When we think about teaching children, the idea of engaging them and making sure they are learning may seem very daunting, but just because you’re teaching them doesn’t mean that it can’t be FUN and memorable!
Learning through Play
At our nursery in Nottingham, Angels by Day, our priority is to ensure the children are happy and safe. We ensure the children have the best experience possible whilst in our setting, giving them lots of opportunities to learn through play. We believe that letting children learn by doing things for themselves and finding their own way of doing things is much more exciting and helps them to remember.
When setting up activities, it could be something as simple as dinosaurs in the sand tray and adding small wooden pieces, which follows our curiosity approach, that implement learning into an activity. Just in that one activity alone, you can cover; social skills, counting, building up language and using their imaginations. Children often love to play with small world activities such as dinosaurs, cars, wild animals, and so many more.
Learning through Creativity
Getting creative is another fantastic way of learning! Letting the children express themselves through art and then giving meaning to marks they make, even if it’s just a simple scribble on the paper, it’s their own work and a great way to learn! For example, they can learn shapes and colours and how to make new colours. In addition, if your child is very artistic, you could encourage them to try out some new activities: making a collage or drawing a self-portrait, finding different items in the garden or recycling to use and create an art project. Whatever form of creativity, your child will not only be actively learning but also having fun!
Learning through Real-Life Opportunities
Another fun way of learning for children is by giving them real-life opportunities. This might include baking, using money in a pretend shop you have set up or going to the local shop to fetch ingredients, writing letters/postcards, and posting them in our pretend post-box, and role-playing in the home corner and the mud kitchen outside. The possibilities are endless!
Writing For Fun
Getting your pre-school-aged children to practice their writing regularly will ensure that their writing is improving. Keeping writing fun, light-hearted and making it an activity they actually want to do, not have to do is the key to making sure children continue to write on a regular basis. At Angels, we will set up activities such as name writing using our name stones, phonics worksheet practising our sound of the week, tracing, writing in a sand tray, and many more. We do try and encourage our toddlers to have a go at tracing their names as well as other writing activities as this helps them to get used to holding writing equipment.
Making reading an everyday activity is a fantastic way to keep learning active; in fact, there’s no such thing as too much reading- it’s one of the simplest and most educationally valuable ways a child can spend their time. So, make it a habit of having a story at night before bedtime. In the toddler room at Angels by Day, we have our bedtime bear that gets sent home with each child for a few days. We encourage the parents to read with their child, talk about the story, fill out a little reading diary, and post a picture if they like. We then share this at group time with their friends. The children love it and get excited about their turn to take the bear home. In our pre-school room, the children have a book of the week which we read to them at the end of their phonics lesson. They learn new words each week and their meanings! This has built up excellent knowledge and the learning of new words they wouldn’t necessarily hear on a day-to-day basis.
Learning at Home
The learning doesn’t have to stop at your child’s day nursery; you can do all this with your children from home! You might not realise it, but even going on a daily walk to the park or a trip out to the shop to get groceries are all opportunities for the children to learn. Let the children help to make breakfast or dinner, dress themselves, and set up activities for them to play with. You can buy tuff trays online, and there are so many pages and resources to look for ideas if you are unsure what to put in them!