Kia ora, e te whanau,
We hope you and your whanau are happy and healthy, and braving these cold days. Our first three weeks back in Term 3 have been very busy ones! All of our newbies have settled in really well, and we love seeing the smiling faces on all our tamariki at drop off times in the morning, as they say their happy goodbyes. We appreciate your support in helping your children to independently carry their school bags, and unpack their bags when they arrive at school in the morning. They are doing a great job at following their other routines of: putting their lunchboxes and drink bottles on the shelf; putting their literacy folders in the correct boxes; and putting their library folders into their homegroup boxes.
A special request: We love and appreciate the support and helpfulness of our parent helpers. Thank you again to everyone who has helped out this term! It has made our activities and events run much smoother, so thank you. We have a special request to any parents who would be willing to help with cleaning some handwriting whiteboards for us. We have received some new whiteboards and are wanting to give our old ones a 'spruce up'. This wouldn't take long, so if you are interested, would you please email your child's home group teacher to let them know? Ka rawe - it would be great!
Friendship List: It is that time year again, where we are sending out an updated version of our friendship list. For our new parents, this is a list with contact details of other whānau, so that you can arrange playdates and catch ups between the tamariki in our Koru hub. If you would like to be on this list, or are unsure if you are already on it, please email your child's home group teacher, including both the email and contact number you would like to have added to the list. We are hoping to have this sent out by the end of Week 5 (26th August), so would you please let us know by Wednesday, 24th August, as to whether you would like to be on the list.
This week's blog post has a Structured Literacy theme. Thank you all so much for your support with your child, helping them to practise their sounds, their heart words and any of the books which come home in their Literacy folders. We just love to see the support you're providing at home, as it is definitely making a large impact on the progress the children are making: 'We Get There Together'!
For the whanau of those children who have just started, Structured Literacy is a teaching approach which teaches tamariki about the pure sounds of letters, and then using this grapheme-phoneme knowledge to decode words (segmenting and blending sounds in a word), leading on to reading sentences in books. Children also learn a selection of heart words (words that cannot be sounded out and have to be learnt by heart). Your child's Literacy folder will contain some sound cards and heart words, and as the children progress and learn new sounds and heart words, your child's set will be added to. These sound cards can be used to help children to practise their sounds, and as a next step, you might join letter cards together to form consonant-vowel-consonant words which children can use to practise blending the sounds together to form words like 'cat', 'map', etc.
Once tamariki are proficient in segmenting and blending their first 8 sounds, and they know all of their first 5 heart words, they will then be given decodable books to bring home with them, so they can practise their reading from school at home when reading with you. The ability to segment and blend sounds together is a key skill to have when decoding words, and is important in your child's success. Once these skills have been accomplished, it is so exciting to see the children's progress flourish and develop.
Another great task to do at home with your tamariki, once they are confident with their sounds, is getting them to write their sounds, heart words, and the sounds they hear in words. This is the next step for our learners, and something we are practising in our lessons at school.
We do lots of different and amazing activities to help with children with their literacy learning. This includes activities like Sound Swap, sounding out and blending activities, grab and read games, writing practice, reading word cards, using 'Move it, Say it' boards to decode words, using magnets to make words and then writing them underneath on the whiteboards, and so many more, to extend the learning of these skills in different ways.
If you have any questions about our Literacy program, please feel free to email your child's home group teacher. Also, a final reminder to please make sure your child's literacy folder comes back to school every day, with both their sound packs and books inside, as these are used in lessons the following day.
Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou,
Georgia, Elizabeth, Nicola, Stacey and Jeanette