Thank you to all of you who have been in touch since we closed and for your support at this tremendously difficult time.
Quite a few of you have asked for tips for how to help your children to continue with their learning and development, whilst not at Nursery, so I’ve put this together for you.
Firstly…… breathe……..remember, whatever you do with your child, it will be a learning experience for them and we are lucky, in the early years, that for our age of children, many things are new, so the world around them is fascinating, from watching the toy boat bob back up in the bath, after you have sunk it, to watching the washing up water swirl down the plug hole; where does it go?
Where possible, try to have a routine. Routines help everyone to feel in control and organised and they help the day to flow and, quite often, go a little quicker. Children thrive on routine; knowing what comes next and giving them a little bit of stability in what is, for all of us, a new, strange and unusual time.
You might like to create a chart, showing what will happen at which time of the day, if you are able to do this and feel that it would help. It might also help those of you working from home and sharing childcare with your partner, as it might help to put in black and white who is doing what at which time……. only a suggestion and very easy to say in print, but maybe not always to put into practice.
For those of you who have been at Nursery a while, you will have received a ‘Progress Summary’. At the end of the summary, it gives some ‘next steps’ for things to do to support your child’s development. These next steps are a good starting point as you get to grips with what and how to help your child learn. Remember, one of the best ways young children learn is through play, so don’t worry that you won’t be teaching them the right things, you will, when you play with them.
This can be done in so many ways and be reassured, you are all already teaching your child so many things, for example:
- Whilst out for your daily exercise, (remember to go out only once a day and practice social distancing), look around you, talk about what you can see, count what you see, look at shapes and colours in the environment, listen to and try to replicate sounds. Play ‘I Spy’; a great way to teach phonics and letter sounds. Create stories as you walk, including what you see around you, or retell favourite stories, as you go; be on a Bear Hunt, or try to find ‘The Gruffalo’.
- Let the children help you to prepare meals and bake; all of our children love to bake. For the younger children, just exploring the textures of different fruit and vegetables, baking ingrediants and mixing with bowls, spoons and other utensils is invaluable, as they develop how to hold the objects, use them to make sounds and use their senses to explore. For the Bramley’s, they love to peel, grate, chop, weigh and mix and with such activites come a miriad of learning opportunities; size, shape, weight, number recognition, learning about capacity, estimating, predicting, learning where ingrediants come from, comparing, spotting similarities and differences…… the list is endless!
- Cutting up old magazines and making collages; not only do these help the children to learn fine motor skills and tool use, but even with the babies, magazines can be manipulated, scrunched up to make sounds and ripped up to develop motor skills. A story could be made up about what pictures they have cut out. Create a collage picture to display in your window for those passing to see, these are wonderful to help other parents, who are using them as a ‘Can you spot’ game whilst out for a walk.
- If you have one, your garden is a great asset, as children love nothing more than exploring their surroundings. If you have swings, rocking horses and climbing frames, all the better, as these will support their physical development, but if not, don’t worry, just walking and running around, playing chasing or crawling games, is just as good. Use utensils to dig in the soil, look for worms and other mini beasts- all of our children love doing this, even the youngest, but just watch that the worm doesn’t get mistaken for a yummy treat (it has happened, but that was a snail….I won’t go into it!). Children love playing games with balls, beanbags, rackets and hoops, but if you don’t have these, you can as easily play ‘Catch the hat’, or throw bundled up socks onto a washing up bowl.
These are just a few ideas to help you and mostly to support you to recognise that the Little Me children are at that wonderful age where they just want to spend time with you and play, something we, their Key people, are sadly, missing out on.
Below are a few links for sites that we use to support our planning of activites. We are all extremely fortunate to have a wealth of resources at our finger tips via the internet, so just a quick google of ‘Activities for Preschool children’, will result in more sites than you could use in the (hopefully short) period of time the Nursery will be closed.
Please email me with any thoughts and suggestions, or anything that you have found that you use and love and next time I can post these for other parents.
Take care of yourselves, look after one another and we will see you soon,
With best wishes from Stacey and all of the Little Me Team.
www.hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk – a wonderful Government site with activites to do with children 0-5 years, showing videos and offering guidance to parents.
www.foundationyears.org.uk – in the resources section, this gives some pointers for parents and is especially useful for parents of our youngest children.
www.early-education.org.uk – here you can download the free resources for parents and also look at the Development Matters guide, which we use to help support your child and the ‘ages and stages’ of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).