The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) will mark the start of your child’s learning journey, and this will begin with their nursery education, which covers the 0 – 5 age bracket.
The EYFS has a focus on learning through play and aims to develop a child’s personal, social and emotional and communication and language skills while aiding their physical development.
Research has shown that parents are the single biggest influencers on a child’s development during their earliest years (0 – 4), and that their involvement in their children’s education can help have a positive influence on their academic achievement, behaviour and commitment to their education.
Here are five learning activities that will act to complement what your nursery-aged child is learning at school.
1. Small world play
A typical nursery classroom will have a number of ‘small world’ environments, such as doctor’s surgeries, shops or travel agents, that will help children gain an understanding of the world around them through playing out real-world scenarios with their peers and professionals employed in early years jobs. Parents can work to create a number of small world environments using everyday items, and dressing up clothes that your child already has.
As an example you can use envelopes, pens, writing paper and a cardboard box (painted in red to act as a post box) to create a mock post office in your home and observe as your child experiments with letter formation.
2. Water play
A water area is the perfect place for children to develop key skills relating capacity. At home a water area can be as simple as a large washing up bowl filled with water and different items such as plastic cups in varying sizes and measuring jugs which will allow children to experiment with measurements.
In a nursery environment, a nursery nurse may help children draw out specific language relating to the capacity of the items such as ‘full/empty’ or ‘floating/sinking’ by asking questions while children are carrying out their activities. This is something parents can do at home as well.
3. Arts and craft activities
Carrying out arts craft activities such as cutting and sticking, painting and creating collages using items such as pasta, lentils can help to develop children’s fine motor skills.
Activities that support the development of fine motor skills will help children strengthen their small muscle control and this is particularly important for precise activities such as writing.
Phonemic awareness relates to the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sounds and phonics are taught in schools from EYFS upwards to help children understand letter sounds, phonemes, and their corresponding letter shapes, graphemes.
A good understanding of phonics can form the foundation of children’s reading and writing skills. There are a number of phonics activities that parents can carry out at home, such as phonics bingo where six sounds are placed on a card and children cross them off as they hear a word beginning or ending with that sound.
Nursery assistant jobs typically require a thorough understanding of this from candidates so parents can always discuss suitable activities to try at home with their child’s teacher in order to ensure they’re supporting learning as much as possible.
5. Table top play
Carrying out table top activities with your child using items such as puzzles, pegboards and sorting sets will aid your child’s ability to carry out tasks independently as well as helping to develop their concentration. Children will also gain a greater knowledge of shapes, sizes and colours through table top activities and there is a vast selection suitable for home use so you’ll never be short of choice.