Over the last twelve months or so, the preschooler has started to become more and more aware of letters, sounds and numbers. He talks to us about sounds all the time; he spots letters from his name when we are out and about; he counts everything constantly. This is an exciting time for him.
Much of our play centres around the preschooler’s interests but I always try to ensure that there is an element of more ‘formal learning’ too. Perhaps the word ‘formal’ is not quite right here. We don’t sit at the table in silence or anything like that. We use different media to explore and investigate letters, sounds and numbers. I’ve known for a long time that the preschooler is quite gifted numerically as he has been able to count beyond fifty for some time now. This is why a lot of our play has a letters and sounds focus. My son is desperate to learn to read and write!
The preschooler will be four in December and he is due to attend school in September 2014. Last week, he astounded us all by sounding out and reading a CVC word independently. At last, a door is opening in his world. Words are appearing before him and he is so excited.
Education begins the moment we enter the world, yet for some children the elements are against them. My son was born into a family where books and learning is cherished. He was born into a family of teachers and nurses and writers. He was born into a family who invest time and money into ensuring he gains creatively and academically each and every day.
We use shaving foam in our messy play so that the preschooler can see his name written in the foam. We use scrabble tiles to spell familiar words. We use chalk on chalk boards for the preschooler to paint over with water, learning the size and the shape of words. We read every day. We talk. We sing. We dance. We listen. We are lucky.
My son was born to read.
This week is Children’s Book Week and today Save The Children have launched Too Young to Fail, a campaign that aims to give every child in the UK a fair chance. Their report states that
Too many children fail before they’ve even started in life. This is in large part because of an enduring ‘achievement gap’: the gap in outcomes between disadvantaged children (in this country measured by uptake of free school meals) and their better-off peers (those not entitled to free school meals).
- Less than 1 in 6 children from low-income families who have fallen behind by the age of seven will go on to achieve five good GCSEs, including English and Maths.
- Better off children who are behind are more likely to go on to achieve well – but even they only have a one in four chance of getting five good GCSEs, including English and maths.
- If a child from a poor family is already behind with their reading at the age of seven, they have just over a one in five chance of going on to achieve a C in English at GCSE.
Children like the preschooler will start school with a solid foundation in learning. They may be able to write their own name. The Big One could *just* write her name when she started in 2008. Within weeks she was reading. Unfortunately, this is not the case for so many other children.
Save The Children is calling for change. For all children to receive support before and during the age of seven. For good progress to be made so that, ultimately, the future is brighter.
In the future, we are committed to developing further programmes in the UK that will support the
learning and development of pre-school and primary school age children, ensuring that we help all
children to fulfil their potential.
Our policy and campaigns work will continue to focus on ensuring that all children, regardless of
background, are on course for success by age seven and leave primary school with a good and
fulfilling education. Because what happens before children start school and how well parents are
supported matters enormously, Save the Children will also be focusing on these two issues in the
Share this link so that others can join Save the Children in changing the story
Change the story. Our children are Too Young to Fail.