Kinderen Transition to School Program
By Taryn Pearce, Curriculum Facilitator
An important part of the Preschool curriculum is our ‘Transition to School’ program. For my Bachelor of Education Degree, I learned about teaching from birth to 8 year olds and I experienced placements in centres, kindergartens and school classes including a new entrant class. I also have 3 young children of my own and have experienced their transitioning to school. All this has given me knowledge about what important skills children need for school and how to help our tamariki develop these skills to ease the transition process.
The children who participate in Kinderen’s Transition to School time vary in age and skill level, from some older interested 3 year olds to 5 year olds. This group time is flexible when it is held, from when children ask to do school work or just throughout the day.
It provides important skills to learn:
• From learning to hold a pen, to writing stories and making books.
• Following multiple (at least 3) instructions at a time.
• Interacting with their peers in small groups, developing listening skills, turn taking, working co-operatively, speaking in front of a group, social skills.
• Paying attention and keeping focus for small periods of time.
• Realising that words have meanings and recognise some individual letters including their name. Learning to write their name.
• Counting to ten and backwards from ten.
• Teaching them some independence and responsibility for their own learning.
This program is a voluntary time of focused concentration where children are encouraged to pay attention and complete a set task. This can vary from playing games that help them learn numeracy and literacy skills, practicing writing, discussions, drawing, telling stories etc.
The literacy and numeracy part of the program is designed to help children to develop the visual recognition skills that are needed before learning to read. The matching, sorting and sequencing activities encourage a child to look closely at the ‘squiggles’ or letters on the page, to look for similarities and differences in the shape and positioning of letters and to understand that print carries a meaning and to help them learn reading is fun.
The goal of this transition program is not to teach children to read and write, but rather to stimulate their emergent learning in these areas and teach them the necessary skills and dispositions to become confident and competent learners. It is important to keep our goal of keeping things fun so they learn the excitement that comes from learning new things. Children will learn in their own time, they are all different we don’t want to force them into anything to create negative feelings about themselves as a learner.
It is important to be aware that Kinderen provides an environment where all of these skills are encouraged and learned each day in every area of the centre. Children learn all sorts of amazing skills while they are playing from social skills when involved in family or dramatic play to numeracy and literacy as they play games which require counting.
We also provide lunch boxes once a week to help the older children become familiar with things like gladwrap, yoghurt containers and whole fruit. This gives the children the opportunity to eat together as a group without DIRECT adult assistance (which means, an adult checks on them but tries not to be right there – as at school children are expected to eat with each other). So we want to give them a chance to experience a school like environment to eat with their peers independently.
I make and source lots of fun games and activities for the children to use at our group times and throughout the day to keep learning fun and to follow their interests e.g. frozen themed activities. ‘Pinterest’ is a website that has some amazing ideas you can find and create your own resources. Through these games they will be learning lots of important skills and even have helped me to make some of them so are learning about technology.
I am also using a School Readiness Program and will be working on all of these areas:
– Social and Emotional Development (getting along, following rules)
– Physical Development (gross motor development)
– Language and Literacy (talking, understanding, speaking, knowing letters)
– Mathematical Thinking (sorting by colours, shapes, counting)
– Scientific Thinking (exploring, gathering info, talking about likes and differences)
– Social Studies (understanding about families and communities)
– The Arts (dance, art, music, make believe)