Zoo Phonics for Toddlers?!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Kase, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    My center has decided to implement Zoo phonics into our toddler room (18-30 mos). The 2 year old room sings the song and in the 3 year old room they start focusing on individual letters slowly. I really feel like Zoo Phonics is very inappropriate at the toddler age. I have kids that barely know their colors and shapes. How would a teacher be able to implement the Zoo Phonics song along with letters? Do any of you feel that this is inappropriate as well?
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    They might now understand it, but you could tell stories about the animals, show them the motions, and maybe watch the short video clips. I wouldn't put any emphasis on it beyond exposure, though. Just let them hear the sounds and see the letters and motions. Just find a developmentally appropriate way to do it.
     
  4. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I don't know Zoo Phonics in particular... but you sing the ABC's with toddlers, right? Not because you're expecting them to learn all the letters, just because you're exposing them to the song... and most kids can sing the ABCs before they recognize some or any of the letters (and how many of us alphabetize things without singing the song anyway...) .... just look at it that way maybe???
     
  5. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I'm not actually familiar with the Zoo Phonics program, but if you're just singing a song together, exposing them, and not replacing any other developmentally appropriate curriculum, then I don't think it's a problem.

    As a K teacher, I have a huge repertoire of alphabet songs in my head. I always sang some to my son as I changed his diaper ever since he was an infant. By 2 he knew all of the letters and could associate sounds with them. By 3 he was sounding out CVC words. I never, ever pushed him and never, ever did any kind of formal instruction. I just sang the songs to him and we read many books each day.

    I guess I do find it a little disturbing that it is being adopted as an official curriculum. Exposure is fine, but if it comes to a point where the children are EXPECTED to learn their letters and sounds at that age, I don't think it's necessarily appropriate.
     
  6. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I used Zoo-Phonics for the past 4 years with my 4-5 year olds. You can post the animal cards, talk about the animals and sing some of the songs, and read the stories from the literature section. The children will be familiar with the characters.

    You may want to attend the one-day training seminar. You'll learn some other age- appropriate activites to do with the characters.
     
  7. EDUK8_ME

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    I too having been using Zoo Phonics with my 4-5 year olds for the past couple of years. With toddlers, just make it fun by introducing the songs and movements with the animals' names. The focus on the letter names and sounds can come next year. I have a Beanie Baby for each letter which also makes the learning more tactile.
     
  8. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I did the same. I ended up sewing a little umbrella on one of the birds for Umber. :lol:

    I also bought colored fly swatters and laid the large cards on the table. When I called out an animal name, the child swatted the card.

    The hardest worker puppets would also be great for that age.
     
  9. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Love the umbrella idea:thumb:.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    We used the zoo phonics for the last couple of years with the 4's and 5's and it trickled down to the three's and older 2's.

    Exposure is fine, discussion is fine......but stop there. I guess given many of the other devices for learning letters I am less afraid of the developmental approp of this program than of others.
     
  11. TeaRoses4M&D

    TeaRoses4M&D Rookie

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    I agree with you Kase, I think it is inappropriate. I wish we could just let kids be kids. Since it is your centers choice I agree with the others about using it just as exposure.
     
  12. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    Ok thanks! I just wasn't sure at all about how to go about it! You guys gave me some great ideas! I appreciate it!
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    I notice that you are in san diego......so zoos are within your children's realm of exposure. my children have to travel 4 hrs to a zoo. I would think that you could base your program on the "zoo" part of the "zoo-phonics" and let the "phonics" slip in as a secondary issue. using the puppets and things would also work great, but still "this is a zebra" as the major concept rather than "this is a z".

    zoo phonics does start with the animal and shape rather than the black line letter anyway
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  14. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    It seems that many programs feel the need to turn to academics instead of learning by play. I find some programs resort to the academic route when they are not sure of the definition of Developmentally Appropriate. If this is the case, you might suggest a review of Piaget or a good ECE text.
     
  15. Stayhomemommy

    Stayhomemommy New Member

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    You'd be surprised

    I started working with my children when they were just about 18 months and by the time they were 2 years old, they knew their colors, shapes, numbers and alphabet. We would work on it for a few minutes daily and I was quite surprised how eager they were to learn and that they had the capability to learn it all. I did find if they went longer than a couple of months without working on any of it they would start to forget some of the letters. However, this allowed us to start working on letter sounds when they were 3 and by the time they were 4 they were reading quite well. I realize children all learn at different levels, but I've found that teaching only letters and numbers audibly and not a combined audibly and visually can hold them back from their potential. If you can help your child by doing this only 5 minutes or under a day, I think it's amazing, and can really help develop great reading skills. Once you start teaching the zoo phonics, I think you'll be surprised after a couple months how many children are benefiting. Don't underestimate the power of little ones!
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    There is a lot of power in the interactions between a child and parent.
     

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