We understand the anxiety of raising young children, the daily pressures of working families and that often families can receive differing messages about what is most important for their young child’s learning and development. The approach for the Kindergarten year at Mother Duck Childcare is based on reliable and current research, and the tips below provide complimentary support (within the home environment) for your child’s overall development in their preparation for school and life. We are completely committed to providing every child in our Centres (and of course the Kindergarten Program), the best outcomes for life-long learning and we count it as a privilege to partner with families on this journey.
Simple strategies to bring learning into the “everyday” at home:
- Reading your child stories each day. This should be a pleasurable experience, not a lesson. Facilitate a love of reading and learning with your child. Local libraries are free to join and have an abundance of good quality children’s picture books.
- In many aspects of the day at Kindergarten, the children are encouraged to use their self-help skills, such as preparing their meals and washing up after themselves and putting on their own sunscreen. How can you do this at home? Encouraging children to be involved in all aspects of the day, assists children’s collaboration, teamwork, resilience, bilateral integration and manual dexterity (all essential skills for school and for life!).
- Have children assist with things like pouring from a jug, cooking, dressing themselves etc. Whilst this all takes additional time in our rushed schedules, it’s providing important opportunities to build dexterity with their small muscles as well as building their self-confidence and resilience.
- Guide children through discussions to develop the confidence to ‘bounce back’ when challenges arise, this will encourage children to develop resilience and adaptability. A simple way to do this is if your child comes home and tells you about something that has happened in their day that has caused them to feel upset, first listen and acknowledge their feelings (this is always essential!). “It sounds as though you felt pretty sad that Tilly knocked over your block tower. That must’ve been hard for you.” But then gently encourage your child to think through a solution next time that happens. “When someone breaks something you have been working really hard on, what are some things that you could say to them?”.
- When your child asks you a question (eg. “Daddy, why is the sky blue?”), before jumping in to provide an answer consider asking them, “What do you think?”. These opportunities and interactions (depending on the question!) can be less about finding the correct answer as such, but rather encouraging your child to be curious, creative and innovative in their thinking. It also communicates to your child that you value what they think, further supporting their identity and confidence as a life-long learner.
“Families can create a culture of critical thinking, inquisitiveness, and questioning within their own homes. For example, selecting books with social skills and social justice themes or real-world issues/events and clearly articulating and discussing the message to their children. Also, when reading stories or watching media with content that doesn’t align with today’s values (for example some fairy tales), inviting children to critique them and guiding them to do so.“
– Miss Ruth (Kindy Teacher and Educational Leader Mother Duck Carindale).
- Have children assist in real life activities that involve using numeracy. For example, counting the number of people coming to a family dinner. “How many forks and knives do you think we will need?”
- Have children assist you with reading/writing for a purpose. E.g. assist with the shopping list whether on a piece of paper, an app on your phone or supermarket online ordering.
- Encourage children’s independence by looking after their own belongings and being organised, and the notion to ‘have a go’ at putting on clothes, shoes and even tying laces!!!
- Take your child to the park regularly where they can climb, jump, run, swing on monkey bars and pull themselves onto a range of equipment. All of these physical activities are supporting the development of your child’s larger muscles and most importantly their “core strength”. Children who have good core strength are better able to sit upright on the mat at school or at a desk without fatiguing quickly. (Without good core strength, learning to write can be incredibly difficult!)
- Encourage the “Think, Say, Draw, Do” process with children’s home projects, and maybe even model this process yourself! (See your child’s Kindergarten Teacher for more information about this).
- On collection of your child from the Centre take the time to look at your child’s planning book. Look at what they have worked on and listen to their ideas BEFORE you respond with what you see. Valuing their work and emerging skills will boost your child’s self-esteem and intrinsic motivation to see themselves as “a learner”
We hope that you have found this information helpful and should you require any further support, please do not hesitate to speak with your child’s Kindergarten Teacher or your Centre’s Educational Leader, Franchisee or Nominated Supervisor. It takes a community!
Read more about the five important social competencies that you can foster in your child.