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What is the home learning environment?

Photo: All children are naturally curious and want to learn about the world around them

The home learning environment is the combination of everything you and your family do and the spaces where you do it. It includes all of the opportunities you give your child to communicate, play, interact with others, explore books and objects and take part in everyday experiences and routines. The home learning environment encourages children and young people to have positive attitudes towards learning, to be curious, to problem solve and to have confidence in themselves.

All children are naturally curious and want to learn about their world. All they need is the time and opportunity to explore, interact, experiment and play with lots of different everyday objects, books and materials - both inside and outside. As your child gets older, they become more independent. Don’t worry about not having all the knowledge to support your children with their learning, studies shows that you make a big difference to your child’s attainment just by showing an interest in their work and supporting them to ‘have a go.’

You can help with science: 

You can help your child by providing a range of materials, objects and toys that stimulate all their senses and allow them the time and space to explore. Children will learn about how things work and what they can do. Bath time and cooking are great opportunities for your child to develop early science skills and learn more about the world around them. As your child gets older you can talk about subjects like dinosaurs, healthy life styles or climate change. Find out what your child is interested in and let them tell you about what they know.

You can help with maths: 

Let your child use everyday objects such as boxes, pots and pans, empty plastic bottles and packaging in their play. Encourage your child to help you with simple jobs like sorting the washing or laying the table and get them to share out sweets. Use maths skills and maths language every day. As your child gets older encourage them to understand and use money, or plan a simple project together and work out costs and materials.

You can help with reading and writing: 

Leave books, comics and magazines and mark-making materials where children can reach them. Talk about signs and notices when you’re out and about shopping or in the park. Let children see you read, draw a picture or write. Sharing books everyday helps your child to learn to read and write. As your child gets older don’t stop talking about books remember to show an interested interest in what they’re reading and learning about.

Encourage your child to explore and experiment with different sounds, movements, materials, objects and media to create pictures, dance, music and stories. Whatever age your child is you can play, draw, move or share stories together.

You can help with routines: 

As your child gets older you can make simple visual reminders to help them remember and follow simple routines, for example, caring for their hearing device. Create a visual timetable to help them plan their homework or home learning and find a quiet space in the house where they can work without distractions.