My little man just had his first birthday! It was a proud moment! And one that my husband and I gave ourselves high fives behind closed doors to celebrate that we made it in one piece and so did he…
Rather than live in survival mode, we have now come to a new phase in our lives, where our little man is becoming more aware and interested in everything. We can see his light bulb moments when he figures out how to do something new, which are just so incredible! I love watching him grow and learn!
So now we find ourselves in this new phase of our lives, like many other parents, and we want to encourage his learning. As the founder of Jack The Wombat, an early childhood literacy program, I understand the importance of early literacy and the lifelong impact these formative years will have.
So as a parent what can I do to encourage his learning?
- TALK – Children learn about language by listening to parents and caregivers talk and by joining in conversation. Talking to your child in the language you are most fluent in is the best way to help your child develop early literacy skills! Try make it fun by:
- Using finger puppets to tell stories
- Reading with your child – Use funny voices, ask questions about the story, describe the pictures
- Include them in your everyday activities and describe what you are doing. Even everyday tasks like washing or cooking can easily become a learning tool!
- SING – It doesn’t matter is you are a good singer or not, singing helps children learn new words. It slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words and learn about syllables. It also helps develop listening and memory skills which makes repetition easier for young children. You can encourage singing by:
- Making and playing musical instruments
- Singing nursery rhymes
- Making up your own words to the tune of your favourite song (I do this one ALL the time though it is normally to the tune of a nursery rhyme)
3. WRITE – Writing and reading go together! Both are ways to represent spoken words and to communicate information. Although they might not look like it, scribbling and drawing are forms of writing. They may not be words, but the lines and pictures your child draws mean something to them. Have your little one practice their writing skills by:
- Sand writing – Practice writing and drawing on a tray of sand
- Drawing a picture
- Writing their name – for younger ones this might be best done with an adult
- Make a paper plate face
My biggest piece of advice to parents, to encourage early childhood literacy, is to involve your little one in what you are doing. Wherever appropriate, talk to them about what you are doing (even if it is boring chores), if you are writing something down read it out loud, and if you are reading something read it out loud. They will absorb the words you speak, copy your actions, and most importantly learn off you!
If you are looking for some fun and creative ways to encourage learning, check our Jack The Wombat early childhood literacy program at www.jackthewombat.com.au. Our aim is to make learn to read and write fun for kids and easy for parents!
This article was written by Allison from ‘Jack the Wombat’. She is a wife, a mum to one gorgeous little man, and she is extremely passionate about early childhood education! She writes, ‘I strongly believe building the ABC foundations in early childhood can significantly impact the long term health and well being of our kids. With 44% of the adult Australian population experiencing problems with literacy, the stats show that there is a huge need for improvement. As a result, I started my business called Jack The Wombat. Our aim is to make learning to read and write fun and engaging for kids and easy for parents! Check out our website HERE or connect with us on Facebook or Instagram‘.