Welcome to Occupational Therapy in LEEP at Moose Hill
my name is Karen L. Riddle, I am a licensed and certified Occupational
Therapy Assistant who works closely with Susan Richardson, OTR/L. I
have been a pediatric therapist in Londonderry School District since
1995. Prior to joining the Londonderry School District, I was a
pediatric therapist in the Hampstead School District. I have the
pleasure of working with your children in the LEEP morning and afternoon
sessions. Your children are learning how their bodies move through
their senses everyday through thoughtfully planned sensory motor, gross
motor, fine motor/visual-motor and self-help activities at LEEP!
Through the generosity of the PTA and private organizations, LEEP is
fortunate to have a well equipped indoor sensory motor room and a well
equipped outdoor playground that are used daily.
Role of the OT in Preschool
The occupational therapist
uses developmentally appropriate practices and medically based training
to assist children with and without special needs to function optimally
in their educational setting. The OT addresses basic foundation skills
such as the sense of touch, smell, taste, and most importantly movement,
vision, gravity, posture, balance, muscle tone, motor planning, body
awareness and bilateral coordination. These foundational skills are
addressed through rich sensory-motor, gross motor, fine
motor/visual-motor and self-help activities.
The Importance of Building Foundational Skills
traditional senses: vision(seeing), auditory(hearing), tactile(touch),
smell(olfactory) and taste(gustatory) give us important information
about our surroundings. Our brain also receives important information
from less familiar senses known as the vestibular
and proprioceptive senses. Our vestibular sense gives us awareness of
our body position and movement in space through detection of motion and
gravity. It is a very powerful sense. Our proprioceptive sense gives us
unconscious information through our muscles, joints and ligaments about
where our body is in space. It gives us information about our "body
contents" and helps us regulate the amount of force needed to move in a
smooth, coordinated manner. Proprioceptive activities can have a calming
and organizing effect on our nervous system when offered at consistent
intervals throughout the day. Our tactile sense gives us our "body
boundaries". "Pressure touch" can be calming as it enhances "relaxed
brain chemistry" allowing us to focus and attend. These three senses
together are often referred to as the "power systems". Movement
activities that are repetitive and rhythmical help us feel organized.
One of the fundamental jobs of the brain is to process sensation. Young
children need a sensory rich environment using the three power systems
(vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile) to grow neurons to help the
brain stem. Children need facilitated, meaningful movement to learn and
develop to a "mental map" of their body. When learning is "movement
focused", it provides scaffolding for future learning.
"Movement is Essential to Learning"
is essential to learning and is the key to foundational skills
development. What appears to be "child's play" is actually learning
foundational skills. Making the foundation for learning as solid as
possible allows your child to be the best that they can be. In her book,
Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head, Carla
Hannaford, Ph.D., neurophysiologist and educator explains, "The more
closely we consider the elaborate interplay of brain and body , the more
clearly one compelling theme emerges: movement is essential to
learning...Movement within the womb gives us our first sense of the
world and the beginning knowledge and experience of the laws of
gravity...Every movement is a sensory-motor event, linked to to the
intimate understanding of your physical world..."1
1 Hannaford, Carla, Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head, pg.96.
Handwriting Without Tears in the Preschool Setting
of the children in the LEEP pre-kindergarten program are introduced to
the handwriting curriculum, Handwriting Without Tears (HWTears). This
curriculum has been adopted by the Londonderry School District starting
with kindergarten and continuing into the upper grades. It is a simple,
developmentally based curriculum for writing readiness and printing. The
multi-sensory lessons teach to all learning styles- visual, auditory,
tactile and kinesthetic. The introduction to handwriting at the
pre-Kindergarten level is a team approach at LEEP. From September until
December, the focus is on proper seating, upper body and hand
strengthening, fine motor/visual-motor skills, eye-hand coordination and
an introduction to the letter formations through the use of wooden
shapes that form letters. Beginning in January, your children will begin
the process of capital letter writing. Your children will learn size,
shape, positional concepts and words pertaining to how the letters are
formed. Capital letters are the foundation for success in lower case
printing. The Handwriting Without Tears program introduces capital
letters first, not in ABC order, but according to common formation
patterns, from simple to complex.
For more information, please refer to the web site: https://www.hwtears.com/gss for the "Get Set For School" Pre-K curriculum.
Contact information: Karen L. Riddle, COTA/L # 437-5855 X 7319
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter Formation Guides:
This link explains the way your children learn to make upper case capital letters. Click on it to see how they are taught!
Fine Motor Development 0 - 6 Years
This link lists 99 wonderful and fun activities that you can do with your child. Enjoy!