At all Cuddles Childcare Centres in Perth, we live by the motto “Learning Through Play.” One of our better learning vehicles is called Jolly Phonics. Children are taught how to recognise the 42 different letter sounds that are contained in the English language.
Jolly Phonics uses three characters as teaching vehicles: Snake, Bee and Inky Mouse. Inky Mouse is the teacher, who teaches the letter sounds to Snake and Bee. Snake learns faster, while Bee is a bit slower. This enables the slower learners and faster learners to be on equal footing, as both have a character with which they can relate to.
Jolly Phonics was originally developed in 1977 in the UK, when teachers Sue Lloyd and Sara Wernham developed it for children who weren’t having any progress with the “Look and Say” approach which was the standard in the UK for most of the 1970’s.
After years of requests, they published their method in “The Phonics Handbook” in 1992. They then received more requests and eventually developed a product line based on the work that would enable teachers to help children read faster.
Fast forward to 2013 and Jolly Phonics trainings are conducted in most civilised countries. The face of child care in Perth, the rest of Australia and the world, has been forever changed. Jolly Phonics was at one time taught in 68% of UK schools; progressive and creative childcare centres in Perth, WA and other parts of the globe, teach Jolly Phonics as well. That, of course, includes us.
All of our Jolly Phonics educators have undergone the official training and are well-qualified to teach it. While this was originally designed for students in primary/elementary schools, it has been found to be extremely effective for early learners. This can give your child a head start when he or she enters school.
The 42 sounds of the English language are divided into seven groups. A corresponding action is assigned to each letter sound, which causes the child to use auditory, visual, kinaesthetic and speech methods for every sound. This is the best way to guarantee that all types of learners are served.
Children are directed to form each letter in the air with a finger, imitating the educator. When it is time to move on to a pencil, Jolly Phonics teaches a “froggy grip,” holding the pencil between the first finger and thumb.
One of the skills taught is called “blending.” This is where the child says the individual letter sounds of the word and then blends them together. When this is done with letters, such as saying “c”, “a”, “t” for “cat”, it doesn’t make sense. But when it is the actual sounds the letters make, it is easy to come up with the word they combine to “spell.”
This also requires children to develop the skills to listen, hear and identify the sounds in a word so that they can spell it out. For “tricky words,” Jolly Phonics has a technique called, you guessed it, “tricky words,” which the student memorises. Also, students are not told letter names until they have memorised the sounds.
Needless to say, children aren’t taught to read overnight and some may go through our childcare centres in Perth without learning how to read, but they will still have a great foundation for when they are of age to go to school. Meanwhile, some children will actually know how to read and write some words before they even go to school.
We just started teaching Jolly Phonics in March and have already seen a big difference in most of the children. Some of them are able to recognise many of the letters of the alphabet. Children are retaining the memory of sounds from the previous weeks and are beginning to amass quite a “vocabulary” of sounds.
Really, though, it isn’t about how much a child memorises; it’s about how well the child is prepared to maximise his or her potential when it’s time to enter the educational system. Jolly Phonics fits right in to our mandate that learning always be fun for the child and gives a solid foundation for any child getting ready for their first year of school.
We are glad we brought Jolly Phonics to all Cuddles Childcare Centres in Perth because it is a great step forward for the state of day care in Perth and across Australia. Jolly Phonics is a great addition to what is already a great schedule here, including such activities as Junior Soccer Goals, Messy Play, Baby Aerobics, Friday Fun Day, Jessie’s Art Time and many more.
For more information about Jolly Phonics or learning through play, please contact a Cuddles Childcare Centre in Perth.
Bertram (08) 9419 1844
Carlisle (08) 9472 4702
St. James (08) 9358 4673