Building it into your day
As a parent, you are your child’s first teacher. Your home is a place where lots of learning is happening every day – the most important thing is that your child enjoys learning. Young children learn by playing and by copying things they see you doing and saying. You can support your children’s learning by giving them lots of opportunities to do and say things everyday: both in the house and when you are out and about.
Ages and Stages
Children learn differently and reach the important stages of learning in different ways and at different times. In each age group we talk about some of the learning stages to look out for and how you can help your baby and your children to learn. We give possible ages when children reach certain stages of learning but often these ages don’t quite fit and the stages happen at other ages – earlier or later. So it’s important not to feel there is a problem if your friend’s child is doing things differently than your child.
- Talk to your child about what is happening and give them a chance to speak. This helps them become more aware of the world around them, and to listen, think and understand words.
- Play with your child – it’s one of the most effective ways children learn. As a parent, you are your child’s best playmate so try to spend time every day playing together.
- Read or tell stories. 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference. When you and your child both enjoy the experience of reading together your child will learn to love books. And if you can’t read a story, just tell one – kids love stories about grown-ups.
- Write notes. Let your child see you writing notes, lists or emails. Encourage them to use ‘pretend’ writing in play and as they learn to write let them make lists of things you need to do.
- Count steps, food or anything. It takes time to learn that 2 means two things, 5 means five and that the final number you count out refers to a total amount so count every chance you have.
Click here for tips on play for toddlers from the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.