A critical window of time before the age of eight years old exists when the brain is more receptive to reorganization from sensorimotor and language experiences. Accordingly, early interventions are highly effective in bolstering sensorimotor and linguistic skills that can facilitate early literacy acquisition. This study supports the development of a play-based supplemental program targeting sensorimotor and oral language skills to be embedded in kindergarten programs. Programming will be developed collaboratively with teachers (Foothills School Division and Calgary Catholic School District), researchers (University of Calgary) and speech-language pathologists (Alberta Health Services). By engaging in iterative reflective cycles within a design-based model, this work will result in a set of evidenced-based flexible lesson plans linked to the curriculum and best practices for oral language and sensorimotor development in early childhood classrooms. Early learning is the research priority guiding this project and the following insights will be provided:
- A better understanding of how programs targeting sensorimotor and language development contribute to literacy readiness skills in the kindergarten context.
- How engaging a collaborative interdisciplinary network can effectively enhance knowledge and capacity building in early literacy programming.
- How a program can be designed to enhance parental support for home-based, play-based pre-literacy activities.
We are currently engaged with teacher professional development through a kindergarten Community of Practice examining the literature in early literacy learning focusing on teaching practices that enhance sensorimotor, oral language development and parent engagement strategies.