Engaging in early literacy behaviors can help children build important skills for life!
Research shows that the architecture of the brain is formed in the earliest years of life, and having a strong foundation from the start makes learning and living easier as children grow. This foundation can be built easily when adults talk, sing share books, and play with their children in joyful and loving ways from the earliest days of their lives (and while they are still in utero, too!)
- Everyday tasks that involve literacy include knowing how to read the label on a medicine bottle, to understand exit signs on a highway, and to apply for a job. Illiteracy has been linked to poor health outcomes, gender inequality, and generational poverty. Knowing how to read empowers people access to better opportunities in life that have been shown to break the poverty cycle.
- Being able to communicate involves knowing the words to express how you are feeling, to ask what for what you need, and to give support to others. When caring adults have "conversational duets" with their children, they are exposing them to words and building their vocabulary. Hearing many words in use via shared songs, stories, and conversations in the earliest years of life set the stage for a large vocabulary later on.
- Being able to listen and follow directions is an important skill! Following a boss's directions is a key component for being able to hold down a job. Following safety instructions can essential for survival. And to succeed in the classroom, children need to be able to hear what the teacher is saying and follow through on assignments.
Mother Goose on the Loose helps children develop language and literacy skills. Positive experiences with books create the desire to learn to read. Being able to recognize illustrations and felt characters and connect them with upcoming songs or rhymes is the same type form of “de-coding” used in reading. Clapping and tapping to syllables enables children to hear the sounds in words, which helps with learning to read. MGOL’s built-in repetition helps children acquire a rich vocabulary and strengthens foundational reading skills.
- Being able to wait is not always fun, but it is an important skill to have. Cutting in line is looked upon as being rude. Waiting for COVID test results before socializing with others effects other people's health as well as your own. Waiting for a red light to turn green may be tedious, but that is what prevents accidents. Knowing how to raise your hand rather than shouting out an answer means an easier classroom experience.
- Being able to think before acting is called "self-regulation." When people are angry, if they are able to pause and take time to think about why they are angry and decide upon a good way respond that won't have disastrous consequences, they will have less chance of being incarcerated.
Mother Goose on the Loose helps children develop skills for success in a classroom and beyond. MGOL gives children opportunities to practice listening, paying attention, following directions, taking turns, and stopping when they hear the word “stop” through games and rewarding activities.
- Participating in group activities involves respecting the space of others, responding to instructions, and feeling comfortable when surrounded by other people. Sometimes, being alone feels right. At other times, it is important to be part of a group. If a fire alarm goes off in a crowded public area, everyone is expected to move as a group to the nearest exit and wait outdoors until the "All clear" signal is given.
- When young children feel loved, they believe that they matter. This grows into a sense of self-confidence. Children who believe that they are capable human beings are willing to try new things. Rather than become incapacitated when they make mistakes and feeling that "It's better not to try at all," their belief in themselves encourages them to keep trying until that accomplish what is needed.
Mother Goose on the Loose builds connections. It is not a performance; it is an early literacy program facilitated by a presenter that uses nursery rhymes to create positive connections between children and their caregivers. Caregivers learn about their child’s development though informal “developmental tips”; children learn through purposeful play. Opportunities for positive reinforcement abound. Children feel pride in their achievements, and they learn how much fun it is show appreciation to others, too.
- The world is composed of a wide variety people. Learning to respect and appreciate others with different abilities and backgrounds, of varying economic status, gender, size, race, and religion helps to keep democracy strong. Understanding and accepting the existence of different perspectives minimizes conflicts.
Mother Goose on the Loose purposefully creates a nurturing, non-judgmental environment where each individual is celebrated. Facilitators are encouraged to use a broad selection of images that represent the wide array of people in our world.
- Children in the 21st century need to learn more than basic reading, writing, and arithmetic. Technological advances and the easy sharing of information means that essential life skills now include the ability to focus and have self-control, to think critically, solve problems creatively, work well as part of a team, and communicate effectively.
- Parents who work full-time don’t have frequent, large chunks of their time together with their children. Home daycare providers, grandparents, nannies, neighbors, and teachers may take care of these young children while their parents are away. They may not have studied child development or early childhood education, but they can make a lasting, positive impact on the children in their care by talking, singing, sharing books joyfully, and playing together.
Mother Goose on the Loose is easy to learn and easy to present. It is flexible enough to be successfully used in many different settings. Public libraries and children’s museums use MGOL for baby and toddler times. Childcare centers and preschools use it for circle time as well as for classroom enrichment and management. Playgroups use it for activity time. Parents and grandparents enjoy MGOL activities shared with their children at home or virtually. Immigrants learn English by accompanying their children to MGOL programs. Drug rehabilitation centers teach parenting through MGOL.
Mother Goose on the Loose follows the “Listen, Like, Learn” approach. Its structure gives presenters flexibility to use songs and rhymes that they already know, making it easy to plan and present. Each presenter has the opportunity to share themselves comfortably with their audience, whether it is an audience of one or sixty!
- Brains grow by making connections, and most of the connections that form the basis of brain architecture are made in the first three years of life. More experiences create more connections; early exposure to music, movement, art, science, math, books, animal noises, and more in positive ways sets the stage for easier learning later on.
Mother Goose on the Loose helps children develop skills for success. The built-in repetition helps children acquire a rich vocabulary and strengthens foundational reading skills. MGOL helps children develop social skills by giving children opportunities to practice turn-taking, direction following, paying attention and showing appreciation to others. They are participating as a community within a group, and also experiencing teamwork with their accompanying adult. Doing fingerplays, hearing and seeing patterns, participating in number talk and spatial talk, comparing amounts and sizes, and following a sequenced structure builds early math skills. Playing with colored scarves and musical instruments stimulates curiosity, exploration, imagination, and STEM skills. The age-appropriate listening, moving, and singing that takes place in MGOL exercises fine and gross motor skills, fosters speech development, keeps children’s interest for an extended period of time, gives children opportunities to make scientific observations regarding cause and effect, and provides a joyful introduction to the world of books and reading.
Having these skills makes life easier and safer! It can make a gigantic difference in what a child is able to achieve as an adult. And these skills are not learned from a classroom; they are learned though children's interactions with their caregiving adults in the earliest years of life. Mother Goose on the Loose helps with all of this!
Why do parents love Mother Goose on the Loose? Two moms share their thoughts about MGOL after attending the last of a 4-session series.