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Home Learning

The Home Learning Environment 

You are your childs first educator and have a big influence on your child's learning and development. The home learning environment is very important in influencing a child’s development and achievement. As a parent/carer, what you do at home with your child makes a big difference! 

All young children learn through meaningful hands-on experiences through touching, doing and moving. Children also learn through seeing and hearing. You don't need to turn your home into a classroom to make it a great place to learn. Opportunities to learn are everywhere! 

Talk at Every Opportunity 

You don't need to be en expert to help your child develop good communication skills. All you need if a listening ear and the willingness to chat to your child whenever you can. 

  • Talk to your child when you're playing together. 
  • Get into their zone and talk about what they are looking at or playing with- they will learn language faster that way. 
  • Have fun with nursery rhymes and songs, especially those with actions.
  • Encourage your child to listen to different sounds, such as cars and animals. This will help your child's listening skills. 
  • Gain your child's attention when you want to talk. 
  • Increase vocabulary, by giving choices, e.g. 'do you want juice or milk'? 
  • Talk about things as they happen, e.g. when you are both unpacking the shopping. 
  • Listen carefully and give your child time to finish talking. Take turns to speak. 
  • Always respond when your child says something. 
  • Help your child to use more words by adding to what they've said, e.g. if they say 'ball', you might say 'yes, it is a big, red ball.' 

The Power of Story and Rhyme

Did you know that by regularly engaging in activities, such as singing songs, rhymes and sharing books you can enhance your child’s progress and development? Giving a child time and full attention when reading them a story tells them they matter whilst  building self-esteem, vocabulary, feeding the imagination and so much more!

Taking the time to read with your child on a regular basis is the best way to support their overall learning and development. Here are some top tips and hints that might help:

  • Babies and young children love listening to the sound of your voice so don't be embarrased about reading to them. Be brave and experiement with different voices and accents when reading stories. 
  • Stories can provide you with a structure to help you talk aloud to your child and overcome any inhibitions you may have. 
  • Little and often is best, try not to read for too long as children have short attention spans. 
  • There is lots of support available for parents who struggle with their literacy skills, don't be afraid to ask for help. 

Follow this link for some reading inspiration! neil griffiths top tips for reading to children - - Video Search Results (

It is never too early to start reading to your child and Sefton are proud to work in partnership with Merseyside Violence Partnership Reduction who champion reading to bump and baby. Please follow this link for more information Early Years - Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership (


The Importance of Play 

Play is such an important part of a child's life. When you enter your child's world of play, a deeper relationship will form and your time together will become much more meaningful and fun.  

Get down on the floor together. You might start by pushing matchbox cars around a mat or building towers to knock them down. This is only achieved if you are physically on your childs level. Sometimes you might just sit and wait for your child to invite you into their game. In order to really play with your child, you need to become active in their world and move from watching  to being fully involved. 

Say 'yes' when your child asks you to play. Make a promise to yourself that you will say 'yes' everytime your child brings you a storybook or asks you to build with the lego. When you visit the park, go and play with them instead of sitting on a bench. 

Follow your child's lead when you don't know what to do. While asking to play a board game or starting a craft activity is great, you don't always have to plan what your child will do. If they are already engaged in building a lego farm, you might sit down and start building a barn. Children are often willing to explain their game and will love the opportunity to lead. 

When to say 'no' when playing with your child. Being willing to play with your child does not mean allowing your child to rule over you. In fact, learning that other people have ideas and thoughts is a valuable lesson that play brings. It's okay to suggest a different book if you've read 'Going on a Bear Hunt' 100 times and you need a break! 

Learning how to play with your child takes time but it is a skill that you can learn. Just as you learn how to wash dishes or cook a meal. It comes with tremendouc benefits of increasing your understanding of your child, which can make parenting easier. If you get into their world when they are young, they are more likely to allow you into their world as they get older. 

Reducing Screen Time 

Time spent on screens, even at very young ages, is increasing rapidly. Whilst it is recognised that some screen use offers opportunities to learn and be creative, too much screen time and regular exposure to poor quality material has been linked to obesity, inadequate sleep, and behaviour difficulties. 

In Sefton more young children are starting school with significant delays in speech and language, and often have difficulty maintaining attention. Children learn best when they interact and play with parents, siblings and other children and adults. 

It is recommended that children under five spend less than an hour per day using screens and that parents and carers monitor the quality of this carefully. 


5 Top Tips to Balance Screen Time 

1. Set rules on the use of screens in and out of the house. 

2. Make family time and sleep a priority over screens.

3. Play, watch and discover together. 

4. Take the lead when choosing what your child see's and does on screens. 

5. Set a good example with your own screen use.

Useful Links 

The following links are fabulous websites designed to help parents, carers, and professionals to support children’s development through very simple activities. Activities that cost nothing and you can do with resources you will find readily at home or when you are out and about with your child. 

Tiny Happy People 

Tiny Happy People is a website designed to help you as a parent/carer or professional develop your child's language skills. Explore their simple activities and play ideas and find out about babies and toddlers' amazing early development. 

The website has an array of advice on a whole range of parenting topics. Browse the alphabetical list of topics or click through for articles and films to help on your parenting journey. 

Look, Say, Sing, Play

Look, Say, Sing, Play gives parents, carers and anyone looking after a child free tools to help them to have higher quality interactions with their little ones. These simple ideas which fit into your daily routine have a huge impact on their learning and brain development, right from birth. It’s a great way to have fun while making your bond even stronger.

Look, Say, Sing, Play - Brain-building tips | NSPCC

Last Updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024

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