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All The Tools You Need For A Year of Pre School Enrichment

Simple solutions and fun ideas that make a big impact on a child's overall development and kindergarten readiness!

The FUNdamental Foundation program was developed by a group of pediatric occupational therapists and designed to enrich the developmental foundations of children aged 3-5. The program achieves this by offering teachers and parents engaging and easy-to-implement activities for their child(ren). FUNdamental Foundations was piloted in 2022 with 163 four-year-old children that were enrolled in preschool programs throughout Mecklenburg County, NC. Scroll to the end of the page to see the results! 

All activities can be modified based on a student’s abilities and they create a continuum of support for a whole school year (36 weeks).  You’ll receive a calendar of activities each month that are easily adaptable but are presented in the correct developmental sequence. 

The activities provide details on the materials needed, modifications, troubleshooting, and how the developmental activity supports learning. The activity page includes printable PDF’s, videos, and other helpful resources. Each activity typically takes 5-10 minutes or less to complete and can easily be integrated into the classroom or home curriculum. Many activities have digital formatting as an option so that a teacher can show a classroom via a whiteboard, screen share via virtual teaching or assign the daily activities to be completed at home. Those same activities can be completed with a touchscreen.

All activities fall under 5 skill areas:

  • Gross Motor 🕺
  • Pre-Writing ✏️
  • Pre-Reading 📚
  • Sensory
  • Self Help 🤧

How Does It Work?

An enrolled adult will have access to each week and all curriculum supports. Activities will be re-introduced in various ways over the course of the year to help to increase FUNdamental skill development.  

What makes the FUNdamental Foundations program so important?

Even before Covid, preschool, and kindergarten teachers have consistently reported that children begin school with lower developmental skills than those the year before. This lack of development impedes a child’s independence in the classroom setting. The FUNdamental Foundation program will assist in reducing the developmental gap while increasing a parent and teacher’s supply of creative and meaningful activities.  FUNdamental Foundations takes the guesswork out of wondering what activities should be introduced in what order. 

What Is The Child’s Transformation?

The goal of FUNdamental Foundations is to give teachers and parents quick-to-use developmental ideas and activities that are unique, highly engaging, can enhance any curriculum and are easy to understand and implement. The result is that a child will have faster developmental growth in a variety of foundation areas during a school year, and increased kindergarten readiness. 

What Is The Adult’s Transformation?

Whether you are a parent, teacher, therapist, or another person that works with children, you will develop your skills and knowledge of preschool development.   By learning new tips, tricks, and tools, you will be better prepared and more efficient in teaching skills to a child or children.  

Here are some of the perks YOU will receive :

🏆36 weeks of ideas and activities to complement any curriculum (720+ activity ideas)

🏆Downloadable, printer-friendly workbook and PDF’s

🏆50+ bonus activities and PDF’s

🏆Many videos that “teach” you how to teach or introduce the activities

🏆Links to extra resources and our own Spotify playlists

🏆Access to our occupational therapists for troubleshooting through our members-only community page

🏆Valuable tips through our members-only emails.

🏆A wave of relief! You can rest assured that these activities will help your child aged 3-5 make great developmental progress…therefore increasing academic potential!

⭐️Please note that the FUNdamental Foundations Toolkit does not come with the module, but can be purchased separately or sourced on your own. All the supplies are linked to find easily.

Yes, I need this !

Click “buy now” to see price for a full year of access

🏆36 weeks of ideas and activities to complement any curriculum (720+ activity ideas) 

🏆Printer-friendly workbook and PDF’s. Use PDF’s on touch screen too!

🏆50+ bonus activities and PDF’s

🏆Many videos that “teach” you how to teach or introduce the activities

🏆Access to our occupational therapists through our members-only community page

🏆A wave of relief! You can rest assured that these activities will help your child aged 3-5 make great developmental progress…therefore increasing academic potential!

What materials do I need?

Maybe the best part about this program is how versatile it is.  Once you have the main materials listed below, you’ll find that you’ll be using them in lots of fun and creative ways. 

Included in the module:

  • All digital worksheet files, teaching videos, and resources
  • Suggested calendar of implementation

 Not included but needed:

  • Small backpack or bag to keep items
  • Small pencil box or Tupperware container to keep small items 
  • Short crayons and pencils
  • FUNdamental Foam / or piece of lightweight styrofoam ( at least 1.5″  thick piece of low-density styrofoam (9×12″ in size)
  • FUNdamental Building Shapes ( template is included to cut your own by hand or with a Cricut.  The Learning Without Tears wood letter shapes work well, or you can order a set from us in checkout)  
  • FUNdamental Building Mat ( template is included to cut your own or you can order your set from us)
  • Golf tees (multiple colors)
  • Small  rubber bands (multiple colors)
  • 2 Swirling Scarves (different colors)
  • Wikki Stixx ( 6″ long size)
  • Small pom-poms (multi-color, 1/2″ or smaller, about 20)

 Optional materials:

Meet the Authors

Before Covid, Stephanie Wick, along with Kelly Long and Crystal Smith, had put together Learning Charms’ first on line class, The Going To Kindergarten Club.   Shortly afterwards, Stephanie, Kelly,  and Crystal along with Shelley Ferner and Christine Giesbrecht worked together virtually to create the FUNdamental Foundations program.  See the authors on the staff page💕

What Others Are Saying

"Thank you for providing this program for teachers. I know that this initially was intended for parents but the reality is that teachers need these resources too. I have taught 22 years including 15 years as a Special Education teacher in which I had the privilege to work along OTs, PTs, and Speech pathologists, all very talented and helpful to me in some of the most difficult of situations. I have dealt with a variety of behaviors and issues throughout the years. Our students and families face many challenging issues and we need to be able to meet as many as we can. I would like to see the social emotional part of this program developed more and more training for teachers on how to implement the program and how to deal more effectively with these challenging behaviors in acceptable ways."
Teacher from Pilot
"...Teachers do not receive training on teaching handwriting and fine motor skills. Yet, the majority of children that step into Pre-K classrooms would greatly benefit from receiving direct guidance from occupational therapist-trained teachers. This need is even more visible when working with children who have not enrolled in childcare settings before starting Pre-K, as seen now because of the pandemic. "
Teacher from Pilot
"...I started using the Stop and Jot letter boards you shared. I laminated a few copies and then taped letters to the sides of the dice so the children could toss the dice and write. I completely forgot about this activity as I've done it in the past. It was so awesome! I had some children who never want to complete writing activities that chose to use them during free choice. "
Teacher from Pilot

Pilot Study Results

The FUNdamental Foundations Program was part of a pilot study during 13 weeks in 2022 to determine the effectiveness and useability in classrooms.   SMARTSTART of Mecklenburg County assisted with the pilot study in providing Learning Charms with an innovation grant.   There were eight intervention classrooms (seven were MECK Pre-K classrooms and one was a NC Pre-K classroom) and 3 control classrooms ( 2 MECK Pre-K classrooms and one private 4’s classroom).  There were a total of 164 children that participated in the pilot (from either intervention or control group) that were each pre-tested and post tested by our occupational therapy team. All of the children were at least 4:6 years old  but none were older than 5:6 years old.   Each intervention classroom received a FUNdamental Foundations toolkit for each child and teacher as well as access to the online module of the program. Teachers reported each week on the activities that they used for their class, how many times those activities were used and what the outcome was.   Overall, the teachers tried,led and evaluated 1100 of the FUNdamental Foundations activities over the course of 13 weeks. Due to Covid restrictions, teachers did not receive any training on how to use the program, other than what was supplied in the on line module. 

Results were analyzed and prepared by an independent,  outside team of analysts.   

The results showed that the children that were in the FUNdamental Foundations intervention groups made statistically significant progress than those children who were not in the intervention group. The children in the intervention group made the most progress in the gross motor and pre-reading (visual perceptual) areas. 

 

Take A Look at Some of the Activities and Digital Downloads

Gross Motor

Pre-handwriting

Pre-reading

Your instructor

Hi! I’m Stephanie Wick and I’ve been a pediatric occupational therapist since 1998. I’m a native of Virginia and graduated from Emory and Henry College and Shenandoah University, but I’ve lived in Charlotte NC since 1999. I’ve worked for 14+ years in the public and private elementary and preschool settings. I began Learning Charms in 2008 and had a clinic with a 1000 square foot gym that I filled up with mainly preschoolers looking to enrich their fine motor and developmental skills prior to kindergarten. I’ve always loved technology and so in 2019 began working on a project to create an on-demand handwriting class. Along with running a therapy group, I enjoy creating on-demand programs, classes, and professional development for teachers, parents, and students.

Research

Early fine motor writing skills are more and more being recognized as an important school readiness skill associated with later academic success (Carlton and winkler, 1999: Dinehart and Manfra, 2013; Feder and Majnemer, 2007: Grissmer et al., 2010; Jackman and Stagniti, 2007; Rosenblum et al., 2003; Son and Meisels, 2006; Sortor and Kulp, 2003). Many public school systems took away individualized handwriting lessons in the past decade, which may also account for the increase in referrals for handwriting related problems to occupational therapists. In addition, few teachers feel prepared to teach handwriting (Graham et al., 2008). In 2003, Marr et al. reported that children in a preschool setting spent about 37% of their day engaged in fine motor activities and only 10% of those activities involved paper and pencil. In kindergarten, the shift to using handwriting during the day was significant. Kindergarteners spent nearly half their day engaged in fine motor skills and of that amount, 42% was spent on paper and pencil tasks (Marr et al., 2003). Even before a child enters elementary school, the current literature finds that developing “handwriting readiness” may be beneficial because it 1) supports the development of reading skills (James and Engelhardt, 2012; Longcamp et al., 2005) and 2) it may increase the likelihood of academic success in later year.

 

References:

Graham S, Harris KR, Mason L, et al. (2008) How do primary grade teachers teach handwriting? A national survey. Reading & Writing 21(1–2): 49–69.

Carlton MP and Winsler A (1999) School readiness: The need for a paradigm shift. School Psychology Review 28: 338–352.

Dinehart LHB and Manfra L (2013) Association between early fine motor develop- ment and later math and reading achievement in early elementary school. Early Education and Development 24(2): 138–161.

Feder K and Majnemer A (2007) Handwriting development, competency, and intervention. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 49(4): 312–317.

Grissmer DW, Grimm KJ, Aiyer SM, et al. (2010) Fine motor skills and early com- prehension of the world: Two new school readiness indicators. Developmental Psychology 46: 1008–1017.

Jackman M and Stagnitti K (2007) Fine motor difficulties: The need for advocating for the role of occupational therapy in schools. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 54(3): 168–173.

James KH and Engelhardt L (2012) The effects of handwriting on functional brain development in pre-literate children. Trends in Neuroscience and Education 1(1): 32–42.

Longcamp M, Zerbato-Poudou MT and Velay JL (2005) The influence of writing practice on letter recognition in preschool children: A comparison between hand- writing and typing. Acta Psychologica 119(1): 67–79.

Marr D, Cermak S, Cohn ES, et al. (2003) Fine motor activities in Head Start and kindergarten classrooms. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 57: 550–557.

Rosenblum S, Epsztein L and Josman N (2008) Handwriting performance of children with attention deficit hyperactive disorders: A pilot study. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics 28: 219–223.

Son SH and Meisels SJ (2006) The relationship of young children’s motor skills to later reading and math achievement. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 52: 755–778.

Sortor JM and Kulp MT (2003) Are the results of the Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration and its subscales related to achievement test scores? Optometry and Vision Science 80: 758–763.

Yes, I need this !

$129 for a full year of access

 

🏆36 weeks of ideas and activities to complement any curriculum (720+ activity ideas) 

🏆Printer-friendly workbook and PDF’s. Use PDF’s on touch screen too!

🏆50+ bonus activities and PDF’s

🏆Many videos that “teach” you how to teach or introduce the activities

🏆Access to our occupational therapists through our members-only community page

🏆A wave of relief! You can rest assured that these activities will help your child aged 3-5 make great developmental progress…therefore increasing academic potential!

Learning of children by offering unique and creative strategies for cognitive, sensory, and motor development.    

The material on this site is for your information and education only and should not be interpreted as medical or professional advice. You should never treat yourself for a medical condition based on the information provided here. Likewise, you should never decide that you do not need treatment based on this information. All medical information, from this or any other source, needs to be reviewed carefully with your own doctor and other medical professionals before you act upon it in any way.

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