MOST of the children that I encountered in the first week of school had a sparkle in their eye and an extra-large smile across their face.
They were bursting with excitement to tell their tales about the first days back. Also, most of the parents I spoke with mirrored these expressions of joy, not just because lockdown at home with children is undoubtedly difficult, but because the only thing that they want is for their children to be happy.
This return to school marks the end of the dreaded home-learning!
There is a huge sense of relief as the Easter and summer holidays are just around the corner, which will provide a much-needed break after a difficult year.
Hopefully, the next few months will bring warmer and longer days, and children will want to be outside as much as possible. In my experience, some of the best learning experiences are achieved outdoors. There is something about being outside that rejuvenates children and provides extra clarity when completing tasks.
If they have homework to complete, encourage them to do it outside as this little change may give a breath of fresh air and hopefully limit any objections.
When I was teaching in the classroom, I took the pupils outside to sit on the grass if there was the slightest sign of sunshine. On numerous occasions, I just delivered the same lesson as I would have inside the classroom, but the results were phenomenal, and I hope that it transfers to your household.
Planting Seeds this Spring
Another fantastic activity you can do with children this spring is planting seeds. Ensure that the seed of your choice requires little maintenance as you do not want to discourage and make it a chore. An excellent choice is broad beans or sunflower seeds due to their simplicity. Benefits are abundant from planting seeds at home, such as observing the process of a plant or vegetable growing from a seed.
Growing something obviously takes time which requires patience and care; two vital skills. Although relatively simple, certain skills are associated with sowing and tending to plants, such as hand-eye coordination and following instructions. Planting seeds provide the perfect opportunity to practise these skills in a fun and rewarding manner. This activity also develops an appreciation for food as children experience first hand the care required to grow food and hopefully conveys a message to waste less. Gardening is extremely therapeutic, and it may be a perfect mindfulness activity for your child after a challenging year.
No Garden? No Problem!
I am also aware that not everyone has a garden, but please do not let this deter you. Numerous plants can be grown from pots, egg crates or glass jars. Sometimes, planting in glass jars gives children a better experience as they can witness processes that usually happen underground. You only need a jar, seeds (pea or bean seeds work really well), paper towels and water. Fill the jar with paper towels and dampen them (do not flood the jar). Gently place the seeds between the paper towels and glass jar so they can be seen. Over the next few weeks, you can observe and record the root popping out of the side, the root pushing downwards, root hairs developing, the seed rising while the roots hairs push down, and finally, the shoots start to come up. Play to your child's interests when recording the information. If they like art, sketch the different stages or if they prefer technology create a documentary using a tablet.
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Education Support Hub provides assistance to help primary school children reach their full academic potential. Following a free assessment, your child's learning gaps and needs are identified, which will be communicated to you. They are then placed in a small group of similar academic ability. The small group dynamic helps mirror a classroom environment whilst encouraging some healthy competition! Each child is continually assessed throughout the session, immediately highlighting any areas of concern. We provide support for children from P3 - P7, including GL Transfer Test preparation.
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