STARS©™ – Skills That Achieve Readiness for School
STARS©™ is a structured, multi-sensory, play-based group curriculum that teaches a broad range of skills to children in the year before kindergarten.
We have been running group intervention at Outreach Therapy for several years, and developed the STARS©™ program in 2017 for a number of reasons:
- To answer demand for intervention prior to Kindergarten.
- We know from observation, research and referrals that there are increasing numbers of children who have low exposure to foundational fine motor, gross motor, cognitive, sensory, social and emotional skills.
- In response to feedback from Kindergarten teachers that children entering Kindergarten did not have some of the foundational skills.
- To access more remote communities. Up until 2017, groups have only taken place in Port Alberni. With STARS©™, we are able to train Early Childhood Educators and other Early Years professionals to run our groups on the west coast and in remote island communities, as well as in several daycare and preschool programs in the Alberni Valley.
- Daycares, preschools and community partners were asking if they could run our groups, and requesting resources to facilitate this.
- Due to a constraint of resources, only the highest needs children were able to access our group program, leaving others waitlisted.
- Children with developmental delays are able to access our group program via the OT caseload, but what about other children?
STARS©™ is a train-the trainer approach. Early Childhood Educators attend a full-day training session led by the Outreach Therapy Occupational Therapy team, learning how to administer the STARS©™ group curriculum using OT tools and techniques. Trainees leave with a STARS©™ Curriculum kit which contains all materials needed to run groups in daycares, preschools and other early learning settings. Trainees receive ongoing support from Outreach to help with implementation.
Goals for children in the STARS©™ program include:
- Develop the hand strength and co-ordination required for printing.
- Learn how to hold scissors and get into a good position for cutting.
- Increase understanding of colours, shapes, numbers and letters.
- Develop social skills and play skills with same-age peers.
- Practice listening to directions and following a routine.
- Increase self-confidence.
- Have fun learning through play!
If your child attends a preschool or daycare in Port Alberni or on the west coast, ask the centre if they offer the STARS©™ program!
If you are an ECE or Early Years professional and are interested in becoming a certified STARS©™ instructor, please contact us at Outreach Therapy for training dates and more information.
STARS©™ gratefully acknowledges the support of the following: