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Supporting Your Child’s Learning

Supporting young children’s personal, social and emotional development

  • Tell your child something you like about them at least once a day as this will help self-esteem
  • Try to support and explain to your child why taking turns with others is important
  • Encourage your child to talk about and share their feelings
  • Allow them choices when possible
  • Model to your child how to say please and thank you
  • Encourage your child to take/their own coat on and off
  • When playing with your child, support them in sharing toys – explain why we need to share
  • Support your child to be able to go to the toilet unaided by dressing them in elasticated bottoms
  • Help them to put on their own shoes by buying shoes with Velcro fastenings initially
  • Let your child help clean his or others’ shoes, put the washing in the washing machine and dust the furniture

Supporting young children’s communication and language

  • Always try to listen to what your children are saying and repeat it back to them on occasions and sometimes elaborating what they have said
  • Introduce new words and new ways of describing things
  • Increase your child’s vocabulary by describing what you or they are doing
  • Sing songs together
  • Talk about books and pictures together
  • Visit an art gallery and talk about the paintings you like
  • Go to the park and talk about what you can see that you are of interest
  • Teach your child to lay the table by letting him help you whist naming the cutlery etc
  • Always make use of walking journeys by chatting together

Supporting young children’s physical development

  • Encourage your child to handle small and large equipment using big and small muscles
  • Prepare a fruit salad with your child. Cut up the fruit and mix in a bowl. Serve for tea!
  • Make jam sandwiches with your child showing how to butter bread and spread the jam
  • Make sure they have access to walking / climbing / jumping every day
  • Allow your child to use scissors and develop their hand eye co-ordination and fine motor or manipulative skills
  • Let children handle different objects big things, little things, delicate things, bumpy things – touch is an important part of physical development
  • Allow your child to run, hop, skip, jump and find different ways of travelling
  • Play games such as follow the leader and change actions to develop gross motor skills and co-ordination
  • Discuss changes to their bodies after exercise; heart beating faster, feeling hot etc

Supporting young children’s understanding of the world in which they live

  • Talk to your child about special times; birthdays, weddings and other key events in family life
  • Encourage them to explore their surroundings; particularly in outdoor areas like parks, woods and the countryside
  • Show your child animals and help them to name them and describe what they see (big, hairy, teeth, tails)
  • Put ice cubes in a bowl of water and watch them melt talking about what is happening
  • Allow them to use simple tools such as a small hand trowel to dig the soil
  • Encourage them to feel different textured objects and describe; rough, smooth, soft, hard etc
  • Make ice lollies with cordial and water and let your child see the freezing process, as well as experiencing them melting in their mouths!
  • Gather a collection of logs and stones and allow mini beasts to make homes under them. Enjoy looking at them carefully always putting the logs and stones back to exactly where they were.
  • Give your child a big bowl of water and a selection of objects to investigate what floats or sinks (Supervise water play)

Supporting young children’s understanding of mathematics

  • Count out loud with your child saying the names of numbers clearly
  • Count using fingers
  • Practice counting groups of objects in pictures and stories; pose questions such as how many altogether?
  • Practice which number is one more? For example which number is one more than three?
  • Collect together six pairs of socks, mix up and ask your child to put into pairs (shoes and gloves can also be used)
  • Point out the time on the clock and show them the time something interesting will happen like a big brother coming home from school
  • Take a walk around the house finding where all the numbers are in the home. e.g. shoes, clothes, telephone, clock, calendar etc. etc
  • Show numbers to your child when you’re out and about such as house numbers, car numbers, bus numbers or prices in the supermarket
  • Sing songs or rhymes with numbers in them; 10 in the bed, 5 little ducks, 10 fat sausages etc
  • Read stories with numbers in them e.g. “The very hungry caterpillar”
  • Use mathematical language such as add, take away and use number names
  • Use positional language such as high / low, above / below, in /out, infront of / behind etc
  • Encourage children to identify shapes around them; do a circle spotting hunt, square spotting etc
  • Apply mathematics to real life situations; talk to your child about shape, size, money, weight, time, volume, quantity

Supporting young children’s interest in art and design

  • Listen to and sing songs and rhymes with your child
  • Collect beautiful stones and pebbles on walks and wash and display them at home
  • Take part in pretend play with your child
  • Let your child mix earth or soil and water and play at mud pies or make a mud kitchen
  • Give them access to paint, pencils, crayons and paper
  • Using scissors and glue; encourage cutting & sticking activities
  • Dance to songs and make up actions to complement e.g. Wheels on the bus
  • String out metal pans and colanders etc on a washing line and let your child make music by tapping them with a spoon
  • Build a den together with a large piece of material draped over a table. Children enjoy small private spaces
  • Share music you enjoy with your child

Supporting young children’s interest and skills in reading and writing

  • Encourage your child to talk about what is happening in the pictures
  • Help your child to select books for themselves; ones that interest them, picture books with repetitive and basic language are good
  • Ask them to tell you what is happening think encourage or ask but not separate
  • Let your child make up stories and let the adult write them down and read them back
  • Help your child enjoy learning sounds (phonics) by playing “I spy” saying the words clearly and emphasising the sounds
  • Let your child open a letter for you and explain its purpose thus showing him the importance of reading
  • To increase vocabulary and identify sounds; play word games such as “I spy”
  • Sing alphabet songs and talk about the names of the letter and sound that they make
  • Encourage your child to sing / say songs and rhymes and tell you their own stories
  • Talk to your child about words that rhyme e.g. house & mouse
  • Let them help you make shopping lists and let them see you reading
  • Have lots of paper, pens and pencils around and encourage them to make marks and draw, they will need these skills to form letter shapes
  • Use paint brushes and a bucket of water for drawing and writing on outside surfaces