PALS provides fun, interactive ways to support literacy

September 20, 2017

By Kamloops This Week |

Arguably the first and biggest rite of passage for children is their entrance into kindergarten and the institutionalized world of learning that will ultimately determine their success in life. It is therefore also a considerable time of stress for parents, who want the best for their kids, but may have little understanding of what goes on in kindergarten and how to prepare for it.

The sense of unease may be even more acute for immigrant families who are fully occupied making a new home for themselves and whose understanding of schooling differs from the Canadian system.

Ideally, parents should have a clear understanding of what is expected of their children, along with tools to ensure they transition smoothly and productively from the home to the institutional setting — and that is precisely why the Parents as Literacy Supporters (PALS) program has become so valued throughout B.C.

Administered by Decoda Literacy Solutions, PALS provides parents and caregivers with strategies to support their preschool and kindergarten-aged children’s learning in fun and interactive ways. Through a series of 10 two- to three-hour sessions held in schools and community centres, family members learn how to support their children’s learning and literacy, as well as build social networks with each other and with teachers and administrators.

“PALS facilitators give the adult participants content and structure to prepare their children for learning,” said Aliza Dhungana, program manager for Decoda. “A typical session will include discussions about literacy and what is expected of children in kindergarten. Meanwhile, children in the sessions interact separately with early child educators and are exposed to basic concepts such as ABC learning, rhymes and other educational processes. There is also lots of play between the parent or caregiver and the children.”

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