Is your child starting school in September?
The experience of having your baby starting school while exciting, may be daunting. A little preparation goes along way. Parents have many questions regarding helping your child born prematurely prepare for school. On these 4 part-blog series, early educator Ashleigh Judge will address some key issues.
Blog 2 - Early Literacy, Numeracy, and Science
By Ashleigh Judge
Early literacy involves the skills and concepts children need to learn in order to be able to begin reading. Communication and literacy are linked. Infants enjoy being read to and sang to from birth. When babies and toddlers read with adults, they learn that reading is enjoyable and the begin to recognize the sounds of words. Preschool age children learn about the conventions of print. For example, print in English goes from left to right. Preschool children also learn to recognize letters and words they see frequently. Older preschoolers also start to learn to write.
Promoting Early Literacy Skills
If possible, spend some of your reading time holding your baby and the book in a position so that your baby can see the book and your face. Even if you don't read English, talk to your child about what is happening in the illustrations. As children develop language skills, encourage them to tell you what they think is happening and what they think will happen next. Sing together. If your child likes to read the same books and sing the same songs, that is okay! Pause for five to ten seconds before singing or reading a familiar word and see if your child will fill in the blank before you resume reading or singing. Encourage your preschooler to tell you stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. Encourage your toddler or preschooler to point out things in the illustrations. Help them trace shapes and letters with their finger in the air, paint, playdough or sand. Point out print (letter and high frequency words) on labels and signs throughout your home and community. Write down what your child says while your child watches you. Set up a writing area in your home or outdoors (paper, crayons, markers, child safe paint, paint brushes, chalk). Older infants and toddlers strengthen their hands for writing by making marks on paper and scribbling
Early numeracy involves the skills, concepts and vocabulary young children need to learn in order to learn more complex mathematical skills. It includes concepts such as bigger and smaller, more or less, matching, seriating, sorting, patterns, shapes, recognizing numbers and number correspondence.
Promoting Early Numeracy
Encourage your child to play with blocks and nesting cups. If you don't have blocks, you can use cardboard boxes. If you don’t have nesting toys, encourage your child to place different sized pots, containers and measuring cups inside one another. Count objects in the home and community with your child. Point out numbers and shapes on labels and signs. Have your child help you sort and match different items (eg. Sorting toys into bins and match socks) Count items in books. Compare items at home and in the community (Eg. Which cans are heavier and lighter in the grocery store? Which sticks are longer, shorter outside?) Cook with your child and count scoops/cups. Discuss “more/ less” “1 teaspoon, ½ cup
Early science involves observing objects using the senses, making predictions and solving problems. Young babies explore their world with all of their senses. Older babies and toddlers search for and retrieve toys that roll out of sight. They drop toys or push buttons to see what will happen next. Preschoolers make predictions about what new color will be made when two colors are mixed together or what will happen when an egg hatches. These are just a few examples of science!
Promoting Early Science
Allow your baby, toddler preschooler to explore different materials that are safe for them under adult supervision (eg. Water, playdough, finger paint.
Garden with your child and encourage them to explore seeds, safe plants, fruits, herbs, soil, and insects. Even most babies can smell, feel and taste clean and edible items. Cook with your child and encourage them to explore ingredients and observe transformations before and after cooking.
Final note: Children will learn more about all of these concepts and tasks throughout kindergarten. If your child does not fully grasp all concepts and tasks right away, that is okay! If you have any concerns or questions about your child's development, speak to their teacher or healthcare provider.
Ashleigh Judge is a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Ontario and holds an Early Childhood Resource Consultant Certificate. She has experience is providing early childhood development and parent/caregiver education programs in person and online. She also has experience in providing individual developmental support plans and strategies to young children and their families.