Get to know your AOs: Tanya Lau

Tanya Lau, an Authorised Officer from the Agile 2 team shares literacy and numeracy strategies she’s observed in a variety of service contexts. The Agile team works in quality assessment and compliance across different geographic areas in NSW.

What is your position and where are you based?

I am a Senior Field Officer with Agile 2 team. I'm currently based in the City of Ryde, the land of the Wallumedegal clan of the Darug nation.

What is your professional background and your qualifications?

I am Early Childhood trained, and have primarily worked at long day care services back in my home country prior to moving to Sydney, where I’ve continued on this wonderful journey of teaching.

Education and care services have a play based curriculum. What are some ways you have observed services embed literacy and numeracy in their program and routine?

As research shows, learning through play is how children absorb information, learn about the things around them and understand the world. It's really hard for me to pinpoint specific practices because each service approaches their program and routine in a unique way that is respectful to their families and community context. But I can safely say that most services that I visit are embedding literacy and numeracy beyond the view that focuses on your traditional learning to write, read and count.

These educators consistently reflect on ways to provide rich and meaningful literacy and numeracy experiences that are appropriate to different age groups, moving away from the 'one size fits all' experiences, and this could be as simple as singing nursery rhymes to a child under 2 years. I find that educators do this, not for the purpose of 'just because', but they intentionally act as they recognise such experiences are important beginnings to early literacy. It is the educator’s intentionality to engage with children meaningfully and recognise these teachable literacy and numeracy moments.

Other ways that services embed literacy and numeracy learning are through opportunities for children to have:

  • hands-on approaches in their learning
  • language rich environment through texts
  • meaningful interactions with peers and adults
  • one on one conversations
  • group learning
  • access to a range of materials
  • educators supporting families to promote their first and home language
  • services that are reflecting on how to use the Aboriginal 8 ways of learning authentically in their program.

All these practices provide a broad scope of opportunities for children to experience literacy and numeracy in their early years.

What do you believe is the benefit of embedding literacy and numeracy in the program and routine?

I believe that it provides children with a strong foundation for later development, and I don't mean for children to simply be 'literate' and 'numerate'. It provides them early opportunities to use literacy and numeracy skills to be intentional, to be creative, to be innovative, to connect socially and emotionally, to be able to navigate through technology, to develop mathematical ideas and to be confident in using the disposition of language and mathematics in all its forms in their daily life. Because when you think about it, we use literacy and numeracy everyday in our lives, for example, just like how you have developed the ability to read, analyse and think about what you have read here. Can you imagine if you hadn't developed these skills in your early years? Therefore I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to engage children in their literacy and numeracy learning journey from an early age.

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