Every child deserves the best possible start in life and the support that enables them to fulfil their potential. Children develop quickly in the early years and a child’s experiences between birth and age five have a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right. Good parenting and high quality early learning together provide the foundation children need to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) sets the standards that all early years providers must meet to ensure that children learn and develop well and are kept healthy and safe. It promotes teaching and learning to ensure children’s ‘school readiness’ and gives children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life.
There are seven areas of learning and development that must shape educational programmes in early years settings. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. These areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
Supporting Children’s Emergent Literacy
TALK: It is important for children to form a rich vocabulary and an understanding of their language’s structure.
Talk to your children often, starting at birth, and continuing throughout their childhood. Use feeding, baths or walks to introduce new words.
LISTEN: Just as important as talking to your children, is paying attention to them and listening to what they say. This lets them know that they, and their ideas, are important and encourages them to practice language.
READ: When children are read to, they learn new vocabulary and that symbols -letters & pictures - have meaning. Continue reading to your kids as they mature. This will help them develop a love of reading. Try books on familiar topics to children, e.g., family, pets, or school. Predictable books - ones that have illustrations connected to the words, or have a repetitive rhyme - are recommended for emergent readers. Encourage older children to point to letters they know during story times. Also, make sure they have books to browse on their own. Audio books are another way to expose your children to language.
POINT OUT ENVIRONMENTAL PRINT: When you are out with children, call attention to the words that are written everywhere. For example, when you pull up to a stop sign, say, “That sign reads” STOP.”
PROVIDE MATERIALS AND SPACE FOR ART & WRITING: Even one-year olds can experiment with art materials & writing implements, such as a wide paint brush dipped in non-toxic paint or fat crayons. Young
children may enjoy smearing water on coloured paper to see how it changes it. Make sure your children have access to pens, paper, crayons, pencils, etc., too.
WRITE: Write your children a note, such as, “Thank you for helping me set the table”, or even a simple, “I love you.” Send them postcards via the postal service - children love to get mail! Encourage them to write thank you notes to family members for gifts, even if it means your child draws a picture, then you write the words “Thank you” on the bottom of the note. Have them help you write the grocery list.