Written and Researched by Miss Ange
Across the educational program at Discover My World our educators support children to strive across many areas of development and to stimulate curiosity, independence, and discovery. An area that is highly supported during their discovery journey are opportunities for literacy, language development and communication. As educators we wanted to share some tips and tricks to getting your child/ren ready for reading and writing at different stages of their development.
Pre literacy skills are an important aspect of a child's readiness for school and success as a lifelong learner. Pre literacy skills are associated with children’s reading development and writing abilities. Children learn about sound awareness, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension and the relationships between letters and sounds.
This development starts as early as birth, although children aged between 3 to 5 years is when they are considered preschoolers, this time is a vital time to form a strong foundation of language and literacy skills. It is crucial to understand that having these skills will increasingly “Support children at school, how they socialise with others, their problem-solving skills, making decisions in life, developing independence, managing money and working” (Developing Literacy, 2020).
Strategies for enhancing children's Pre-literacy skills
So, what encourages children's Pre literacy skills? “Specific environmental adaptations and adult interventions that teachers can use in their preschool classrooms to facilitate play that encourages early literacy skills” (Rashida,B., Amani, A., & Shehana, A. 2015). Language is the first step in starting early literacy which encourages the ability to communicate emotions, feelings, needs and wants and developing or maintaining healthy relationships with family, educators and peers.
Children aged 0 to 12 months are most likely going to coo, smile and laugh. During this stage it is vital to watch and understand the ways your child likes to communicate such as the different sounds, facial expressions, and gestures. At this stage in your child's development the best way to enhance early literacy skills is through their everyday activities, for example, reading books aloud, singing nursery rhymes, talking to the child about what you are doing, getting your child to explore for themselves with different materials and just simply playing together.
At ages 12 to 24 months, language becomes more prevalent for children as they start to say their first words and then begin forming 2-3 words together. Strategies that are used at the services include talking to the children while they are engaging in pretend play. As educators we can use larger vocabularies that children will later develop. Asking children questions sparks their curiosity and thinking about how to answer particular questions. For example, “Where do lions live?” “What are you cooking?”, “Is that a castle?”
Children aged 2 to 3 years start to form sentences and are able to blend their words together more clearly. They also become more curious and like to indulge themselves in lots of problem-solving skills such as puzzles, blocks, climbing and more. At the service the children are supported in learning through play extending on their dramatic play. Dramatic play is one of the most important forms of play which is referred to as 'pretend play', 'imaginative play' or 'symbolic play'. It is where, “Children assume an identity in role enactment, relating to other persons or objects as if they are other than themselves, or altering time and space in the form of situational transformations" (Johnson, 1998, p.148).
Children aged 3 to 5 years are at the most vital stages of early development as they learn more in depth how to write letters and form more complex sentences and conversations with others. It is getting to the age where they are school ready and able to transition into big school. So what can you do to support them? As educators we use learning groups in the morning, this is a block of time where the children engage in age appropriate learning. Some activities consist of cognition building where they do alphabet and number puzzles. Children engage in tracing activities and learning how to write their names. Other aspects include getting them to draw pictures of what they recall from a story or a particular subject.