Parents as Partners
At Woodcroft we respect that you, as parents, are your child’s first teachers.
You are the ones who know your child the best. They have known your voice, touch and smell from birth and for mums, your voice from the nine months before birth. Therefore we know that to work in partnership with parents is in the best interests of both parent and child.
This partnership begins with a home visit. This helps parents and key staff to get to know each other and gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns or worries that you have in the privacy of your own home. For your child a home visit makes a big difference to the settling in process. It gives them a chance to start to get to know and trust their key workers. For your child, knowing that you have trusted us to come into their home helps this a lot. Children remember their home visits and often talk to us later about the day we came to visit them at home.
We like to involve parents in linking home and school. We do this by organising small tasks such as finding the first letter of their name when out and about, or sharing their door number. We have 'treasure hunts' to find little bits and pieces at home and we also do something we call 'Gifting' each term. Gifting bags are small paper bags with little activities that you can do easily at home with your child. Past bags have included a rhyme bag, a Christmas decoration bag a playdough making bag. Everyone is welcome to take a gift bag and they are free. Your side of the deal is that you post pictures or comments of you enjoying the bag together on 'Tapestry', your child's online learning journal.
What you can do at home
Talking to your child, spending time with them, laughing together and playing games will all help to stimulate brain receptors that are vital for future learning whatever age or stage in development your child is at.
Going for a walk and talking about what you see, hear, touch and smell is something that everyone can do and is vital for developing your child’s language and understanding of the world around them.
Enter into your child’s imaginative world, this is a very special place where to a two, three or four year old, anything is possible so go with it and have fun. This stage does not last long so enjoy it.
Answer your child’s questions as honestly as you can and use their questions as starting points for deep discussions. If you’re not sure of the answer, tell your child that, and suggest ways that you could find out together.
Point out signs, logos and numbers in the environment. Point out the letters in their names when you see them. Games like hide and seek are perfect for introducing positional language such as under, in and behind. Setting the table together is excellent for developing early maths skills.
Reading together is so important. A nightly routine involving a bedtime story is a wonderful way of ending the day, is reassuring for your child and helps them to feel loved and secure.
Don’t be afraid of using longer words with children. It’s how they learn language and the more words they hear, the more they use in their everyday conversations. When they don’t understand something try rephrasing it.
This is a term that you may have heard in the news and schools you have visited.
Please don’t worry about this, we will be working on this too. School readiness is outlined below.
Reading and Writing and Number
As mentioned above reading with your child develops all the pre-reading skills they need before they start school without realising they are learning.
As they become more interested in the print you can put your finger along the words, point out letters from there name and point out more familiar words like Mummy or Daddy. Having a favourite book is an excellent way for children to learn pre-reading skills and though you may be utterly bored with it, your child is learning to read by learning the text and beginning to match up the printed word with the spoken word.
Let your child write a shopping list as you do yours. Don’t worry whether it looks like letters or words yet, your child will be behaving like a writer and seeing themselves as a writer. Encourage all their attempts. You can play at restaurants taking turns to be the waiter and take orders. Write letters to grandparents and friends and post them. Children love to do this and are so excited to get a reply.
As your child grows older introduce simple maths concepts such as counting into your everyday language, as you walk up the stairs, as you feed the ducks and as you buy your groceries. ‘Do we need one or two?’ ‘How many apples do we need, lets count four, one for each of us’. Model thinking ‘I need to get Nanny some flowers, she likes yellow best, I wonder if you can see any yellow flowers?’ Model problem solving ‘I need to make cut the wood to fit this gap…I’ll need to measure it to find out how long to make it’. Matching socks is a lovely maths activity and most children love it. You can sort them first, model the thinking ‘I’m going to find all Mummy’s socks/black socks/small socks…’
Whatever you do though do not pressure your child. If it becomes a chore your child will not want to do it and it will become stressful. They all develop at different rates and some children will just not be so interested at this stage. Please don’t worry it is no indication of your child’s intelligence or future academic achievement. We have had plenty of children who have shown no interest in writing go on to win Literacy prizes at school! There is absolutely no need to be doing worksheets, letter/number practice books. Learning to write their name before they go to school is helpful but not essential, they need to have fine motor muscle development and control to do this so playing with Lego, gardening, cooking, painting, throwing and catching, getting themselves dressed including shoes and socks all help with the skills they need for writing.
Self Help Skills
Being able to dress themselves including socks shoes and coats is very important.
Your child’s teacher in their reception class is likely to have up to thirty children for some of the time at least so the more independent they are the better. Shoes with Velcro straps are much easier to manage. Make sure your child can wipe their nose and their bottom. Again, your child’s teacher will not have time to do this for them. Pouring their own drinks and making their own sandwiches helps children to feel important and also helps develop fine motor skills.
What is most important for learning throughout life is feeling loved and secure in your love.