The ‘Invisible’ Pathways to Literacy

One of the first ways children learn is through their senses, that is, as they hear, see, smell, taste and feel. Information gathered through the senses, namely, sensations, elicits an electro-chemical response. The idea that body movement is a fundamental component in young children’s learning is not new but research showed that in Grade R movement is being side-lined to meet the more formal pedagogical demands. This amounts to a lost opportunity to develop gross and fine motor skills, as well as other neuro-physical aspects of learning, since through the exploration of movement the child can adjust to, understand and ultimately master their environment. The young child must overcome the pull of gravity in order to sit and stand, they must develop basic locomotor abilities, so they can move through space, and they must be able to handle objects to which he relates. Mastery of fundamental movement skills in early childhood are the building blocks for more complex movement and play an important role in the overall development of school readiness. In the early years gross motor skills are necessary for movement, as well as to stabilise and control the body. Through gross motor skills children improve their posture, sense of balance and co-ordination. This, in turn, enables children to develop fine motor skills that are essential for success during the subsequent school years. It is through the successful acquisition of gross and fine motor skills that the different perceptual-motor behaviours become refined.

 

Despite governments efforts to increase access to Grade R education, little has been done to improve the quality. Studies have shown that these foundations vastly improve a child’s learning later in their schooling career (Centre for Social Development (CSD) report) and in many cases provides a grounding to improve their socio-economic standing. “National and provincial assessments

conducted over the past ten years show that a high percentage of South African children are not acquiring basic literacy skills in their first three years at school” (Word Works). In Grahamstown many of the children in our schools (in this programme) struggle in aspects of emergent literacy (such as identifying letter names, sounds, handling books and writing their names) (CSD report).

Please find more in ‘Narrowing the literacy gap’ (a Word Works publication, available at http://www.wordworks.org.za/downloads/ww-materials/Narrowing-the-literacy-gap-old.pdf ) and ‘Emergent Literacy in Grade R’ (CSD report, available on RUConnected )

The ECD Reading programme, BuddingQ is designed to address the dire state of Early Literacy in Grahamstown (where 80% of our children cannot read for meaning in their mother tongue by the time the reach grade 3).

The Reading Programme currently has 53 residences (almost 150 students) involved. In acknowledgement of student reflections of the programme in previous years we realise the programme needs to urgently be stringently formalised! In recent research done by a local NGO, GADRA, 1800 children enter the schooling system in Grade 1 and only 250 pass matric. ECD is a sector that drastically needs to be supported.

Through the development and improvement of fine and gross motor skills, children can more easily progress and benefit from their education.

Aim

The aim of BuddingQ is to engage and introduce students to Community Engagement, support ECD centres in producing quality, holistic school readiness programmes and contribute to the improvement of Early Childhood Literacy Development (emergent literacy skills).

Goals

Goal:

How it’s met within the implementation strategy:

Enhance pre-literacy school readiness for final year pre-schoolers (5-6 year olds)

  • Relevant and researched materials
  • Focussed literacy programme

To contribute to the VC Education pipeline*

  • Formal relationships with Grahamstown partners
  • Structured and formalised approach

Enrich the quality of ECD experience for the abovementioned age group.

  • Well-resourced and trained students

Create an opportunity to contribute to the development of a young child.

  • Students who attend 80% or more of their sessions will be awarded a certificate
  • Quality training offered

Develop socially aware students who are aware of the inequality of education systems in Grahamstown

  • Through interaction at volunteer sites
  • Measurable through year-end reflections (attitudes based)

 

*an initiative started at the inauguration of the Vice Chancellor in 2015 to revive Grahamstown schooling.

Last Modified: Thu, 28 Feb 2019 10:00:55 SAST