Friday, 28 June 2013

Potty training

Potty training gives us another chance to widen our vocabulary and we can make it fun (in English) for E. to sit on it.

Potty place
For her 1st birthday E. got a potty from I. Granny. I thought it was a little early to start, but as soon as she got hold of the potty, she sat on it swaying her legs with a wide smile on her face. So this was a sign she is open to sit on it at least. I assigned an area for the potty and made it into a fun place as you can see below.

I was lucky as after a few goes she peed and after a week she also pooped into the potty. But it takes time to sit and wait for the outcome, so while she is sitting on the potty I'm next to her and entertain her both in English and Hungarian, depending on which day or which time period we are in.

These toys and books can be played with when E. is sitting on the potty, so when she goes there to play, I put her on the potty. Then comes the potty song. The tune is the same as Twinkle, twinkle little star and the lyrics:

Tinkle, tinkle little tot,
Now you sit
upon the pot
Any second you will see
Sprinkle, splash as you go pee
Tinkle, tinkle little tot,
Now you sit upon the pot
(I found it on, but I couldn't link it properly for some reasons)

While E. is sitting on the potty we are looking at the books. Sometimes she points at a picture and I say the name, but nowadays if I ask: "Where's the teddy?" or "What's this?" She can point or tell me the thing I'm pointing at.

The following words she can say from the books:
nana (banana)
tick-tock (clock)
teddy (plus showing the sign)
ye (yellow)
ack (black)
book (plus showing the sign)
neigh (horse)
mun (monkey)
meow (cat)
coocoo (pigeon)
baa-baa (sheep)
dod (dog)
eat (plus showing the sign)

még (shows her self-created sign)
ebből (picking which bottle she wants to drink from)
anya (said first on Father's Day - ironically)
Mana (our dog)
éni (én is - me too)
i-á (for the donkey)
légy (fly- her favourite animal)
hinta (and she starts swinging)
kicsi (said only once)
pá-pá (waving goodbye when we finish with the book)
bé (béka - frog)

She can point at several other pictures if I say their names. What we often play is that she chooses two or three pictures and she points at them one after the other and I say their names (or if it's an animal I give the sound they make). She enjoys it a lot and points at the different pics faster and faster, then laughs out loud.
Other activities:
When we have finished with the books, we can look at flash cards (I change the flash cards - 5 at a time - every third or fourth day). We have a lot of animal cards, as E. is crazy about them, but I also made some fruit, vegetable and flower cards too. I'm in the process of making body parts, musical instruments and colour cards since she is starting to be more and more interested in them.

Another great activity she loves playing is counting the clothes pegs. Actually, I saw the Helen Doron teacher using pegs during the lessons and E. liked it a lot. So I put five pegs of different colours in a plastic cup and we count them or I name the colours then E. repeats them. The same goes with the plastic bottle caps - in the name of recycling. Yellow is her favourite colour. It's hard to take it away from her when we have finished. When D. is playing with E. on the potty, he shakes all the five caps in his big hands, then spread them on his palms and E. has to point at the colour D. is saying. It's also quite enjoyable.
Potty toys

As you can see in the picture above, we have some musical instruments and a toy mobile phone, a FisherPrice Frog  which sings English songs if you push the flashing shape on his tummy and a peek-a-boo doggy. (The mobile and the frog are from a secondhand shop for half the price of the original) Well, I won't go into details in connection with them. Use your imagination. :)
You can put ANYTHING next to the potty to play with. These are just a few ideas. Our only rule is that she can play with these things when she is sitting on the potty (both in English and Hungarian). But, to be perfectly honest, she sits there happily even for 10-15 minutes if she is in the mood to play with these potty toys. Sometimes I can hardly make her leave the place.
And a little extra: I believe in rewards. So if we find something in the potty after getting up, E. gets a sticker (you can see the plastic box in the top right corner with a lot of stickers on). In fact, she gets one sticker for pee-pee and two for poopy. Now she can (or at least tries to) stick them on by herself.
The box is almost full of stickers :D I need to make another one from a 5-litre plastic bottle.

Bilingual créche and nursery

We visited Mini Klub Bilingual Crèche and Nursery in Budapest, 4th district. We have it in mind that it might do good to E. if she is among other kids. As we wouldn't like to decrease the amount of time spent on English, I checked what possibilities we have concerning a bilingual nursery. (I also checked the English-only nurseries but both they are far from us and their price range is high above what we can afford.)

Playground area
So I would like to share my experiences in connection with our visit.

D. took a day off and all three of us could go and visit the institution in the afternoon. The building itself is a detached house with its garden full of playground games (swings, seesaws, climbing castle, slide etc.). The gate is locked in order not to let in strangers and not to let out the kids. Kati néni opened the gate for us. She was very welcoming and kind. Inside we met one of the crèche nurses (her name I've forgotten). In the hall area you can take off your shoes. It's all colourful and nicely decorated. Even if it is the entrance full of shoes and coats, it's neat and well organised.

The crèche area (nursery for babies under 3) is separated from the nursery. There is a kitchen area where they prepare elevenses and afternoon snacks for the kids, or heat up the food they order for lunch. There are 2 playing rooms for the little ones (i.e. there are two groups), maximum 8 babies in each. The youngest child now is one year old (just like E.) as the nurse told us. The playroom is full of colourful toys (everything had been put back on the shelves and into cupboards as it was after 15:30 and all the babies had been take home already). E. started to cruise along the furniture and pack down the toys. She had a wide smile on her face. She felt comfortable immediately. And we, parents as well. We asked our questions and got very impressive and informative answers. Here are some of them which I found important to know:

  • every group has 2 nurses: one Hungarian-speaking, one English-speaking (still the latter is Hungarian nationality)
  • the English-speaking nurse communicates in English with the kids all day (food time, preparation for sleeping, potty training, activities etc.)
  • every day different skills are in focus (visual, musical, movement etc.) in both languages
  • English activities are in the afternoon (short ones in the crèche and longer sessions in the nursery) with a teacher who is specialised in kid's English
  • there's a native nurse in the nursery - the natives are there for 6-week periods - they are kind of trainee nurses (at the moment they have one from Australia) and spend time both with the little ones and the older kids too
  • they close only for 2 weeks in the summer
Of course, we were talking about food, and food time, sleeping time, arrival and departure, play time, potty training etc, but concerning the language development I found the information above  the most essential. You can find more information about other details on their homepage, or you can visit the after contacting the director via email.

We look around in the other playroom, checked what beds they use, we also saw the little toilets (which were very clean and the kids' stuff in nice order). Then we had a look at the playground, and much to my surprise, the native nurse, who was sitting by the side of the sandpit where a little boy was playing, didn't say a word to him. On the other hand, 2 little girls (4-5 years old) were playing in English, though there were no English speaking adults around them.

Our overall impression was great. They reacted at our enquiries very quickly, the staff are young, energetic and kind, with some elderly members - as the warm-hearted Granny substitutes. The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed, there is order and organised system. The English language is also in focus all day (though I can't say it for 100% sure, only after E. has started going there). There are lot of other activities one can choose from (see also their homepage). Last but not least, their monthly fee is reasonable (basic price: 55 000 HUF/ month and 700 HUF/day for food plus extra activities - optional).

What we have decided to do is to wait one more year and from 2014 September E. will attend the crèche, first, one or two days a week, then slowly more. Then I'll come back to this topic and share our experiences.
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