I talked with Lisa this week about the literacy bags and she said, sadly, no one has come from the main library to read to the children as promised so they’re in the process now of hiring someone who can spend at least 2 hours each school day reading to the kids. She said the books received so far have been a blessing, kids are choosing which ones they want read to them or just browsing through them on their own. It’s so important to read to kids starting as soon as possible so they can start reaping the benefits it offers.
We were discussing the literacy bag and since this is a foreign concept to Lisa and others at Head Start, we’re planning a trial run this spring with teachers using some of the bags in the classroom. Hopefully when classes begin for the 2013 school year in August, the program will be understood and we’ll have enough craft and literacy bags assembled by then to ensure each student has a different bag to take home each week. A parent-teacher night will be needed to explain the program to parents which will also help in having bags returned with all their contents. Getting learning bags home is important as they connect home with school and they allow parents to learn about their child’s current abilities as they practice the skills and read together.
To help you develop activities for our literacy bags we’ve listed the skills/habits a 5 year old needs to have to transition to kindergarten:
- Have current immunizations, doctor and dental check-ups and general good health, eats and sleeps well and gets exercise.
- Have good gross motor skills such as running, jumping, etc that develops large muscles.
- Have fine motor skills like painting, using scissors, coloring or doing puzzles that develop small muscles.
- Be interested and enthusiastic about learning.
- Work independently and also cooperate with others on projects.
- Be able to dress and feed themselves, use the toilet and wash their hands and face.
- Listen and follow directions, help with activities, learn to finish tasks.
- Understand emotions and how to use words to express how they’re feeling.
- Be learning about the world through their senses and experiences.
- Have good language skills so they can express themselves.
- Solve problems by playing matching, memory, I Spy, games.
- Good socialization skills – learning to share and get along with others.
- Conflict resolution skills – dealing with others that want to fight, bite, hit, etc.
- Able to count and recognize numbers 1-10, write their phone number and age.
- Able to do some sequencing/patterning tasks such as what comes next or what is missing.
- Know colors and shapes
- Be able to notice things that are the same or are different.
- Learn to sort and classify – fruits vs veggies, large vs small , red vs green, etc.
- Know the alphabet and write their name.
Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a stash of fabric and while rummaging through it recently found the perfect choices to match the book themes I’ve chosen. See the photos below of some of the bags I have been working on.
I basically used this lined bag pattern, cut my pieces 14” wide by 16” long and used a 1/2 “ seam allowance. Handles were cut 6” wide by 20” long and sewn 2 ½ “ in from the sides. It went together pretty quickly and could also be made with a drawstring top. Next up, working on the activities.
Having read many books to my grandsons, I know that each bag could have activities with colors, numbers, letters and words based on the book’s theme. Kids love rhymes and songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for an insect theme. Kids also love to find things like in I spy games and act out scenes in the story using props. Having FUN while learning is what we’re aiming for.
Check these blogs for bag design, and themes, for learning ideas look at our Pinterest site. I’m sure those of you with small children and/or teachers have plenty of great ideas for early learning, please share your favorites with us. Let us know if you can join us for this project and the number and type of bags you can make. Remember if you’re not interested in making bags, book donations are always welcome.
Exposing kids to books on varied subjects and getting parents to read to their kids 20 minutes a day gives parents the chance to positively interact with their kids and builds strong life long reading practices and a love for books. Thanks from Sew For Kids.