Supporting your child's early education
Things you can do in the early years and beyond to help your child’s learning and development.
From birth to 5 years old the early years foundation stage (EYFS) sets standards for the learning, development and care of your child. The EYFS includes the areas of learning that are the building blocks of your child’s education.
These areas are:
- communication and language
- physical development
- personal, social and emotional development
- understanding the world
- expressive arts and design
All schools and Ofsted-registered early years providers like childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes must follow the EYFS. Your child will start to learn these mostly through games and play.
Here are things you can do to support your child in the early years.
Fun activities to boost learning
Hungry Little Minds has lots of simple and fun activities you can do with your child. These activities are broken down by age starting from the first 6 months. They can help with different areas of development from touch and taste to speaking and listening. Examples include:
- Sounding out textures and sensations like ‘crunchy’, ‘squishy’, ‘sour’, ‘cold’, ‘warm’.
- Look at picture books together
- Play together with fabric books that have different textures
Join baby and toddler sessions
Lots of local places like Family Centres, libraries and churches run sessions for babies, toddlers and young children. Some are even be run by parents and volunteers.
These sessions let parents and carers play with their children and meet new people. You’ll often find toys, games and sessions are provided. This is great if you don’t have many of these things at home, or you don’t have much space.
Meet with your health visitor
Health visitors are nurses or midwives who work with families to give pre-school-age children the best possible start in life. Most health visitors drop-in sessions run at Family Centres.
They will help you by providing:
- ante-natal and post-natal support
- support with bringing up young children
- assessments on your child’s growth and development needs
- advice on feeding
- support for children with special needs
- advice on behavioural management techniques
- information on local services
- advice on how to reduce risks and prevent accidents and reduce injuries
Get involved in events and schemes
Every year events and schemes run to encourage children’s learning. Some have a different theme each year. Here are a few you might like to get involved in.
Playday is the national day for play in the UK. It is usually held on the first Wednesday in August. Anyone can organise a Playday event. It could be a large community-wide event or a small get-together with friends and family.
In Buckinghamshire, community Playday events run in parks in Aylesbury and Amersham. Lots of local organisation and services usually attend and provide fun activities and stalls.
A challenge that encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read a selection of books and enjoy the benefits of reading over the summer holidays.
A day to celebrate Roald Dahl’s work such as the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda.
The early years staffroom lists lots more seasonal events that happen throughout the year.
Get out and about
The NHS recommend young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day. The fresh air, stimulation and exercise all help their development.
The BBC have put together Eight outdoor activities to do with kids and the NHS have guidelines for physical activity for children under 5. This includes physical activity ideas and tips.
You can try these in your own garden or at local parks and open spaces.
Talk to your early years provider
When your child starts with their childminder, preschool, nursery or school reception class, talk to the childminder or staff about your child’s needs.
If your child is considered a disadvantaged 3 or 4-year-old, your childcare provider may be able to get extra funding. This called Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and helps improve the education they provide.
A child might be disadvantage if you get some benefits, the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit or they have been in care.
Apply for Early Years Pupil Premium
This application can be made by parents, carers or childcare providers with the parents' permission.