An ongoing problem in education is the sense that teachers are responsible for all learning. So much so that most curriculum documents include social, interpersonal and personal learning. This often means, when children begin school there is a distinct lack of learning readiness in our children. Learning begins at day dot, children really are like sponges and there are elements of learning - yes early literacy and numeracy skills - that require attention prior to starting school. No, I am not suggesting we put our tiny people at the dining room table and push them beyond their skill level. I am however suggesting that learning readiness or school readiness begins developing long before the school journey starts.
EBP Education works with parents to develop essential pre-reading skills through play in our Play. Chat. Read. weekly workshop. This is a great beginning, however there is a lot for parents to cover at home. In an effort to support parents to help their little ones develop these essential skills, we have created a number of educational toys that do just that.
Sensory Hacky Sacks seek to develop a number of skill sets in fun and interactive ways. You can purchase them here: https://www.ebpeducation.com.au/collections/educational-toys/products/sensory-hacky-sacks-pyramid
Each set of six comes with a list of activities to support the development of:
Early literacy -
The square hacky sacks come in a set of six with three different sizes. In the picture Grace is identifying the hacky sacks images and describing what she can see. For example, on this hacky sack she has identified bumblebees. She can count the bumblebees, she can describe the sound they make and with parental support can make up her own story about bumblebees.
Developing descriptive language is an essential vocabulary skill. The more language a child has when they begin school, the more successful they will be in reading and writing. Before children learn to read books they read their surroundings and providing them with rich vocabulary building experiences using a variety of props, can provide them with a deeper understanding of context when they begin their school journey.
Early numeracy -
Grace is identifying the hacky sacks by size order and will lay them either from smaller to largest or largest to smallest. She can identify which hacky sack is first, second, last etc. She can stack them and discuss with an adult why he stack balanced well or fell over.
Whilst she is again building her vocabulary bank, she is also learning her early mathematical language. One of the main reasons for math failure in standardised tests is that children cannot read or comprehend the questions. Learning the language of math early is essential to academic math success.
Grace can balance the hacky sacks on her head and walk, hop, jump, skip. She can throw the hacky sacks into a bucket, perfecting her aim over greater distances. Or she can play hide and seek with the hacky along with a friend or adult. There are countless ways that hacky sacks can be used to get children moving and/or outside.
Each hacky sack has different fillings inside them. We use dried peas, rice, quinoa or beans to fill the hacky sacks. This means that the texture of each one is different and so provides the child with more opportunities to use descriptive language when describing what is inside each sack.
The Hacky Sack Minis have proved to be the most successful fidget toys for teachers. They are quiet thus less distracting for other students and can be attractive to most students that require a fidget distraction due to the variety of patterns on them.
EBP Education believes that the best early learning to ensure learning readiness in your child is done device/digitally free. When they are grown with families of their own, you will never regret the time spent with them. My top tips for the best early years learning, supporting a growth mindset in your child are:
Fun - kids learn best when they are having fun so play with them. They are small people who need us to teach them by modelling. This is how they learn manners, sympathy, empathy, safety, respect, responsibility all by watching those around them. They learn all those values while they are having fun!
Play - play is the best way for our preschoolers to learn. Provide them with unstructured play opportunities so their imaginations can run wild, so they can develop a sense of wonder with their friends. When you go to the park take dress ups with you, the best pirate ships are at the top of climbing frames.
Provide structured play opportunities. Sit at the table and build a lego ship, following instructions. Or complete a puzzle together. Structured play is a great way to start developing those attending skills that little ones need but struggle with when they start school like sitting at desks, lining up, transitions.
Read - the more experiences we provide for our little ones, the more we arm them with context for comprehension skills. Experiences can be local or if you are lucky international, however if your opporty to offer varied experiences are limited dont underestimate the value of providing experiences through reading a variety of books. It is scientifically proven through countless studies, that the more exposed to books a child is, the more reading success they will experience in school.
Have fun and good luck with your learning readiness journey, we are here to help.