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As a supplement to the 'crèche crash course' run by Leona, and an entrée to the Gr R Theme Books, she and I recently presented a course on how to teach young children to read and write, focusing especially on learning the phonetic alphabet and explaining to them how to use the 'alphabet book' compiled by Natalie Boardman from Oz. We have found the only way to make sure they understand what you expect them to teach the child is to have them complete all the work the child has to – i.e. they are the 'child' and we are the 'teachers'.
This is great fun, especially with ladies like Dora, who loves to be a 'naughty child' and see how we deal with the situation!
The alphabet book works as such: Each letter is assigned 2 pages, on the first page is a coloring picture starting with that letter, e.g. an apple for 'a', and on the second page the child practices writing the letter over a large template (or pastes the shape of the letter in with wool/mealie meal/glitter) and then several smaller templates. There are also about 8 pictures, some that begin with that letter and some that do not – he must circle/color only those that do begin with the letter, and then there is a space where the child must search for the letter or pictures starting with the letter in a magazine, cut them out and paste them. We encourage all the crèches to acquire these books for especially their 5 & 6 yr olds.
Most white children will complete a similar book in the first grade of primary school, I certainly did, and yet these ladies (most of them crèche 'principals') had never done such a thing in their lives! They had great fun creating the wool letters and searching for the correct pictures. What they enjoyed most of all however, was searching for the letters/pictures in the magazines! In fact we had quite a hard time moving on from that step!
It was a lovely morning with some really lovely ladies, and what I thank God for the most is that through each of these ladies we have managed to make a small but significant impact on many young learners. As always I feel very blessed to be part of such a great work.