Speech pathologists design course for ECEC educators to support school readiness
HealthWISE, a not-for-profit primary health care and clinical services provider operating across the New England North West area of New South Wales delivering federally funded primary health and social services has developed a new e-learning course for early childhood educators, designed to give children ‘a step up’ before they begin school.
Developed by speech pathologists, ‘Sounds good to me‘ (SGTM) focuses on phonological awareness, a range of pre-literacy skills proven to help children learn to read, and was officially launched on the website last Sunday, in line with the commencement of Term Three in NSW schools.
Speaking with local paper Inverell Times, speech pathologist and HealthWISE integrated care manager Anne Williams outlined the motivation to begin SGTM, which came over five years ago, when speaking with an early years teacher in Narrabri, who was tasked with transitioning children from preschool into school, as well as working with children at risk of educational disadvantage and learning difficulties.
Many of the children she worked with did not begin school with the core skills they needed in order to learn to read, and quickly fell behind their peers. On learning this, Ms Williams was inspired to create something which would support early childhood educators to better prepare children to have a strong start at school.
In 2014, initial versions of the program were trialled in four local services across the region, with early results showing that children who undertook the program improved in pre-literacy skills more than those who did not.
“We’ve been running face to face workshops in the New England North West ever since, and I wanted to take it a bit further and reach a bigger audience,” Ms Williams told Inverell Times.
Prue Jamieson, Managing Director of Nurruby Children’s Services, has been using SGTM in its original format since 2014, and is pleased to see the digital version come to life, knowing the satisfaction which comes from sending children from the service off to school with a strong start.
“I have seen big improvement in the skills and confidence of the educators in my team, with the program now embedded in all areas of our curriculum. The educators enjoy the phonological awareness play-based activities and the program is easy to implement,” she told Inverell Times.
A webinar about the program will be held during NSW Education Week, 3-7 August, registration details of which are available on the website.
SGTM includes hours of training in a series of short, workshop style videos, featuring children undertaking the program activities. Participants will have access to digital resources as well as a physical resource kit containing a detailed program guide, USB, a ‘full-body listening’ poster, picture prompt cards and score sheets for measuring the children’s progress.
Speech pathologists are available for consultation calls to support members. To purchase or learn more, visit the website, here.
For the original coverage of this story in Inverell Times, please see here.