Junior Learning was established in 2009 by educational neuroscientist Dr. Duncan Milne and children’s author Anna Kirschberg. Anna and Duncan had a global mission to support teachers and parents by developing unique, multi-sensory educational resources that were backed by the latest research in cognitive psychology. These resources would not only nurture the necessary neural pathways for creativity, imagination, and emotional development, but they would make teaching easier by saving hours of preparation time.
Ten years on, Junior Learning is a trusted brand by parents, children and teachers alike! It continues to deliver transformative learning experiences to students worldwide. Junior Learning’s 300+ products are designed by top educators to ensure the best educational quality. Junior Learning also caters to students with different learning styles and needs, with simple to follow instructions, visual examples, opportunities for self-correction, and colour-coding to support each and every student. These resources instil in kids a growing sense of confidence in their ability to learn and figure things out on their own!
Junior Learning’s brain-building principles have also been recognised through numerous international awards. Its games and activities have been honoured by the Parent and Teacher Choice Awards, Academics Choice Awards, Tillywig Awards, The Eddy Awards, the Teacher Trendsetter Awards, the Teacher’s Choice Awards, and more! By investing in the latest research and technologies, Junior Learning creates new innovative ways for kids to learn and achieve their best!
- Academics Choice Smart Media Award (Spring, 2015) - Touchtronic Numbers
- Tillywig Brain Child Award (Spring, 2015) - Touchtronic Numbers
- The Eddy Award Winner - Best New Product at Show (Ed Expo, Atlanta, 2015) - Touchtronic Numbers
- Teacher Trendsetter Award - First Place, (Ed Expo, Atlanta, 2015) - Touchtronic Numbers
- Academics Choice Smart Media Award (Summer, 2014) - Touchtronic Letters
- Tillywig Brain Child Award (Spring, 2014) - Touchtronic Letters
- Teacher Trendsetter Award (NSSEA, Dallas, 2014) - Touchtronic Letters
- Teacher's Choice Award (2014) - Spelligator
- Informal Education - Award of Excellence for Spelligator (2012)
- Tillywig Brain Child Award (Spring, 2019) - Magtronix Starter Set
- Parent and Teacher Choice Awards - Gold Medal Winner (2019) - Magtronix Starter Set
- Mom's Choice Awards - Gold Medal Winner (2019) - Magtronix Starter Set
- Academics' Choice Brain Toy Award (Summer, 2019) - Magtronix Starter Set
- Westpac Auckland Business Awards, Finalist for Excellence in International Trade (2019)
Junior Learning’s literacy resources follow a systematic synthetic phonics-based approach. In this method, students are first introduced to a core set of letters, and are encouraged to play around with those sounds and words before progressing to a new set of letters. This enables kids to become familiar with sounds and spellings, so that they can gradually decode words in a natural progression and pace. The systemic phonics-based approach is also supported by the latest research in educational neuroscience, where each phase stimulates a specific part of the brain, responsible for different areas of functioning. The phases include phonemic awareness, letter sounds, phonics, blends, vowel sounds, and spelling.
A large selection of Junior Learning’s game sets and activities, as well as their decodable readers, follow this six-phase structure. These games and readers have been written with a strictly controlled text, building upon skills unique to each phase. For instance, a child starting out in the earliest stages of reading, otherwise know as “Letter Sounds” or “Phase Two”, would be learning to decode words such as -at, -sat, -tap, and -pat. Therefore, the decodable readers only contain these sounds, without introducing any unfamiliar letters and sounds. Similarly, activities such as Rainbow Phonics Magnetic Letters, 6 Letter Sound Games, CVC Flips, CVC Tri-Blocks Tub, CVC Builders, and the CVC Toolbox have been designed to encourage students to identify, decode and spell new words within this phase. This is achieved through colour-coding support that signify digraphs, and hands-on fun that prompt children to build words, and to recognise letter patterns. By segregating learning into these specific phase groups, this allows kids to quickly become familiar with decoding and spelling patterns, building fluency and self-confidence.
A comprehensive guide to the week to week synthetic phonics approach can be found here. As a summary, phase 1 introduces phonemes, phase 2 introduces 21 letter sounds, phase 3 introduces an additional 22 letter sounds, and phase 4 introduces 38 adjacent consonants, or “blends”. Phase 5 focuses on alternative vowel sounds, introducing 20 new letter patterns to broaden a child’s knowledge of graphemes and phonemes. Finally, phase 6 consolidates earlier taught phonics skills, and includes embedded words that contain suffixes.
With the systematic phonics-based approach, students should become fluent readers by the age of seven. As kids progress to the later phases, they will begin to automatically and effortlessly recognise words.
While formal teaching materials such as textbooks and printouts are beneficial to a child’s development, Junior Learning sees additional value in a multi-sensory approach. Not only does touch interactivity spark a child’s curiosity, but studies of learning confirm that the human brain has evolved to develop, learn and operate optimally in multi-sensory environments. In fact, a multi-sensory input promotes the growth of synapses and dendrites through an increased stimulation of the brain. This is unsurprising in a world that demands our simultaneous visual, auditory and kinaesthetic activity.
A multi-sensory approach also helps students with dyslexia overcome their reading acquisition difficulty. These students may have trouble processing and retaining visual and auditory information, and will benefit from the inclusion of touch into their lesson. Junior learning has recognised this, and has created a range of resources which encourage touch interactivity. Students not only see a letter, but they will feel the shape of the letter as they move it with their fingertip. Other activities encourage students to twist beginning or ending consonants, or vowel sounds to form new words. These activities also incorporate colour-coding support to represent letter patterns, further heightening a child’s visual senses.
Junior Learning’s multi-sensory resources include its selection of tri-blocks, activity cards, bingo sets, flashcards, dice, and dominoes games, as well as their sandpaper letters and rainbow phonics range. All of these resources enable a child to feel the letter, see the letter, and hear the letter as they sound it out. Furthermore, Junior Learning’s electronic resources, such as Touchtronic Letters and Numbers, adds an additional multi-sensory element of sound. Students can see the visual colour-coding of vowels and consonants; feel, touch and move letters; and can hear the audio response of the letter sound. These multi-sensory learning techniques are better approximated to our natural settings, proving to be more effective to a child’s cognitive development.