The 2nd ever Grade R parents evening started like the first one had. Nervous glances around as parents sized each other up and polite “Hellos” and shy glances at the Grade R teachers as we were ushered in after signing a register.
In front of us stood the 3 Grade R teachers and our instructors for the evening. On the agenda was how phonetics were being taught as well as how the news would be done by each child. I was quietly confident, smug even. At the age of 5 (newly 5), Rach was a pro at her ABCs. Thanks to the doctor himself (Dr Seuss, of course), she is rhyming like a rapper and when it comes to speaking in public, you can’t really stop her once she starts. She is reading, yep, reading and I pride myself in developing her in fun and innovative ways – I had this!
I smiled at the teachers. They smiled back. Lets focus on the teachers for a moment, shall we? Now, have you noticed how Grade R teachers are almost mythical? They are a quarter human, half fairy godmother with a hint of unicorn. How else can they handle a class full of 5 years olds and and still have all their hair? They don’t walk, they still seem to glide and they don’t talk – they hypnotise with their melodic voices and awesomely calming facial expressions. As I pondered this, the meeting began.
By the 2nd sentence I was already ready to run for the hills! Casey the Caterpillar (yep my Aussie friends, we have YOUR Casey) had me feeling like I should never have introduced the capital letters to Rach at all! Of course it makes sense – the foundation to any language are the sounds….and the way we say B (bee) is not the same as establishing the sound of the letter b (bur). We don’t say Bee-read, we say bur-read.
So here’s some tips:
Do focus on the sounds, not capital letters (they should not be writing capitals at all or spelling with them) – we spell with the ABCs
Do play games like “I spy” to encourage and emphasise sounds – we’re pros at this
Do teach your child how to write their name (mirror writing is ok at the start) – yep!
Do teach them to write from left to write or from a margin – work in major progress
Do read to them, but do not force them to read or repeat after you at the moment – oops, she’s reading
Do encourage keeping their pencils (yes, triangular pencils only) on the paper at all times when writing letters and have them start and end the letter properly – getting there
Sigh! So, maybe I ran a bit before we crawled….but what’s important is that we can always re-inforce the new habits now.
Another tip: practice cutting on a straight line! We always cut paper into random shapes but never really focused on straight line cutting enough.I left that entirely to her nursery school and didn’t really re-inforce (oops!). So she can create magical drawings but struggles to cut on the straight line (epic parent fail!).
All in all Rachel is in great, magical hands. I look forward to learning right along with her. She’s my bright shining star and we’re about to start another journey that starts with a tree that has a branch where a butterfly laid an egg….Google it – Casey the Caterpillar!