The Importance of Early Intervention
Children need to be engaged in a teaching system for early literacy skills as soon as they enter school. While most children will acquire the phonic skills, sight vocabulary and handwriting skills they need from regular class lessons, there are always a few children who just need more time. These children really do need a few minutes a day to ensure mastery and retention of skills.
The main reasons for early intervention through a system such as The Five Minute Box are:
- screening all children on entering school at age 5 ensures that none ‘slip through the net’, and provides baseline data for school records
- children’s precious natural self-esteem is not lost
- sessions giving a few minutes daily practice of skills are far more effective than once weekly withdrawal sessions when children have fallen behind
- providing an easy to manage teaching system for any child who needs extra time to learn or to consolidate basic skills, means that the Teaching Assistants can manage it and can take ownership of the children’s progress
- to ensure that any child who may turn out to be dyslexic has had multi-sensory teaching for 2 years, rather than having to wait to be diagnosed at the age of 7, and then having to start a multi-sensory programme which requires a specialist teacher
- to allow a progressive system to be in place as part of class management without the need for planning, photocopying and paperwork
- to provide support for the skills being taught in any other phonic scheme already in place in a school
- to enable small steps progress to be shared with parents – with learned skills taken home to share, rather than unknown tasks being taken home to learn with parents
- most importantly, to give children access to a system that they can engage in with enthusiasm, taking ownership of their learning and progress.
Normal learners should go straight through and out of the Box in a matter of weeks. Those children who find it more difficult to acquire the skills can remain on the programme for as long as necessary, working daily with a Teaching Assistant. This is typically 5 or 6 children out of 30 at the end of Reception – age 4-5, 2 or 3 children out of 30 at the end of Year 1 – age 5-6, and then on-going 1 or 2 per class who are dyslexic or MLD, and who will continue to be supported with specialist teaching.
If there is a successful early intervention programme, such as the Five Minute Box, in place in school, it means that any child, entering the school as a transfer, or as a second language child, can quickly be screened and supported if necessary by a Teaching Assistant.