Letters and sounds
When I opened Miss Daisy’s Nursery in September 2006, I wanted to find a fun and multi-sensory way to teach the children their letters and sounds. In the past, young children only had a letter symbol put in front of them and they were expected to learn the letter sound by memory, with little more than a symbol. They were not encouraged to look, feel, touch or make any sensory attachment to the letter shape or sound. Teachers did not use fun activities, games and resources to encourage and stimulate the child’s holistic learning.
I realised that if a child could recognise a letter symbol that did not mean the child could hear the sound in a word or put the sounds together to form a word. The only reason to learn sounds is to use them. We blend sounds together to read a word, and for spelling we break words into sounds. Now at Miss Daisy’s we use a combination of two letter schemes to teach the children their letter sounds. The first is ‘Jolly Phonics’ which is well recognised and used at many of the primary schools the children go onto after nursery school. The second is ‘Which Phonics’ which offers excellent advice and ideas with teaching synthetic phonics.
All the teachers at Miss Daisy’s are experienced and qualified and have received teacher training in teaching synthetic phonics.
Lessons are very much taught through visual play and expression. In comparisons with the old methods, the children are leaving nursery school with a wider knowledge of letters and have a stronger foundation for learning to read and write.
Parents can help their children learn letter sounds at home by asking teachers for advice and the methods we use at school. By encouraging your child to be aware of letters and point them out to your child as you walk to school, as you are reading a menu in a restaurant or reading a story at home, so that children learn that letters are not just for school and they are all around them.
If a child can learn letter sounds with confidence and enjoyment, the child will have a fantastic foundation for learning to read, write and spell.