The first three years of a child’s life are some of the most critical for language development and a child needs to be stimulated at this time which will help develop their senses which in turn enables them to reach various milestones. Talking to children while you interact with them, telling them what you’re doing, singing songs, having them mimic sounds you make, all help stimulate a baby’s brain and are beneficial as they develop and grow.
It is never too early to read and talk to children and the more we do this and expose our children to language, literacy, and social interactions, the better foundation they will have as they learn to read when they are older. Making reading a part of your bedtime routine starting with infants up through adulthood is so important and encouraged. Falling asleep as you read rather than looking at a screen allows children to also get a better night's sleep!
At Four Seasons Preschool we incorporate early literacy in all of our classrooms and expose children to stories, social interactions, and literacy concepts. Singing songs and using puppets or props are ways we hold their attention. We explore literacy concepts in ways that are meaningful and therefore allows children to fully grasp and understand what they are learning.
All of our literacy times have stories, poems, songs and more. Hearing rhymes and words and exposing them to literacy activities daily are an important part of our daily routines. Even when we aren’t at our Literacy Circle, we continue to explore the world around us through literacy and language in all we do in the classroom.
When we explore the concept of rhyming we focus on sound discrimination which is important before we can expect children to notice when two words rhyme. We listen for sounds in the environment and become sound detectives as we listen for various sounds around us and discuss if they are the same or different. We Listen to noises outside and also play various sound games. We explore pictures through songs and games as we decide if words/pictures rhyme or not. The concept of creating rhymes takes time but when children make that connection, it always is a celebration for them!
Learning letters and their sounds is also part of our curriculum. We use a multisensory program that turns abstract letters and sounds into characters. These colorful character pictures also show the children what to do with their mouths when making the sounds. The combination of character pictures, mouth cues, hand and body movements, and songs make this engaging for the children and they really grasp the letter sounds in a fun, hands-on way.
The programs we use are proven to improve letter sound knowledge, phonemic (sound) awareness, and the phonics skills necessary for reading and writing as they get older. Our goal as we develop our literacy activities is to make the activities meaningful and give them a strong foundation for early literacy success.