The Significance of Literacy Learning in Early Years

Introduction:

Literacy can be defined as the ability to read, write, speak, design and listen in such a way that enables people to interact as well as communicate effectively with the surrounding world (Amagir et al. 2018). Literacy is important for each person to improve person’s cognitive, interactive and communication skill that enable the person to make proper response to this world. Literacy is the skill that children learn from different practical and theoretical activities with the help of their educational practitioners and parents. This essay aims to make an in-depth as well as clear understanding on the importance of learning literacy in early years setting and how these literacy skills enable children to foster their cognitive, professional and personal development thereby enabling children to grab good career opportunity in their future. First this essay will discuss two literacy-based activities based on the themes presented in the given image and then it will explain how these activities will allow children to learn literacy skills from these play-based activities. Then this essay will present a comprehensive discussion on the importance the literacy-rich environment for children in relation to promote their physical, behavioural and cognitive development. Finally this essay will discuss the key literacy terms and compare these terms with current activities of children.

 terms with current activities of children.

Child-led learning and activities:

Child-led learning and activities are considered as most effective and systematic learning and developmental process, in which children are allowed and encouraged to experiment on different subjects and objects in the form of play (Bers, 2018). These activities are the play-based activities which support childhood development by fostering literacy skills in children. Child-led learning and activities are designed for children in such a way that allows children to extend the ideas and resources thereby creating their own experience on different aspects (Amagir et al. 2018). These activities are essential for creating a literacy-rich environment that supports the development of good decision making skill, problem solving skill and critical thinking skill in children.

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Activity 1: Fire safety evacuation drill game:

This is one of the most important play-based fire safety activities that children love to do. The aim of this activity was make children learn what procedures needs to be followed while going for conducting a rescue operation in the place which is caught by fire (Bröder et al. 2020). In this activity children were assisted by their educational practitioners in forming the fire-safety crafts and arts during this activity, three children groups are formed. The first group was assigned to form an artificial fire site at one corner of the corridor. Children forked the artificial fire site by using red glittery papers, a cardboard and aromatic red colours. Along with forming this artificial fire site children also formed the fire-hat. The second group of children performed the role of fire-fighter and the third group of children performed as the fire victims. A handmade fire truck is also made by children by using cardboard and foil papers.

Educational practitioners assisted children regarding use Google art for forming the fire-arts. During this play children who played fire-fighter had to find out the fire site and then conducted the evaluation plan and rescue operation of plays as fire victims. In this activity, children followed the exact protocol that fire fighters use for conducting the fire safety operation. Under this activity, practitioners assisted the children to arrange all the resources that are required for this fire safety play such as the fire jackets, fire ladder and fire extinguisher. While children of the first group formed all these crafts the other two groups of children observed the work and earned from the lectures by their practitioners regarding the functions of each fire safety resource. Through forming this fire arts children were able to develop their creative skill and cognitive skill. After formation of all the fire arts and crafts, second and third groups started their activities (Carroll et al. 2019).

groups started their activities

The children playing fire-fighters wore their handmade fire jackets and carried the fire extinguisher while going to the playful- fire site. Educational practitioners assisted children to use the Google map to find out the artificial fire site. Then the children made a handmade roadmap with in which they formed three routes. Then they made a discussion on which route would be the best suited for reaching to the fireside faster than other routes. In this way, the practitioners assisted children to use the Google map and online time-tracker to find out the ire place of artificial fire site. After reaching the playful fire site, the fire-fighter-children made the rescue operation for the children playing as fire victim. The other group of children played as the local people who explained the detailed information about how the place caught fire and how long the fire was in the place etc. An entry and exit place had been organised at the place in which the artificial fire site was formed. Finally children completed the evacuation operation by coming out of the fire site place through the exit site.

Activity 2: Stop, Drop & Roll game:

Stop, Drop & Roll is the fire safety play that teaches children how to extinguish fire and maintain safety during the situation (Ece Demir‐Lira et al. 2019). Children played this game along with their educational practitioners who assisted these children regarding the techniques and methods that are used to stay safe from fire by dealing effectively with the frightening situation. During this play, children were involved in forming fire extinguisher, fire alarm, fire safety helmet and jackets that were used in this game as the fire safety resources. This Stop, Drop & Roll game was played in combination with Bubble Escape techniques in terms of teaching children how to escape safely from a place which caught fire.

During this game, educational practitioners formed three groups of children and categorised three major activities of fire safety for each group. The first group of children is named as Stop-group, who played the roles of firemen. The children of stop-group made a performance on how to stop a fire and did the activities that needed to be done to stifle the flames quickly. The children in this group performed and explained different activities such as avoid fanning the flames, stopping the faster movement of the bystanders near the artificial fire site and stop feeding oxygen to the flames through water and other sources. While children of stop-group explained all these activities the other two groups observed listened and understood each activity. During this activity, children were allowed to also ask their practitioners if they could not understand any aspect of the activity. During this activity children used the artificial fire extinguisher for stopping the flame to be larger. The practitioners assisted children regarding how to use the fire helmet, jackets, fire extinguisher and the fire alarm while extinguishing the fire at any nearby place.

The second group of children was named as the Drop-group. The children of drop-group played the fire victim who pretend to had fire on their face and body. They made a performance on the activities that needs to be done while caught fire on the boy. These children first drop on the ground and then the children of the first group who act as firemen cover the body and face of the children who played fire victims gently. This the dropping activity taught children how to drop gently on the ground and cover face and body parts if someone caught fire. During this activity, practitioners checked that whether the children must use thin and soft cloth for covering face and body of children who played fire victim to the risk of any accident due to suffocation or breathing issue.

The third group of children was named roll-group, which was involved in rolling around the blanket onto children who played as fire victim on the ground. After wrapping the soft blanket on children, the roll-group roll around them on the floor gently. All these activities are performed under the strict observation of four practitioners who always checked that while dropping and rolling round the children, proper scientific and polite blanket was used to avoid any risk of injuries and accidents of children. During this game, Bubble escape play is also performed in which a group of children performed and showed to other children how to crawl low to ground and then blow the bubble on few feet off the ground and then go inside the bubbles. This game was designed to improve skill of children in using steady and calm crawling steps rather than using a fast movement for escaping from a fire place.

Literacy rich environment:

Literacy is defined by many authors differently based on its use and benefits in modern academic and childhood developmental context. As mentioned by Guo et al. (2018), literacy can be defined as the ability or skill of reading, writing, speaking, interacting, responding and communicating effectively. According to Heath and Thomas (2020) literacy is the skill that allows individual to make a bigger sense of the world thereby improving that person’s ability to effectively interact and deal with any situation in their life. Although there are many perspectives regarding literacy, for childhood development the literacy-rich environment is crucial which fosters the positive cognitive, physical and emotional development in children. Children learn literacy knowledge in early year setting with the help and assistance of their educational practitioners and parents. By conducting and implementing the two above-mentioned literacy based games ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’, a literacy-rich environment had been designed for children for promoting their behavioural, physical and professional development. These two activities are proved to be highly effective in improvising the writing, reading, interactive and communication skills of children (Wade, et al. 2018). Through conducting these activities on fire-fighting children were involved in many activities such as collecting information on fire fighting, arranging resources, experimenting on techniques and tools that are used in fire fighting and writing the summery of the activities on daily basis.

As stated by Kanniainen et al. (2019), children must be raised in a literacy-rich environment as it will foster the positive decision-making skill, problem-solving skill and analysing skill in children. Through gathering literacy skills, children can improve their ability to think each aspect by using logical reasoning and scientific judgements thereby creating the effective solution for each problem. The above-mentioned activities such as ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ presented a literacy-rich environment in which children were able to develop their interactive skill, written and verbal communication skill, experimental skill, logical thinking and creative skills. Different tasks were involved in these plays such as forming the fire crafts, fire arts, the artificial fire site, the roadmap and the time calculator, which developed a creative learning environment in which children could create their own ideas by experimenting on new objects and subjects. On the contrary Kriellaars et al. (2019) argues that although literacy-rich environment is crucial for promoting childhood development, the benefits of the literacy skill is solely dependent on the guidance that children get in their school and home environment. On supporting this view Lazonder et al. (2020) mentioned that, for developing literacy skill in children only the literacy-rich environment is not sufficient rather educational practitioners and parents must maintain a positive, caring and creative environment surrounding children in which they can learn from playful activities. The above-mentioned two activities are highly effective in not only designing the literacy-rich environment for children in which they could develop writing, reading and interacting skill but also provided children with an integrated teamwork play in which they worked as team with the peers and educators which promoted positive and synergistic attitude in children.

According to Maureen et al. (2018) while it comes to develop the literacy skill in children, educational practitioners must emphasize on encouraging child’s efforts in obtaining the in-depth theoretical and practitioner understanding on different objects. In this regard, practitioners must encourage children to be involved in a play-based learning environment in which they share their experience and knowledge with peers and educators, write and design new things and make effective use of electronic resources to improve their learning. As argued by Neumann (2018), in modern academic field, children must be encouraged to be involved in such a literacy-rich environment in which they can learn the optimum use of the practical experience by doing experiment on different topic through using internet and social media. In this way children can be exposed to the modern educational and academic tools and techniques that they can use for updating their knowledge and skill as per the modern academic context. In this context Puranik et al. (2018) argued that, the use of electronic media and internet, sometimes can interfere with the major goals of the literacy rich environment in relation to children’s development. This is because sometimes, children get addicted to read online magazine, comics and blogs which most of the times are out if the academic topic and impact adversely on children’s mind, eyesight and concentration. The above-mentioned two activities ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ allowed children to listen, speak and discuss a variety of purposes such as giving instructions on fire fighting, explaining the roles and functions of different fire fighting resources, discussing and finding together the best route to reach the artificial fire site. During these activities, children were encouraged to collect information by conducting research on fire fighting by using online and offline book, magazines, newspapers, websites, emails and novel. In this ways the reading and writing skill of children could be improved during these two activities.

In the above-mentioned activities ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’, the content of literacy were reading, writing and speaking skill development in children, developing numerical knowledge, text knowledge, knowledge of different use of various words and text and improve cognitive skill of children (Wade et al. 2018). These activities support the devilment of literacy skill in children by fostering positives approach, good behaviour subjective and objectives knowledge and attitude development in children. As argued by Roberts et al. (2019), while it comes to literacy skill development in children educators must use the tools and techniques that are relevant to the particular literacy needs of each child. On supporting this view Rose et al. (2018.) mentioned that, it may be possible that two children do not have the same literacy needs, therefore the educational practitioners must desist and implement the appropriate play and activities for each child to improve their literacy skill in this regard the usefulness of the above-mentioned two activities can be judged as they arranged an integrated approach to promote literacy skill in children. However, it must be acknowledged that, when it comes to develop the literacy rich environment for children, a child can better develop the literacy skill through shared decision making and teamwork rather than playing indecently.

Key terms of literacy:

While it comes to teach literacy to children, educators must use the most appropriate and relevant key literacy terms that support the learning and cognitive development of children (COI). As mentioned by Schmitt et al. (2018), the appropriate use of the right key literacy terms are essential for promoting cognitive development of children by improving their thoughts, positive decision making and problem solving skill. These key literacy terms are numeracy, text, metaphor, graphics, letters, imagery, alliteration, symbols, personification, repetition, hyperbole and allusion. While using these key literacy terms educators must ensure that they use the right terms that are appropriate for meeting the cognitive developmental needs of the child. As stated by Sénéchal et al. (2017), through using the key literacy terms, educators not only improve children’s ability to recognise and compare different objects and subjects but also improve their decision making and critical thinking to understand any numeric and theoretic aspect.

In the above-mentioned two activities ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’, different literacy terms were used such as texts, numbers, graphics, fire symbols and alliteration . All these key literacy teams terms allowed children to view, read and understand different letters, text, imageries and graphics regarding the fire fighting activities, which made an in-depth understanding in children on various objects. While playing the fire safety games, children were involved in making colourful posters, different fire alarm symbols and graphics which improved their experimental logical thinking and decision making skill regarding any subject and objective aspects. As mentioned by Suggate et al. (2018), key literacy terms enable children to sum up their skills and knowledge to create their own understanding and concept on various subjects. In the two activities ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ educational practitioners used different key literacy terms such as alliteration which means the repetition of same sounds, picture and words that assisted children to listen, understand and learn how to deal with fire fighting activities .

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As stated by Temurova (2020), key literacy terms must be designed in such a way that allows children to create a visual image of any objects and subject in their mind which enables them to understand and conceptualise the thing. The two above-mentioned activities ‘fire safety evacuation drill ‘ and ‘Stop, Drop and Roll ‘, were proved to be highly supportive for cognitive development of children that used the numeracy terms, graphics and symbols. The numeracy terms used in plays, improve the understanding of children on the right use of different numbers in different place (Vasilyeva et al. 2018). The numeracy literacy improves the critical thinking and problem solving skill of children. On the other hand, the graphical usage, audio-visual explanation of fire fighting activities and use of colourful graphics and posters assisted children to develop the logical thinking, analysing and shared decision making skill in them that support their potential cognitive development.

Conclusion:

From the above-mentioned discussion, it can be concluded that, literacy is the skill of reading, speaking and writing which allows person to make a broad sense of the world and maintain an effective communication with surrounding society. Children learn literacy skill at the early years setting with help of their educators and parents. For children’s cognitive development, literacy rich–environment is crucial which foster good decision making skill, problem solving skill, analysing and critical thinking skill in children. For developing literacy skill in children educational practitioners must ensure that they use the right key literacy terms. Key literacy terms are essential for improves the children’s concept and understating on the surrounding subjects and objective matters. Therefore, with using proper key literacy terms and providing the right academic guidance, educators can promote proper cognitive development in children by developing the good literacy skill in them.

Reference list:

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