Interviews

Childminder Chat

Busy Things games make active minds

As pre-school age children approach the point at which they pass another milestone and start attending primary school, the contentious concept of homework comes into play. And while childminders might not want to introduce homework in all its regimented glory while children are in their charge, there are ways in which they can start to develop the key skills and practices they’ll need as they move towards KS1. Not only that, as educational games specialists, Busy Things, point out, these activities can help sow the seeds of some key homework habits too.

How can childminders foster a love of home learning assignments that are fun, stimulating and educational?

“Encourage parent participation with a workshop. Pre-school and nursery age children need support and guidance during home learning, which is why parental participation is essential to the overall success of your assignments. So, you’ll need to ensure that parents and caregivers have the information they need to support children during learning at home. “Hosting a parent workshop can be a great way to get everyone on the same page, and you can share a few pointers that will help parents to support their children’s development. Start by familiarising parents with the basic outline of the curriculum for the term, and teach them some of the basics for helping to engage their children.”

Is there a way of incorporating play into the mix?

“Absolutely. While activity sheets and basic written exercises can be great for improving literacy and handwriting skills, don’t forget to set some more hands-on assignments. Children learn best through play, so try to make tasks physical whenever you can. These don’t need to be extremely complex: simple exercises, such as counting the cars they see when they’re out walking (with you or their parents), or collecting leaves in the autumn to use in a creative project, are sure to have an impact on their learning. If you need some more inspiration, STEM has a handy selection of fun science homework exercises that will help children explore the natural world through their senses in a hands on way.”

What else can create good homework habits?

“Rewarding completed activity sheets and good behaviour during home learning will help to establish good habits. So, keep track of their progress using a homework diary - in which parents can record progress during home learning - and make sure that completed homework is rewarded. Rewards can take almost any form: you could use a merit chart, or allow them extra playtime with a certain toy or piece of play equipment. If you want your rewards to have an educational focus, reward them by allowing them to spend some time using a digital learning tool, like our learning games for nurseries. It contains 100s of educational games, all designed especially for the Early Years curriculum, so they can learn as they play.”

Find out more about Busy Things at www.busythings.co.uk

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