Australian Animals ABC Learning Time

Resource type: 
Learning Time






Theme: Starting School (January 2016) 



By Bambi Smyth

Australian Animals ABC is a vibrantly illustrated alphabet book that explores the wonderful wildlife that calls our country home. Discover an A-Z of animals from an albatross to the zebra finch!

Key Message for Parents
Children Learn Language By Listening To It And Using It

Babies’ brains are wired to learn language. Meaningful and early interactions between babies and adults serve to enhance brain development, positively impacting on language skills as children develop. A baby’s first language stage is receptive, what is heard. Parents and educators can support babies develop language by:

  • Focusing on single words and imitation, pausing to allow babies to respond
  • Actively listening to babies, remembering to maintain eye contact and repeat words back
  • Sharing books that captivate and appeal, pointing out objects and using rhyme and repeating loved stories
  • Playing with babies! Play enhances learning and creates a positive experience around new sounds and new words.


Learning Outcomes
Outcome 5: Children Are Effective Communicators

  • Before they learn to speak babies use a range of communication tools to connect with the world around them, from sounds, gestures, language and assisted communication.
  • Repetition and rhyme serve as strong foundations for early language development in babies. Each time a song or story is lovingly repeated and shared, babies catalogue that experience and understanding, expanding their knowledge from each engagement.
  • Visual cues are lifelines to babies navigating a world before clear verbal expression. If the initial ‘baby babble’, the pre-cursor to words, is responded to positively and with visual encouragement children are set on a path to become effective communicators, steadily progressing to gestures and replacement words.
  • Play and down time, the delicate balance. Babies’ brains are constantly processing enormous amounts of new information. Find a balance between play, song, reading and sensory stimuli to allow babies brains to decompress.


Before Reading
Today’s story is about Australian animals from A to Z. Before we start the story, let’s sing together the ABC song. A great way to support babies develop language is through sharing songs, even if babies are not yet able to sing along. Aural learning, the way letters sound, will map babies brains to receive and later express language. [Sing song]
Excellent, now can you snuggle up like ‘cuddly koalas’ for today’s story? Wait until babies are seated in parents/carer’s laps before introducing the story.

During Reading
The bright and colourful illustrations allow for an animated read. Imagine you are bringing the Australian animals to life, right off the page. Accentuate the A of albatross or the D in dingo. Embody the animal…JUMP like a frog or SNAP like a crocodile. Use different voices to denote characterisation and imagine the echidna’s spike are really painful to touch “OUCH” or the octopus has WIGGLY tentacles just like you.
Trace your finger over the animals to highlight the curvy words and body parts such as tails and tongues; it’s a great way to connect the book with little hands.

After Reading
Get babies moving! Sensory play is wonderful way to play with babies. Use animal puppets or create a ribbon sensory box.

Materials needed:
• Cardboard boxes
• Scissors
• Scrap ribbon
• Tape
• Straws

What to do:
Cut and tape ribbon to open cardboard boxes to make a fun adventure playground of colour and movement. If you have puppets, in particular Australian animals, hide them in the boxes for a fun puppet hunt. Tape the ribbon to straws to enable parents to engage with babies not yet crawling.

For full Learning Time download attached PDF

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