L Star starts school next week so the topic of ‘School Readiness’ looms large in my world. It’s a term you start to hear a lot in Australia once your child turns four as by that age preschools have to run a SR program to work on developing literacy and numeracy. If you are looking for apps to support this at home you will find a wonderful selection to choose from and I will detail a few of our favourites. But a huge aspect of starting school is adapting to the change in routine and the emotional literacy to express and cope with this change.
Not many apps deal with that so I was thrilled to come across the ‘I Learn’ app by Bizzibrains, produced in association with Screen Australia.
It focuses less on numbers or letters and more on a visualization of the actual routine of going to school and what to expect. L Star got straight into it, personalising his own character as well as one for me and one for his new teacher. Bizzibrains owner Nic Lansdell explains, ‘I learn is all about helping kids enjoy the transition into a new class. It’s about getting familiar with your teacher, with getting yourself ready for school (I couldn’t resist getting kids to make their own bed in the app!), with the idea that learning is fun and that it’s ok to feel and share many different emotions.”
I especially like the way this app presents different scenarios that a child may encounter during the school day, such as finding their peg, hanging up their bag, seeing children feeling a range of different emotions on their first day as well as making new friends in the playground. Also included are a range of activities reinforcing basic literacy and numeracy concepts as well. A great addition to our iPad for these last few days before big school begins.
In terms of practicing core literacy and numeracy skills, the following apps have been popular in our house. Whilst I favour apps that foster creativity and open ended play, these few have made practicing basic skills fun and engaging for my little man.
Letter tracing made fun. Although this app demonstrates using a finger to trace the shapes, I think it’s much more valuable when used with a stylus as kids don’t write with their finger! Using a stylus helps kids practice correct pencil grip as well as letter shapes.
More advanced maths skills are encountered by helping Alice the zebra to do some baking. Kids learn to add, measure, divide and sequence.
A quality app from Duck Duck Moose that engages kids in a mathematical adventure teaching counting, addition, subtraction, sorting and geometry along the way.