This post is designed to give you background and information related to different activities we do in kindergarten and the purpose each activity serves. Hopefully you will find this behind the scenes view helpful in understanding what and how your child learns at school.
Heggerty is a series of activities designed to teach children phonemic awareness. We call our Heggerty activities “sound games”. We play sound games to help the kids learn to hear and manipulate sounds in words. We use actions to make the games feel playful. It is important to note that phonemic awareness is all related to sounds and is oral and verbal. There are not visual components and letters are not used. Phonemic awareness is a pre phonics skill. In other words, kids need to be able to do things like rhyme, break apart sounds in words, and blend sounds together before they apply that knowledge to print. Sound games involve noticing if words rhyme or not, counting words in a sentence, saying the beginning or ending sound in a word, and breaking compound words apart and putting compound words together. We will practice more difficult skills as the year progresses and keep breaking words down into smaller and smaller parts.
Fundations primarily teaches phonics. This is where we connect sounds to print. We call this “letter time”. We will focus on a few letters each week during the first trimester as well as practicing letters we learned in previous weeks. We use large motor and fine motor activities to teach kids the letter name, the keyword (that helps us know the letters sound) and the letters sound. We work on forming the letters on the lines using specific phrases. Fundations is very repetitive to help the kids become automatic with their phonics and handwriting skills so these skills will become routine and easy. As the year progresses we will learn more about other phonics concepts and applying phonics to reading and writing. Here is a video that shows all the letters, keywords and sounds we practice. Feel free to use this with your child at home to practice- just listen and repeat each letter/keyword/sound!