With a great deal of emphasis being placed on literacy and young children, we would like to make visible how we support children here at the Centre develop those skills.
It is known that children get ready to read for many years before they are cognitively mature enough to learn to read. What children know about reading and writing before they can read and write is what is known as “Early Literacy”. This is where we place our attention in our pre-school program. We hope to create opportunities to develop an understanding of, and encourage an interest in, communicating through the written word.
The Rock 'n Roll Band
The three boys prompted by Finn formed a Rock 'n Roll band.
Finn had a wooden plank
Emilio a frying pan and spoon
Maddox had a computer keyboard.
“Then they went home.” said Finn abruptly and the others followed him to the house keeping corner. Then back to the band area........
“ 1,2,3,4, YOW! YOW!
Finn spontaneously cried, “We late for the band! Rock 'n Roll camel.”
Maddox picked up a computer keyboard and said, “This piano is an electric piano.”
“I've got a electric guitar.” said Finn
Emilio joined in and said, “This is an electric drum. This is my drum stick.
Finn offered Jason a ride. Jason refused by saying, “No, I don't because I hate music.”
Finn was not deterred, “Come to my band, you'll really like it. Hey, you've got star shoes, you like music.”
“No I don't, I hate music.”
Jason became the guy who stayed at home where he offered the band members food after their gig.
A video was taken and unfortunately lost. It was a joy to hear them whooping and creating the sounds of their band with their voices.
Some of the areas that need to develop before children are ready to read are the following:
Vocabulary: This is done through conversation and reading to your child. Many hands on experiences help connect words to the real object or idea.
Awareness of print: At a very early age children learn that the printed word carries meaning. When you read to your child they become aware that it is the words in print that tells the story they are enjoying. Street signs labels and even store logos and names become recognizable to children at a very early age.
Narrative Skills: Everyday conversation is an early form of story telling. The answer to “What did you do at the Children’s Centre today?” is a form of story telling. The more children are engaged in talking and sharing experiences the more they become aware of the “order” of story, beginning, middle and end.
Phonological awareness: Nursery rhymes, silly songs, games and rhymes make children aware of the sounds of language. Children need to be aware of the sounds that letters make, but need to learn it in a fun and meaningful way.
Letter Recognition: Children start to learn to recognize the different letters. They usually start with their own name and the letters of people’s names who are important to them.
Here are some of examples of Early Literacy that we have seen in our classroom.
When I use the message Centre I am learning how to:
Names - The children’s names are in several places: in the attendance basket; on the mailboxes; on the cubbies and on name cards. When I see my friends names in these places, I am learning:
When I am sequencing, I am learning:
When I play with puppets, I am learning to:
Felt Board -
When I play with the felt board I am learning to:
When I sing I am learning how to:
Dramatic Play -
When I play in the house keeping corner, I am learning to:
Scribing Stories -
When you scribe my stories and read them back to them, I am learning to:
Story Time -
As a part of advocating a high quality program, our teachers work hard to document the happenings among the children. Through these learning stories we engage in our relationships with the children and with the materials that we offer in an effort to use our interpretations to extend learning. As the parents of these children we seek your knowledge and insights as a valuable part of this process as you know your children best of all. Please take a moment when you are picking up or dropping off your child to visit our documentation board and participate in our conversations. Your children will greatly benefit from your interest in their experiences!
The photos below are snippets from an ongoing exploration, by posting the art in the hallway and continuing to add to the Material Encounters documentation board we hope to attract your attention, curiosity and input.
Each spring the children enjoy participating in the planting of our garden. One of our favorite things to look forward to is watching the corn plants grow from tiny starts to very tall stalks. It’s so exciting when the plants are finally ready to harvest. It is hard work, but with a little help from our friends, the deep roots are pulled up and the ears of corn are ready to be opened, cooked and
I have several characters and a backdrop made out of felt wool that I like to use when telling stories. Some of the children were so awed and complimentary when they found out that I had made them, that I wanted to give them an opportunity to explore the unique qualities of wool and how it transforms during the felting process.
First we wrapped beach rocks in wool and dipped our hands in soapy water. Gently we patted wool with wet soapy hands. There were all sorts of sensations to experience; fuzzy wool that changed as it got sodden and then felted, foamy bubbles, wet water, slippery soap, the smell of peppermint soap and wet wool and lots of colours.
At first we had to be patient and gentle until the wool started to felt. Once the wool stopped slipping the children's attention went from what their hands were doing to what they were making. When the 5 year olds were working the table was abuzz with ideas flying around; a pollywog, a home for a wood bug, a rat, a wolf, a cave for rabbits.
Once the coloured wool came out , the focus became all about the different colours and the ideas of creating specific animals or homes were abandoned. The older children with the larger rocks spent several sessions felting, while the younger children felted smaller rocks that they could finish in one session.
A parent and child arrived at the Centre with a gift of roses for the teachers.
The teacher took a rose from the bouquet and placed it in the centre of the table along with a palette of acrylic paints. What you see in this hallway is a display of children's art, some very young, working along side older children, expressing what they saw and felt from the rose's colours.
A Dad and son arrived at the Centre and the son was wearing a t-shirt with an aboriginal design on the front. The Dad asked the children, "Guess why Emilio is wearing this shirt?"
"It is Aboriginal Day, Happy Aboriginal Day!"
The teacher brought out some other examples of first nation's art and a palette with similar colours to the art.
On the board in the kitchen room you will see the wide range of children's interpretations of the first nation's art.
Once again there were very young children painting along side older children.
With Mayday approaching, we spoke with the children about this year's theme, "Celebrating Canada". One child said, "We live in Canada". We then talked about how we would decorate our float with that theme in mind. Immediately, the children came up with a lot of clear ideas: I want to be a knight, I want to be a princess, I want to be a ...
We as teachers thought, Canada embraces diversity. So the children came as they wanted, each representing Canadians in their own way. The name of our float, "Canadian Colours" expresses a child's idea of diversity more simply.
Below is a slideshow of our Mayday festivities.
Forest and Hotaru have chosen to play together in the sandbox. Their play is quite organic as it moves flexibly from one
idea to another. The sandbox is an industrious and busy area, water rights debate occurs quickly.
This offers perfect opportunities to practice their social skills. Forest and Hotaru navigated the sandbox “politics” quite well today,
they succeeded in respecting other children’s play and letting go of territorial dispute in creative ways. Well done!
Hotaru: "Keep digging, deep!"
As Forrest fills up the truck, Hotaru follows.
Forest: “That’s enough now! I’ll go and deliver the sand.” “Who needs sand? Sand delivery!”
“Not me!" says Breccan.
"Put it in there!" Dylan suggests.
Forest has a different idea: “I don’t want to... I go and deliver on this side."
Forest notices that Hotaru is digging a hole. He eagerly goes to help her but becomes frustrated as water starts flowing in his hole from Dylan hose. “Stop it!” Forest cries out. Dylan keeps
watering the puddle. Hotaru tries to defend Forest and orders Dylan: “He said stop!” Dylan
declares to Hotaru: “You’re not in charge of me!” Hotaru and Forest go on saying in a calm
way that they do not want water in their hole. Dylan respond: “I am not putting it in your hole, I
am putting it there and it channels in.” Forest and Hotaru seems fine with the explanation and
keeps on digging with wet sand.
Our friend Yvie has been struggling and not wanting to come to the Centre. Grandma shared that Yvie really protests and it is very difficult to leave the house in the mornings. On this particular morning, Yvie cried loudly at drop off. I wanted to support her concerns and acknowledge her feelings. I asked her what she was missing at Grandmas house which was where she wanted to be instead. She named some specific toys and so I wondered with her what we could do here that could be just as fun. We did not have the toys that were so attractive to her but, I suggested we could try to make something. I went through a list of materials that we have here at the Centre that we might use. Felts caught her interest. She got very excited at the thought of making her very own felt board story.
Initially, Yvie was very concerned about working together with other children, she wanted to work alone. I reminded her that children come to the Centre because their families want them to learn how to be in a group and work together with all kinds of people.
At first, the children decided that their story would take place on a beach. They chose a unicorn, a rattle snake and a shark to be their characters. The unicorn and the snake both wanted to be the most beautiful creatures in the world. They were fighting. The shark gave them an idea. They could both be the most beautiful.
I supported the children in making their characters by tracing and helping them to cut out but I mostly stood back and let them explore the felt. Their ideas evolved and the story grew and changed. We did not focus on a concrete story but rather the children freely added characters and ideas, sharing and talking with each other the whole time. This project kept these children very happily engaged for over an hour.
What happened here was an amazing example of friendship building and learning how to share and accept other peoples ideas.
February's weather brought the children and teachers back to the forest. Our Children's Centre has a rich environment that extends well beyond our doors and playgrounds. Enjoy a glimpse of how the children immerse themselves in nature in this slideshow.
Family Participation encourages parents to participate in a variety of ways to strengthen both the relationships we share and to maintain and preserve our buildings and property. We need family participation to make the Society successful.