Statewide Program Targets Early Literacy
June 15, 2012
Saturday state education officials will hold a workshop in Albany on developing literacy for toddlers and infants. The program is part of a larger statewide effort to develop language skills in children under the age of three. The Department of Early Care and Learning launched the Program for Infant and Toddler Care about three years ago. The program trains teachers on how to foster language development in young children. Dr. Laura Johns is a director with the program. She says the first step is getting teachers to recognize how infants and toddlers communicate.
“It’s a gesture, or a look or a nodding of the head,” Johns says, “And then we have to supply the child with the appropriate words. ‘Wow, I see that you’re pulling at the doll. Is that because you want it back?’ We have to provide the language.”
The workshop will be held in partnership with the Atlanta Speech School, which specializes in language and literacy. Executive Director Comer Yates says research shows children benefit from exposure to conversation from an early age.
“If you enter an early childhood center and the children are doing worksheets and are told to be quiet, we would say grab your child and run for his life,” Yates says, “That is a toxic environment for the child’s future.”
The program trains teachers to do the opposite. It encourages them to read, talk, and promote vocabulary in their classroom, even if it gets a little noisy.
To view an informational video, click here.
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