Literacy is an often used phrase and is traditionally associated with the formal arts of reading and writing. However ‘literacy’ also encompasses how people create and use all forms of language (speaking, listening, reading and writing) in their everyday lives, in their home, in the community, and in early childhood services.
Much of a child’s success in literacy learning depends on the degree to which there is a match between their exposure to literacy and how it is practiced, and the child’s own developing understanding. Staff in early childhood services play an extremely valuable role in facilitating and fostering supportive relationships that provide a place where children feel safe to experiment with language learning.
A child care centre should encourage and enable all forms of the children’s developing literacy through carefully selected resources and age appropriate activities. Some simple things parents can look for/ask of Centre staff which concern literacy promotion within the child care centre environment include;
- Do the educators support the children to express themselves, their needs and ideas, verbally?
- Do the educators engage in detailed and interesting discussions with the children about things that interest the children?
- Is there a range of good quality children’s books readily available to the children at all times? Are these presented attractively to engage the children’s interest?
- Are there books available which have been specifically chosen to reflect the current interests of the children?
- Are there comfortable, quiet places for the children to sit and read alone or together?
- Are there other resources available which encourage the children to engage in shared literacy experiences? For example, felt boards and felt pieces, puppets, stories on tape, other props which have been selected to enable the children to retell a favourite story.
- Do the educators engage children with literacy in other meaningful ways? For example, visits to a local library, providing takeaway menus in the class ‘restaurant,’ making signs together to display which define other learning spaces (“The Bakery” “Welcome to the circus”), using the internet to search for information and resources which support an interest.
- Do children engage in shared reading experiences with an educator everyday?
- Are drawing and writing materials readily available to children at all times?
- Are children are encouraged to scribble, draw and experiment with pretend writing?
- Do educators support older children (aged 3-5 years) to recognise their own name?
- Words in the World
- Kids Communicating: It’s sery, sery sunny
- Don’t they just play? Role Play Reading