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Early years

If your child were at school, for the period of time they are in the reception class they would be largely following an early years play-based curriculum.

The following ideas are to support you to work on early years play-based activities with your child. Some young children and those with special/additional needs may require activities like this for much longer.

Learning through play

Engage in experiential, sensory, messy ‘hands-on’ activities regularly, such as sand and water play (good for early maths and science ideas). Introduce the right language and talk about the ideas and what’s happening.

Mud and clay are also good activities to enjoy together as are cooking and gardening, digging, and planting. This website is a good place to explore some ideas.

Art and craft activities support all kinds of physical development. This early years art and craft supplies website has ideas (not necessarily to buy).

Pre-reading skills

Read together with your child every day: fiction; non-fiction; poetry and rhymes – be prepared to read the same book over and over again!

When your child is ready for phonics, have a look at Letters and Sounds Phase 1.

When your child is ready, consider introducing a reading scheme. There are many available (some may be found in your local library). Ensure you choose one that builds up vocabulary. The School Run website is a good place to start.

Pre-writing skills

Allow your child to draw and write freely, using a range of different types and sizes of papers, pens and pencils. Emergent writing and drawing helps towards a more formal understanding of writing and how to write. Ask your child to read back to you what they’ve written.

The Stay at Home Educator website clearly explains the process from emergent to formal writing skills.

Make letters, notes, cards and lists for people and ask your child to write inside them.

Pre-maths skills

Do plenty of counting and sorting of numbers using buttons, animals, food, natural things – anything practical. The Early Learning HQ website gives some ideas.