We were invited along to a taster class with Fun and Phonics at Kidzplay last week. Fun and Phonics is new to Harrogate but has been successfully running in Leeds for some time. It is an award-winning class, set up for two-to-five year olds, that introduces children to the first phase of letters and sounds, in a fun relaxed environment.
The class is run by Claire – better known as “The Letter Lady”. The aim of the class is to develop the child’s social, communication and fine motor skills and to ignite a love of letters and sounds through play.
I was a little dubious about taking my daughter to such a class. She’s two-and-a-half years old, and is a bit of a chatterbox but I was worried she was too young to go to this kind of class. She has the attention span of a gnat so wasn’t convinced she’d get much out of it. But Claire knew exactly how to keep the children’s attention. The class is really quick moving – which I think helped massively.
I imagined the class would focus on words and sounds, but the class also aims to fine tune children’s listening skills and to develop their social skill too. We started off with the hello song, then quickly went on to the “Play-Doh Disco” – a great little game where we all got given some Play-Doh which we had mould into different shapes as the song was playing. The aim of this part of the class was to encourage listening and develop fine motor skills.
The Play-Doh Disco was followed by instrument time! The children are all encouraged to play with all the instruments, to share and then keep a beat to the songs. I was really surprised how Claire got all the children to keep a beat. The children were then encouraged to tidy all the instruments up.
We then went on to discuss the letter of the week. This week the letter was T. You’re advised of the letter before you come so you can bring something from home your child is familiar with starting with that letter. A little song story accompanies the letter of the week – which helps the children to pronounce that letter.
We’re about halfway through the class by this point (told you it was quick paced!) and I could tell my daughter and some of the other children were getting a bit restless. By never fear – Claire’s a pro at this, and so at this point the pace changes a little – we now entered the “free flow” aspect of the class. Where the children can play in the sensory area, have a go at some crafts or use the phonics resources. My daughter spent the entire time in the sensory area – which was based on the Tiger Came For Tea, in keeping with the letter of the week. She poured cups of tea, squeezed tea bags and played with all the toy tigers. She loved it! We could have also made a letter train in the craft area or played with some of the phonics game in this time, but there was no way I was getting my daughter away from pouring tea for the tigers!
We all then came back together to recap what we’d learnt that day and also talk about all the things the children had bought in – which included a Thomas the
Tank Engine and a teddy! The class then finished with the old classic The Hokey Cokey – which always gets a big thumbs up from both me and my daughter.
All in all it was a great little class, really fast paced, lots of different things to do and it was nice to know my daughter was learning something too – she was singing the ‘T’ song all the way home!
Classes run on a Friday afternoon at Kidzplay.
*Disclosure……we were invited along to try the class free of charge but no amount of ‘Hokey Cokeying’ could persuade us to publish a dishonest review*