pair of tweezers. Two children can race each other, or they can go head-to-head with you, but the object is to take all of the grains of rice from the full bowl to the empty one using only the tweezers to pick up and transport the rice.

There are many different activities you can use at home to build fine motor skills in your child. Think up some great ideas yourself and put them into practice!

If you would like to enroll in the best IB elementary school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, give us a call at 757.424.4327 to learn more about us and to submit an application.

Going From an IB Program to Another Program

Students Learning at IB PYP School

Moving can be a very stressful experience for young children. Making new friends, meeting new teachers and getting used to a new routine.

When getting ready to relocate to a new area, one of the things you can do to make the transition a little easier for your children is to try to find a good school that will provide them with an environment that is similar to the school they were in previously. Many schools do virtual tours with photo and informational slideshows to give you a good idea of the philosophy and program curriculum.

If your child is currently enrolled in an International Baccalaureate® (IB) program elementary school in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, you’ll want to find another IB® Primary Year Programme (PYP) school in your new location. If one is not available, look for a private school with small classes sizes, preferably that uses inquiry-based education.

For students who are not currently in an IB® PYP school, the International Baccalaureate (IB®) program is an inquiry-based educational system that seeks to develop the child as a whole. This means their education is formulated to both scholastics and inner growth. For a child that is going from a traditional educational format, such as what they received in a public school, the IB® PYP format is more about learning by experiences and asking questions rather than purely memorizing information presented in books and classroom lectures.

While a child going from an IB® PYP school to another program will present some new opportunities for the student, being able to utilize what they have previously learned will help them to build on the skills they already have and adapt them to their new surroundings. If there are any problems with the transition, a school with smaller classes sizes will ensure your student can get extra assistance from their teachers.

If you’re moving to the area and you’re looking for IB® PYP schools in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, we invite you to take a look at Strelitz International Academy. We are one of the premiere private elementary schools in the area for children age 3 to 12. As an IB® PYP candidate school, we can continue your child’s education, placing emphasis on their academic skills while encouraging their personal growth at the same time, to develop a more well-rounded student who develops a life-long love of academics.

Contact us at 757-424-4327 to learn more about our school and our curriculum. We’d love to have your new student join us and we’d also enjoy the opportunity to speak with you about the role you’ll play in your child’s education, both in and out of the classroom.

IB Professional Development Day at SIA

SIA faculty and administrators attended the IB® Virtual Conference

Strelitz International Academy recently held an International Baccalaureate (IB®) Professional Development Day for the whole school, led by SIA faculty and administrators who attended the IB® Virtual Conference held in early December 2020. The conference, titled “Reimagine the Future,” was the first of its kind, virtually welcoming more than 4,500 passionate educators and inspiring leaders from 110 countries across the globe.

In addition to keynote speakers and topic experts providing insights and inspiration, there were a total of 77 breakout sessions for virtual conference visitors to attend. Topics covered the Primary Years Programme, the Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme, Career-related Programme, Cross-programme, Leadership, and Research.

The three keynote speakers included Kiran Bir Sethi, who presented “Human by Chance. HumanE by Design,” Graham Brown-Martin’s “Beyond tomorrow,” and Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, who lectured on “Leadership from the inside out.” These impactful speeches highlighted the importance educators play in creating learning environments that maximize students’ potential, stimulate innovation, and forge strong and long-lasting relationships with others.

The topic expert lectures urged conference attendees to re-evaluate their perceptions about teaching to find new strategies that would shape the future of learning. Some of the topics presented included, “Is our world really changing? Diversity and Inclusion in 2021” by Roy Gluckman; “Transform pedagogy, transform learning, transform education” by Chang Wathall; “Learning together while apart: Collaborative learning in the COVID era” by Daniel Wilson; “Practical digital wellbeing, or how to stay sane after eight hours of teaching on Zoom” by Dr. Anastasia Dedyukhina; “Building student agency through needs-based support plans” by Shelley Moore; and “Radical self-care as a tool to care radically for humanity” by Jamilah Pitts.

Considering this was a world-wide conference spanning two dozen time zones, the logistics involved to make sure attendees could have access to all of the information presented was incredible. To make it easier for people who could not attend a break-out session at 4:00 a.m. in their particular time zone, all sessions were available on-demand after airing so everyone could have access to them at any time.

Based on all of the information that our attendees came back with, our IB® Professional Development Day allowed us to review and share our new Assessment Policy, Formative versus Summative Assessments, rubrics, student portfolios, student reflections, inquiry into how concepts drive transdisciplinarity, and International Mindfulness.

This was a fantastic reminder for us all that education never stops. And Strelitz International Academy will continue to provide the best elementary school education possible for our students to help incite a life-long love of learning.

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