“Happy Preppies” – Supporting Children for Life and Learning

This week I had the privileged of presenting as part of the Narangba/Burpengary Coalition Early Years Strategy.  With the focus squarely on the importance of Early Childhood (0-8 years); our local community of schools, kindergartens, early education and care centres and schemes, therapists, allied health and all services associated with children and families have joined together to support  families and children in the local area.  To hear more about this strategy go to

http://www.caboolture.tv/narangbaburpengary-coalition-early-years-learning-strategy/

The first presentation to parents and other interested community members was about Transition to Prep.  Yes, it’s that time of year.  A fantastic mix of experience, prep/kindy teachers, speech and occupational therapists each presented 15mins on ways of supporting children moving into Prep (Queensland’s foundation year of schooling)

Areas discussed:  Social Emotional Development
Gross and Fine Motor Development
Oral Language Development
Establishing Routines
Transitioning from Kindergarten/ECEC to Prep  (my 15 mins…how did I fit this into 15mins!?)

I wish all parents and educators could have been present.  At no time did one presenter (including myself) say a child needs to know their alphabet and numbers to 20,  some will, some won’t and that’s OK.  The children will all be at different stages of this developmental road.  Recognising and possibly writing their own name is a great start.

We did all talk about children and emotional resilience, becoming independent, being responsible for their own things, have routines and little jobs that they are in charge of at home.

We discussed chatting at every opportunity about everything around us with children, adults modelling positive behaviours and responses to difficult situations, strategies to be ready for that first day and ways to limit separation anxiety.

We talked about reading everything we can with children (stories, non-fiction books, street signs…words all around us) and, of course, we talked about the importance of play, chatting to and supporting children during play and how this is the natural way children learn.

One of the most memorable statements of the evening was when the fabulous Wendy Gunn from Able Therapy stated “No child under the age of 10 should have a tablet” as these were often used as babysitters and, in that way, of questionable developmental use.  Now, Wendy loves technology, however, believes that tablets and smartphones are fast replacing televisions as a way to keep children quiet and not being used in any meaningful manner.  I definitely agree, however, there was a bit of shock in the room after that one!  Getting them outside, climbing and jumping, skipping and scootering, doing and being, feeling their body in physical and not virtual space, is much better for a young child’s development.

http://www.abletherapy.com.au/

This was followed by other presenters, including myself, saying turn off that TV when getting ready in the morning or switch off that radio, so you can chat to children as you drive along.

I can’t reproduce the whole presentation here, unfortunately, but this morning, I did find a lovely poem that supports all of the above and the overall message.  It might be a great one to share with families, as we come closer to the changes that occur in the children’s lives at the end of the year.

Thus A Child Learns  (Printable format)

Children rise to expectation, they mirror our actions, our emotions and are much more capable than many give them credit for.  They are naturally preparing for learning and life through every thing they do, everything they see, everything they experience.  Let’s support them to be the amazing people they are and are developing to be.

Until next time…Have fun

Rebecca Rose

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