Student Reflections at Treeline from OT Student Sean Vercellone, St. Augustine University I have always enjoyed spending time in nature. It is a place where I feel safe and most like myself. This fact shaped my career path and led me to work at a summer camp for kids and adults with disabilities. I loved this job! I lead activities like kayaking, tubing, and ziplining, while also building meaningful connections with so many unique kids and adults. Working at this camp for three summers changed my life. Not only did it lead to me applying to occupational therapy school, but it was the first time I witnessed the therapeutic benefits of nature.
Have you been told that your child may need occupational therapy but you have no idea what that means? Sure you have heard of physical therapy and speech therapy, but occupational therapy seems like it relates to a job. And you are thinking, my child is only 5, he doesn’t have a job! You are not alone!
Is your child showing interest in colors, shapes, or counting? Does your child like to collect and sort things? Have you observed your child filling and dumping containers? These are all beautiful examples of child-led learning that is building important visual discrimination skills, bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination, proprioceptive awareness, and more.
This week many families embark on a new normal as many kids start schooling from home for the first time. Despite the challenges this may present, this change in routine also affords new learning opportunities. Empowering our kids to take control of their schedule, deadlines, responsibilities, and routines (all at an age appropriate level) supports the development of their executive functioning skills. Executive functions are life management skills such as planning, organization, time management, flexibility, task initiation, and self-control. These are important life skills that help our kids grow into successful students, employees, and citizens.
We are spending as much time as we can outside! The fresh air, natural light, calming colors, and open space is good for our emotions and mental health. Plus the great outdoors gives us places to explore, things to discover, endless play experiences, and loads of organic learning opportunities. But sometimes our kids (and adults) need a little inspiration. Are you ready to turn your next hike, neighborhood walk, or backyard garden into an adventure?
Handwriting is typically a skill taught and practiced inside. But WHY? The great outdoors affords an abundance of opportunities, inspirations, and experiences to help build strong, capable, and independent handwriters! PLUS time outdoors has a positive impact on our attention, mood, sensory integration, and overall health and well being. So let’s head out for a walk in the neighborhood, hike along a trail, explore the beach, or find a cozy spot under a tree at a city park. Here are some tips and tools to help you get started!
Toys, toys, toys! If you are like me, your home is overwhelmed with TOYS – toys with batteries, toys with a single purpose, and toys that just sit on the shelf often unused. Play is a vital part of childhood and all children should engage in LOTS of play every day! But some of the best play opportunities our kids can have include loose parts!