Because we offer a transition to school program through our kindy and pre-kindy studios, from time to time, our educators and early childhood teachers are asked, ‘when are you going to teach my child to read?’ to which our answer is, we already are! But perhaps, not in the way parents expect.

The expectation from parents sometimes seems to be that your child will finish their time with Little Scholars and walk into prep knowing how to read, but that’s not exactly our aim.

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Learning to read really starts from infanthood, and is a big process. In fact, research has found newborns’ brains are prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters. This means babies are already getting ready to read at birth. The relevant part of the brain, known as the “visual word form area” (VWFA), is connected to the language network of the brain, and was discovered by researchers at Ohio State University, who analysed the brain scans of 40 one-week-old babies, as part of the Developing Human Connectome Project.

Researchers compared these to similar scans from 40 adults who participated in a separate Human Connectome Project. The VWFA is next to another part of visual cortex that processes faces, and it was reasonable to believe that there wasn’t any difference in these parts of the brain in newborns. Because as visual objects, faces have some of the same properties as words do, such as needing high spatial resolution for humans to see them correctly.

But the researchers found that even in newborns, the VWFA was different from the part of the visual cortex that recognises faces, primarily because of that connection to the language processing part of the brain.

Lead researcher Zeynep M. Saygin’s team is now scanning the brains of three and four-year-old children to learn more about what the VWFA does before children learn to read.

Research has also showed babies can differentiate their native language from another language when they’re only hours old, which means they begin processing language in the womb. And, amazingly, studies have also found that at birth, the infant brain can perceive the full set of 800 or so sounds, called phonemes. Phonemes form every word in every language.

People can’t learn to read without understanding language, so your child has been working on learning to read since birth!

How Little Scholars helps your child with language development

We encourage language development in many ways understanding that oral language is a significant aspect of early literacy, educators engage in song, rhyming and make use of picture books, to tell a story. Through our discussions and interactions with the children, and observations watching children play and what they’re interested in, we extend on their interests as part of our educational and intentional approach. So, for example, if educators see two children playing with toy dinosaurs, they may chat with them about why they’re interested. Then, they may have a conversation with the class about who else might be interested in dinosaurs. Based on the conversation, if many of the children are, they may set up sensory experiences, art opportunities and get relevant books on the topic of dinosaurs and read them together.

We also use words visually for many of our activities, even if they aren’t book-related, so that children begin to recognise words and associate them. Our environments place great emphasis to embed literacy print across all play spaces, this supports rich language experiences. Educators model words through children’s play, for example, when a child is engaged in block play, the educator will discuss the activity with them, exposing children to words, such as ‘you are putting a block on the top,’ (or underneath, or on the side.) These elements of language are also known as ‘positional language’ and introduce children to literacy and elements of numeracy at the same time.

From language development to learning to read

At Little Scholars, we have a specific approach to learning to read. It’s called the 3a Abecedarian Approach Australia to reading. This is where children are active in conversational reading.

A long 1970s study in the US was the basis for the now well-adapted approach. The Abecedarian Project was a controlled scientific study of the potential benefits of early childhood education for disadvantaged children. Children born between 1972 and 1977 were randomly assigned as babies to either the early educational intervention group or the control group.

Children in the experimental group received full-time, high-quality educational intervention in an early learning setting from infancy through age

  • Educational activities consisted of “games” incorporated into the child’s day
  • Activities focused on social, emotional, and cognitive areas of development but gave particular emphasis to language
  • Children’s progress was monitored over time with follow-up studies conducted at ages 12, 15, 21, and 30
  • The young adult findings demonstrate that important, long-lasting benefits were associated with the early childhood program

At the age 30 follow-up study, the treated group was more likely to hold a bachelor degree, hold a job, and delay parenthood, among other positive differences from their peers.

How our reading approach works

The 3a Approach encourages the adult and child to go ‘back and forth’ in conversation. There are three main levels to try – the first level is seeing, then showing, then saying.

Make it a conversation by asking your child to do something and not always following the words in a book.

“Can you see an owl? “Can you say owl?” “Can you show me an owl?”

At Little Scholars, we start with comprehension when looking at books – the thinking and talking about and enjoying the books we read together either in a group or one-on-one. Once children have a connection to books and reading, that’s when we can start teaching the ‘word parts’ of being a reader.

This is also something parents can and should do at home. Working with families is a core part of the Abecedarian approach! Parents are their children’s first educators, so we believe it’s to support families to grow in confidence as their children’s first educator, and reading together daily supports successful young readers. If you’d like to learn more, talk to your children’s educators or your campus manager for more information.

Read more:

You can help bring Christmas joy to vulnerable families.

We are collecting new gifts for children (aged 0-17 years), parents and caregivers. The gifts will be distributed by Baby Give Back to families doing it tough via their network of caseworkers during December.

Only NEW Christmas gifts can be accepted.

We ask that all gift donations be made by 10th December 2021

Is my child ready for school? 

So, the questions that pop up often for a parent when their little ones are in their last year of kindergarten is; is my child ready for school, or what do I need to do to make sure my child is equipped for their school transition? These are all totally normal thoughts to have as a parent, but we can happily reassure you that at Little Scholars, we offer an extensive School Readiness Program that will give your child the life skills they need and confidence to have a successful transition to big school!

School Readiness, the National Early Years Learning Framework and Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines

What we believe makes a successful transition to school is our Little Scholars School of Early Learning service and educators working in collaboration with local schools and our community to make sure we are assisting children and families with this transition. Our School Readiness Program is based on the National Early Years Learning Framework and Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines, as well as we have wonderful Early Childhood Teachers who teach the children and support their learning and development hugely.

Child development and learning new skills

School readiness is about the development of the whole child – their social and emotional skills, physical skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills. For children to thrive at school, they need to learn important skills like following instructions, communicating their needs, and getting along with other children. At Little Scholars, we are truly committed to ensuring that our Little Scholars are supported and motivated in all aspects of their learning and development so that our children in their last year of Kindy are ready for that next stage of their lives.

Some key points involved in getting your child ready for their school transition and that make up our School Readiness Program are the following:

  • Regular visits from the teachers from local schools
  • Close working relationship with all local schools
  • School excursions and visits in the last term
  • Transition statements for every child
  • Lunchbox days throughout term 4
  • Uniforms in home corner.

These are all fundamental steps we teach our children in School Readiness so that they can learn a comfortable school routine and most importantly, so they can adapt to this new transition period. At Little Scholars, we want their routine to feel as normal and as exciting as possible, rather than something daunting. It is important to support the children in every way imaginable during their School Readiness program, and the most rewarding part for us is watching our Little Scholars go confidently into their next chapter, blossoming and becoming a positive contribution to our futures.

Our Little Scholars Kindergarten rooms integrate some small but very useful routines for the children which assist in getting them ready for school. We bring in programs for the children that start at 8:30 am, so we encourage you and your child to arrive before this time so they can become used to big school starts!

We focus on teaching age-appropriate independent skills in the kindergarten room – such as packing their bag, carrying their own bag, opening lunch boxes and food containers, dressing as well as emotional regulation skills.

At Little Scholars, we offer a range of stimulating extra-curricular activities that give the children a firsthand experience into the diverse range of subjects they would learn at school. These extra-curriculars include Reading Eggs program, sports and fitness program, languages program, yoga, and dance programs weekly, STEM and finger gym programs, Bush and Beach Kinder programs, and excursions and incursions.

Preparing for school at home

Wondering what else you can do with your child at home to assist in preparing them for big school? We can help with this! You can help your child develop a basic awareness of numbers by helping around the house – they could set a table and count the plates, match socks from the clothing line, or measure ingredients for baking.

It is super beneficial to read with your child as often as possible, and try talking to them about the story, point out new words and ask questions – this will help with their comprehension, vocabulary, and language skills.

Let’s say you have some free time in the afternoons, or even on the weekends, you can play games with your child like Snakes and Ladders or Go Fish! These simple games are great for practicing turn-taking, sharing, waiting, and learning to cope with not winning.

Finally, encourage your child to have conversations with you – ask them questions, listen to their answers, and encourage them to talk about what they think and feel so they can express themselves with new friends and teachers.

We are extremely happy to have you with us, if at any time you feel there is more we can do, please let us know as we are here to encourage and support your child to learn and grow in a fun, exciting, and stimulating environment.

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!

Come and see the Little Scholars difference

Let us hold your hand and help looking for a child care centre. Leave your details with us and we’ll be in contact to arrange a time for a ‘Campus Tour’ and we will answer any questions you might have!