Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Parent Lecture on the Importance of Play and Routine for Children.

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at Windrose Academy. The audience were parents and the topic was the Importance of Play and Routine for Children. Windrose Academy supports parent education by providing frequent workshops on various educational and parenting topics. Parents were very welcoming and presented many relevant questions regarding the topics.

In regards to play and routine, play helps children learn about the world in which they live. They can investigate and discover, test their theories, test spatial relationships, explore cause and effect, learn problem solving skills, build their motor skills, build self esteem, build social skills and family values. That is the importance of play, that there's virtually no area of life in which it cannot teach your child something. 

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” –  Fred Rogers

We often do not think so, but children crave routine! Routine has many benefits for children, such as influencing a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development, helping children feel secure and comfortable, helping children understand the expectations of the environment, helping to reduce the frequency of behavior problems (e.g., tantrums) and influencing child engagement in activities.

Parent Tips:

  • Observe your child play and learn about their skills and interests.
  • Follow your child's lead when he plays. If he is building a city, build a building alongside of his.
  • Limit toys that provide too many electronic features. The less a toy can do the more fun a child has using her imagination.
  • Be consistent.
  • Use visual schedules for young children.

For collaborating on future parent workshops or teacher training, I can be contacted at

For updates on future workshops, please follow the Child Development Club: Egypt Facebook page or contact me directly to be added to the email mailing list.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Occupational Therapy in Morocco

I just heard about the project in Morocco to start their first Occupational Therapy program, so I thought I would share their contact information. If you would like to know more about Occupational Therapy in Morocco, visit their website at OT MOROCCO or their Facebook page OT in MOROCCO.

Always nice to support our neighbors!

Best of luck to them in starting a university curriculum this coming year.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Professional Training Day at The British Columbia Canadian International School (BCCIS) in Egypt

The British Columbia Canadian International School (BCCIS) in Egypt recently hosted a professional training day for their teachers at their school in El Sherouk City. Teachers and teaching assistants from the ECE and Elementary School Departments attended two workshops; Sensory Strategies to Enhance Classroom Learning and Frequently Asked Questions about Handwriting, which I presented.

Staff actively participated in numerous discussions about student's handwriting difficulties and learned strategies to support good sitting posture, pencil grip, letter formation, spacing, organizational skills and more. Staff learned about sensory processing and how student's ability to process sensory information affects their daily function. Staff also learned about sensory signals, sensory diets and how to create a sensory friendly classroom environment. Practical strategies to implement in the classroom were discussed and demonstrated.

Staff participated in "Brain Breaks", such as performing these yoga poses and learned how to incorporate movement throughout the daily classroom routine. Movement is widely known to enhance children's learning. Using movement breaks throughout the day keeps students and teachers focused!

Staff learned handwriting strategies, such as "back writing" and the importance of using simple, age appropriate language to teach handwriting.

Staff participated in "Would You Rather..." activities, showing how you can incorporate movement in an activity that was originally done in a seated position using discussion and/or pencil and paper.

Since children spend on average 6 hours a day in a classroom setting and write in every subject it is important for teachers to be aware of good handwriting practice and sensory strategies to help children function at their most optimal level.

It is good to know that schools like BCCIS are willing to support children with various educational needs. From my experience presenting to teachers at various schools, I find that many teachers are often willing to support children with various needs in their classroom, but they often just need the practical strategies to do so.

Thanks to Dr. Lori Carpenter, Principal, Ashley Richardson, Elementary Vice Principal and Margaret Elabi, ECE Director for supporting and organizing this event. Thanks to all the teaching staff at BCCIS for their relevant questions and participation in discussions and activities.

If your school is interested in hosting an event like this, I can be contacted at To learn more about occupational therapy, go to the American Occupational Therapy Association website here.

Laura Efinger, OTR/L
Occupational Therapy Consultant

Laura Efinger M.A. OTR/L is an American Licensed Occupational Therapist with 18 years of experience working in the US & Egypt. For the last 12 years, she has provided assessment and therapy for children with special needs in Egypt. She was the Supervisor of the Occupational Therapy Department at the Learning Resource Center in Egypt from 2003-2009. She is presently an independent consultant and conducts educational workshops and staff training at various nurseries, schools and centers in Egypt. She has created the Child Development Club website and Child Development Club: Egypt Facebook page to provide a forum to share educational resources to the public.