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.

Celebrating Jewish Holidays at Private School

Celebrating Jewish Holidays at SIA

One of the greatest things about being a Jewish Day School, a member of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, as well as an International Baccalaureate (IB®) Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate school servicing Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk is that we get to have a lot of fun while we learn. This includes learning about the history of the Jewish religion and culture including the customs and traditions we follow.

We saw an example of that recently when we celebrated Purim at school. Our Early Years Program students learned about and fulfilled the four mitzvot of Purim including:
–    Hearing the Megillah: Our EY students not only had an opportunity to hear the Megillah, they then set out to help make a copy of it. Each class from the toddlers to EY4 created a panel that depicted the story of Queen Esther, the heroine of the tale, when the panels were brought together. The toddlers through EY3 students got to hear the Megillah read in person by Morah Elyssa, while the EY4 classes were able to stream the reading in real time through the miracle of technology.
–    Mishloach Manot: The second mitzvah of Purim requires us to give gifts of at least two different kinds of food to others. Each class fulfilled this mitzvah by creating gift baskets filled with Purim treats that were then given to our office staff and our school security guards, Ramon and Mark.
–    Give Tzedakah: While most of our Purim celebration was about having fun while learning, the third mitzvah is teaching the importance of giving tzedakah. This is a Hebrew word meaning “righteousness,” but is commonly used to signify giving charity. This is viewed as a moral and ethical practice, which is not only good for the recipient(s), it’s an important part of building good moral character and developing good citizens of the world.
–   Have a Festive Time: You don’t need to ask Early Years students twice to have a good time, so this was the easiest mitzvah to fulfill. Our students participated in costume parades, played games, rocked out at a dance party, and enjoyed lots of delicious treats including popsicles, cotton candy, and hamantaschen, the famous cookie that is named for Haman’s ears. These cookies commemorate Esther’s victory over Haman and his plot to destroy the Jewish people.

Many special thanks for the teachers who helped make this celebration memorable and joyful for all of our students. We all had an amazing time celebrating Purim and the coming of Shabbat.

Looking for a Jewish Day school serving Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk? Come visit Strelitz International Academy and let us tell you more about our International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The mission of the IB program is to build a better world through education. Our mission is to enrich the life of the whole child, to develop compassionate, lifelong learners, and to promote a social and global consciousness that encompasses a profound respect for all humanity. Please join us!

What To Expect When Strelitz International Academy (SIA) Reopens

Students are doing some experiment with Microscope

A major advantage of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) is that students are immersed in their learning environments, to not only learn by example, but also to understand through action. Because of that, we decided to open our campus this August for the fall semester and welcome returning students and faculty. We believe that because of our small class sizes, we can monitor and control their environment, to keep our students, staff, and faculty as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19.

In order to do so, we fully took into account the need to revise our guidelines and policies regarding illness and health issues. We are utilizing resources and guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to formulate our policies and procedures.

Taking into account that infants through fifth graders cannot safely wear facemasks, shields, or other personal protective equipment (PPE), and they are generally not developmentally or physically astute enough to cover coughs and sneezes, we have put together a policy that will always err on the side of caution.

The full details of our updated illness policy are available on our website and in the August 7th SIA newsletter. In a nutshell, students and staff at SIA must go home or stay home and be evaluated by a licensed health professional who can determine if further testing may be needed for the following symptoms:

– Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, with or without other symptoms present
– Fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit with other symptom of illness present or an upward trend in temperature
– Cough
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Stomach pain
– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Body aches
– Headache unrelieved by hydration/rest/cool compress
– Persistent and/or heavy nasal secretions
– Lethargy
– Unusually persistent fussiness
– Rash or skin eruptions
– Chills
– Redness/irritation/swelling of the eyelid lining with crusting, discharge, discomfort, and/or itch

Children with household members who are known to have COVID-19 must not come to school.

The bar will be set low for sending/keeping students/staff home, and it will be set very high when evaluating their return. If your student is sent home, he or she must be picked up within 45 minutes. Please plan appropriately for this possibility.

We thank you in advance for your patience and support.

K – 5th Grade

Apply Now

6 weeks – 4 years

Apply Now

Email Us Call Us