Everyday happenings are all valuable learning opportunities for supporting your child’s development. From helping pair the socks whilst you are sorting your weekly washing, to finding vegetables in the supermarket, everyday occurrences can extend your children’s life long learning. There are a number of opportunities that take place throughout everyday life that can help shape and encourage your child’s unique development. These experiences are embedded into the seven areas of development; how we explore these and how we can teach our children to recognise these experiences can help children flourish to be confident, self- sufficient learners.
If we consider personal, social and emotional development, the key foundations of this prime area are embedded into our everyday lives that we often overlook the hidden learning that takes place. Sharing and managing conflict are important life skills that are fluid in childhood right through to adulthood. These fundamentals skills can be taught through positive role-modelling of behaviour. For example, encouraging turn- taking. This life skill could take place in the supermarket, your child could take it in turns on who carries the shopping basket or take it in turns to push the shopping trolley. In return your child will gain the knowledge and understanding of sharing, whilst becoming resilient and confident in self-regulating their emotions. For more information on self- regulation and executive function please see a previous blog post:
Opportunities to promote communication & language development are at the centre of all we do in everyday life. Simply commenting on what activities you are carrying out exposes your child to an array of words and phrases for them to store in their vocabulary bank for example: “Daddy’s mopping the floor”; “Mummy is fixing the car”’ “Rufus is eating his food”. This approach will also support language and understanding for your little ones as you comment on their actions too. Another useful tool for promoting communication skills is the use of makaton signing as you speak to your child, visit https://sense.org.uk/information-and-advice/communication/makaton/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiAu9yqBhBmEiwAHTx5p58GjPjnjNoM3l7reHu3zhFT6MXqglVTIIZjv2bBQHkGJoPEIDgfORoCAQ8QAvD_BwE for more information about the benefits of using makaton with your child.
Singing nursery rhymes as you change your child’s nappy or assist them with dressing is a fab way of allowing them to communicate as they join in with familiar words, actions and also promotes their listening and attention skills too.
If you have any concerns about your child’s speech development information and support can be accessed here https://speechandlanguage.org.uk/information-and-support/, but of course, speak to your child’s Key Person or setting Manager to seek further advice.
Physical development offers an array of learning opportunities that don’t have to cost an arm and leg, but are considered to be opportunities that are highly influential on your child’s learning and development. This time of the year is the perfect time to go and explore the outdoors with lots of nature walks, collecting leaves and conkers, all whilst seeing the ever-changing colours of Autumn and Winter. Not only do these experiences provide so much fun for both you and your child it creates amazing memories that will last a lifetime! Encouraging and supporting your child’s physical development from a young age is essential in preparing them for the next stage of their life.
Does your child love story books? Reading and storytelling with babies and children promotes brain development, imagination, language and learning. Did you know that if you read 1 book to your child every day, this means that by the time they reach the age of 5, you will have shared 1825 stories with them?! This means that you will have exposed them to hundreds of thousands of words and prints, that’s incredible!
If we consider what we want our children to have achieved by the time they leave us to go to school, pre-writing skills are essential for ensuring that children are equipped and ready to write. Pre-writing skills can be enhanced through the development of fine motor skills. Strengthening motor skills can be achieved through balancing and manoeuvring building blocks, making large strokes with a paint brush, or squashing, squeezing and rolling dough, right the way through to meal times, when they can independently open wrappers or navigate the use of their own cutlery.
Mathematics is all around us! There are lots of lovely ways that maths can be explored, whether that be at home or in the world around us! Maths can be intertwined into everyday tasks, such as shopping trips, car journeys or household chores. For example, on a long car journey, it might be a lovely idea to play the game ‘I spy’.. This encourages the children to identify and recognise different colours and sequences, whilst sparking their imagination and curiosity to look for other objects in the world around them.
Pointing out house numbers when walking down the street, observing the shapes of road signs on a car journey or counting windows on buildings on the way to the park are all simple ways to incorporate mathematics into your child’s day to day life.
Expressive Art and Design:
Expressive Art and Design is intrinsically entwined with all aspects of a life. From the composition of your favourite song or the design of your car to the layout of your office at work and the content of an advert on Social Media, someone’s creative mind has thought these spectacles up for us to enjoy. Expressive art and design opportunities don’t have to be messy, you can breathe a sigh of relief!
Children love to explore using their senses and this is often how children begin to acquire their preferred methods of expression. Does your child love to bang on pots and pans? Or maybe they love to role play in their play kitchen? These are all ways that your children are expressing themselves. It’s vital for children to feel safe and secure in order to express themselves confidently. By forming a strong attachment with your child along and being attentive to their needs as well as being in tune with their preferences, you are providing them with the safe space to express themselves.
Understanding the World:
Curiosity is the key when it comes to Understanding the World. There are so many ways this specific area of learning can be explored into everyday life. The classic British conversation about the weather is always a great place to start! Even if your child is still in the very early stages of their development, making comments about the world around them is vital for them to engage and promotes curiosity in them to explore their environment. Bath time is a great opportunity for children to experiment with cause and effect or floating and sinking. Helping care for your pets at home or helping water the plants in the garden promotes conversations around caring for living things and understanding lifecycles. Creating and offering these different experiences allows children to tune into their surroundings and explore, whilst finding new ways to investigate the world we live in!
When it comes to parenthood, “every day is a school day”!
Extra reading: National Day Nurseries Association, Parent’s guide to home learning