Keeping children occupied during the school holidays

The summer holidays are almost upon us and many people will be wondering how they can keep their children occupied over the six-week break. It may be that you have to work and so your children will be spending some of their holidays with friends, family or with a child care provider, in which case you may want to have some fun activities planned for when you do get to spend the day with them.
A trip to the seaside always goes down well, and if you are not going on holiday this summer, then a few day-trips out can be just as fun. It does not need to cost a fortune, as you can take a picnic with you, and if the weather is good, the kids will be happy with digging in the sand or paddling in the sea.
It is also important to think about your child’s education during the 6-week summer break as it is a long time to be off school. Continuing to read with them often and asking them to write a diary or draw a picture of something they have enjoyed doing, will allow them to practise skills they have been learning at school without it feeling like home work.

The importance of education at an early age

It can be hard to find the right balance between education and play for younger children. Many parents often feel that their children are made to work too hard too younger and are put under unnecessary pressure at such a young are.

Research shows that children who get a head start on their learning often excel throughout their school years and often even further in to their work life later on. A child’s mind is like a sponge and therefore can take a lot of information in, in small chunks. They may learn in a different way to many adults but they are able to retain a lot of information from a young age. This is why children pick up new languages a lot easier than it is for an adult to learn a new language.

Although it is important for young children to have a good education, there is a balance and children should still be allowed to be children. Putting too much pressure on a child can have the opposite desired affect and can mean that they start to switch off. 

Your child’s teacher should be giving them the correct amount of home work and work to be completed in class, but if you are at all worried about the work load then it is important to raise your concerns with their teacher.

Revisiting topics later on in the year

As a teacher there is always a certain amount of work you need to get through in an academic year. This can often leave very little time to fit in other things and with pupil absences, school trips and holidays you are left with little movement. Often children of a young age forget things quite quickly so it is important that you revisit things time and time again to allow them to understand and memorise it. It may be that most of the pupils have understood something but a small group are still struggling. If this is the case then you may need to work with them a little more closely or ask your TA to do some extra work with them when you are doing another task that they could miss out on.

You may not have to go over the topic in the same way. Often teaching them the same principle but in a different way can help them to really get to grips with it. If you are struggling for ideas then you could search online or ask other teachers how they went about it.

Another way to give pupils a bit more time on a task is to set them some homework that is themed around the subject you have been teaching them about.

Making use of your lesson plans for a second or third time

As a teacher your time is very precious as you often do not get a lot of it. You can spend much of your evenings and weekends planning lessons and marking work. It is a good idea to try and reuse as much of your planning as possible to cut down on the time it takes in the future. The first way to do this is to have a template that you can use for planning. You may be given this by the school or through a teaching agency (if you use one). If not then a simple Word document can help you plan the lesson using the same structure.  

Although things do change in terms of topics to be taught and the way you should teach them, some will remain the same and therefore it makes sense to base your new lessons on a similar plan. This is especially true if you have found a great way to teach a particular subject or topic.   Another way your lesson plans can come in use is to share them with other teachers that work in your school or through teaching forums. Sharing ideas and letting others know what worked and what didn’t work can be a great way to make the most of your experiences

Schools and parents working together in education

Schools like to see parents and carers taking an interest in what the pupil is learning about at school and encourage them to continue this at home. This may be as simple as asking your child what they have been doing that day and trying to integrate part of it into their home life. For example if they have been learning their two times table, then you may make a game when it comes to dinner time where you ask them a times table question and they have to count out the correct number of peas on their plate to give you then answer.
Reading is a very important skill for a child to grasp. Being able to read will not only help them understand books but can also improve their spellings, imagination and manage their feelings. You should try and listen to your child read at least every other day, even if it is just the ingredients on the back of a packet of the information on a poster.
Working closely with the school will help the child learn new tasks quicker and give them continuity. If your child is struggling with a particular subject at school, then you could ask the teacher if there is anything you can do at home to help.