Earlier Can Be Better

March 14, 2015 @ 9:28 PM

I am now teaching Kindergarten (preschool) in a lovely little school in rural Tasmania. I have long held the viewpoint that 'earlier is not better' when it comes to literacy acquisition. In working with my newest charges I have come to revise my previous opinions and have now developed the idea that 'earlier can be better when readiness meets quality instruction'. It's a little more wordy than my old mantra but is much more in line with my emerging  experiences working with younger children. 

We are often very quick to cite 'research' and I am no exception. We look at countries where children do not begin formal literacy learning until they are 7 and accept that ALL children who are taught before this ...

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Metacog - what?

October 1, 2013 @ 9:05 AM

One of the most important skills that we can teach our children is (the very fancy sounding) Metacognition. Metacognition is basically the thinking that we do about our learning. For example, the most fundamental element of this comes when children acknowledge that they don’t understand something. As children get older they will ask you what certain words mean or ask you to explain particular concepts. This shows you that they are aware of what ...

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Skill, will and confidence - tips for working with reluctant young writers

September 21, 2013 @ 1:34 PM

Both Lillian and Isabelle were reluctant beginning writers. I remember the daily battles to get Lil to write one, two and then three sentences at around aged six. With Isabelle we've just past the hurdle of major resistance and she is now starting to write spontaneously and with enjoyment.

As a Mum I struggled with how hard to push. When Lil was in this stage her School of the Air teacher said “Oh, all the kids at this age struggle. You...

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Autonomy, mastery and purpose - the keys to engagement

September 14, 2013 @ 10:32 PM


In thinking about why I enjoy my job so much I come to the conclusion that it is because I am doing something authentic to me. I have the opportunity to be self directed, creative and to make meaning for myself. Of course I am required to participate in the wider system of education but I have the freedom to make choices, to experiment, to reflect and be flexible and to follow lines of enquiry that I find personally interesting. In short, ...

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Correct sounds are music to our ears

September 9, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

 Teaching children to read involves many specific skills, some of which are consistently taught badly in our schools and by parents. One of these is the sounds that we associate with single letters. This may seem like an easy fundamental but one that if taught incorrectly can seriously impede sounding out and spelling.

Firstly, please, please, please hold off teaching children letter names until they have mastered the basics of reading and ...

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The truth of who we are

September 7, 2013 @ 9:44 PM

I heard a powerful thing tonight. It was a woman saying “The life that I am living is the truth of who I am”. I was totally blown away by the sentiment and was lead to reflect on my own life. I considered my work, I considered our children, I considered our marriage and felt happy with the choices we have made. Mark and I have always lived the idea of going out and seeking opportunity. When I was 24 and my Mum died I told myself that I did ...

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The proof is in the pudding

August 3, 2013 @ 2:55 PM
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As a home school parent, or just a parent really, I am often plagued by doubts about the choices we make. I worry that our girls will get their hearts broken, I worry that they will live lives that aren’t worthy of their potential, I worry that I can’t protect them from the horror that seems to lurk around every corner and I worry that we are making grave ...

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Great learning when you don't have the numbers

July 25, 2013 @ 10:07 PM
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Home educating is not schooling at home. It involves a whole different dynamic and focus. In a school setting a group of children are socialised to behave in certain ways; to sit quietly, listen (or appear to listen), perform certain functions at certain times of the day such as eating and playing and to participate in particular types of learning activities. ...

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You don't get what you pay for

July 9, 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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While in a baby superstore recently I saw a woman pondering the merits of a $400 bassinette-come-rocker and remembered my own shopping expeditions when I was pregnant with my girls. I remembered how I agonised over the decisions about what to buy, wanting to be a good Mum, wanting to get the best for my baby and how ultimately, we chose practicality over fancy ...

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Just back off!

June 29, 2013 @ 11:33 AM
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I was reminded today that you can’t make a child learn ...

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