I have started introducing Miss Bee to the key first 6 letter sounds used in Synthetic Phonics: a, i, p, t, s and m. I am introducing them in context as a way to draw her attention to pronouncing a word correctly. It was exciting taking her to the park as I said the sound “p”… P.. P..P.. park. Then clear as a bell she repeated the P sound then said park. Let me be clear by adding I am NOT introducing actual letters other than using a nice shiny plastic toy courtesy of Aunty and Uncle for Christmas during nappy changes. It’s magnetic letters and singing are appealing enough to keep her from wriggling away and by limiting it to change time the letters are not lost or left on the floor as midnight foot fodder.
I am exploring my many and varied theories relating to the early childhood years. I draw from so many areas at times my head spins. I am an early childhood trained teacher but also a mum. I am so often drawn to the simplicity of concepts like Montessori and environments like those from Reggio Emilia. Rich, meaningful and planned with challenges and real items that scream respect. I confess I am rather allergic to plastic toys and she has very few of those shiny pink battery operated types of toys. Instead she plays on woven mats with wooden blocks, dolls and every day objects.
The toy shelves are presented with ‘invitations to play’ (tutorial) and treasure baskets. I watch her closely and change the toys around based on what she’s loving. I rotate the shelves regularly and build on what she’s playing with by extending when I can.
Recently she went crazy for farm animals– I had bought a small ‘hobby farm’ worth of Schleich animals for Christmas and birthday. Now was the time to put my theories to the test. With a delightful handmade felt playmat, lots of non fiction books such as farm books by DK and Moo by Mathew van Fleet. I printed off a background and after a week or so made a “barn” for posting the animals into out of an old cereal box and some red printed paper. She has really progressed with her vocabulary relating to farm animals now- What does a … say? Baa, Moo, quack, meow, woof… Says: Horse, cow, goat (well a kind of weird version of goat anyway), “p..p..p..” Pig, duck. The animals even joined into sensory play in the giant tub of rolled oats.
Playdough is the “new black” at our house. She finally isn’t eating it!!! I have been on a craft buy up and she now plays with the dough with lose parts both bought and natural items. I’ve provided feathers, gems, craft sticks, paddlepops, banksia cones, pasta and straws. Here’s a site with some inspirations a Reggio inspired site all about playdough and another site I liked. Of course I have had to resist the urge to add EVERYTHING at once like some giant playdough jumble sale fest. I just add bits slowly and of course well supervised as she’s still young. The closest I got her to saying playdough was “P…DOOOOgh”.
While I’m musing let me tell you my next post may be about clothing. I read a great article about clothing for children. It resonated with me.