Supporting your child's learning
Support Your Child's Learning
The research is conclusive. Children do better when their parents are engaged with learning at home. Alongside regular, on-going home-school communication, Parent Workshops and school Open Days, on this page, we aim to provide you with tools, suggestions and resources that will help you support your child's learning.
Parent’s active engagement with their children’s school and their learning is the most important long-term influence on academic success and behaviour. Bewick Bridge is committed to securing strong home school relationships to ensure this. Our school calendar will keep you up to date with what is ahead and we send weekly reminders via the Friday Newsletter.
Top ways to get involved:
- Come and celebrate children’s learning by attending their termly sharing assembly
- Attend your child’s class Celebration of Learning each term
- Volunteer to accompany your child on an Educational Visit
- Take time to read the weekly class newsletters and talk to your child about their learning
- Attend school events
- Attend parent consultation evenings regularly
- Look at the class web page to keep up to date with what your child is learning
Focus on Learning
At Bewick Bridge, learning is at the heart of all we do. We are trying to encourage the pupils to think more about what they are learning - research has shown that carefully thinking about and reflecting on what you are learning can have a big impact on how well you learn. We have come up with some questions that we will be using regularly with all children (and adults) at the school to focus them on their learning. Perhaps you could use some of them too.
- What have you been learning today? (as opposed to what have you done today?)
- What new knowledge do you have? What new skills do you have? What do you understand better after today?
- Why are you learning this?
- How did this connect with things you have learnt about before?
- Is there something you really liked learning today?
- Can you teach me/ someone what you learnt today?
- Was there anything that you’d like to know more about after today?
Top Tips for how to support your child at home
Making time to support your child with their schoolwork can be a struggle. Especially on top of working, the shopping, cooking a meal, bath time and all the hundreds of other jobs that parents have to complete on a daily basis. Here a few handy tips and hints to make supporting school work more manageable allowing you to offer the best support possible to your child. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hours each day. All help you can give will be beneficial.
1) Let kids have some wind down time after school. Their minds have been active all day so get them some time to play and switch off. Getting them to do homework as soon as you get home probably isn’t wise. Choose the right time, not too near bedtime as they’ll be worn-out, but perhaps after a meal so they are refreshed.
2) Get organised. Consider a family calendar to keep track of school dates, homework and other assignments. A weekly overview of what needs to be done and by when can be so hopeful and ensures nothing gets missed. Get into a good school routine too, organised pack lunches, uniform, school bags and homework the night before.
3) Decide on a homework routine and stick to it. Having a set time slot every day will help. They still won’t like to do it, but they’ll know it’s coming. Ten minutes of reading or homework a day can be much more effective than an hour a week. Be consistent.
4) Provide a special space where your child can complete homework undisturbed. A seat round the dining table, a desk in their room or a cushion in a cosy corner; wherever your child works best. Ensure they have all the tools they need: pens, paper, books and any other relevant resources. Keep the homework space calm and distraction free, preferably away from TVs and video games.
5) Don’t do their homework for them, no matter how much they nag and moan! Offer them support and guidance, but don’t give them the answers. Your child won’t learn if they aren’t doing it themselves.
6) If time is an issue, consider asking extended family for help, can they spare ten minutes to help with homework or hear your child read? Chances are they’ll relish the opportunity to spend some extra time with them. If you have more than one school-age child, make it a homework club and get them helping each other.
7) Make time to talk with your child, whether it’s on the walk home, over dinner or during bath time. A conversation between parent and child can uncover needs and perspectives of which the teacher may be unaware. Finding out information about a child’s day can be tricky. Try asking them direct and specific questions such as ‘What was the best thing about school today?’ or ‘How would you rate your day at school out of 10? Why? These are much more effective than ‘What did you do today?’ Ensure you always feedback any concerns to the teacher.
8) Most importantly: don’t worry. You don’t have to know the technical terms or strategies used in school, encouragement and support is enough and can give the children the confidence they need. If you’re unsure of something or don’t know the answer yourself, then explain that to your child and find a way to learn the information together. Search for the information together on the Internet or in a book, or speak with the class teacher about it.
Each child in KS1 and 2 has a Reading Journal. This is a book in which they can keep a record of what they read; this will help them keep track of the books they have read and make sure they are enjoying a 'balanced reading diet’. It will also provide a space in which to record their thoughts about and responses to what they are reading (they will be required to do this at least once a week using the prompts provided but can do it more often should they wish).
We encourage children to decorate their journals to make them personal to them. We’d also encourage you to talk to your child about their journal and to talk to them about if and how you might support them. If you read with them, you might like to record a comment too. Time and time again, research shows that learning to read - and to love to read - is directly linked to children's success at school and beyond. As parents, you can make a big difference to your child’s success as a reader by encouraging your child to read as much and as widely as possible at home. A short daily reading session at home can make all the difference to your child’s progress. Keep your eye out for regular ideas and suggestions for how you can help your child develop as a reader in the school’s newsletter.
Supporting your child's writing at home: top tips from pobble.com
- Although your child is learning the basics of writing at school, the development of these skills must be encouraged at home, too. Luckily, it’s easy to support and nurture there’s much you can do. Encouraging good writing habits will make a big difference in your child’s attitude to writing. Here’s how:
- Provide a suitable place for your child to write and provide a writing toolkit with plenty of pens and colours.
- Urge your kids to write wherever possible: shopping lists, birthday cards or thank-you letters for gifts.
- Encourage them to write for fun too, about whatever they like. Silly stories, poems, letters to friends or a menu for a family meal. Talk to them about authors and the characters they create. Can they create their own characters and write a story?
- Provide learning opportunities outside the home environment such as museum visits or interesting walks to give them something to write about.
- Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say in their writing. When they ask for help with spelling or punctuation then give it positively.
- Use a variety of writing surfaces and mark making objects such as coloured pens, chalk, paint, and markers.
- Let your children see you write: notes to friends, letters to business, shopping lists and everyday stuff. Leave little notes around the house for them and encourage them to write back to you.
- Be realistic about spelling and grammar: if they are in full flow don’t kill their enthusiasm by pointing out mistakes. Words, sentences, and ideas should come first. Spelling and grammar second. Simply encourage your child to have a go at spelling words they are unsure of.
- Keep an eye out for fun writing competitions designed just for kids. The possibility of winning a cool prize is a great incentive to write.
Science: Great activities to do with your child at home
Here are five fun activities you can do at home with your child using just household objects. Warning: you WILL make a mess, and that’s half the fun!
Professor Robert Winston writes:
“Helping children learn about science isn’t just about nurturing the scientists of the future. It’s about ensuring every child develops a natural curiosity about the world around them, so they start to think analytically about situations.
Why is this important? Well – if you think about it – so many of today’s decisions require you to be analytical and ask the kind of questions a scientist would.
How much red meat should I be eating? Do the health claims of a product add up? Should we be building more nuclear power stations?
An understanding of science is behind so many of today’s decisions, let alone tomorrow’s. If we want a better society, we have to give even the youngest children a fantastic introduction to science.
Fixed Mindset: People believe that their intelligence or talents are set and can’t be changed. They spend their time documenting their intelligence/talents instead of developing them.
Growth Mindset: People believe that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
How to praise your child to build success
Perhaps the most significant aspect for the adult in developing a growth mindset culture is to use praise language which focuses on achievement and effort, and to encourage growth mindset mantras which reinforce the message.
Some examples of appropriate praise and encouragement language used successfully by teachers and parents.
- Well done! You’re learning to….
- Good - it’s making you think - that is how you know you’re brain is growing
- Every time you practise, you’re making the connections in your brain stronger.
- You’re good at things you like because you spend a lot of time doing them.
- If you could already do it or it was easy, you wouldn’t be learning anything.
- Your skills have really improved. Do you remember how much harder this was last week/ year?
- You kept going - well done!
- Don’t say no - have a go!
- You mean you don’t know/ can’t do it YET!
MindUp is a programme designed to teach children about the neuroscience of their brain, how to self-regulate their behaviour and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic and personal success.
MindUp aims to build resilience, reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration and academic performance. As children develop an understanding of the brain science linking emotions, thoughts and behaviours, they apply this knowledge and understanding to managing their emotions and behaviour more effectively. They develop greater empathy for others and are more optimistic and happy.
The MindUp programme consists of 16 lessons (see document below for details) and the Core Practice of focused breathing practised three times a day.
The philosophy and practices embedded in the MindUp programme compliment the work we do around Growth Mindset and Personal Learning Goals.
Other Resources to support the teaching of mindfulness to children
Mindfulness animated in three minutes - a short video explaining mindfulness