Kindergarten (WA / QLD / SA / TAS), Preschool (NSW / ACT / NT / VIC)
The Early Years are a significant period in a child’s development. It is essential for Early Childhood theory to be balanced with opportunities for targeted and repeated skill development. This builds readiness for the Foundation school year. For best outcomes, play and child centred approaches need to be balanced with targeted instruction. This is an extract from PLD’s 2020 Whole School Literacy Strategy pages 5-8. You can request complimentary printed copies or download a version for your school here.
Setting your students up for success in the new school year with PLD involves three components:
- Student screening and tracking
- Investing in your Professional Development
- Having the right programs
How do we start preparing to implement PLD in the Early Years?
Key PLD dates to note in Term 1
- Week 1: Download the 2020 Monitoring and Tracking Spreadsheets. If you would like to establish consistent screening and tracking from Week 1, Term 1, find out more via the link.
- Week 1 – 6: Literacy – Phonological awareness training focused upon preparation for the alphabet and blending (pre-reading). Phonological Awareness Skill 1: Syllabification. This will consist of whole class and small group work.
- Week 1 – 10: Oral Language – Daily instruction (5-10 minutes) Speaking in grammatically correct and lengthy sentences.
- Week 1 – 10: Movement and Motor – Promoting core strength and good posture through gross motor activities. For fine motor, promote functional pencil grasp and efficient handwriting while preparing for letter formation. Download your ‘Am I ready to handwrite?’ classroom poster here.
- Week 6 and 7: Literacy – Once finished teaching syllabification, review skill development with the presentation of Subtest 1: Syllable Segmentation from the Early Years Pre-Literacy Screen, this screen will take about 1 minute per child. This screen was revised in January 2020, if you have not downloaded the screen recently, we recommend you download the latest version.
- Week 7: Literacy – Use the data collected in the Pre-Literacy screen to create 2 or 3 ability groups based on the data collected and added to the 2020 Monitoring and Tracking Spreadsheets.
Whole Year Scope and Sequence Overview
While some of the children will progress faster and some slower, this plan is for the bulk of the children. Download PLD’s whole year scope and sequence overview for Early Years to Year 6 here.
Let’s break it down further …
Early Years – Literacy – Term 1
Phonological awareness training focused upon preparation for the alphabet and blending (pre-reading). Phonological Awareness Skill 1: Syllabification – 2 and 3 syllable words
Explicit Instruction: Over weeks 1 – 6 of Term 1 teach the skill of syllabification. This will consist of whole class and small group work. Typically children require 3 or 4 three minute instruction sessions each day. Programs: Vocabulary and syllable time – Set 1 & Vocabulary and syllable time – Set 2.
Progress Check: In Week 6 or 7 following the intensive instruction period, review skill development with the presentation of Subtest 1: Syllable Segmentation in the Early Years Pre-Literacy Screen.
Catering for the Range in Ability: Using the data collected, establish the 2 or 3 ability groups and schedule small group sessions with a more specific focus. For more information on establishing a consistent screening and tracking process from Week 1, Term 1, find out more via the link.
Early Years – Oral Language – Term 1.
Speaking in Grammatically Correct and Lengthy Sentences: Whole Class Instruction (5-10 minutes daily) – Simple Sentence Construction. Explicit Instruction: Use transition times to practice verbalising repetitive sentences segmented into words. For example, when transitioning out the door, the child steps through a series of hoops saying examples such as My name is ____ or I am ____years [insert age]. In addition, read repetitive books from the Early Years recommended picture book list. Repeated readings of these simple texts is recommended.
Vocabulary and Semantic Development: Specifically for students with oral language difficulties (10 minutes once or twice a week) – Vocabulary & Syntax. Explicit Instruction: Vocabulary and sorting tasks. This context allows for the vocabulary to be added to simple sentences. The children can copy the sentences and then self generate on the basis of the following semantic categories of food, things that take you places and things you wear. Supplement the program cards with semantic-based plastic items so that the enjoyment is maximised while engaging in repeated oral language practice. Program: 10 Minute Language Games – Set 1.
Progress Check (optional): An end of semester progress check is located in Semantics Scenes and Questioning – Set 1. This information can be used to demonstrate progress and/or be used to accompany a speech pathologist referral. You can also download our Semantic Development Milestones Guide for 3 to 6 year olds to give to parents at the beginning of term. Download the Oral Language – Concept development timeline for ages 2 to 6 here.
Boost Reading Comprehension (through the facilitation of a home program). Scripted Picture Book Comprehension Questions Instructions
- Provide a book with its corresponding scripted question card each week. Program: Comprehension Questions for 4 Year Olds.
- Share the Parent training video with your parents and guardians.
Progress Check (optional) The comprehension questions program includes a targeted progress check. Download the 3 year old or 4 year old comprehension progress checks to get started. The information will provide evidence of progress and/or can be used to accompany a referral to a speech pathologist.
Early Years – Movement and Motor – Term 1.
Gross Motor: Promoting core strength and good posture. PLD recommends repeated practice of activities such as balance, hopping on one foot, jumping and landing activities and ball kicking.
Fine Motor: Promoting functional pencil grasp and efficient handwriting. For more information on types of paper and pencils to use with Early Years students, click here. In the Early Years, PLD recommends the repeated practice of activities such as building block towers, rolling playdough sausages, threading large beads or various scissors – snipping activities.
Preparing for Letter Formation – Pre-Writing Patterns. Explicit Instruction: Over Semester 1, target the six basic patterns that form the basis of most letter formation. Download our Getting Ready for Pre-Wiring Patterns factsheet or the ‘Am I ready to handwrite?’ poster. Six basic patterns form the basis for alphabet letters, they are sideways, left to right, tall lines & short lines, circles, drawn forwards & backwards, up & overs and down & unders and zig zags. Rehearse pre-writing patterns with verbal cues, big body movements, art and craft activities, wipe clean posters and photocopied resource sheets. Programs: Pre-writing patterns and Pre-writing patterns – Write on posters
As an overall guide, you can download our Fine and Gross Motor development milestones – Now that I am 4 years old here. These guides are ideal to photocopy and give to parents at the beginning of the term.
Your Term 1 Early Years Checklist
1. Do I have the current PLD screening tools?
Each screen is available to download directly from the PLD site. Each of the PLD Screens has been updated for 2020. If you haven’t already, click here to download the revised versions.
2. Do I have the 2020 versions of the PLD tracking sheets?
3. Have I downloaded and read all of the relevant PLD information for Early Years?
These downloads include the PLD Whole School Literacy Strategy and The Pathway of Pre-Literacy into Early Literacy and the Early Years developmental milestones I should expect my students to be achieving.
4. Have I read through PLD’s 2020 checklist?
You can view the full Early Years checklist here.
5. Have I shared the PLD process with the parents in my classroom?
PLD believes that school and home must work together in order to have an effective start to the Early Years. PLD has created a range of parent information videos that are available to view here.
6. Have I downloaded the resources I need for running a successful Parent Information Night?
If not, you can download them here.
As always, we are on hand to help implement the PLD process in your school. If at any time you need any assistance with the above or any PLD programs you can get in touch with us by email to [email protected]. Wishing you all the best for Term 1.
Don’t forget to check back here late in Term 1 for What to teach? When to screen? and how to cater for the range of ability in your classroom and how you can adjust your data and teaching groups ready for Term 2.