Being given the opportunity to develop intellectual competence has a direct influence on a child’s self-esteem and their attitude to future learning. We therefore encourage the early development of cognitive skills. Children as young as two years old are genuinely interested and curious about letters and numbers. We adapt our methods of teaching these skills to the children at their particular levels of learning, and they respond with enthusiasm. These cognitive experiences are presented to the children, along with other play activities.
The Early Learning Program begins in our Junior class, and continues until the end of our Senior Kindergarten class. The children are divided into small groups (5 to 7 children per group) and receive instruction in Reading, French, Math, and Printing (Fine Motor for Juniors). For Juniors, the program runs in the morning and the afternoon for 30 minutes, divided in 10 minute segments. For Junior and Senior Kindergarten, the program is 45 minutes in length, divided in 15 minute segments. The emphasis is on having fun and learning at the same time!
Children learning to read, begin by learning phonics (the sounds of the letters) through games created to reinforce the sound(s) being taught. Playing with letters, and offering encouragement to find and say the sound of the letter(s) is a part of the daily program. The “Early Learning Readers” (19 books based on word recognition and 2 based on phonics) are gradually introduced, as these books support and enhance the learning of phonics, and ease the children into learning “sight words” (words learned by memory rather than sounding them out phonetically). The “Ladybird” series of books follows on from the Early Learning Readers, exposes the children to well-loved fairy tales and stories in a fun and easy-to-read format. Once fluent in reading, we introduce grammar, intonation, and story writing.
Since many of our children enter into the French immersion program in school, and will not have exposure to learning to read in English for the next few years, we try to develop their reading skills to their maximum potential before they reach Grade 1.
Our French program is a parallel immersion program, whereby the children are exposed to both the English and French languages throughout the day.
The children are first exposed to an “absorption process”, in which they hear the sounds, words, and phrases of French, related to the objects with which they are playing, much as the baby first hears the mother speak when it is still unable to understand or respond.
The second stage is of immediate repetition, in which children are encouraged to repeat words related to objects, toys, or actions, after the teacher, as they play together. This enables them to become familiar with voicing the words and practicing the sounds. Only in the third stage, after the child has been exposed to many “absorption”, and “immediate repetition” activities, does one expect the child to be able to respond to questions, to count, or to begin to use words of the second language as part of everyday speech.
The advantage of the bilingual educational approach is that the introduction of a second language is gradual, relaxed, and follows regular learning patterns for speech development. The program prepares children either to continue in the English curriculum, or to join the French Immersion program, at private or public schools with ease, confidence and a desire to learn.
Fine Motor / Printing
The use of manipulatives is paramount in developing the muscles used in writing. In order to facilitate this development, fine motor activities, like small pegboards, colouring, lacing, etc., are a part of our
daily activities, as well as a component of our Early Learning Program.
Children who have well-developed motor control are introduced to pre-writing skills, such as drawing lines and circles, following mazes, and tracing shapes. As they enhance their skills, children then begin to trace letters. Uppercase letters are easier for children to trace and print, and so we encourage them to print words, other than their name, with the teacher’s guidance. When children are ready to print lowercase letters, the teacher will guide them in printing their name at this point. Once a skill is mastered, like printing your name in uppercase letters, it is very difficult to relearn it in a different manner, like using lowercase letters.
Journals and story writing are the next step for children who have mastered control of a pencil, size of printing, and formation of all uppercase and lowercase letters. These are a fun and exciting way for children to show-off their newfound talent!
Our math program is designed so that children have many opportunities to enhance their knowledge of mathematical concepts, like classifying, ordering, geometry, patterning, cardinal numbers, and basic counting. A variety of tools are used, including manipulatives, games, and books, to engage the children in active learning. Addition, subtraction, and telling time are introduced when the teacher feels the children have mastered other mathematical concepts.
To enroll your child in our Early Learning Program or tour LeRoux Froebel Bilingual School, please give us a call today!