Next week children across the UK will be returning to primary school to enter into a new school year and some will be starting school for the first time. After the long summer break we have put together a checklist of ideas and ways to support your child’s development at home while furthering your understanding of what they are learning at school.
Play an active role in your child’s learning by asking questions about their day. You can find out information about what your child is learning by reading ‘The National Curriculum Key stages 1 and 2 framework document’, this can be accessed on www.gov.uk . This breaks down the programme of study for English, Mathematics, Science, Art and Design, Computing, Design and Technology, Geography, History, Languages, Music and Physical Education as well as outlining statutory requirements and guidance. This information will help you to ask relevant questions, plan learning trips and invest in educational resources.
Children will learn both at school and at home. Connect the two worlds with activities and outings that support what they are learning at school. For example, if they are focussing on ‘living things and their habitats’ in their science lessons, why not plan a nature walk for the weekend so that they can discover real life habitats and describe their finding? Use a child-friendly microscope to magnify their finds that they have collected along the way, helping them to become familiar with using scientific equipment. By creating these fun experiences your young learners will develop a positive attitude towards learning and will be able to share their experiences with their class.
Monitor progress and give praise when they do well both in and outside of school by using achievement badges or charts. Special achievements can also be celebrated by an event such as a trip to the park or a favourite activity that they enjoy. Recognising achievements can increase confidence, raise aspirations and improve their motivation for learning, all of which will help to keep your child engaged in their education. Visit Kiddy Charts for a selection of free downloadable charts that you can personalise to suit your needs.
Reading is a vital part of primary education and by making it a fun activity at home your child will be excited to develop this skill in the classroom. Keep youngsters engaged by reading ‘little and often’ at a regular time each day, such as before they go to bed. Ask questions about the characters and the plot, this will help to further their understanding and keep them interested in the story. Play by the Book is an action-packed game that brings literacy to life by talking, signing, drawing and rapping about literature. The whole family can get involved, helping to further their understanding and make reading fun!
Homework is an extension of the activities that your child has been undertaking in the classroom and a is great way for you to become more involved in their learning experience. You can help your child by being available when they ask for help with their homework and by finding a time to complete it that doesn’t coincide with their time to relax. From reception to year 2, children’s homework is likely to be reading and they will be required to fill in a reading record. This helps to establish a routine and create a desire and interest in reading. By making homework a fun activity it is less likely to feel like a chore and can become a time that you both look forward to. If your child struggles to concentrate, try using a visual time tracker to help them stay on task for an allotted amount of time. The light changes colour from green to amber to indicate when time is nearly up and turns red when the time has run out.
Stay connected to the school environment by attending parent’s evenings and events. By doing so, you will be able to find out how your child is getting on and strengthen your relationship with their teacher. This will help them help your child. The school website is a good source of information and will often contain a calendar of all upcoming events. Your child’s school will issue reports that contain advice from their teacher; this feedback is a good starting point to discussing progress and achievements at parent’s evening. It is also helpful to share information about what your child enjoys doing outside of school so that their teacher is aware of their hobbies and interests.
Understanding modern teaching methods
Teaching methods are ever-changing and understanding how your child is being taught in certain subjects enables you to replicate the approach doing home learning activities. For example, if your child is struggling in maths, researching the modern ‘Mathematics Mastery’ approach could help you to keep their learning style consistent. With many schools in the UK recently receiving funding for this style of teaching, Mathematics Mastery encourages children to physically represent mathematical concepts. Objects and pictures are used to demonstrate and visualise abstract ideas, alongside numbers and symbols. Learn more in our Love Learning blog post “What is Mathematics Mastery?”