Literacy in Pre-Kindergarten
Children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development can be developed through play. Play allows students to test concepts, explore social relationships and make sense of the world around them. It is not about an end-product but about a process of continual development. It’s the pivotal time for students to develop resilience, independence, and joy for learning. Play is children’s work.
In our Pre-Kindergarten classrooms, teachers plan engaging, differentiated learning experiences based on their current units of study. Typically, most activities integrate many of the academic strands (math, language, social studies, science, etc.) into a seamless learning experience. Teachers in Pre-Kindergarten use ongoing observations to learn about the interests and skills of each student, as well as how each child learns best. Using this information, teachers provide opportunities for students to explore their interests with passion, while at the same time helping each child broaden their knowledge, skills and attitudes. The students engage in a balance of child-initiated play, and more focused play guided by teachers.
Our Pre-Kindergarten literacy programme is built on the Creative Curriculum for Pre-School objectives for development and learning. Our teachers use these objectives as a tool to plan for instruction, assessment of learning and as a reference for child development.
Pre-Kindergarten Literacy Objectives:
- Demonstrates phonological awareness
- Demonstrates knowledge of the alphabet
- Demonstrates knowledge of print and its uses
- Comprehends and responds to books and other texts
- Demonstrates emergent writing skills
Literacy has its foundations in oral language. We believe that oral language develops through the social interactions and learning that abound during play. By creating diverse situations and opportunities for play, children explore, negotiate, problem solve, pretend, act, discover and share in a natural way that enhances both language and cognitive growth. These kinds of play within a learning environment where children are read to daily, are exposed to environmental print, and can choose to write for authentic purposes, enable children to develop the skills necessary for literacy growth and future academic success. Research tells us that there is a strong correlation between a student’s oral language development and their ability to comprehend text at a deeper level as they progress through the upper grades. Through talking and engaging with books at an early stage, students begin to develop a strong identity as readers, which is critical to their future success as avid readers of text.
Formal reading instruction, using levelled text, begins in Kindergarten. In Pre-Kindergarten, we believe in immersing students in rich literature to promote a love of reading and to nurture every student’s reading identity. Read Alouds and Shared Reading are used extensively throughout our Pre-Kindergarten program, and students are encouraged to think deeply about the books that are read aloud to them.
Therefore, in our Pre-Kindergarten classrooms you will see students: listening and responding to books being read aloud, reading environmental print, reading and talking about the pictures in familiar books and discussing their thinking individually, in small groups and with the whole class.
Bookmaking is engaging and developmentally appropriate for Pre-Kindergarten students. Most students have experience with books prior to coming to school and have developed a love for stories and reading. They identify with characters and are fascinated with illustrations. They relate to imaginary stories and informational books.
All students should see themselves as authors. Bookmaking gives student’s writing a sense of purpose, and a context to communicate in meaningful ways. Young writers make books about topics they know a lot about. This sparks their creativity. Letting students choose their own topic empowers them and makes their books more meaningful. Bookmaking is an authentic avenue for children to begin developing their early literary skills. It provides opportunities for the development of oral language, reading skills, composition and phonemic awareness. Student’s ideas are composed in their books, every day, through drawings, scribbles and letter-like formations. Teacher’s honour and guide children’s approximation of writing, helping them in the next stage of their writing development. Their oral language is further developed in the bookmaking process when they are orally planning their books and retelling their work. Developmentally appropriate in Pre-Kindergarten, these areas represent student’s thinking and the written words they will use in later grades.