STELLAR stands for ‘strengthening teaching of early language and literacy in Grade R’.
The STELLAR Emergent Literacy Programme was designed to support Grade R teachers to develop the knowledge and skills they need to teach oral language and emergent literacy effectively.
Wordworks decided to focus on Grade R because evidence shows how important oral language and literacy foundations are for all school learning. Children who have more developed language and literacy capabilities when they start Grade One go on to become betters readers and writers. We have learned that in the early years children need to have opportunities to build their competence and understanding in two key areas – language skills (such as vocabulary and comprehension) and code-related skills (such as letter-sound knowledge). STELLAR provides theoretical and practical ideas to help Grade R teachers work with young children to build these crucial skills in a fun, story-based, activity-rich programme.
Teachers participating in the programme attend training and reflective workshops over the course of a year, ensuring that new teaching insights, methods and practices can become embedded in the classroom. We use participative learning techniques that help to build teachers’ competence and confidence in a non-judgmental environment. Teachers implement the programme between workshops and share their experiences and learning with each other as the course progresses. Participants receive a file of user-friendly materials that enables them to continue delivering the programme after the training has ended. The materials include stories, big books, puppets, sequence pictures, activity guidelines, tips and ideas, photocopiable resources and much more.
The STELLAR Emergent Literacy Programme has continued to grow with the help of funding from the School Capacity and Innovation Programme (funded by USAID, the ELMA Foundation and JP Morgan). In 2015 – 2016, Wordworks has increasingly moved from direct teacher training to work in the Western and Eastern Cape with Education NGOs, Departmental Officials and Lead Teachers so that they can work with many more teachers to develop emergent literacy knowledge and skills.
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