Parents' Guide

"Let's make education better together. Did your child read, write and practise maths today?"

  Dear Parents

Message from the Western Cape Education Department

The WCED welcomes you and your child to Grade 1.

Grade 1 is a very important year. If your child enjoys her first few days at school, she'll learn more easily, grow in confidence and build a solid foundation for the rest of her learning life.

This booklet makes some suggestions as to what you may do to support your child in her first year at school.

The Grade 1 curriculum comprises three subjects: Language, Mathematics and Life Skills.

This booklet provides a snapshot of the Language and Mathematics syllabuses. We make suggestions as to how you can help your child in these subjects. At the end of the booklet you'll find links to the full electronic version of the curriculum on our website, links to further printed and video material and links to media that will keep you informed of what's happening in the WCED.

I wish your child a happy year during which she successfully learns to read, write and do sums..

With best wishes

PA VINJEVOLD
HEAD: EDUCATION


How you can help your child achieve in Grade 1

Ensure that your child knows what to expect

Everybody needs to know what to expect when starting something new. Talk to your child and find out what he expects and what he is worried about. Answer his questions and explain that school is a place where he'll meet new people, get to make lots of friends and learn to read, write and calculate.

Tell him that you will help him with his reading and writing in Grade 1 and that you will help him learn many new words. Explain that he should listen carefully in class and do the work he is given to the best of his ability. Suggest that learning is exciting and fun.

Explain that the two most important things he must do is to learn how to read and how to do sums, and that these skills are very important because they open doors to the world of learning.

Parents also need to be prepared

In order to assist your child, check pages 3 and 4 to see what he will need to learn in Language and Mathematics by the end of Grade 1.

Snapshot of the Language syllabus

What your child must know and be able to do by the end of Grade 1

Listening and speaking: In Grade 1, your child will learn to listen carefully and to ask questions. She will also sound the alphabet and learn how to build and pronounce words. She will enjoy stories her teacher reads her.

Reading: Being able to read will open your child to more of the real world and more of the world of the imagination. By the end of Grade 1 she should have learnt to recognize and sound all the letters of the alphabet, including simple words and sentences.

Writing: In Grade 1 your child will learn how to use a pencil, paintbrush and crayon. By the end of Grade 1 she will be able write all the letters of the alphabet, including simple words, sentences and stories.

What you can do to help your child develop language skills

Here are some tips to assist your child:

  • Set aside time in which to talk about school.
  • Encourage eye contact in order to help him concentrate on what is being said.
  • Keep alive your child's natural curiosity by answering questions fully.
  • Develop a love for reading by regularly visiting the library and helping choose books your child will enjoy.
  • Read your child a story every night before bed.
  • Develop a love for story-telling. Tell family stories and encourage him to tell stories about his own experiences. Ask questions about the stories.
  • Ask him questions. Find out how he feels and what he thinks.
  • Give books as presents.
  • Make your child conscious of the alphabet. ("Is this a 'b' or a 'd'?").
  • Help your child to read words ("What is the name on this label?").
  • Increase your child's vocabulary by 5 to 10 words every day.

Snapshot of the Mathematics syllabus

What your child must know and be able to do by the end of Grade 1

Numbers: Your child's ability to work with numbers will help him forge a natural link with the outside world. In Grade 1 your child will learn how to recognise, describe, record, compare and order, as well as solve word problems with answers up to 20.

Patterns: Patterns are everywhere: Your heartbeat, breathing, music, seashells, sand dunes and breaking waves. Numbers also form patterns, as in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Your child must be able to recognize, describe and copy patterns, where possible. He will also work with shapes to create his own patterns.

Space and Shape: You child will learn about three-dimensional objects (spheres, balls, boxes, prisms) and two-dimensional shapes (circles, triangles and squares). Of importance also is the relationship between objects ("Is the triangle above or below the circle?").

Measurement: Your child will use informal units of measurement to determine the mass of an object (e.g. a balance scale), length (e.g. string, hand spans) and volume (e.g. bottles, containers). He will use words like 'more', 'less', 'empty' or 'full' to describe what he observes.

Time: Your child will learn to distinguish times of the day (morning, evening) and to use a calendar to determine the days of the week and months of the year.

General

Please talk to your child's teacher about how to build your child's reading, writing and maths skills at home. By supporting your school you can do a lot to ensure your school is a happy place in which to teach and learn.

What you can do to assist your child with mathematics

If your child can learn to enjoy and not fear mathematics then the world of patterns, numbers, shapes will open up for him. Therefore, think and talk maths with your child:

  • If the newspaper costs R 15 on Saturday and R 5 on Monday, how much more do we pay on Saturday?
  • Which bucket holds more water?
  • How much time before we take the bread out of the oven?
  • What shape should we make this cookie?
  • When shopping, point out how items are arranged on shelves, how they vary in shape, size and cost.
  • Play number games with your child (e.g. dominoes, snakes and ladders).
  • In addition to the date, weeks and months, use the calendar for counting and number patterns.

In addition

You can also help your child and your teacher by

  • ensuring your child arrives at school on time.
  • ensuring your child obtains exercise books and any other relevant books in the first week of school.
  • checking that your child has read, written and practised maths every day.
  • ensure that your child has adequate exercise and sleep
  • checking your child's exercise books regularly.
  • appreciating the importance of homework; although it should not exceed 10 minutes a day in the first two terms of Grade 1, and 15 minutes in terms 3 and 4.
  • discussing your child's progress with the teacher (Your school should provide you with an assessment plan at the beginning of the year and a formal progress report at the end of each term.); and
  • ensuring your child attends school every day for the 200 days of the school year.

Literacy and numeracy resources

WCED Online website

  1. Web address: http://wced.school.za
  2. Our website is updated daily and gives you a find-a-school facility, curriculum information, education news, frequently asked questions and much more.
  3. There is also an excellent Tips for Parents page:
    http://wced.school.za/documents/ParentTips-LitNum/index.html particularly

    • Grades R to 6: How to build your child's reading, writing and maths skills at home
    • Grade 3: How to improve your child's reading, writing and language skills at home
    • Grade 3: How to improve your child's maths skills at home
    • Holiday and leisure-time reading guide
    • Links to a selection of Internet ("online") games and activities to help reinforce your children's literacy and numeracy skills
    • You can click on Education Update on our home page to read online editions of our newspaper.

WCED YouTube channel

  1. Web address: http://www.youtube.com/wcednews

  2. Check out the following TeacherTips YouTube videos

    • 'Getting every child in your class reading' series of seven short video clips on YouTube that will give you insight into how a good teacher encourages reading in her classroom and ideas for things to do at home.

    • 'The MST Project' (MST stands for Maths, Science and Technology), with the following titles of particular relevance: Shapes and relationships, More shapes and relationships, Numbers, Volume and size, Shape and perspective, Giving and following instructions, Area, Solids, Building confidence, Temperature.

    • The channel also features the Western Cape's award-winning teachers and principals. View the videos to see what top quality teaching and school leadership are all about.

Recommended reading

Children should read during holidays and leisure time to practise reading and to develop a love of books. Here are examples of fun books for children in Grades R to 6 that are usually available in libraries and bookshops.

Local publications:
Foundation Phase Picture books

  • Niki Daly: A song for Jamela
  • Niki Daly: Happy Birthday, Jamela!
  • Niki Daly: Jamela's dress
  • Niki Daly: Where's Jamela?
  • Niki Daly: Yebo, Jamela!
  • Joan Rankin: First day
  • Lesley Beake / Karin Littlewood: Home now
  • Maryanne Bester: Mealies and beans
  • Maryanne Bester: The long trousers
  • Mari Grobler: Lulama's magic blanket
  • Mari Grobler: Musa's journey
  • Mari Grobler: Siyolo's jersey
  • Mari Grobler: Thandiwe's choice
  • Hartmann, Wendy: We're having a party
  • Hartmann, Wendy: In a house, in a house
  • Hartmann, Wendy: Just Sisi
  • Wendy Maartens: A star with stripes
  • Wendy Maartens: Lena's bottle tree
  • Chris van Wyk: Ouma Ruby's secret
  • Sindiwe Magona: The best meal ever
  • Gcina Mhlophe: The singing chameleon
  • Elinor Batezat Sisulu: The day Gogo went to vote
  • Pat Thomson / Niki Daly (ill.): The squeaky, creaky bed

International publications:
Foundation Phase Picture books

  • Jeannie Baker: Belonging
  • Jeannie Baker: Window
  • Bernard Ashley: Double the love
  • Trish Cooke: Full, full, full of love
  • Sam McBratney: Guess how much I love you
  • Eileen Browne: Handa's hen
  • Jane Yolen: How do dinosaurs eat their food?
  • Jane Yolen: How do dinosaurs go to school?
  • Jane Yolen: How do dinosaurs learn colours and numbers?
  • Jane Yolen: How do dinosaurs say good night?
  • Lauren Child: I am absolutely too small for school
  • Lauren Child: But excuse me, that is my book
  • Lauren Child: I am not sleepy and will not go to bed
  • Lauren Child: I will not ever never eat a tomato
  • Lauren Child: We can honestly look after your dog
  • Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny
  • Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny too
  • Ian Falconer: Olivia
  • Ian Falconer: Olivia saves the circus
  • Ian Falconer: Olivia helps with Christmas
  • Bob Graham: Let's get a pup!
  • Bob Graham: How to heal a broken wing
  • Emily Gravett: Little Mouse's big book of fears
  • Emily Gravett: Meerkat mail
  • Emily Gravett: Wolves
  • Mary Hoffman: Princess Grace
  • Rob Scotton: Russell the sheep
  • Rob Scotton: Russell and the lost treasure
  • Patricia Polacco: Thank you, Mr Falker
  • Alice McLerran: The mountain that loved a bird
  • Eric Carle: The very hungry caterpillar
  • Graham Base: The waterhole
  • Julia Jarman: Class Two at the zoo
  • Nancy Coffelt: Fred stays with me
  • Michelle Knudsen: Library lion
  • Anthony Browne: Little Beauty
  • Carl Norac: My grandpa is a champion
  • Joyce Carol Thomas: The blacker the berry
  • Norton Juster: The hello, goodbye window
  • Jessica Swain: The hound from the pound
  • Jerry Pinkney: The lion and the mouse
  • Bernard Ashley: Double the love
  • Trish Cooke: Full, full, full of love
  • Sam McBratney: Guess how much I love you
  • Eileen Browne: Handa's hen
  • Jane Yolen: How do dinosaurs eat their food?
  • Lauren Child: I am absolutely too small for school
  • Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny
  • Bob Graham: Let's get a pup!
  • Emily Gravett: Little Mouse's big book of fears
  • Emily Gravett: Meerkat mail
  • Mary Hoffman: Princess Grace
  • Rob Scotton: Russell the sheep
  • Patricia Polacco: Thank you, Mr Falker
  • Alice McLerran: The mountain that loved a bird
  • Eric Carle: The very hungry caterpillar
  • Graham Base: The waterhole.

Non-Fiction:
Foundation Phase

  • Peter Riley: Bang!: sound and how we hear things
  • Julie Haydon: Grow your own lettuce
  • Helen Lanz: Jamela's dress
  • Claire Llewellyn: Making with paper
  • Jim Pipe: Racing cars
  • Frances Ridley: Supercars.

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