As parents, you are the first and foremost educators of your children. Some of the best learning opportunities stem from simply playing and engaging with your child on a daily basis. We’ve broken down the incidental learning opportunities that can be uncovered from everyday activities.
Playing a board game
The learning opportunities that playing a board game presents are many and varied. Some of these include:
- Colour recognition
- Letter and word recognition
- Number recognition, counting on, counting back
- Using positional language – e.g. up/down, forwards/backwards, below/above
- Developing communication and social skills including sharing, taking turns, waiting, listening and talking.
One of the most important learning opportunities in playing a game is learning to win and lose. Winning is something that young children experience regularly as we love to see our little ones happy. It is just as important that they experience losing and how to congratulate the winner. Practising losing from a very early age will reduce the tendency for dreaded temper tantrums.
Everyone loves to go shopping! Involving your child in this weekly event can also provide varied learning opportunities including:
- Letter, word and colour recognition.
- Introduction of new vocabulary.
- Writing the shopping list. For preschool children this may take the form of writing the first letter of the item, drawing a picture, copying the word of an item to be replaced, or even taking photographs of the items needed.
- Counting pieces of fruit and vegetables.
- Recognition and use of comparative language e.g. more/less, bigger/smaller, lighter/heavier.
- Money recognition and learning about its value. If children receive pocket money and wish to purchase something, get them to look at an item’s cost and compare it to how much money they have. Do they have enough? There is a lot of conversation and learning presented with this dilemma.
- Communication skills where your child must listen to and follow instructions.
- Recognising healthy eating choices.
- Discovering new foods and being adventurous with eating.
Reading at bedtime
Children love spending time with their parents and loved ones. Reading to your child at bedtime provides him or her with special bonding time where relationships are strengthened. Learning opportunities that this activity presents can include:
- Aiding the expansion of vocabulary.
- Encouraging a love of reading.
- Assisting with reading preparedness, such as recognising different letters, words and pictures in books, and learning the direction of reading, i.e. left to right.
- Developing comprehension and retelling skills.
- Developing imagination.
Going for a walk to the park
All children love a visit to the park. The journey, as well as the destination can provide many opportunities to help your pre-schooler learn such as:
- Recognising the form of letters – look for letters of the alphabet in the environment when out for a walk – it is surprising how many can be found e.g. car wheels for the letter ‘O’, gates for the letter ‘H’, plants for the letter ‘Y’, letter boxes for the letter ‘D’, paths for the letter ‘S’.
- Recognising colours – younger children can play eye spy at the park using colours instead of letters.
- Building numeracy skills by counting stop signs, red cars, links on the swing’s chain, and anything else you can think of!
Our environment inside and outside of the home and school is rich with learning opportunities. Learning at home does not need to be structured or results driven. Help your preschooler learn by turning education into a game – something playful that your children find fun and stimulating, and a time in which your children relish being with you. They need not even be aware that they are learning!
At Trinity Grammar School, we recognise that making a great start to a child’s learning journey can make all the difference to his academic success. The learning opportunities in our Kindergarten programme are vast.
From the significant foundation years of schooling, boys are provided with opportunities to develop in mind, body and spirit.
To find out if your son is ready for a Kindergarten education at Trinity, and to discover the Trinity difference, download our Kindergarten Ready document. You’ll discover what your son needs to be able to do in order to be Kindergarten Ready.