Whiz Kids REALLY Does Make Learning Fun!
Monday August 2, 2010see more by jen
My 4-year-old daughter Emma is in a Whiz Kids summer Zoo-phonics class in Corona del Mar and when she showed me what she was learning, I was so amazed, I thought I have GOT to do another post on this awesome program! One day at home she started doing the letter sounds and actions and when I saw her galloping around the kitchen island (like a horse!) making a perfect “haa” sound like the letter “H” and being SO excited about it, I thought, WOW, not only was she learning the phonics of the letters, but she was having the BEST time doing it!
I always knew Whiz Kids was a very successful & popular program, but I didn’t really get what it was all about until Emma went to class. One of the Whiz Kids Directors is my cousin, so I have known about Whiz Kids for years now. BUT my cousin is humble and I guess forgot to BRAG at Thanksgiving dinner about how seriously AMAZING their program is! So I feel it is my obligation to share it with YOU!
Whiz Kids just started open enrollment now for the 2010-2011 school year, so if you are looking for a fun, and also extremely educational class to send your kiddos next year, you definitely have to check out this program. They have classes for preschoolers through first grade… all small classes with personalized instruction in a very fun, enthusiastic, loving environment.
SO, what IS Zoo-phonics??
I didn’t know much about it other than it SOUNDED fun! But now that I see how kids learn through Zoo-phonics, it is simply brilliant. Simply, it is a way to teach kids to learn the SOUNDS the letters make by connecting them to letters via a symbol (an animal with a cute name), sound and action. For example, B is for Bubba Bear, and the action is a bear reaching up grabbing honey, and tasting it. So the kids see a “b” for Bubba and say “Buh, Buh, Buh” doing the action for Bubba reaching up for honey and tasting it. So, anytime Emma sees a B, she will think of the sound. Such a phenomenal foundation for remembering the letter sounds and starting the beginning stages of learning to read. Plus, I think by doing the action with the sound it activates different areas of the brain to reinforce the learning. It is really amazing.
Here are the kiddos practicing their alligator arms saying “ah!” for Allie Alligator…
Stress-free fine motor practice!
They also have fun activities for beginning writing and fine motor skills. What I loved most is that it is TOTALLY stress-free, the teachers make it very relaxed and offer a lot of positive reinforcement. So, after practicing the letters and sounds in a “circle time” sort of setting, they moved to the table to practice writing letters.
They had great little white boards with dry erase pens and erasers. Miss Misty the teacher (LOVE HER!!) was so helpful and encouraging. She would go to each student and help direct them on how to write the letters. They practice lower case, which is great, because I have been working with Emma at home on the upper case, but not lower case yet. In fact, I didn’t even know the correct way to explain lower case, so as a parent I have also learned a lot of stuff we are practicing at home. Here is one of the class cuties practicing her lower case “n”.
In addition to writing, they also use scissors to strengthen their fine motor skills. They cut little pieces of paper with letters, then match the letters on the paper with glue and practice writing the letter. I didn’t realize until watching her 4-year-old tiny hands just how tricky learning to hold and work scissors can be! This is great practice, and I have seen a bunch of improvement in just 4 classes.
Here are the kids practicing…
Each week, they get sent home with cute “homework” assignments of fun things to practice at home, in their own personalized little Whiz Kids bag. It is just the cutest. We have had fun doing the activities together.
This is the beginning!
What has impressed me the most is that this program really introduces kids to reading & writing in a fun, positive, interactive way. I think if you can teach kids to LOVE learning now, and to associate learning to read and write with a FUN experience, it helps set the stage for their outlook on learning as they embark on their years of education. I feel so blessed Emma has had the opportunity to experience this program. Just seeing the twinkle in her eye as she practices the letter sounds to me is PRICELESS!