Our exclusive "Wee Learn Program" is designed to meet the specific learning needs of each of our children enrolled. The Wee Learn Program provides the flexibility for each child to participate at his own pace and is designed to allow each child from the youngest Wee Beginner to the oldest Wee Mentor to learn as they play. As there is a mix of individual and group activities in the homes, the children are also given lots of opportunities to develop their social skills as well.
Your Provider is given resources that include age appropriate activities addressing areas of language, cognitive, math/science, fine motor and gross motor development. These resources include our FUNdamental theme related activities, an Activity Handbook full of easy homemade activities for each age group, website activity pages to further build on fine motor, math and language skills they have already been working on in their Play and Learn booklets.
Each month, take a look at the progress your child is making in his Play and Learn booklet. These
booklets are a great keepsake and give you an opportunity to see the skills such as cognitive, math, fine motor skills your child is working on each and every day.
Spending time together gives you an opportunity to see how your child is using skills that he has learned at home and at day care. Each day your child is progressing through stages of development and continually working on new skills and mastering others.
We are pleased to provide your child with his/her very own portfolio "My Wee Watch Work". Look for opportunities to praise your child for new accomplishments and milestones achieved, however small they may be. Your child will be proud to show you the activities, crafts, Play and Learns and worksheets in his/her portfolio.
Your Provider and agency staff continue to assist your child in reaching goals by participating in the Wee Learn Program. Please click on the stages below to find new ideas to do at home to assist your child in reaching his milestones.
Wee Beginners: 0 - 18 months
Wee Explorers: 18 months - 3 years
Wee Builders: 3 - 4 years
Wee Learners: 4 - 5 years
Wee Experts: 5 - 6 years
Wee Mentors: 6+ years
WEE LEARN - Early Language & Literacy
While the first year is particularly important for language development, the majority of skills learned are during a child's first six years of life. Research shows that when adults create rich language and literacy environments and respond to a child's communication in specific ways, they can boost that child's emergent language and literacy development and increase the likelihood of future academic success. Adults with the greatest potential to help are the most important ones in that child's life: his parents, caregivers and child care Providers. This relatively new understanding of early literacy development complements the current research supporting the critical role of early experiences in shaping brain development.
In the first 12 months, babies develop many of the foundations that assist with speech and language development. Language development supports your child's ability to communicate, understand and express feelings. It also supports problem-solving, and developing and maintaining relationships.
During this period, your baby will likely coo and laugh, play with sounds and begin to communicate with gestures. Babbling is an important developmental stage during the first year and by 12 months your child is beginning to form words. Babies can understand more than what they say, and will be able to follow simple instructions and understand you when you say 'no' (although they won't always obey!).
At birth, an infant's brain is still developing and the experiences that we provide determine how the brain is developed. Literacy activities for infants involve more than just reading. Almost every activity that you do with infants can be considered a literacy activity. Each new activity and experience encourages brain connections that children will potentially use throughout their lifetime.
Try this at home:
- Talk. Talking to babies is imperative to language development. Describe the world around them. Talk about what is happening.
- Sing and dance. Babies learn phonological awareness through music.
- Recite nursery rhymes. Children naturally respond to rhythm and rhymes.
- Listen to different types of music. There is a clear link between music and literacy development.
- Participate in call and response activities. When babies coo and babble, adults should pause (waiting until the baby is "done" in the same manner you would wait for someone to finish a sentence) and then respond with a comment or sentence of your own. This helps babies understand the pattern of a conversation.
- Give babies rattles and mobiles. Infants are beginning to develop eye-tracking skills. Giving them rattles or mobiles to track encourages eye movement which will help them learn to follow words and pictures in a book.
- Sing action songs and rhymes like Row Row Row Your Boat, Pat-a-cake, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and If You're Happy and You Know It. Babies will learn that words have meaning! Rhymes and songs that are repetitive and involve moving the infant's body easily and rhythmically are particularly good for feeling the words.
- Learn sign language. Teaching babies some simple signs like "more" and "milk" will help them communicate with you even before they are able to verbalize the words.
- Talk on the telephone. Provide babies with toy telephones and encourage them to engage in conversation.
- Make a family photo album. Place photos into a small album. Infants will enjoy seeing and learning to name/identify mommy, daddy, big brother/sister, grandparents, and the family pet.
- Tell your baby what you are doing before you do it. "I'm going to change your diaper now." Soon, your baby will know what you mean, and be able to respond, when you say those words.
- Doodle and scribble. When Baby is old enough to sit in a chair (either on your lap or in a high-chair) and hold a crayon, give him paper and large crayons. Encourage baby to scribble and colour. Large blank paper works well because young children are more likely to make large motions when colouring.
Your child's vocabulary will likely grow to around 300 words, and he will start to put two words together into short 'sentences'. He'll understand much of what is said to him, and you'll be able to understand what he says to you.
Toddlers love to look at books with adults who talk about the pictures. While they are learning new words every day, toddlers speaking vocabularies are still limited. However, they can understand a great deal of the spoken language they are not yet able to produce. Therefore, adults can facilitate language growth as they talk with the toddler while "reading." Books that picture common objects and everyday events are particularly appealing. Outings open up possibilities for learning new words and concepts. Talk about the rough bark, soft grass, tickly ant, hungry birds, and splashy puddles. Take advantage of every opportunity to enlarge the child's world because each new adventure brims with language possibilities.
More activities to try at home:
- Walk through your house and have your child touch different things. Talk about whether they are soft, hard, cold, slippery, rough, prickly, etc. This activity helps build vocabulary.
- Play the "Show Me How" game. Ask your child to do different things by saying, "Show me how you..." and then fill in the blank. Model the action for them as you ask. Think of silly instructions like, "Show me how you touch your nose to the couch." This activity helps your child learn how to listen and follow directions.
- Say three words to your toddler - two that rhyme and one that doesn't. Ask your child to say what word doesn't sound like the other two. Playing this game helps your toddler hear same and different sounds and prepares him for reading success.
- Many pop songs have catchy tunes and simple repetitious words and rhythms that will boost your toddler's memory and enhance his awareness of rhythm and rhyme.
Your Wee Builder will be able to speak in longer, more complex sentences, and use more and more speech sounds properly when he speaks. He may also play and talk at the same time. Strangers will probably be able to understand most of what he says by the time he is at this stage.
It is advised that adults use an interactive reading style with preschoolers. Interactive reading encourages children to make comments, predict events, and ask questions about the story and illustrations during reading. When we tell children to be quiet and listen until the story is finished, we are actually interfering with language development. We need to encourage children to talk about the story while it is being read.
Try these ideas:
Expand your child's vocabulary by introducing a new word to a daily routine. New words are learned during everyday activities. For example, if you want to help your child learn the word "lukewarm", you can say, "The bath water is lukewarm - it's not too hot, just a little warm." Repeat the word every time you perform that routine. Then plan how to use the word in other situations. For example, you could use lukewarm in relation to tea or coffee or even soup! Help your child understand more about the word when you use it. For example, "I like my tea to be very hot. Lukewarm tea isn't hot enough and it doesn't taste good."
You can help teach your Wee Builder how to recognize letters, words and objects that begin with individual letters. All that is required are scissors and old magazines or newspapers. Have your child look through a magazine and find as many letter "A's" and cut them out. If this is too easy, have your child find as many items that begin with the letter "A", and cut them out. You can ask each child "Where is" questions and have the child find that particular picture. You can also have your child think of other words that begin with the letter "A". Once your child has mastered one letter, move onto another one.
At this stage you can expect longer, more abstract and complex conversations. Your child will probably also want to talk about a wide range of topics, and his vocabulary will continue to grow. He may well show that he understands the basic rules of grammar, as he experiments with more complex sentences. And you can look forward to some entertaining stories, too.
Choose literature with strong story lines and good poetry as well as factual books and interesting magazines for your child. Always make literature available and read, read, read. Make up different endings, play with the words, and encourage your child to retell the stories and act them out. Make simple props and costumes for acting out the story.
Children at this age are questioners. They have learned how to ask questions about what and who. However, they also ask why and how questions, especially if they are encouraged. They have developed the cognitive and linguistic abilities to ask questions for clarification. "What does island mean?" "What is a bracket?" "How did you make that?" By encouraging questions, you will promote language.
Encourage fun practice for writing by trying this simple activity:
All that is required is a chalkboard (large or small), chalk, paintbrush and a cup of water. Write a letter, number, or word (such as the child's name) with the chalk on the chalkboard. Have your child dip his brush in the water and "erase" what you have written by painting over it with the water. This will help develop his fine motor skills and increase your child's ability to write letters and numbers.
During the early school years, your child will learn more words and start to understand how the sounds within language work together. He will also become a better storyteller, as he learns to put words together in a variety of ways and build different types of sentences.
At this age he will be aware of the sounds that make up words. He will identify words that rhyme. Your child may even play rhyming games and sing out a list of words that rhyme (bat, cat, fat, hat, mat ...).
When starting school, children might still have problems saying a few sounds. An example is the 'r' sound, particularly in words like 'truck', 'drain', 'bring' and so on.
Children's narrative skills improve and they become much better at telling stories. Their stories get longer and more detailed. The stories might be made up, or about things that have actually happened. It also becomes easier to work out who children are talking about when they're telling a story, and how the events in their stories fit together.
Try this at home:
Create or purchase a set of pictures and letter cards that enable him to sort pictures by the letter they begin with (beginning sound). At first, use one letter and ask him to help find the pictures that begin with that sound. Gradually add more letters to the sorting activity when your child is ready.
Early school-age children should be able to use simple, but complete sentences that average five to seven words. As the child goes through the elementary school years, grammar and pronunciation become normal.
Reading with your child helps develop his vocabulary, ability to listen and comprehend, and ability to understand the purpose of print. You will also be helping to set up a lifelong positive attitude towards reading. Foster your child's bookworm habits by mixing up your bedtime routine and have your child read you a bedtime story. Have your child read the stories aloud to you and then discuss them. Ask, 'What was that story about?' or 'Did you like [the main character]? Why?' You can also take turns reading. You could read half the page while your child reads the other half. You could also point out single words here and there for your child to sound out - but at the start, only choose words that can be sounded out with ease.
More activities to try at home:
- Ask your child to make a sound or sound combination, then think of words with that sound. For example, 'What's a funny sound? Mo? What sounds can you make with mo?' ('moan', 'mope' and 'moat', and so on).
- Talk about TV shows your child is watching - you can ask him to explain what just happened.
- Ask your child to make a storybook with his own pictures. He can do this on a computer or with pens and paper. Help him write the words or at least some letters in the story.
- Encourage your child to read the names of items at the supermarket.
- Select a few alphabet letters and move them around to make new sounds - bat, tab, abt - and see which of them are real words. Practise sounding them out letter by letter, then saying the word (for example, 'b-a-t makes the word bat'). If you initially use lower-case letters, there'll be less risk of confusing your child with the two different letter shapes for each sound.
- Encourage your child to write his name and the names of other family members in greeting cards or on pictures. Once your child can use all the letters well, he'll be ready for upper case and lower case (capitals and small letters).
- Encourage your child to write shopping lists or restaurant menus for pretend play.
- Point out different types of print when you're out and about with your child, such as on shop signs or movie posters. Explain how print can be used to name different places or things.