We believe very strongly that children benefit most from a strong partnership between home and school and parents being involved in their child’s learning. That being said, we don’t use the word “homework” and prefer “home learning” because it is not about sitting down doing formal work at home but rather sharing in chats and activities that really enhance your child’s learning alongside the more formal and structured learning we lead with them in school. We value children’s relaxation time very highly and feel passionately that children should have plentiful time to play, enjoy time as a family and go to out of school activities such as sports, Cubs and Brownies, etc. At the same time, there are many ways in which you can support your child’s learning and development at home in fun ways, in incidental minutes and in a fun way rather than an onerous task.
Really valuable activities that will really benefit your child’s progress in school (and their development more widely):
- Playing board/ card games.
- Playing any games indoors and out.
- Going for nature walks.
- Chatting about school – they will usually say they can’t remember if you say “what did you do today?” so you could try “what made you laugh today?” “what was the most interesting fact you learned today?” “What do you know now that you didn’t know this morning?” “what did you do independently today?” (we use this word a lot!) “what did you persevere with today?” (we use this word a lot too) “what did you take a risk with today?” (and this!)
- Reading stories or other texts to your children every day.
- Reciting nursery rhymes or making up nonsense rhymes about every day objects (like “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket” by Doctor Zeuss).
- Noticing all the words, numbers and letters on signs, shops, cars, road signs, houses, etc.
- Helping your child to read to you – their school reading books and anything else they try to read.
- Counting lots of things then counting in 2s, 5s, 10s, 3s, 4s etc.
- Cooking – following recipes, measuring quantities.
- Shopping, discussing prices, change, etc.
- Reading your own books and magazines so children see that this is a worthwhile hobby.
- Talking and discussing anything and everything! Young children are amazing at asking questions. Asking them some “why?” questions back will really get them thinking and develop their vocabulary.
- Using a wide vocabulary and explaining words that your children struggle to understand.
- Encouraging your child to be independent – dressing, washing, carrying their own bags, organising their own belongings.
- Encouraging your child to take responsibility: doing little jobs, bringing things In themselves for school, taking responsibility to remember things (and find them in lost property if they are lost!) (we talk about “taking responsibility” lots in school.
Reception class learning is centred around play and, all the way through school to Y6, we continue to work on the principle that if children are excited, engaged and enjoy learning they will learn and reach their potential. We follow a creative curriculum and try to learn outdoors as much as possible. There are of course the basics of reading, spelling and mental maths skills that are so crucial to future learning and everyday life that we ask you to support at home alongside the work we do every day linked with these skills.
As your child gets older we aim for them to manage their own home learning tasks more and more. They will read to themselves predominantly and can do most tasks without help.
As your child starts to bring reading books home, we ask that you share their book with them every day. While reading:
- Ask questions about the story and pictures (your child may bring home some books without words that a designed for this sort of discussion and to develop children’s vocabulary and story-telling).
- Read all the words in random order.
- Predict what will happen and why.
- Discuss the feelings and actions of a character.
- Spot individual letters, sounds or words in other texts that may be too hard for them.
- Spot punctuation.
There is of course lots of reading going on in school and your child will be taught to read individual and as part of a group as well as listening to stories being read for pure enjoyment. Daily practice is essential however, not just to reinforce and practise the skills but also to develop a really healthy habit of reading for pleasure in spare time not just as a school activity. We aim to engender a love of reading so that children can’t wait to read the next instalment of their book! That doesn’t happen immediately for many children and it does take daily practice and dedication to get there but the more they practice, the sooner they “take off” and reading becomes wholly about pleasure rather than a chore. Read all sorts of books, comics, leaflets, etc. with your child and make it a lovely, relaxing time that you both look forward to. We ask all children across school to read every day at home for at least 10 minutes, that reading can be your child reading their own book, sharing a book or an adult reading to your child and asking questions to develop comprehension skills.
Children throughout school work in small ability groups on a daily basis on phonics and spelling. We hold parents’ meetings in the Autumn term focused on maths and phonics. In Reception, your child will have specific letter sounds that they are working on each week so please help your child by spotting those sounds in words and finding things with that initial sound. From Y1 onwards, your child will bring home a weekly sound or spelling rule, please support them for a few minutes each week to practise these. Beyond this, children will be working on particular spelling patterns and rules and will have a brief activity to do at home to reinforce this right through to Year 6.
Mental maths skills underpin developing mathematical understanding. We place a great emphasis on all of our children learning mental maths skills and knowledge at the appropriate level for them. Each child from Y1 onwards has a Learning Journey target to work on. When the time comes, please help your child to practise their current target in spare moments: in the car, while cooking tea, etc. This can start with simple counting in Year R. These targets are focused entirely on mental maths and we ask parents to support this aspect of maths rather than written maths and new concepts so as to avoid confusion as the way we teach maths differs a lot from methods in the past in many ways.
Each term we teach through a whole school themed curriculum. Themes include: Global Citizens, Space, Long, Long Ago, Journeys, What’s On The Menu, etc. We devise Home Challenges linked with our themes. This is a menu of activities that the children choose from to do at home. They are very varied and aim to appeal to all children’s interests, a mixture of art, design, cooking, photography, writing, researching, model making, PE, etc. We aim to appeal to all children by making these activities open-ended and wide-ranging.