About Every Child's Path

"Every Child's Path is a way to improve children's processing skills, with applications to early mathematics and literacy." Anne Kinch

As a Reading Recovery teacher, I have had the privilege of working with a number of grade one children who, compared to their peers, had a great deal of difficulty learning to read and write. My training provided me with a variety of strategies to improve each child’s skill level, according to his or her learning style. Upon completion of the Reading Recovery program, all but two children were able to join groupings of average or, at times, above average readers and writers in their classes.

During this period as a Reading Recovery teacher, I found, through an action research project, that children’s successes and difficulties in both early math and literacy appeared to be linked to their ability or inability to quickly interpret and remember information presented in a box framework. According to research, (Doug Clements, 1999) children best learn to see things in a sequence of frameworks: first a box, then a row, and finally a circle.

I discovered that only two children in the classes tested could quickly and accurately reproduce where they saw objects in a box every time. Therefore, it became clear to me that teaching children how to interpret and remember different kinds of information, seen in a box framework, (numbers, letters, sets, words, subsets etc.) is key to early learning. In fact, it provides a solid foundation for later learning in many subject areas. To get full benefit from this program, allow at least 3 or 4 months using the detailed lesson plans provided, as a core program daily. [You won’t need separate formal math, reading and writing lessons during this time.] Teachers who have followed the program for that time period  found that teaching all subjects became much easier and enjoyable. [See Teacher Feedback.] These teachers also concentrated on alphabet sounds more than letter names during this time.

I also realized that, by teaching kindergarten and pre-school children about the box framework, we could have fewer children needing remedial programs in later years.  

As a result, I developed Every Child's Path; a program that explores many different concepts relating to the box framework. Each concept has a complete lesson (20 minutes) with its own language and connections to mathematics and literacy. When lessons were tested on my own kindergarten class, only those that maintained the children’s attention and enthusiasm were included and refined.  

Teachers who have participated in my program are finding that using a large MAT as the box framework is an innovative, active, fun and easy way to improve their children’s processing skills, while improving their focusing, visualizing, listening and speaking skills. These same teachers reported that their children have quickly learned the language used in this program, and have applied it, with confidence, to all subject areas and testing materials.

By assigning names to specific corners [Starting, Stopping, Top, Bottom] and edges of the mat, children have a frame of reference that provides an anchor to anything seen within this box framework, in the same way numbers and letters on a map help us to locate specific places.

Education for All

Although Every Child's Path was developed for use with entire kindergarten and grade one classes, it can be used in other ways.

  • Two grade five teachers said that their children could benefit from the sections on recognizing sets and map making.
  • Other primary teachers say that there are groups of children in their classes who could benefit from this program because Every Child's Path targets specific problems and provides steps to follow.
  • A child with Cerebral Palsy had great success when her Teaching Assistant used the mat to introduce related math and literacy concepts. This TA went on to create games for that child, based on my program.
  • When Every Child's Path was used as a remedial program for just one child, the remedial teacher had that child bring in a cereal box in order to talk about corners, edges, front, back, top, bottom, inside, outside, etc. Soon the classroom teacher asked her about the program, because other children in her class were bringing in their cereal boxes.  
  • Children with Dyslexia can benefit from walking on large letters and numbers placed on a mat.
  • I have been told that the ideas presented in the program are so practical and easy to use, that you can see the presentation one day and begin the program the next.
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