Decades later and I still feel the joy of seeing children in the pre-school setting using literacy and numeracy in their daily lives.
As I look through the NSW Education Department's Early Stage 1 Syllabus and consider the outcomes for children in kindergarten I see that children who attend quality early education programs are at such an advantage when it comes to formal schooling. Through play-based curriculum, responsive and intentional teaching and thoughtfully planned learning environments we are able to encourage children to develop skills and concepts in their own unique ways. This is life-long learning. This is a wealth of knowledge and experience that children take with them into kindergarten.
Here is a Literacy and Numeracy Snapshot of our pre-school (so far) this week:
- Our grass-heads are growing. The children compared which cups held the longest hair, which was the shortest and how many were the same. They described to each other with cups held the most sprouting seeds. They hypothesized why some cups were full of grass and others had little.
- Block constructions continued to be based upon tall buildings. Children described their constructions as being tall, taller and tallest. They compared the height of buildings to their own heights. Some friends collaborated on their constructions with comments made such as "you're taller than me so you can reach higher on the building". Displays of Sydney skyscrapers and iconic buildings encouraged conversation about shape, height and construction methods. Friends pondered the idea "how do they stay up if they're so high? Our buildings fall down if they get too high".
- With much conversation about names, a basket of cardboard letters were placed at the light table. With verbal assistance form an educator, children have used the letters to create their own names, names of their siblings and their friends. We observed the interaction where an educator said the name of the letter "i". One friend used her finger to draw an "i" on the light table, telling her friend "it looks like this...it's a little line with a dot at the top". Her friend replied "I have one of them in my name!" and was able to locate the letter within the large selection of other letters. Requesting a list of other names to make, our educator brought out her notebook and scribed the list, demonstrating how she wrote the words that were said. As a group the children and educator moved to the computer where the names were typed and printed ready for use.
- The children noticed that some names were short to spell while others were longer. This led to a spontaneous transition activity where the syllables in names were clapped and counted.
- A new resource arrived tightly wrapped in a large cardboard box. Before opening this we invited each child to predict what was in the box. We lifted it to feel the mass; we discussed the sound that it made and compared this to sounds that we knew; we compared the size of the box to the size of objects that we predicted. Each person's guess was written on the lid of the parcel and read aloud as each child arrived and made their prediction.
- A snake came to visit us for the day (a non-venomous snake safely housed in a large jar) and so we accessed the internet to research information about this snake. This information was shared during a group gathering where children were also able to verbally share their knowledge and experience with snakes.
- Four kookaburras have taken up residence in our yard. By counting these beautiful birds we are able to tell if they are all here or if some are missing. Our friends are able to describe how many we have at any time and how many are not here.
- The snow peas in our garden were planted as seeds. The children noticed that these are "taller than the rocket plants now" and "almost up to the top of the tee-pee". They observed and described that the carrots "have not grown as tall as the rocket yet".
of lessons or instruction.
If you began to note the ways in which numeracy and literacy occur in your day you would probably be amazingly surprised.