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Curriculum Post any curriculum ideas, activites or projects that wouldbe helpful to our Daycare community. What is your teaching philosophy?

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Old 06-10-2015, 06:13 PM
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Default Learning Letters, Phonics, Etc. - Please Help!

Good evening!

I feel like I'm at a loss. I have mostly 3 and 4 year olds and run preschool hours in the afternoon. I feel pretty good about everything, our units, etc. and I really feel like the children are learning so much.

However, I'm really stuck with regard to teaching the alphabet, letter recognition, phonics, etc. I've been researching and it seems like there are so many methods. I would love any advice with regard to 1) the order of skills I should focus on, 2) materials and/or resources. I feel like I'm lacking with materials (real objects, etc.) and I just feel overwhelmed with where to start.

I've been introducing a new letter every week, focusing on letter recognition, and then we do a craft, but my children are just not retaining the information.

Please tell me what you do. I would love a standardized system for how to do this, but I'm in my first year, and struggling with hands-on materials. I'm not a worksheet kinda gal.

Thanks SO MUCH for any advice you can provide!
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Old 06-10-2015, 06:48 PM
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its pricey but worth every cent. look into zoo phonics. I have been teaching it for 12 years.....I love this program and just about every single one of my DCKS leave me reading. currently I have a just turned 2 year old who can read all do to this program...

I also got trained in this by attending their workshops and trainings....
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Old 06-10-2015, 09:10 PM
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I just recently got "No More Letter of the Week". It's a book with a pretty good plan for teaching letter-sounds and incorporating phonics in many different ways into your daily program. I decided not to follow it's recommendation for how they suggest the order in which to introduce the letters and will instead be using a Montessori order (First set: c m a t, Second set: s r i p, Third set: b f o g, Fourth set: h j u l, Fifth set: d w e n, Sixth set: k q v x y z).

I'll be introducing all of the letters in that order in six weeks (one set per week) and then will be working on each set for a whole month in the same order. I'm planning on revamping my whole curriculum ... again ... and this is what I decided my approach to teaching letters and reading will be. Pretty much the focus is to teach the sounds that letters make not just the name of the letters. My goal is to work with groups of letters so that once they master the first two sets identifying or at least sounding out sounds will be a lot easier for them.
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Old 06-11-2015, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
I just recently got "No More Letter of the Week". It's a book with a pretty good plan for teaching letter-sounds and incorporating phonics in many different ways into your daily program. I decided not to follow it's recommendation for how they suggest the order in which to introduce the letters and will instead be using a Montessori order (First set: c m a t, Second set: s r i p, Third set: b f o g, Fourth set: h j u l, Fifth set: d w e n, Sixth set: k q v x y z).

I'll be introducing all of the letters in that order in six weeks (one set per week) and then will be working on each set for a whole month in the same order. I'm planning on revamping my whole curriculum ... again ... and this is what I decided my approach to teaching letters and reading will be. Pretty much the focus is to teach the sounds that letters make not just the name of the letters. My goal is to work with groups of letters so that once they master the first two sets identifying or at least sounding out sounds will be a lot easier for them.
Very helpful!

Can you provide some insight as to the type of activities you plan to do in your first phase of introducing one set per week, and then the type of activities you plan to do as you focus on each set for a month? I think that's where I'm coming up overwhelmed. I'm not exactly sure what to do and in which order to do it. I like the idea of focusing on the sounds and not the names of the letters, and I know that's the Montessori method, but what is the progression of focus skills and tasks?

If there's a book or other resource out there that will hold my hand with this until it becomes more intuitive, I'd love to know about it!
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Old 06-11-2015, 10:17 AM
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I am always open to see other programs. thanks for posting that MV.

i always take several programs and mash them together...lol

One thing that I love about zoo phonics is that it teaches letter sound first. think of it this way.

if I said do you know the name of these letters CAT, they would hold no meaning to you other than they have names.

if I said do you know the SOUNDS of these letters and you said yes and sounded it out, you just read the word cat.

for the first year that a child is in my program, I only teach letter sound intentionally. Later i worry about the names of the letters, but I do make certain that I call them by their letter names.

one thing that is very helpful with zoo phonics is that it involves movement and the kids just love it.
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:26 PM
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I'm not good at following a program or being very methodical about things, but here's a few things I do to encourage this with my kiddos (ages 3-5):

We incorporate our ABCs into everything we do. For the most part, we don't do a letter of the week, we just learn it all as we go. I do tend to teach them upper case before lower case, but we have both available in the room.

First step for us is to learn to recognize our names and our friends names. So we do a lot of activities with our names when the children are learning those. I encourage them to write their name on every picture they make (even if they just write lines or cirlces for their name in the beginning, great!).

We also have a sign in book and the children have to sign in their names every day. They often start out making pictures or drawing circles on their names (I start them when they're 3 yrs old). But, when they become interested we start working on forming each letter.

We have a helper of the day and that person's name is written on our calendar. So, when the children come in the first question they ask is "who is the helper of the day". So, we work on figuring out what day it is and then read the child's name. This also helps them with learning their numbers and 'reading' a chart. They also have to refer to the calendar's date when they sign in later in the day because they need to sign in under the right day. As they get older, I don't right in the date on their sign in book, only the day (monday, etc) and they can write in the number date themselves.

We do a lot of alphabet hunts (I have cards that each have a letter on them and I hide them around the room every couple of weeks and they have to find them. They bring them back and then we work together to put them in ABC order.

We use magnetic letters (I put them on a large cookie sheet where I've written the letter in permanent marker and they can match them up). I have an upper case sheet and a lower case sheet. We play alphabet bingo.

The purpose of everything I do is just to give them exposure and practice with their letters and numbers. We get things wrong all the time, we right our letters weird and backwards (all developmentally appropriate) and I don't really correct much except grip (when they get older) and sometimes I will correct how they are writing their letters-but only when they're on the older end of the spectrum. I want them to feel comfortable to just write without the worry of me telling them they're doing it wrong.

One of the things I do with phonics is a letter bag. My older group (4-5 yr olds- but younger ones can do this too) brings home a brown paper bag each week that they wrote a letter (upper and lower case) on and they need to bring it back with an item (or several items) that start with that letter. The kids LOVE this! Like, love love love it. It helps that I have very involved parents, so they really encourage this activity. Most weeks each child brings in an average of 6 or 7 items. Then we gather and they take turns showing the other kids what they brought that starts with the letter. We practice the letter sounds a lot during this time (all of the sounds that the letter makes, but I try to emphasize the particular sound that kindy will teach). I write down each item that was brought in and when we're all done we count how many items we brought in and I write that down as well. For one of the letters this year the kids brought in 100 items (I have 6 kids)!! By the end of the year, I usually have a few kids that bring in a piece of paper where they drew the items that started with the letter instead of bringing in items. They will sometimes write the words on their paper as well. I love this activity and although it makes the parents work and I know many of them do it in a rush the night before, it gets everyone thinking about how we can encourage the kids to learn this in a fun way.

When we have grocery store play, I try to gather a couple of kids to make signs for the store, Veggies, Fruits, etc.

Hope that helps! I'm excited to read what everyone else does with this!
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Old 06-11-2015, 07:31 PM
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It was already mentioned but I love Zoo Phonics! I just started it last November and all my kids know the sounds and signals. Some of them know the letters as well and I have a 3 year old that is now starting to read. I am going to buy the preschool package this summer. I was not sold on it at first so I just gathered some materials I found through a google search and watching youtube videos. I'm very pleased with it and will be buying the $300 package.
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by daycare View Post
its pricey but worth every cent. look into zoo phonics. I have been teaching it for 12 years.....I love this program and just about every single one of my DCKS leave me reading. currently I have a just turned 2 year old who can read all do to this program...

I also got trained in this by attending their workshops and trainings....
On the Zoo phonics, do you use the preschool kit? Also, is it a one-time order deal or do you continue to order periodically? Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:59 PM
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On the Zoo phonics, do you use the preschool kit? Also, is it a one-time order deal or do you continue to order periodically? Thanks!
yes I got the preschool kit, but honestly, I really only ever use the cards the most. LIke someone else said I find it hard to conform to a book and follow it.

I did buy the whole kit and attend 2 trainings the past several years, but I really only ever use the cards and the games using the cards that I was taught in the training.
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Hartingirl View Post
Very helpful!

Can you provide some insight as to the type of activities you plan to do in your first phase of introducing one set per week, and then the type of activities you plan to do as you focus on each set for a month? I think that's where I'm coming up overwhelmed. I'm not exactly sure what to do and in which order to do it. I like the idea of focusing on the sounds and not the names of the letters, and I know that's the Montessori method, but what is the progression of focus skills and tasks?

If there's a book or other resource out there that will hold my hand with this until it becomes more intuitive, I'd love to know about it!
Sure, I'll be happy to post my plan once I have it done. I've been thinking of ways to make it simpler to post so maybe I'll type up my lesson plans and include links to online sites that I will use for some activities and upload any worksheets I'll be using to my google drive account and then post links to them.

I used to use Preschool Palace curriculum but I decided to use less crafts and worksheets than they use. I'll definitely post mine. I should with September in about 2 weeks lol
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Old 06-12-2015, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Renae82 View Post
It was already mentioned but I love Zoo Phonics! I just started it last November and all my kids know the sounds and signals. Some of them know the letters as well and I have a 3 year old that is now starting to read. I am going to buy the preschool package this summer. I was not sold on it at first so I just gathered some materials I found through a google search and watching youtube videos. I'm very pleased with it and will be buying the $300 package.
Yes, zoo phonics is a good option and like already mentioned it is pricey but apparently worth it. A fellow child care provider friend held a training for teaching the alphabet and phonics (she was previously a kindergarten teacher) and says it's good if you're just getting started.

I never bought it but I ended up using my own cards and learned the song and actions from YouTube lol Zoophonics Sounds.

I'm a lot like Daycare, I find things I think the kids will like and take things I like from different teaching styles and mic them all up lol. I incorporate a Montessori, RIE, The California Learning Foundations, The Family Childcare Curriculum, Preschool Palace, Zoo Phonics etc into one big mass of activities lol.
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MarinaVanessa View Post
Yes, zoo phonics is a good option and like already mentioned it is pricey but apparently worth it. A fellow child care provider friend held a training for teaching the alphabet and phonics (she was previously a kindergarten teacher) and says it's good if you're just getting started.

I never bought it but I ended up using my own cards and learned the song and actions from YouTube lol Zoophonics Sounds.

I'm a lot like Daycare, I find things I think the kids will like and take things I like from different teaching styles and mic them all up lol. I incorporate a Montessori, RIE, The California Learning Foundations, The Family Childcare Curriculum, Preschool Palace, Zoo Phonics etc into one big mass of activities lol.
This is what I was thinking about doing, too. I have tons of cards from using over the years in other curriculum.
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Old 06-22-2015, 05:39 PM
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This is long, but this is a topic I'm passionate about!

Now this is my personal philosophy but as a former pre-K and kindergarten teacher as well as having lots of experience working with 2-3's I believe......

3's do not need to master letter recognition/sounds, can some? Yes, but there's so much more that comes before letter recognition and phonics,

4/5's who will be entering kindergarten are far better off with a good foundation in recognizing upper and lower case letters when they enter K, as well as being well under way with knowledge of sounds. I would work much harder with this age group (we have full day, every day public 4-k), but this age group is in school here!

If you have 3's and 4's (who are not entering K) you are offering a much more developmentally appropriate environment by not expecting mastery of letters and sounds. I think your kiddos are telling you they are not ready to master/retain.

Now do some 3's have an interest in letters? Yes, some do. If your kiddos are not retaining, they are not ready!

Play with letters and words Instead....exposure at this age is fine, don't expect mastery.

I found as my K's learned to read, and master phonics some started to forget some basic knowledge like their birthday or address or the tougher shapes like a rectangle or octagon. Their brains just seemed to be too full and the hard drive couldn't do it all!

I'm thinking adding academics at age 3/4 crowds out more meaningful things they need to learn. Again, yes some are interested in letters at three...just don't push the academics. The world is so full of other more important things to learn at 3/4!

Most my K's came in knowing upper and lower case letters but no letter sounds, yet learned to read 75 sight words, learned to sound out words, learned the majority of the sounds, and were reading well by the end of the year.

I feel there are so many things 3's and early 4's are excited to learn about and are ready to learn about! Animals, bugs, seasons, manners, sitting at the table, using kind hands, etc.

I think you might want to start with them recognizing their name, friend's names, environmental print, etc.

I have a pocket chart, I take stickers and place them on the right side if an index card. Then I write the word. They are then laminated. The kids have access to this all day. This in an introduction into using picture cues. Early readers in K and first use picture cues when reading books. They are learning to look right to left, being exposed to letters and words, and can "read" the word with the help of the sticker.

Put letters in your sand table or sand box and let them explore them and talk about them.

Focus on learning rhymes which are really word families. Rhyming is an important part in learning to read, Chart children's poems on large paper or chart paper and read them by pointing to each word with a pointer. They will be exposed to reading right to left. Exposed to: we start reading at the top, Exposed to letters, exposed to rhymes, etc.

Google Hubbard's cupboard, click on literacy, click on abc games (I think) click on environmental print. She has all these logos like Cheerios, play doh, Barbie, etc. print them off and cut them out. Talk about them, see if any of your kids can "read" some, talk about where you see these, then put them in a bucket and have kids pull one out and see if they can read what they picked ...kids love this and are very successful! I used them as a lotto game in K, but use them this way with younger kids. They make fun books too.

She has many more literacy and math games. It's a wonderful site!

Again, this is just another way to look at preschool programming. I'm sure you're offering lots of learning games already. Hope you find some great activities on Hubbard's Cupboard!
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:53 PM
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This is long, but this is a topic I'm passionate about!!
Don't know why this was waiting to be moderated. I am pushing this back up.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:05 AM
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Thank you unreg.!!! I'm so glad you posted this, very very useful information!
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Old 06-28-2015, 10:26 AM
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Default WOW! Thank you!

First, I am so VERY sorry that it took so long for me to come back to this with a response. It has been a crazy couple of weeks.

I want to thank every one of you so much for sharing your ideas and what you've done that has been successful! I am continuously reminded of the wealth of information present among all of you and I am so grateful that I am able to come here for help!

I will look into Zoo Phonics! I am very interested!

Also, Unregistered, what fantastic information! I wish I knew who you were so I could PM you. I would LOVE to pick your brain about a couple of other things. If you happen to see this post anytime soon, and are free for a further chat, I would be immensely appreciative for your help!

Once again, thank you all!!!
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:20 AM
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Good thread. I have mostly 2 and 3 year olds and of course all I hear from parents is if they know letters, colors etc. I also think 3 is too early to master alphabet skills. I'm going to go back and re-read to get tips.
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:31 AM
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One thing to consider however is that no matter how many times we are told that letter recognition/sounds needs to wait it's an expectation in our schools for them to already be familiar with them. In our school district anyway.

In my area we have an extra "grade" that is pretty much between pre-K and Kindergarten called Transitional Kindergarten. Kids around here are expected to go to pre-K, then T-K and then Kinder even if none are required by law. Here when you enter Kinder the kid's are expected to know how to recognize and spell their names as well as the names of the letters in their names, their colors, shapes, counting to 10 by rote etc and I'm sitting here like ... what? Isn't that what Kindergarten is for? My 1st grade DS is full-blown reading right now and that's great and all but it was difficult for him. He had massive meltdowns at school because I don't think he was developmentally ready at 4 years old (in T-K) to have the rigidness of strict rules like sit still, stay in your seat, focus on your work, raise your hand before you speak etc.

So even though I do work on these things with my daycare kids I do it in a more relaxed way and play-based way because if I don't and these poor kids start school not knowing anything they're going to have a very rough time in school and will be very behind.
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Old 10-29-2017, 09:03 AM
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Good evening!

I feel like I'm at a loss. I have mostly 3 and 4 year olds and run preschool hours in the afternoon. I feel pretty good about everything, our units, etc. and I really feel like the children are learning so much.

However, I'm really stuck with regard to teaching the alphabet, letter recognition, phonics, etc. I've been researching and it seems like there are so many methods. I would love any advice with regard to 1) the order of skills I should focus on, 2) materials and/or resources. I feel like I'm lacking with materials (real objects, etc.) and I just feel overwhelmed with where to start.

I've been introducing a new letter every week, focusing on letter recognition, and then we do a craft, but my children are just not retaining the information.

Please tell me what you do. I would love a standardized system for how to do this, but I'm in my first year, and struggling with hands-on materials. I'm not a worksheet kinda gal.

Thanks SO MUCH for any advice you can provide!

Not sure if others have suggested this... I personally don’t like letter of the week. I like to start with children’s names and the names of people they love/their friends. I start with just the initial sounds/letters of the names, then when they show an interest and start to recognize a few letters I teach them all the letters in their name. Don’t forget to play lots of rhyming games and alliteration (first sounds of the word) games. And before writing they should feel good about making pre-writing sorts of lines/drawing more then scribbles, etc. My own daughter was hesitant to start writing her name even though she knew the letters and their sounds, so we made a dry erase mat with her name and made playdough letter and then traced them... then SHE asked to write it by tracing with dry erase marker. I never push early learning skills down their throats, just make it available and jump on it when they take an interest.

Last edited by Blackcat31; 10-29-2017 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:18 PM
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I'm the former pre-k, kindergarten teacher who wrote the long, long post! Couldn't log in for awhile as I'd forgotten my password and didn't get around to changing it.....anyway I just noticed an error! I typed learning to read right to left, not once but twice! Good grief!

So, yeah a mistake in typing! Of course it's left to right! Sorry!
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Old 10-31-2017, 09:31 PM
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Hi,

You might find any material for learning Letters, Phonics etc at education.com they charge a small amount of fee but very worth it and they offer free download too.

Or you might interested to check our activities and see what our children doing at our daycare here



Looking forward to hear any thoughts here

Best,

Trust DayCare

Last edited by Blackcat31; 11-01-2017 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 11-10-2017, 10:08 PM
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Mine love the letter sounds song, We have to do it as the first thing at group!
A says AH AH AH AH
B says Bah Bah Bah Bah

this is such a popular song, the kids now sing it at free play, bathroom time, dancing time, on the playground ect!
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