With the latest government announcement comes the latest wave of panic and fear. The media and newspapers are creating a storm around this virus which we are pre dispositioned to worry about… a culture of panic and fear is escalating fast so take back control, make plans and arm yourself with ideas and knowledge of how to cope in a crisis… that crisis being lockdown and potentially taking ownership and responsibility for home schooling your children.
Books are so important as part of a continuous provision and there are many ways that you can encourage a love of books with your children.
We are all starting to think of ways of home educating in the event of a forced closure of school and I can totally empathise with those who will struggle with childcare and trying to juggle children, jobs, running households and literally living under unprecedented conditions. I’m more scared of not knowing the plan than the plan itself and the sooner we’re made privy to the full schedule of change the better. But for now I am going to share with you what plans I have in place for my own primary age children.
Many of us read to our children. We spend time at bedtime reading their favourite stories, maybe if a child is older we will provide them with audio books, podcasts or read chapter stories to them but what other ways could you use books to enhance learning opportunities?
I like to set up bookish play activities which are often focused on a story or perhaps an author. Children engage with a story if they can interact with it. So whilst you maybe restricted to home based play over the next few weeks lets think of ways that you could create a fun learning opportunity for your child.
Create a story sack
Whether in an actual bag or set out on a shelf or in a basket children love to explore a book when props are used with it. You could do this simply by adding toys that represent the characters such as animals or peg people or you could get the children to make their own puppets with lolly sticks and a self coloured in picture. The internet is full of printable resources which could be adapted to match your story.
Thinking about this from an educational stand point a story sack would help a child develop language skills as they retell a story to you or their siblings. If they have drawn or painted their own puppets they have covered an art and design element and by working together have been engaged in some social development.
Link the story to real life events. If you have read a book about an animal or place could you use your on demand television service to access a documentary about that topic. Use a sketch book or note pad and ask your child to pick out key points raised in the documentary which will state real facts, could they then create their own non-fiction book related to the documentary?
The internet is a hub of knowledge and you have lots of e-learning material at quick reference. You could download a book app so that your child can read the latest material by their favourite author.
Another idea is to link your books to play activities. Fact books about the human body could lead to playing hospital and leading to learning.
Children love dressing up and role play. Ask them to put on a performance of either a made up story or based on their favourite picture book. Maybe they could raid your wardrobe. I always remember dressing up in my mums clothes when I was a child and clomping up and down the garden in her high heels.. don’t underestimate the power of play. We will all have to learn to adapt and children need social interaction to thrive.
Video phone and you tube
This sounds so simple but could you set up a nightly video chat with friends or maybe record yourself reading a book that you could share with your friends children. I have some books that I have filmed myself reading available on my you-tube channel but will make some more this week if anyone has got any requests.
Hearing someone elses voice can be extremely beneficial for your child and looking after their mental health aswell as physical health should be a priority. You could ask your family including grandparents to record a video or just ring them to read a story. Many children will miss the close contact of loved ones so lets make sure they can still get some sense of normality during the madness.
Books don’t need to be long stories to be impactful. I have lots of books which have short poems in them, are wordless or have quotes designed to empower and inspire mindfulness.
I like to focus play around books alot here. Books help drive a theme, capture imagination, encourage role-play and above all allow children to learn in a fun and engaging way.
Have you started to think about activities you can do with your children at home? I’d love to hear your plans.