School Readiness Program

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Jillys believes in introducing your child to Numeracy and Literacy when they turn two

2 yrs - under 3 yrs old (Toddlers)

When your child commences in the Toddlers Room, they are gently introduced to the alphabet and its phonetics. This is primarily done through educational and catchy songs, such as 'Ants in the Apple'. After a few short weeks in this room, you will find your child singing these songs at home.

3 yrs - Going to school (preschoolers)

The Preschoolers Room introduces your child to Phonics. This is a proven method of teaching your child to read phonetically. Jillys uses the structured syllabus called 'Jolly Phonics', used in many of the primary schools (Kindergarten and year 1) in Great Britain. The schools in Great Britian which use 'Jolly Phonics', show reading scores that are much higher than schools using other techniques.

Download a FREE copy of the guide to Jolly Phonics.

Jolly Phonics is a thorough foundation for reading and writing. It teaches the letter sounds in an enjoyable, multisensory way, and enables children to use them to read and write words. This guide provides background advice for parents and teachers. It explains the principles behind Jolly Phonics so that your understanding of the teaching, and your ability to help a child, is much greater. All the material is suitable for use from 3 years old and much of it is also well suited to use at home. Jolly Phonics includes learning the irregular or 'tricky words' such as said, was and the.

Together with these materials we use storybooks. Parental support is important to all children as they benefit from plenty of praise and encouragement whilst learning. Jillys moves at a pace at which your child wants to go. If interest is being lost, we leave the teaching for a while, rather than using undue pressure. Not all children find it easy to learn and blend sounds. It is important to remember that this is not because they are unintelligent, but because they have a poor memory for symbols and words. Extra practice will lead to fluency in reading and help your child manage.

The five basic skills for reading and writing are:

1. Learning the letter and combination letter sounds (Jillys uses 42 phonetic sounds, such as ai. ou)

2. Learning letter formation and correct pencil grip. Jolly Phonics uses the Sassoon Infant typeface which is designed for children learning to read and write.

3. Blending, the process of saying the individual sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word

4. Identifying sounds in words. The easiest way to know how to spell a word is to listen for the sounds in that word. The Jiglets help identify the sounds in words. Rhyming games, poems and the Jolly Jingles also help tune the ears to the sounds in words. Jillys also uses actions, such as Weaving the hand in an s shape, like a snake, and say ssssss. Wiggle fingers above elbow as if ants crawling on you and say a, a, a. Turn your head from side to side as if watching tennis and say t, t, t. Pretend to be a mouse by wriggling fingers at end of nose and squeak i, i, i. Pretend to puff out candles and say p, p, p and so on.

5. Spelling the tricky words (advanced work)

The process of teaching phonics at Jillys

1. Learning the letter sounds

In English, there are between 42 and 46 letter sounds, which include the 26 alphabet sounds. At Jillys, we teach 42 letter and digraph sounds. For each sound, there is an action which helps the children remember the sound the letter makes. As the Letter Sounds are learnt, the childs Sound Sheets are stuck into the childrens personal 'Sound Book,' which is taken home for the parents to also help. The Sound Book is brought back into school the next day. ,We revise with the children all the Letter Sounds in their Sound Book every day.

The Letters Sounds are not introduced in alphabetical order. The first group, 's a t i p n' has been chosen because they make more simple three letter words than any other six letters. Sounds with more than one way of being written are first taught in one form only. For instance, the sound 'ai' (train) in on the Sound Sheet. The alternatives 'a-e' (cake) and 'ay' (day) will be taught later.

2. Letter Formation

It is very important that your child holds their pencil correctly. If the hold starts incorrectly, it is very difficult to get it right later on. The correct formation for each letter can be seen on the bottom of each Sound Sheet. We use the NSW curriculm letter shapes.

3. Blending

Blending is the process of saing the sounds in a word and then running them together to make the word, e.g. c-a-t is cat. It is a technique your child will need to learn and it improves with practice. Some children take longer to do this than others. To start with, you should sound out the word and see if your child can hear it. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder e.g. b-u-s.

To give your child practice at blending, they will bring home 'Word Boxes.' Please listen to your child blending the sounds to read the words and then send it back to school. Once your child has been through the Word Boxes, they will bring home a Reading Book. Please listen to him/her regularly,

It is important that your chld understands what she/he has read. You can help by talking about the story with your child.

4. Identifying sounds in words

If your child is going to be able to write independently, she/he will need to be able to hear the sounds in words and to write the letter for those sounds.

When your child is able to hear the sounds in words, he/she may bring home work with which to practise their new writing skill. These words are for you to call out. He/she has to listen for the sounds and write down the letters for these sounds. This is the first step towards our child becoming and independent writer.

5. Tickly Words

Some words cannot be sounded out or spelt correctly by listening for the sounds in them. These are called the Tricky Words' and have to be learnt. As your child becomes more fluent at reading and writing, she/he will be taught how to cope with the Tricky Words.


This all sounds a great deal of work, but it goes in stages and is spread over a considerable period of time. Little and often is best. Your child may be tired after school but don't worry. It is better to leave it, than push too hard. There is no doubt that the effort on your part, at this stage is well worth it.

Children not learning as fast as others

In most classes there will be a fe children who are not learning the sounds fast enough to keep up with the other children. This could be for a number of reasons:

1. The child may have a poor memory for letters and words.

2. The child's attendance is less that the other children.

3. The child's concentration is weak.

4 There is little individual help given at home.

Whatever the reason, the problem has to be overcome and the following alternative strategy will occur. Instead of going through the Sound Book, the letter sounds that are known, will be put into the Word Box for the child to take home with the Sound Book. We will then gradually add the letters he/she doesn't know to the box, at a pace that brings success. Stars can be used to reward their achievements.

Cooperation of the parents is invaluable. About 25% of children have some problems with learning to read and write, NOT because they are unintelligent, BUT because they have a poor memory for symbols and words. Its just the way some of us are made, but eventually your child will catch up. If your child is not learning the letter sounds as quiclkly as the others, this is the likely reason.

The parents of these children need to know, so that they can understand their child's problem and give their time to helping him / her. Children at this age are keen and enjoy the attention of their parents, especially when letter games are used. Without help, it is easier for bad habits to set in and the child then becomes less receptive. Once reading and writing are relatively fluent, the child can generally manage in school and keep up with others.

It is vital that the children know the letter sounds. They need to be fluent at saying the sound immediately they see the letter(s). However, learning the sound is not enough. The children need to know how to apply their knowledge. From the beginning, they need to be taught to blend the sounds and hear the words, for reading comprehension to follow.

Teaching our children to read before the go to Primary School

at Rossmore