I enjoyed this years JIMAS Conference more than previous years. I'd looked forward to it since last year, we stayed at a hotel where they brought me breakfast in bed since I had a young baby - Maymoonah and her dad had breakfast downstairs. Also Umm Zaidah and her family were there. We hadn't spent that much time together for nearly 4 years since we both got married and she moved to London. Before that Umm Z and I would see each other almost everyday since school, college and Uni as well at work since most of our jobs were also together.
So for the 3 days it felt much like a reunion. Not only was I able to benefit from the lectures, the fresh air and green surroundings, I was also able to witness first hand Umm Zaidah's relationship with Zaidah, It felt a though I was seeing a living example of what I had been reading from The Parenting Course Notes.
Seeing something in action obviously has a stronger impact on someone than reading. It made me reflect on my own parenting skills, that I should be spending more one to one time and doing more educational activities with my eldest - Maymoonah, something that I felt I had neglected since I had my second daughter. With the 2 year the age gap between them and their differing needs, Maymoonah had very much become her fathers Girl and Jannah became Mine. Even down to feeding, changing Nappies and putting them to bed.
So at JIMAS I made the intention to do more activities with her. There was a time, before I got married or had children that I would often make mental plans for my future, of things I'd do with my children, plans regarding lifestyle and their schooling etc. I wanted to homeschool, study, foster and adopt. I wanted to do all of it.
Although I studied Law at College and Uni, the majority of my work experience involved working with children. At various Schools and Barnados Childrens centres, I worked with Billingual childen and those with special needs as a Behaviour Support Assistant. At the time I rather naively thought it would all make me better prepared for parenting.
So there I was after returning from the JIMAS Conference not quite knowing where to start in educating my 2 year old despite all my years of working with children. I still very much stuck to the same old reading, acting, scribbling, building bricks and simiar things that my 6 month old could also join in with.
A few months ago Umm Zaidah came to visit me again. This time I was glad to have more time to talk, I very much felt I needed the guidance and we were able to focus more on talking about the girls Education. Since our meeting I have had more Ideas on things to do with Maymoonah who is nearly 3 now.
Below is one of the activities we now do often. She has learnt many shapes within a few weeks as well as 4 letters of the alphabet. I am not actively teaching her anything as she is still very young but we are doing these things together and she is picking up tings and remembering them along the way.
Cutting and pasting with letters and shapes.
1. The first week I started with a few shapes and only one letter 'M' for her name. Umm Zaidah had given me the Idea to start with the the first letter of her name rather than writing out her whole name or the alphabet. That way they are not over burdened.
2. I draw out the outline of the letter and shape and she has fun sticking them down in her scrap book.
3.Each week I have introduced a new colour, letter or shape.