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Sarah McKinlay

Sarah McKinlay

Top strategies to support your child with his/her WRITING DEVELOPMENT

There is so much I could write here, but I’ll attempt to keep it short and sweet! There are many essential elements to learning to write. It is important to realise that children will naturally develop and progress at varying paces at this young age so try to avoid comparisons!

Mark-making and ascribing meaning to marks

I have often heard parents saying their children ‘just scribble’ when they write. However, this is the mark-making stage and is critical to writing development, so it should be encouraged! During Reception if children are at this stage it is helpful to call their marks ‘writing’ and ask them what their writing is about.   This will boost their confidence and motivate them to write more often and for varying purposes.

Top strategies to support your child with his/her MATHEMATICAL SKILLS.

Maths in the Early Years should never be formal. Developing mathematical language and enjoying numbers, shapes and measuring in a practical context are far more beneficial in terms of cementing seemingly abstract concepts through application to real life scenarios.   Here are just a few ideas of how to support your child’s mathematical development at home, but please contact me for more individual and extensive ideas:

Top strategies to support your child learning to read

Reading at home can be such a special time for you and your child to share, but it’s all about picking the ‘right’ moment. This can prove very difficult when presented with tired and emotional children and busy family schedules. It is essential that reading time is purely uninterrupted and quality time. If you have other children too it is lovely to often share books altogether. However, it is also necessary, at times, for your child to have one-on-one reading time with you. From personal Mummy experience I know how tricky this can be to find, but believe me your child will find it incredibly special; he/she will feel valued and develop a sense of importance and confidence when he/she reads or shares books.   I cannot advise on a specific and ultimate time of day as all families and individuals are different, but what I would say is that shorter (5-10 minutes in length) and more frequent reading sessions are far more effective at Pre-school/Reception age than longer, extended reading periods. Furthermore, it is important to pick your times around your child and never attempt to ask them to read if they are overly tired and fractious; there will be absolutely no benefit to either of you.  

Reading during the early years is all about developing positive reading habits and attitudes to carry through life; love books and enjoy reading and children will be set up to access the world! You can help by providing access to a wide range of reading materials around the home (Eg. magazines, poems, comics, recipes, newspapers, signs, audio books, games, shopping lists, information books, story books) for your children to either pick up individually to explore/read by themselves or to have read to them.

6 TOP TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR STARTING SCHOOL

With September already looming, many of you will be anticipating your children beginning their journey into formal education, starting Primary School. From both a mummy and a teacher’s perspective I can imagine there must be so many questions already whizzing through your head...Where do I start? How can I help prepare my child for school? How am I going to cope when I leave him at the school door? Is my child ready? He has different needs to all the other children –how will he handle school or how will school handle him? Does he know all he is supposed to know before starting school? My advice to you is...DON’T PANIC! You are in the majority if you have questions or concerns! Talk to people about your worries and questions and allow your child to become excited about his new adventure!

Having been teaching in Reception for many, many years I have come to learn what skills are most important for a child when he starts school. I guarantee most, if not 100%, of Reception teachers would agree with me when I say having a child start school with secure personal, social, emotional, communicative, physical and investigative skills is far more valuable to him as a learner than a child that comes in being able to read words, write their name, count to 100 but showing little interaction, independence or communication. Having these skills in place first will allow children to fly in subsequent learning. Did you know that research shows the stronger the personal, social and emotional skills of a Reception child the more likely he is to achieve higher levels of attainment later in school?

Therefore, if you want to focus in preparing your child for school over the summer months, concentrate on my 6 top tips!

5 top ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ tips to help prepare your child for school.

There is a reason why ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ (PSED) is a prime area of the early years curriculum...Without these skills, a child will not be in a place ready to learn, progress and develop in other areas of the curriculum. Furthermore, research has been conducted into the links between PSED skills in the early years and future academic attainment levels.

PSED refers to children developing a positive sense of self, approaching new challenges with a confidence in their abilities, forming positive and healthy relationships with others, beginning to learn how to cope with their emotions, and understanding and respecting behavioural boundaries.

So, with one term to go here are 5 top tips to help develop your child’s PSED skills in preparation for starting school:

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