The benefits of attending nursery school are huge, but not all children can attend regularly because of a number of reasons. Many parents and carers value ideas and support for helping children to learn at home.
Home learning ideas and support for families
- Read stories to your child. Have lots of children’s books in the environment for children to look at independently. Model page turning left to right (see the ‘We love books’ section on the website).
- Make play dough. It is cheap, easy to make fun to play with and it will support so much learning; developing muscles in the hands and arms, fine motor dexterity increases with squeezing, poking, pulling, twisting etc. it helps mark making and pencil control and social skills and creative role play.
- Cooking and baking teaches children to follow instructions, counting and measuring skills, fine motor skills such as mixing, pouring, rolling, squeezing, cutting etc. about healthy eating and self-care and sharing.
- Self-help skills; children need time, patience, modelling and encouragement and praise for attempting and mastering key independence skills of putting clothes, coats, shoes and socks, hats and gloves independently. Very young children can and do learn to fasten zips, open and close velcro, fasten and unfasten buttons and press-studs.
- Independent toileting, children need to learn to wipe, flush, dress and wash and dry hands confidently.
- Riding a bike or scooter independently develops muscle strength, balance, control, steering, hand eye coordination and braking skills as well as general physical fitness and good mental health.
- Throwing, catching, rolling, and batting. This develops good hand eye coordination which in turn leads to stronger gross and more effective fine motor skills such as holding and using pencils, crayons and scissors.
- Children need the chance to learn to use scissors safely and properly. Not only does it develop a strong pincer grip for writing, it develops good hand eye coordination and concentration skills.
- All crafts using pens, pencils, wax crayons, chalk, paint, collage, develop fine motor skills, independent choice making, creativity, pride and joy.
- Gardening leads to understanding and learning about change, growth, patience and care. Skills of planting, watering, feeding, potting on, smelling, picking, eating, life cycles and many more.
- Helping at home with everyday chores such as setting the table, putting toys away when they have finished playing, folding washing, pairing socks and shoes, loading or unloading the washing machine and many other household skills are fun activities to do together with you child. They develop maths skills such as counting, pairing, knowing shapes, independence a well as building good self-esteem and self-awareness.
- Listening for different sounds on a sound hunt inside and out builds early phonics skills.
- Recognising their own name and logos out and about. Does your child know the logo for your supermarket, the post office, Mac Donald’s etc. this develops early reading skills.
- Going out and about on journeys to visit shops, cafés, libraries, museums, visiting family and friends, trips to the park and any other outings teaches children social skills, road safety skills, confidence, manners, care, how to make choices and so much more.
This list is endless and so many things are not listed. Nursery aged children learn best through play and real life experiences. There is plenty of time for more formal learning at school. Their happiness, mental health and wellbeing will greatly improve as they master skills, extend their life experiences and become independent.
Have fun learning through play together!