Zoo Phonics for Toddlers?!

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

  1. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    Aug 30, 2009

    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.
     
  17. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I agree with you. Pre-K children come to us in at a wide range of levels. Some of my students know letter sounds; others don't know a letter from a scribble. The great thing about ZooPhonics is the children who know letter sounds see and understand them, and the children who don't have a clue about letters enjoy the animal characters. It reaches everyone at their level. If that's not DAP, I don't know what is.
     
  18. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    Sep 12, 2009

    I don't want to assume anything but by your screen name are you talking about your personal kids? If so, yes I'm sure it's easy to give that dedicated one on one time. But I'm trying to come up with an easy way to expose it since I HAVE to do it and I have 18 toddlers. Most of the time they do not want to sit. They would rather explore with their hands, sing songs, etc. I'm open to any ideas.
     
  19. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I can always count on you to bring up the subject of Developmentally Appropriate. You and I think alike in that way.

    I'm really concerned about the trend I see on these boards in some areas away from developmentally appropriate practice for young children. I've always felt that it's my job to make sure I'm looking out for the children in my care and defending developmentally appropriate practice from the cultural trends that keep seeping down into early childhood.
     
  20. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I think I missed the part where you HAVE to do it. That really stinks. :( For both you and the kids.

    I agree I'd just sing the songs, let them explore the puppets and keep offering them what you know is developmentally appropriate within the confines of the program. I've never seen Zoophonics, so I don't know anything about it, but I applaud you for trying to find a way to do it that fits in with the children's needs instead of making the children fit the program.
     
  21. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    And the program states that for little people you are playing with the moves and the music much more than you are playing with the black line card. It didn't even recommend using the black line shape until they are pre readers.....using the animal in the shape of a letter and the dance move (which is bi lateral and very large motor) is what you do in the beginning.

    I love it with the tinies and feel it is a very DAP way to meet the requests of people with whom I have a difference of DAP understanding.

    As others have said on other posts, meeting the goals of specific locations doesn't have to break DAP.......it is my job to ensure it doesn't. And that is why I chose Zoo Phonics.
     
  22. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    It is very singy.........and if you tie the letter characters to zoo animals you should be ok. My tiny ones are ok........they actually like the moves.

    Make sure you program buys the curric not just the posters, so that you can point the parts of the program that excuses you from the parts your kids don't want.
     
  23. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Thank you
     
  24. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    did you see the program/product yet?
     
  25. Kase

    Kase Companion

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    No, not yet. I'm so busy trying to train this teacher we got to replace my former co teacher and it's been so stressful. She's worked only with pre-k kids and now is working with 18 mos-24 mos and it's scaring me a little. I'll get back to zoo phonics when I handle this situation. But thank you everyone for the ideas and advice!
     

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