Project Description

Through Gestures and Music into the World of Phonics (GEM)

Early childhood development takes place across a wide range of social, emotional and cognitive levels. One key area of development occurs in terms of language and literacy. Language and literacy encompass a child’s ability to express their wants and needs, to understand a growing vocabulary, and establishes the foundation for developing comfort with reading. Unfortunately, not all children for multiple reasons have high quality early childhood literacy experiences.

The project “Through Gestures and Music into the World of Phonics” (GEM) aims to improve the literacy skills of young children in a natural and fun way, through the methods and materials introducing phonics as a key element. The project targets preschool children (age 3 to 4 years old in the UK and 3 to 7 in the Czech Republic and Slovenia), who are learning English as a first or second language. The gesture and music method of teaching of phonics for young children will include ‘listening’ walks, action songs, learning rhymes, and learning the most common single letter sounds through phonics and music.  This method of teaching will improve confidence, memory, involvement and recall of sounds and letters. The method will be introduced in two different learning scenarios: in preschool settings in the UK and in the publicly funded institutions where children start to learn English very early (from 3 to 7).

The project aims also to promote sign language, believing that being able to use sign alphabet and the phonic concept is a skill for life and useful not only for deaf and hard of hearing children but also for the children with the special needs (late talkers, dyslexic children). One of the main results of the project will be comprehensive research as to how music and gestures are currently used in teaching literacy skills. This will be the basis to develop a concept on how to teach phonics on the basis of gestures/signs from British Sign Language and corresponding music. The handbook for the teachers will be prepared as the main methodological tool to support the teaching. In order to develop and implement competence, the training courses will be organized for English teachers as well as child care professionals in preschool education.

During the course of the project, there will be five planned face-to-face meetings: three meetings in Slovenia, Ljutomer, one meeting in the UK, Leeds and the other one – the Czech Republic, Prague. 21 teachers and child care professionals will be trained at the international training; 25 early years teachers will be trained in each country; the approach GEM will be implemented into child care settings (5 in each country), the final version of GEM will be prepared and the final publication disseminated.

Period of project implementation: 1.9.2018 – 28.02.2021

Project number: 2018-1-UK01–KA201-048184

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

The project is carried out in partnership with:

  • Tiny Signers (United Kingdom)
  • Gimnazija Franca Miklosica Ljutomer (Slovenia)