Blog Article By Dr Kathy Weston
Being a parent is hard work and requires endless patience. This is particularly the case if you are the parent of a toddler. At that stage, children love nothing more than to stop and point out interesting details on the street, up in the sky or when visiting the local park; the world simply delights them. A toddler’s curiosity is pure and joyous; they just love to learn.
It is this passion for learning that we need to try and sustain during our children’s primary years. Parents are children’s first teachers and play a significant role in shaping a child’s aspirations, interests, motivation to learn and progress at school. Research suggests that when families support their child’s learning, attainment can rise by 15-20%. What is it that parents need to do? Here are four of the most important things to consider:
1. Create a positive home learning environment
Children who come from homes where learning is valued and where parents care about and take an interest in education are more likely to do well academically. A rich home learning environment is one that values reading in particular. By reading to your child, with your child, and by giving them as much access to books as possible, you are making a significant investment in their ability to thrive throughout their school years.
Children who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better than their peers (IOE, 2013) so let your child choose books from the library that look fun to read, take them to book shops to browse the titles and talk to them about the stories that they enjoy.
2. Engage in ‘Family Talk’
Children who come from homes that value quality talking time do better academically and may even be more resilient. Whether it is the chit-chats you have while washing the dishes together or around the dinner table, children feel valued when their views are welcomed and heard. ‘Family talk’ helps children develop their thinking skills and builds their confidence. They are also much more likely to put their hand up in class, if they are used to being heard at home!
3. Bring Learning to Life
It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, what matters is what you do with your child. By taking an interest in what your child is studying at school, parents can bring classroom topics to life over weekends and holidays. Suppose your child was studying the life of the Romans. You might be able to supplement the work of your child’s teacher by bringing your child to see some Roman ruins. By working in alignment with your child’s teacher in this way, children are more likely to develop a greater enthusiasm for their schoolwork.
4. Praise them effectively
It can be very tempting to congratulate our children for being brilliant when they manage 10/10 in their spelling test or bring home an amazing piece of art. However, there is no room for growth or improvement when you are already awesome! It is more effective and motivating to praise them for the effort rather than their performance. Encourage them to reflect on how they managed such a great score or stunning result. Reflection builds resilience.
The workbooks in the Achieve series are carefully designed to help you engage more fully with your children’s learning, identify their strengths, and also the areas where they may need more support. Dipping into these books ‘little and often’ as a family is optimal. Remember to stay patient and positive. Always help them chart their own progress. Reward their focus and attitude with a meaningful treat. In our house, stickers seem to do the trick!
, Dr Kathy Weston
, Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation
, key stage 2
, Reading and Ebooks
, Revision and Practice