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Quicker learning system for pre-units introduced

Charles Okwemba @charlito56

Your child will soon learn how to read through the use of phonetic sounds as opposed to learning the alphabet. The system, already widely used in kindergartens in the  west, is part of the new changes that is set to give life to early childhood education through the introduction of Jolly Phonics in early childhood learning curriculum.

“Jolly Phonics uses sight, a sound and an action for every letter sound. This means whether your child is a visual, audio or a kinesthetic learner their needs are met,” says Rishna Gudhka, Founder of Wiggles and Giggles learning Centre. Jolly Phonics traces its origin in Britain.

Speaking at a workshop held for teachers from different school in Nairobi to introduce Jolly Phonics, Rishna said the method teaches children to read by identifying and pronouncing sounds rather than individual letters. 

“It is a teaching methodology where children can learn up to 40 plus sounds of the English language rather than the alphabet. The children are then taken through the stages of blending and segmenting words to develop reading and writing skills,” said Rishna .

Other than phonetics meeting the needs of visual, audio and kinesthetic learners, Jolly Phonics also uses games, songs and poems, which make learning enjoyable for children.  “I believe this teaching method has the capacity to transform literacy levels in the country.

We have witnessed and read research that conforms that a large majority of students leave primary school unable to read properly and continue to struggle in secondary school and beyond,” Rishna said.

She intends to lobby the Ministry of Education to consider adopting the methodology in the new curriculum. Munira Adamjee, an experienced nursery school teacher, manager and early learning consultant, says that in her assessment as a tutor for early learners, a child learning through phonetics can end up with a reading age two years above what is expected of them.

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