The three most important ways to help your child learn as they grow.
We have 3 recommendations that are simple and highly effective in helping children to learn. We have found in school that children who are well supported at home in these areas, feel confident and capable with what the curriculum has to offer. This start in life gives them the critical skills to be successful in the long term and to enjoy their learning without worry.
The first two targets are the same for all children.
Target 1: Help your child to talk well.
If your child can be a good talker, this helps them to be a good reader, writer and thinker. To do this is simple at home but it requires the right kind of chat from a young age. Children need to hear chatter from birth, and to hear the grown ups talking to them about the very simple things that surround us. As they grow we should be asking and answering questions, whether or not we are in the supermarket or looking out of a window. These conversations make a significant difference if they are directed, constant and meaningful. This is also great for emotional wellbeing because self-expression is something that can really help children to share and discuss their feelings.
Target 2: Help your child to read well.
We recommend that every child reads before bedtime. This can be with an adult or not. As your child gets older, it can be good to listen to them read and then you can chat about the content, to see if they really understand it. For the youngest children, it's the same principle. Fill your house with books, read and re-read. The more your child reads, the more they will understand. They will also begin to read quicker and to process the information quicker. Most importantly, they will value books and text, which will set them up for life. Reading is unavoidable - it's on the internet, our phones and tablets and everywhere else, so let your child be good at it. It's also good for learning about the world, learning new words as well as relaxation.
Target 3 (Years 2,3,4,5,6): Help your child to learn their times tables.
Knowing times tables means that children can use this skill quickly to solve problems. If your child does not know their times tables, then maths can be very hard and children can grow up not knowing their numbers. The government expects children to know all of their times tables (1-12) by the age of 8. This can only be achieved with a holistic approach at home. Year 2 children should begin to learn their 2,5,and 10 times tables. You can be creative with this one, making posters, using apps and online videos as well as grouping leaves, dandelions, pebbles or pasta!
Target 3 (Nursery, Reception and Year 1): Help your child to know their letters.
Recognising letters and knowing the sounds. Take a very playful approach with this one. Make letters accessible in the house, with opportunities for your child to write and draw. Try and create a place for this to happen at anytime, where the pens and paper can stay out and your child can just go and play. Try letter hunts and songs. Again, apps can be great for this, this lots of cartoon fun. Youtube and iplayer have some great songs and jingles (Jolly Phonics) that children love. The sooner your child learns their sounds, the sooner they can begin to blend, read and write - but remember to make it fun so thay they begin to love their phonics!