Literacy includes the ability to both read and write. These two skills are critical to the future success of all children in school and beyond. The most important years for the development of these skills are between birth and the age of eight. From the day children join us at The Wandsworth Preschool, no matter what age they are, we begin to share our love of literacy with them. Being proactive in this way means they can grow to be school children, teenagers and adults with a love and appreciation for reading and the sense of achievement of being able to write well.
Our mentors talk to the babies and toddlers using simple language, make frequent eye contact and respond to their communications. They play with, and talk to, our children about what is going on around them. They sing and introduce finger rhymes. We share books with babies and toddlers, making reading time a special experience that children will begin to treasure. In addition, we introduce children to the tools of early mark making, pens, pencils, crayons and chalks and encourage them to experiment freely.
We employ a qualified Early Years teacher at the Wandsworth Preschool. Their time is dedicated to teaching literacy, mathematics and early science and technology through age appropriate, interesting, often cross curricular activities.
One of the important factors in developing a thirst to read is being able to watch others enjoy reading and writing. Our staff model these behaviours, fostering an interest in, and enjoyment of, reading and writing. Story times for older children are as special as those for our younger children. They are interesting and fun, with opportunities to talk about the text, ask questions, and act out stories. Books and stories are often the starting point for exciting projects that spill over into art, performing art, and outings and trips such as when our children had a real interest in the story of “The Queen’s Hat “, which led to them listening to The Pomp and Circumstance March, a trip to London to see the guards at Buckingham Palace and to visit the places the Queen’s hat flew to. The children wrote to the Queen as a group sending her a poem they had written together and were delighted to receive a Royal response.
Our nurseries are rich in print, with words and sentences used in displays and in the environment. This provides opportunities for the children to see written words and letters all around them and used for different purposes. Our qualified Early Years teacher introduces our pre-schoolers to the alphabet and for those who are ready and interested will teach them to read letters, words and sentences.
Writing and mark making areas are created in all the studios so that our children can enjoy using a wide range of interesting writing tools in their play. Children are encouraged to write letters in sand, to paint and to draw as they begin to be interested in letters and sounds. This leads to our teachers encouraging children to copy words, starting with their own names. Staff will scribe for children, writing their thoughts and descriptions both by hand and on computers and the children will often copy text that staff have written. We will also teach children how to hold writing implements appropriately.
By ensuring that our children have positive early years experiences we are supporting the development of future generations or readers, writers and learners.