Childhood Education: Literacy Play-Based Resources
There are several different teaching resources that can be used by educators to impact early childhood education and develop EYLF skills among children. It is to be noted that every child has different experience of belonging, being and becoming due to diversity in family life that results in different expectations, perspectives, knowledge and skills to their learning. This makes the learning of children complex and dynamic in nature that needs to be managed right from the age of few months. Educators can help children develop different skills and communication through play-based learning that involve different strategies to make children efficient communicators. Play-based learning allows for the expression of personality and enhances curiosity and creativity among children. This is necessary to help children develop a connection between their prior understanding and new learning leading to development of new relationships and skills. However, it is necessary to understand the strategies and teaching resources that can prove to be effective in meeting the requirements and help children achieve learning outcomes as per the early years learning framework.
Five literacy play-based resources
Oral language teaching resource
For a child to be successful in school and beyond, it is important to develop fine language and communication skills during her early years of development. The focus of language and communication skills during first year of life focus on ability of the baby or the toddler to understand others (i.e., receptive language) and express oneself (i.e., expressive language) with the use of words, actions and gestures as well as facial expressions. Toddlers and pre-schoolers developing strong skills related to language and communication are more likely to be ready to attend formal schools and start learning. They face minimal difficulties in learning to read and more likely to achieve higher in school.
Early childhood educators are an important source of promoting the development of language and communication skills among infants and toddlers. Here are several practices that are designed to achieve the goals of getting socially connected and communicate better.
Here the activities link with outcome 1 of EYLF where the focus is on developing a strong sense of identity among children. Educators promote learning to help children feel secure, safe and supported to openly express their feelings and ideas, respond to ideas suggested from others. This outcome further focus on helping babies and toddlers develop their emerging autonomy; inter dependence, resilience and sense of agency.
A suggested activity is the poem ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ The aim is to develop gross motor skills of children along with developing certain cognitive thinking skills through active verbal and nonverbal communication. The resource can be used to develop through Blank’s level of talk in the first set of questions. Babies and toddlers will listen to the poem, see the pictures and flash cards associated with the poem, go through the text and learn to match colours, shapes, numbers and pictures. They will further identify the sources of noise and find answers to questions like ‘what can you hear’, ‘who is making that noise’? The poem can also be used to help children name objects. They will understand what is a farm, who is an old man, different animals, etc. Further the questions in this level will assist toddlers to learn through activities like naming objects, naming actions, remembering objects pictures in a book thereby developing their initial pronunciation and language skills.
Writing teaching resource
Here the focus is on achieving EYLF outcome 5:3 where children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning of these texts. They learn to express their ideas and make meaning by understanding how symbols and pattern systems work. Here, children use language and engage in play-activities to imagine and create roles, scripts and ideas. The resources in this learning outcome emphasize on sharing of stories, symbols and ideas, developing skills through use of creative arts. The rationale is to help children begin the use of images and approximations of letters and words to convey meaning.
The activities can take the form of name writing practice sheets where children will be encourage to practice the writing of their name and name of their family members. This will develop basic writing skills and correct formation of alphabets. This activity can also include practice of writing different alphabets helping children to recognize each alphabet in different writing forms and using them while forming words like their own name.
Another activity or resource is using painting and sand writing to help children learn about different alphabets and their unique shape. Here, children are asked to write alphabets with their fingers on sand placed in a tray that develop their fine motor skills by helping them link the touch and feel of their fingers with words and alphabets. These resources also include activities like pattern writing, tracing shapes and patterns, drawing and colouring, copying lines and dot to dots matching. Here again the focus is on developing fine motor skills and promote cognitive development. Children use cognitive skills to develop hand-eye co-ordination through learning the formation of basic lines and curves. These skills are necessary to develop future and more complex writing skills among children.
Such activities will help children start from the text and moving towards writing their own text.
Digital technology teaching resource
Here the focus is on learning outcome 5:5 where children become effective communicators through use of information and communication technologies to access information, investigate ideas and represented their thinking. The resource is also associated with outcome 4 of early years learning framework where children are expected to become confident and involved learning as they start connecting with people, places and technologies along with the natural things and resources.
Several different activities can be planned and implemented as teaching strategies using digital technologies. For instance, if an educator wants to promote children’s understanding of gender roles, they might use a relevant story like Cinderella or Goldilocks linking gender differences and stereotyping in the society. They can use digital technology to help children identify and capture images of gender stereotyping and the associated issues in the society. Further, the educators might engage learning of children with technology by using the images for creating a digital story with actual voice of children use to record their different ideas an understanding about gender roles.
Further stories like Very Hungry Caterpillar and Bear Gonna Hunt can be used to help children develop reading skills. They may then be aske to describe the story and the message they get from their reading and focusing on the characters of the study. Such methods will help in achieving the aim of making children effective communicators and helping them express their ideas and make meaning of resources available to them in the form of books, media, and technological sources thereby developing investigative ideas and representation skills to present their thinking and views on different subjects and issues.
The strategies will help the educators to explore different aspects of teaching multi-literacies, code breaker, functional user, meaning maker, critical analyser and transformer.
Storytelling teaching resource
Here the focus is on developing learning outcome 5 where children can explore use of literature language in oral as well as written texts through oral telling, role-play, imaginative play and drawing. They also acquire skills of contributing to the texts in a collaborative manner and share their ideas and views with each other. This makes them effective communicators where children are able to respond to a range of stimuli and experiment with different ways of presenting their ideas and meanings associated with the text.
Story telling teaching resources in the form of different stories with different messages will help children through various phase of leaning. In the first phase, children will be code breaker by learning about phonics, recognizing whole word, morphology and etymology. Next stage of story telling will help children to make meaning of vocabulary as they will learn new words, learn to read and understand comprehension thereby developing schema activation and prediction. This stage is also known as text participation where children will be asked to represent their understanding about the story, use some words from the story to develop small sentences and use these words in their daily interactions with each other. Next children will learn to analyse the text by understanding the purpose of author or the exact message that the author tends to give through the story. Here, children can be given the activity of writing down their learning from the story that will help them analyse the event and the associated meaning and message. The use of meaning and message in their daily life along with the response and connection with the text to bring in their prior knowledge and communicate with text will make them text user.
While helping kids to go through the comprehension they will be assisted in moving through a step-by-step process. Here they will start with predicting the story initially after getting an introduction from the teacher. Further they will get to know about the main idea behind the story. Here again children will be asked to tell their view about the main idea that will help in developing critical thinking skills. This will move ahead to help them recognize the characters through pictures, digital media sources and textbooks leading them to summarize the event by sharing their views with each other. Small discussions among children after the storytelling session will help generate ideas of effective summarizing leading to achievement of learning outcome 5 to make them effective communicators.
Educators or teachers can help children move in a proper direction as per their age and understanding towards development of early childhood learning skills. It is of utmost importance that the activities for children are planned as per their age, understanding, background, prior knowledge and experiences. This will ensure easy connection and increased participation of children in learning activities leading to achievement of learning outcomes as per EYLF. The learning and development of skills in early childhood influence the life chances of children and influence their wellbeing by developing a strong sense of connection and positive attitude towards different scenarios. This makes it necessary for educators to focus on the concepts of being, becoming and belonging while planning and implementing various educational activities as per the understanding and goals of learning defined for children.