Young Learners - Learning and Literacy in the Early Years

Year: 2009

Author: Raban, Bridie, Brown, Margaret, Care, Esther, Rickards, Field, O’Connell, Terry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper addresses the theoretical and empirical understandings which underpin the Young Learners’ Project which is being undertaken at the University of Melbourne during 2007-2011. Quality learning experiences coupled with personalised, evidence-based adult support in the preschool years shape children’s life-long attitudes and motivation for learning, and form the basis of strong outcomes in adulthood. Of particular importance is the development of literacy. Not all children, however, have such experiences and some need extra support from their families and teachers. From this study knowledge will be gained that will assist teachers and parents to support children beginning school so that they are prepared for formal literacy learning. This will lead to greater prospects of financial and social benefits in adulthood.

This collaborative four-year research project identifies effective personalised teaching strategies for early literacy used with children in preschool and the first year of schooling. Employing quantitative and qualitative methods, we will establish child profiles to enable the teachers to plan personalised goals and implement strategies for early literacy. For the teachers, we will use direct observations, self-reflections and interviews to identify effective teaching strategies specifically for early literacy. Child progress will be measured through an early literacy instrument. The project will inform teacher education and the preparation of teacher and parent resources for early literacy.