SEL: Wuppi from Planet Wupp
Each year, the SEL classes prepare for the visit of our friend “Wuppi” from the planet Wupp. Wuppi needs to learn how to listen, so that he can be crowned King of Wupp. Since the SEL students were also about to start their “Ear Exercises,” we sent an invitation by balloons, and Wuppi joined us for the first time last week.
Wuppi and the students will be introduced to the concept of Phonemic Awareness and thus lay the important groundwork for learning how to read and write. Wuppi presents weekly tasks, which begin with sound identification and sound localization, rhyme and syllables and will lead to letters and their sounds. Without any pressure to read or write, the children will experience which sound goes with which letter, how we can isolate individual sounds in a word through “Robot Speech” and how we can detect small differences between letters through careful listening. All this will happen through stories, games, mysteries and learning opportunities through which they exercise, repeat and develop their skills further in a playful way. These opportunities are also imbedded in our daily activities in all areas of learning, even in our Dramatic Play area. There they “write” the shopping list or recipes, when we learn about nutrition, or the “prescriptions” which need to be written by the vet for the sick animals in our play area, leading to the letters and postcards the children write to each other and send through the SEL post office, including address, return address and stamps.
What makes these exercises so special is that the children are not aware that they can also learn without worksheets or desk work, and that learning is actually fun.