Latest news and updates for our Kuala Lumpur Young Learner parents - May 2015

Damansara Anniversary

We’re very excited to announce that next term is the one year anniversary of our Damansara centre.  Keep an eye out for announcements and details of exciting activities and celebrations that  will be happening very soon and throughout next term.

Parent workshops

This term we will focus on helping you understand how we support your child’s writing and grammar skills, based on feedback from parents attending previous workshops.

We’ve already had our first workshop of the term in KL and a big thank you to all the parents who attended. If you were unable to attend but are still interested in finding out about helping your child with their writing, I’ve included a section below on how to do this which is based on the workshop.

Thank you to all the parents who attended the first parent workshop in Damansara on our teaching methodology last weekend. Look out for more parent workshops next term.

The second workshop in KL, in week 8 (23-24 May), will focus on how we help children learn grammar in a child-friendly way. Parents will be introduced to ideas on how we use children’s natural language learning ability to take grammar beyond simple grammar exercises and learn how to use it to communicate effectively.

The workshop will be held in room 17 from 1:20-2:00 on both Saturday and Sunday. Registration is not required, but we recommend arriving early to ensure you can get a seat. There will be entertainment available for children in room 18 during the workshops.

Storytelling

In week 3 (11-12 April) we had a professional storyteller, Keats Markandu, come to the KL centre to tell stories to our students. This was a huge success, with more than 30 students attending on both days. We are currently exploring how we can continue this and offer it to our customers in Damansara.

Reading Challenge

The reading challenge in Damansara is off to a flying start! Over 400 students have signed up. There’s still time if you haven’t already started.

The Reading Challenge is open to all Damansara students who are 7-15 years old. The challenge is to read 6 books in 10 weeks and all finishers will receive a certificate of achievement. Please ask the TA at the reading challenge stand for more information.

Helping your child learn to write

It can be challenging supporting your child to learn to write as a parent, as many adults have been writing for so long it seems like such a natural action, much like breathing or walking. We have often forgotten our own struggles to learn how to write, so when our children have difficulty with learning to write, we may not understand how to support them. Let’s try to understand this process first.

Understanding the process of learning to write

Learning to write is a process that begins long before children start at school and is very closely connected with reading. If children are having difficulty reading, this is likely to affect their ability to learn to write too. Let’s look at the process from the early stages of literacy.

Developing basic motor skills

Basic motor skills are the ability to hold a pencil in your fingers for colouring and ‘doodling’ (drawing shapes or pictures without planning or support), the ability manoeuvre scissors and paper for cutting objects, and hand eye co-ordination to be able to trace basic shapes lines and patterns on a page.

These skills are often developed at home even before children go to pre-school, but may be developed further by guided activities at a pre-school or kindergarten with a development-focused curriculum. Parents can encourage children to colour and ‘doodle’ as soon as they show interest in pencils and paper and can move on to more guided craft work with scissors and glue at 3-4 years of age (with child safety scissors and parents monitoring).

Learning letter formation

This stage often follows on from early reading and phonics work. As children become aware of the link between letters, sounds and words, they may also learn to form the letters too. While letter formation might seem quite random, it isn’t and there are in fact suggested pencil stroke orders for English letters as there are for Chinese and Tamil characters. If children are not following the correct stroke order, this can make their writing slow and untidy. You can find some useful tracing sheets with guides on stroke order on First-School.ws. You can help your children develop good stroke order by focusing them on the stroke order guide and helping them follow it.

Another issue children may have at this stage of learning to write may be understanding where letters are placed in relation to lines on the page. Some children do not need to be told that lines are important and that different letters are different sizes in relation to each other. However, many children don’t notice this by themselves and need someone to point out the difference in the relative size of the letters and where they are placed on the line. As with stroke order, you can help your child develop an understanding of the importance of lines by helping them focus their attention on the lines and where letters sit on the lines and the relative size and shape of different letters.

This section is getting a bit longer than I intended, so to prevent overwhelming you with information I’ll stop here. Please watch out for the next YL newsletter as I’ll include more information about how to learn spelling and form sentences. I hope you find this information useful and remember that if you would like to talk to a member of the YL team you can make an appointment through customer services.

Best tips for helping your child with their homework

  • Build routines and set goals together.
  • Be encouraging. Homework helps your child review and helps the teacher identify what your child has learned. It’s okay if they don’t get it all correct, or if they can’t do it all.
  • Let the teacher see their mistakes.
  • Help them to self-correct. If you see a mistake, ask your child questions for example – are you sure this is correct? Is that word missing something.

And finally, did you know that...

  • 1 billion people on earth speak English. That’s about 1 in every 7 people!
  • Some English phrases, like “Long time, no see” and “No can do”, are literal translations of Chinese phrases.
  • There are 24 different dialects of English in the US alone!