Early Learning Childcare (ELC)
Play and Talk is all you need
Early learning at home is all about ways to play, learn and have fun. Follow your child’s leads and interests and have a variety of things to do and places to go safely. Make sure you have a mix of things and plenty of physical activities. Screens and apps etc are fine but make sure they’re not used for too long and children’s experiences with them are as interactive as possible.
What could the day look like?
A basic daily routine is really helpful because it gives your child security and helps you plan for the day. If you’re having fun playing outside carry on, be flexible and follow your child’s lead for when enough is enough. It is ok to value being in the moment and chatting about what you’re doing. Also let your child play by themselves when they want to. Even in short periods will help to develop creativity and imagination.
How do we manage the change in routine?
It’s a stressful time for everybody so you may find your child wants to do the same things or hear the same stories over and over again. They may want to go back to some things they did when they were younger. As long as everyone is safe, happy and looking out for each other everything is ok.
What about getting ready for Primary 1?
You might have all kinds of worries about the future and whether your child will be ready for school and if they are missing out on early learning and childcare. That’s natural and P1 teachers will be aware of this and adapt as they would with any new class. And anyway, children are like sponges learning what they need from shared experiences of fun with you.
Do I need to buy special learning materials?
Please don’t go out and buy lots of expensive equipment, apps or toys or feel you have to provide your child with endless worksheets. These might be heavily marketed during this time, but your child can learn very well just from ordinary toys, story books, everyday objects and going out and about. Sometimes the most educational object is the cardboard box, not the toy it came in.
You don’t have to spend ages planning learning opportunities. The everyday life of your home has lots of ways to learn like matching socks, laying the table, preparing food, making lists, looking after pets, counting money and so on and so on.
What if I get exhausted?
Remember this might be an extended period, pace yourself and try not to use up all your best ideas in the first week! Make sure you get rest and downtime. And remember to use your support network and others around you that can help without risks to anyone’s health and safety.
What if I run out of ideas?
From the week beginning the 23rd of March look out for daily tips and ideas to support your child’s learning at home. We will post these on www.bumps2bairns.com and you can subscribe to this blog for daily updates.
What does literacy look like at home?
Almost anything you do with your child will help develop their literacy. Through conversations with you, they can learn new words and how to use them. Playing and helping you with tasks develops their movement and coordination, which will help with their handwriting. For younger children they can make marks and draw pictures to show their ideas. The most important thing you can do with your child is to share and enjoy stories, songs and rhymes together.
What does numeracy look like at home?
Everyday play and household tasks will help you child learn about maths and number. You can look for opportunities to count and use numbers, to explore shapes and patterns and use maths in your daily routines like shopping, sorting washing, cooking and so on and so on! Our daily tips will help to give you more ideas and inspiration if you are stuck. Look on www.bumps2bairns.com
What does health and well-being look like at home?
All the things you do to care for your child involve them learning about health and well-being. During this time you can help them learn more by involving them in what you’re doing. Talk to them and explain to them why you do what you do and have fun finding out the answers to their questions about it. You might want to find out how soap works, or why vegetables are good for us and where our food comes from.
The most important thing your child can learn during this time is how to manage when they are worried or under stress. You can do this by listening patiently, answering questions even if it’s over and over again and understanding that if they struggle with behaviour they are probably really feeling frightened or uncertain.
Be aware too that learning can be stressful for your child and you so don’t feel under pressure to force anything and if something isn’t working, just move on to something more fun.
Adding challenge for older children
Children who are coming to the end of P1 will be used to more formal learning and will probably be able to do more than younger children. By observing your child’s actions and listening to what they say, you can judge if they need some more challenge. You can do this by using more complicated language and exploring questions in more depth by gradually reading more advanced books together. Your child can gradually take on more responsibility and ownership. Most children will naturally seek this so follow their lead. Never be afraid to try something just keep an eye on whether it’s working for your child and move on to something if it isn’t.
What are some good resources?
You can find lots of things online and in the shops. Most of this is great, and some is not so good!
We have collected here some of the resources we think are really good to support you. And don’t forget our daily tips on www.bumps2bairns.com which you can subscribe to.
Finally, if you would like more information on the evidence behind this approach and more depth on early level learning, you may like to look at the Scottish Government’s new Practice Guidance, Realising the Ambition