Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Sounds Right Phonics Class Review for Preschoolers in Loughton and Woodford

With my eldest I had no time for toddler groups. Going back to work full time after maternity leave meant my daughter was in nursery for 50 hours a week. I didn't feel guilty for taking the weekends easy as I knew nursery gave her new experiences and made sure all her developmental needs were met according to the EYFS. In contrast Little Sister has the luxury of her mummy being with her all the time and too much Peppa Pig. As she gets older I increasingly feel she needs time socialising with other children and learning new skills from adults outside the family. I believe strongly in the importance of play and not pushing children into structured learning too young, but I also want her to be ready for school when she starts. We were invited along to Sounds Right Phonics classes in Loughton to see what they are and how they help prepare children for school.

An adult and a child playing with play doh with disco lights on


We go to a few toddler groups, but they are generally free play or slightly more active versions of baby groups. Of course Little is learning at these classes, but with Sounds Right Phonics classes it is a step more advanced and I can directly see how these classes prepare children for school and learning to read and write.

Rachel runs the Sounds Right Phonics Classes in Loughton, Woodford and Chigwell and she invited Little and I along. The classes follow a tried and tested syllabus created by the central Sounds Right Phonics team, but Rachel uses her experience as a Primary School Teacher and mum of two young girls to ensure children are engaged, interested and enjoying themselves.

The classes are aimed at 2 to 5 year olds (although there are monthly MINIs classes for younger children too) so in each group there is a range of abilities from just talking to regular chatter boxes. Each class has several multi-sensory activities combining one on one moments (great for practising turn taking) with group activities. At just 2 Little can join in well from the class, but I think she would be more actively involved in 6 months or so.

A toddler posting a card into a mini post box while helped by the teacher


What happens at a Sounds Right Phonics class?


Each week there are repeated activities to help children feel familiar and confident as well as new exercises to make it interesting. When you go into the room there are rubber circles on the floor with a name label on. Older children love finding their own name and younger children like my daughter love to eat the rubber circles (oops). The class starts with a welcome song followed by Rachel going around the room asking children their name and getting them to post the name label into a letter box. There is no pressure on children who aren’t ready or willing to say their name, but plenty of encouragement for them to try.

View of the back of a toddlers head while she holds onto a parachute that is being wafted into the air

A quick recap of sounds and Jolly Phonics actions from previous weeks leads straight into introducing the new week's sound and games associated with the sound. The photographs are from the "p" week where we had a Parachute on which we made Popcorn with Pom Poms. For most of the class the activities vary, but there are regular activities such as Robot Reg who introduces oral blending and segmenting, a dough disco for developing fine motor skills and nursery rhymes. 

Children dancing with pom poms 


More about Rachel


Rachel runs the classes in the area she lives and grew up in. Previously a primary school teacher she loved teaching, but not so much all the admin and politics which surrounds it so after the birth of her second child she bought the Loughton, Woodford, Buckhurst Hill and Chigwell franchise of the Sounds Right Phonics Class. The classes involve all the bits of teaching she loves and it’s easy to see how much fun she has in them. 

Rachel hopes that by coming to Sounds Right Phonics Classes children will be more confident when they start school. A lot of the activities are similar to what they do in school, but in bite size sessions which better suit preschool children. It’s enough to encourage familiarity so when they start school they recognise the letters, sounds and activities and feel confident instead of overwhelmed. This should help them enjoy school faster.

Her first class started in September and she currently has weekly classes in Loughton on a Monday, Woodford and Chigwell on Fridays as well as monthly classes on a Sunday in Loughton. She is hoping to run more classes in the future so keep an eye on her social media or class list. The classes are fun and active making them perfect for preschoolers.

A sheet of sticker with a yellow robot on and saying abc sounds right phonic classes for kids

***Disclosure: I was invited to take part in the classes for the purpose of honest review. You can find out more about Rachel and her classes on her Facebook or Instagram. Contact Rachel to book onto a class.***
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