SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

The Triangle Base: Three Core Skills All Early Elementary Children Need To Enhance Learning

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When parents want to prepare a healthy meal for their child, there are hundreds of cookbooks to guide them. But when a parent wants to prepare their child for school success, there are limited resources at their disposal. That is about to change! I am so happy to be contributing to this blog to show parents simple, fun, and effective ways to enhance their child's ability to learn.

Preschool and elementary-aged children need to develop a certain skill set before they can master learning. Experience has taught me that there are three main skills to be mastered.

I call these skills my "Triangle Base."

These skills are:

· Rhyming (This promotes Phonemic Awareness, a crucial pre-reading skill. Simply put, this is the ability to hear sounds in spoken language.)

· One-to-One Correspondence. (In math, this means seeing the numeral six, for example, and being able to count out six objects. In reading, it means that the child is saying what he or she is seeing.)

· Patterns. Recognizing and understanding both visual and auditory patterns. (An example of a visual pattern would be tile placement on a floor. An example of an auditory pattern would be the "E,I,E,I,O" refrain from the "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" song.)

These three important core skills form a solid base upon which most other educational skills can be built and sharpened. I'll be sharing some tips, games, activities, and resources to help your children learn these core skills and more! Together we will give your children a "head start" that will greatly improve their ability to reach their true academic potential. Hope you will check in often and add your own thoughts and suggestions in the comments.


#7 Connie McCarthy 2009-06-11 19:06
Hi Kerin,
Thanks for your question. Traditionally play groups are composed of children aged two and three. Most of my games and activities target children from ages four to seven. However, there is a website
www.playgroupsusa.com that is full of ideas and activities to help run a successful, productive playgroup. I hope this helps answer your question.
#6 Carol Nordin 2009-06-08 20:26
It's so refreshing to find a source for new and inspired ways of helping children learn! Preparing children for school can seem like such a daunting challenge, but these simple tips show how the experience can really be one exploration and joy. Great site!
#5 Kerin Bashaw 2009-06-05 22:22
Great Info. I am going to forward this on to my former Au Pair ( basically my adopted daughter) who is now a mom of two. As she is from the Ukraine, she asked me for tips on what she could do to get her kids ready for school in California. I am a nurse, not an educator. Great simple tips in easy language. Connie, do you have any ideas for play groups?
#4 Martha 2009-06-03 15:26
Thank you! I have read Connie's columns in our local paper and have found her advice so helpful in addressing educational questions as to my preschooler! She'll be a great asset to your website!
#3 Patti 2009-06-03 14:40
This is very helpful information! My child is only 2.5, and I want to start building these pre-reading skills in a very low-key way...
#2 beth welch 2009-06-02 21:29
I know what a positive influence Connie McCarthy had on my family by being my daughter's first teacher. Not only did my daughter get a great start, but my husband was a welcome visitor to the classroom. This increased his understanding and appreciation of our daughter and her education. Thank you Connie! I am so glad that your wonderful ideas and insights will now be shared with so many others.
#1 Jeanne ONeill 2009-06-02 17:07
What great information to help children find success in school before they even start. Tools that will help them all through their school years.

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