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
Tips for Parents
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.
WRITING DEVELOPMENT: A FEW FUN IDEAS:
If your children write a string of letters, or draw a picture and tell a story, write the conventional words on the bottom of the page, if they let you! Then, the story can be remembered and you are modelling writing for them.
When your children scribble or draw a picture say, “Can you read it to me? or “Tell me about your picture.”
This will encourage them to use language, which is very important in developing literacy. Do not be discouraged if your children respond “NO!” when you ask at first. Try again later.
Teach them how to write their name and other words of interest to them.
Stick a large piece of paper on the wall or floor for them to paint on with non-drip, non-toxic paint.
Supervise the activity to make sure the artwork stays on the paper.
Take your children outside and encourage them to draw and write outside using chalk.
Avoid suggesting what children should draw or write. Give them materials and let them take charge.
Learning can be messy. You may want to provide children with art materials that are easily washable.
Some children do not like the way messy art materials feel. If so, provide other materials for your children to express themselves such as pencils, crayons, or markers.
If you give your child a crayon, wide brush dipped in paint, or other art materials, they will sometimes put them in their mouths. Make sure that the materials are non-toxic, sturdy, and will not break into chokeable pieces.
Display your children’s writing and drawings. This encourages their literacy development and lets them know they are important.