Nowadays, there are many skills children need to have in order to be able to advance in school – and in life. Besides social skills, learning skills, and organization skills, they also need literacy and numeracy skills. If you’re not very familiar with these terms, here’s what you should know about literacy and numeracy.
What is literacy
Literacy used to be just the ability to read and write. However, today it has become much more than that. It is the ability to read, understand, and analyse different forms of communication, both spoken and written. This also includes digital media, as technology has become an unavoidable part of our lives.
Literacy is learned gradually and begins at an early age when babies start hearing sounds and repeating them. Young kids who like reading children books, looking at pictures, and talking about them are also practising their literacy skills. Even music and dancing play a part in improving these skills.
What is numeracy
Numeracy is not just the ability to add, subtract, divide, and multiply numbers. It is also the ability to use mathematical reasoning in order to understand various everyday situations and see different possible ways of solving problems. To be able to do this, a child needs to learn how to make sense of different data, develop spatial awareness, understand sequences and patterns, and recognize where that mathematical reasoning could be used.
Just like literacy, numeracy also emerges at a young age. It starts with singing number rhymes, fitting objects into holes, playing sorting games, measuring different things etc. These are all pre-numeracy skills that can help your child become fluent in numeracy later on.
Why are these skills important?
Research has shown that children who don’t learn to write, read, and communicate properly are more likely to drop out of school, have low-paid and unsatisfying jobs (or remain unemployed), be physically and emotionally unhealthy.
Literacy and numeracy can thus be connected to exclusion, school attendance, social behaviour (alcohol and drugs consumption), health risks, and the quality of life in general. In other words, good literacy and numeracy skills can improve your child’s chances of reaching their full potential in life. Moreover, the skills are important not just for the individual development but also for the development of families, communities, and society in general.
How to teach those skills
As already mentioned, children start achieving those skills very early, which is why literacy and numeracy skills should be supported and encouraged consistently from the moment they start expressing them to the end of high-school.
As everybody knows, young kids have an inherent ability to absorb knowledge like a sponge. This means that everything you do with them and around them can affect their development and ability to learn. Therefore, this is the perfect age for slowly helping your child develop their communication skills, awareness of different shapes, symbols, and patterns, knowledge of repetition, etc.; knowing how to recognize different materials, shapes, and patterns – and how to classify, compare, and put them in a certain order – is extremely important for the development of their numeracy skills. This can also affect their learning abilities later on.
With that in mind, you should make sure your child gets quality early childhood education, such as the professional Eastwood early education that will ensure your child gains all the necessary skills in a natural and relaxing environment.
The influence of school
Literacy and numeracy skills continue to develop in primary school, they just become more dependent on the teachers’ ability to teach those skills. This becomes especially noticeable when kids are first introduced to new subjects, which they have to be able to analyse and understand.
Most people think that these skills should be mastered by the end of primary school. However, studies have shown that while some children do master literacy and numeracy, many will continue developing these skills throughout high school. Nevertheless, all children need quality teaching and pleasant learning experiences in order to acquire the skills they don’t have, improve the skills they do, and learn how to use them properly both inside and outside their school.
Literacy and numeracy are essential for achieving success in life, since having those skills can enable you to understand the world around you, communicate with other people properly, and be eligible for better job opportunities. With that in mind, you should do whatever you can to help your child develop those skills early on, so they can have a better chance of leading a quality and happy life.