Literacy and numeracy
Literacy and Numeracy form a component of all programs at Belrose Kindergarten in an age appropriate way. These are skills all children need to learn about within their daily life.
Numeracy exists all around us and is connected with almost everything we do. Early experiences as an infant include many basic maths concepts that begin the foundations for their future numeracy learning. These include simple ideas such as moving their body parts in the space around them. Educators at the Centre support this learning in a playful way, encouraging young children to engage in situations that expose them to early numeracy, for example, games of "peek a boo" (things are there and then they are not), singing songs and rhymes which include numbers, exposing children to shapes, patterns and positions in space. Over time and particularly as these experiences are enjoyed, the child's understanding becomes more and more sophisticated.
As a child moves through the Centre, numeracy is included in everyday learning such as when playing at the water trough, in block play or within stories. Educators use these opportunities to talk with children one to one using mathematical language and encouraging them to problem solve. Children are exposed to shapes and numbers as well as how they are used and written, giving them a meaning that is relevant to the child. Educators use the interests of the children to plan purposeful mathematical learning experiences that aim to take the children's understanding to higher levels.
Like numeracy, it is from birth that children begin to learn about literacy. It is simply the ability to express oneself and communicate through all forms of language. This begins with gestures, expressions and sounds and soon moves into oral language and assisted communication. As children become motivated to communicate they also learn other ways to do so. It can be through music, movement, dance, writing, drama, storytelling, visual arts or electronic and print based media and technology.
Staff model correct oral form and take every opportunity to talk with the children. They use songs, rhymes, stories, pictures, puppets and props in playful ways that encourage responses and participation as each child’s journey of learning language progresses. To be a competent reader and writer, children first need to be confident talkers and listeners. An interest in literacy emerges naturally as each child shares oral and pictorial stories in books and magazines. They are also provided with many life contexts for learning about letters and sounds.
As learning becomes more sophisticated, children start to connect what they learn at home and at the Centre. They start to recognise familiar signs, for example McDonalds, stop signs, their names, the names of friends and the letter of their name and of others. Educators also facilitate games in which children identify syllables that form the rhythm of words. This helps the children develop an awareness of phonemes, first sounds and end sounds of words as well as the relationship of sounds and letters.
An interest in writing often begins with a child’s joy in drawing a series of squiggles. They then give them meaning as they pretend to read. To be able to write their name is cause for celebration and yet another way in which children secure the foundations for future success.
Literacy and Numeracy are complex skills for children to develop but by exposing children to them at an early age and using a play-based approach, they are more likely to engage with them meaningfully and feel confident and motivated to learn more.