Hello friends! Thank you for taking your time to learn a little about me and my successes in parenthood.
My name is Brigid Case. I am originally from a small town just outside of Pittsburgh, PA and now reside with my husband and daughter in Davidson, NC
Before having a child, I was an elementary classroom teacher: Kindergarten through 5th grades. I especially have a passion for helping little ones learn to read which inspired me to earn my Master’s as a Reading Specialist. I have a love for crafting and using recyclables as materials for sensory play.
I now have an almost 2 year old daughter, Josephine “Josie”, who has an incredible passion and love for books and can always catch her dancing to the tune in her head.
As many parents know, the first few months and even the first year are challenging in itself. While you and baby are trying to learn about and navigate through this new world, the challenges of making sure you are trying your very best to do all the “right things” for baby and yourself is HARD. As a teacher, I knew how important the first few years are in a child’s brain development. So, that requires us to be the child’s personal teacher. I believe Josie, like all children, are born with an innate desire to learn and help. We simply need to be intentional and consistent in providing them the opportunities to learn and to guide them along the way.
Here are a few of the things that we have included in our daily routines. And, it is never too late to introduce any into yours, 🙂
Literature & Music
I began reading to her before birth and have been consistent with reading to her each day: in the car, bathtub, library and even at the beach! This has instilled a habit of “reading” and love for books. We make each story interactive such as pointing to pictures to identify characters or using animal figures to help tell the story. We are drawn to texts enriched with age appropriate vocabulary and with illustrations to introduce new ideas/words to help develop her language.
The excitement I see on her face when we check out library books or seeing a familiar book that I rotated back into her rotation brings joy to my heart. These days you can find her “reading” in her chair or earnestly pointing, speaking or signing “book” for when she wants read aloud to.
The benefits of music, like reading, are endless for children. Josie listens to various genres of music to help sooth for sleep, wake, focus on tasks or to help get her body moving. We found incorporating music with repetition of lyrics has greatly improved her language skills as well.
Sign Language & Communication
My husband and I began around 4 months using simple signs such as more, please, thank you/you”re welcome, hungry, eat, all done and milk to help her communicate. Even though she did not demonstrate the ability to repeat the sign, I believe she understood. It wasn’t until about 8/9 months did she begin using the signs to show what she needed to communicate.
We have just now begun using a few signs to communicate emotions such as love, happy and sad.
Toddlers can often be an enigma; using signs has helped tremendously to know what her needs and wants are and hoping to better understand how she is feeling.
Chores & Behaviors
Beginning around about 6 months when she started crawling, we have been intentional with showing how to take care of our home and bodies. Which includes putting toys back in their “spot”, cleaning up spilled liquids, laundry, brushing hair and teeth. We use modeling and language to help scaffold these behaviors. Like all learned behaviors, it has taken time, patience and practice for Josie. I will tell you, in time a child will be able to complete or attempt the chores/behaviors we desire her/him to do. Example, today, Josie spilled some of her snack on the floor. After eating, she went and got her broom to brush into dustpan, emptied dust pan into the trash can, put the cleaning tools back and then pushed her chair in. I of course needed to provide help with the dustpan, she is still working on that skill.
Exploring Nature & Environments
The wonderful Maria Montessori once wrote, “Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet..” I truly believe that children can learn through being immersed in nature. We make sure to dress appropriately for the weather and spend some of our day exploring the beauties of nature: touching the bark on trees, watching water trickle, or follow the bird’s path in the air. And, the fresh air certainly brings a more pleasant mood to us parents’ minds, too.
I hope that some of my ideas used in my family’s day will encourage you to try and practice them with your child, too! 🙂