Important Areas of Learning
Developing his/her Command of Spoken Language
It is important that the child’s ability to talk is as advanced as possible. It is through speech that he/she communicates his/her thoughts and feelings, his/her needs and desires, curiosity and wonder. If he/she cannot express these in words he/she will tend to remain silent and will often withdraw from the learning activity of the class. This can be the first sign of failure in the school system and must be remedied, if at all possible. That is why a lot of attention is given to language development in the first years of school.
You Can Help
Talk to your child naturally and casually about things of interest that you or he/she may be doing-at home, in the shop, in the car, etc. Remember that all the time he/she is absorbing the language they hear about them. It takes him/her a while to make it his/her own and to use it for his own needs. Make time to listen when he/she wants to tell you something that is important to him/her. But don’t always make him/her the centre of attention. His/her genuine questions with patience and in an adequate way. Always nurture his/her sense of curiosity and wonder. Coach him/her gently to the ideas of
- If, etc.
These demand more advanced language structures. He/she will have his/her own particular favourite stories that he/she never tires of hearing. Repeat them over and over again and gradually get him/her to tell them to you.
First Steps in Reading
Ability to read is the foundation for all future progress in our school system. However, learning to read is a gradual process and a lot of preparatory work must be done before a child is introduced to his/her first reader.
We very deliberately do not rush or push children into reading. We get them ready for it over an extended period. Reading is something to be enjoyed. It should never start as a chore for the small child.
You can Help
Have attractive colourful books in the home. Read to him/her a variety of stories from time to time. He/she will get to associate these wonderful tales with books and reading. You must convey to him/her gradually that books are precious things. They must be minded and handled carefully and put away safely. Look at the pictures with him/her and talk to him/her about what they see. Teach him/her nursery rhymes. He/she will learn them off his/her own bat. Don’t try to push him/her with his early reading. You may turn him/her against it for evermore.
First a Word of Warning
Maths for the small child has nothing to do with “sums” or figures or tables or adding and subtracting. These will all come much later. Maths is really part of the language he/she uses in understanding and talking about certain things in his daily experience e.g.
He/she associates certain numbers with particular things
- two hands,
- four wheels,
- five fingers, etc.
- four, etc.
- green, etc.
Prepositions (telling position) and their opposites:
- inside/outside, etc.
Matching/Sorting – objects of the same
- shape, etc.
Odd One Out – difference in
Understanding of these concepts comes very quickly for some children. For others it takes a long time. Be patient. You cannot force Maths understanding on a child.
You Can Help
In the course of your ordinary daily routine in the home, in the shop, in the neighbourhood you should use suitable opportunities to casually introduce the maths vocabulary referred to above, e.g.
- The glass is full/empty
- We turn left at the lights
- Time for bed
- Have we enough cups?
- This is the road to Bandon.
Your child gets to understand maths best by handling and investigating and using real objects. This has been his natural method of learning since he/she was a baby. This at times can be a nuisance but if it allows him/her to do the learning himself/herself, the final result is well worth it.