As a parent, you are already your child’s first and main educator, and are well equipped to support them at this time. You know your child best. Avoid forcing them into lengthy planned activities if they naturally respond better to a mix of shorter activities. This can help avoid them getting bored or frustrated and keep them active, interested and learning through things they enjoy.
The links below will take you to a range of different websites that will provide information about what is taught in schools that may be useful to you.
CCEA has a helpful video and information which explains the Northern Ireland Curriculum. There are also a series of learning resources available which target Primary, Post-primary, SEN and Irish-medium. While these resources were originally written for teachers, they have been adapted for use at home by parents, young people and children. All resources are available at CCEA Home Learning.
Not everything needs to happen on or at a screen. Setting technology to one side can help develop different learning including creativity and physical skills.
Non-screen learning suggestions include:
- Create a routine for the day using pictures/drawings/words.
- Learn to ride a bike, bat/ball activities, skip, run, dig, hop.
- Take a walk and look at the wildlife, hedgerows and keep track of the changes in nature and record findings in photos and drawings.
- Gardening activities- planting and digging.
- Keep a diary or journal – not just text, include pictures and drawings.
- Play traditional games such as dominoes, draughts, snakes and ladders.
- Bake and cook following recipes – great for maths and science.
- Make models from junk materials and construction kits such as Duplo, Lego
Draw with Rob, Rob Biddulph posts draw-along videos that parents can watch with their kids and, hopefully, make some nice pictures.
Red Ted Art contains fun and easy art and craft activities to keep kids busy.
Nature Detectives provides fun activities, some of which can be done from your garden.
Business in the Community in Northern Ireland has information, resources and advice for parents and schools on learning and fun activities.
Goliath Trust, a network of ICT teachers who have created an online resource for primary-aged children to engage online. Check out their Youtube channel and blog for more.
The Department of Education in England has provided a list of online resources for home education.
There are so many online resources which are now available free for the duration of the Corona Crisis, to support what you are doing at home. While the online versions are engaging, there’s nothing quite like sitting down with the actual paper book with your child and sharing the story page by page.
The Educational Endowment Fund is an organisation which brings together what experts say about many aspects of education. They are really concerned about the quality of the reading experiences you have at home with your children and have produced new guidance on how to get the best out of the reading experience, they use the word TRUST to guide you through the process: Take turns; Recap what you have read; Use lots of encouragement; Share what you know about the text; Tune in and be interested.
NI Direct has published tips for reading with your child
There are so many opportunities to work with your children’s maths online. These are the main websites we would recommend as well as those which are linked to other sites.
The Maths Academy at Queen's University are producing daily maths activities for primary age children.
Corbettmaths also provides a range of maths resources.
Mathletics is used by many schools, and you don’t have to be a subscriber- you can access the resources freely during this time.
The White Rose Maths team has prepared a series of five maths lessons for each year group from Year 1-8. They will be adding five more each week for the next few weeks. Every lesson comes with a short video showing you clearly and simply how to help your child to complete the activity successfully.
Parents can sign up their child for free to The Maths Factor. There is a daily session focusing on a specific learning point and plenty of games and fun activities. Children can earn marbles and complete their tower of achievement.
Practice multiplication with this times tables simulator
Nrich have ideas and activities to help children learn and enjoy maths.
Numeracy Ninjas is suitable for older primary school children and contains downloadable skill books to help wth numeracy.
I See Maths contains information, resources and links for the daily home maths lessons
BBC Bitesize Daily contains resources to suit primary and post-primary learners, including daily challneges.
Oak National Academy has free access to resources including video lessons, quizzes and worksheets.
C2K Newsdesk (C2K MySchool username and password required) Newsdesk is a very useful tool to develop children’s fluency in reading, comprehension and writing skills. Children can read and listen to interesting articles, watch video content, share pictures and writing that they have created, all in a safe, moderated environment. The activities and topics are updated daily. Click here to find out more.
For activities which are designed for teachers, but which could be adapted for your home, visit CCEA Home Learning section
Additional support resources and advice for parents are available from the Education Endowment Fund website.
You can sign up to receive activities and learning ideas every week from the Pobble website.
You can also sign up to take part in the World Challenge Club from home.
The Creative Learning Centres are working together to develop resources on a range of topics such an animation and film making and are sharing the content via YouTube in tutorial style which is good for parents and children - especially for the replay option in case you missed something!
Through social media such as Twitter you will find lots of organisations and individuals who will share their expertise and advice for these challenging times, including Families Together and the Educational Endowment Foundation It’s always good to know you aren’t on your own.
Here are some ideas to help you get your pre-school child ready to learn and ready to play.
Playboard NI have a range of indoor play ideas and activities or children to try out at home, and a Play for Parents Guide, which outlines practical tips and suggestions on quality play experiences whatever the time of year.
Hungry Little Minds has simple, fun activities for 0 to 5 year olds.
SureStart has practical information and support on parents and childcare.
Playing, reading and talking to your child will greatly increase your child’s language skills and how well they do at school. The earlier we begin these activities with our children the better the results and the longer they will last. Getting ready to learn has lots of ideas and suggestions for home learning with your pre-school child, including the 20 activities for 20 days challenge.
Meet Harper, the Wonder Dog. He is going to help your child play in the garden, in the house and in the bath, created by the West Belfast Partnership Board.