With the reality of the schools closing and children being at home now upon us, why not look at how you can incorporate an eco approach to home learning?
If, like me, you aren’t used to having school aged children at home every day then the thought of having to try and carry on their education outside of their normal learning environment is really quite daunting.
I think the first tip I have is don’t try and replicate school! The environment at home will be completely different, and although its important to keep up with the basics of our education system there are ways to do this without having a stand up battle every day to get your little one to sit at a table and write copious amounts and reel off times tables.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time over these last few days thinking about how I can help my little man, who is only in his first year and has just about settled himself into a school routine. How is he going to deal with what is likely to be huge change for him? How do I keep him engaged and interested in learning when we have big battles to even read a few pages at home?
The environment at home is completely different to school, and we should use this to our advantage, make it fun, make it different, do things they wouldn’t be able to do in school with 30+ children in a class!
Most of this post is written with Foundation Stage age group in mind but I’m sure you will be able to find ways to adapt these ideas to suit older children too.
Looking round the house we are fairly well equipped for home learning, we are lucky to have access to technology, we have recycled writing paper and pencils already kicking around the house, so before you go out and spend money on buying a load of new equipment and resources for your child just step back and take stock of what you already have, this will help reduce waste.
The schools are working hard to ensure children have work packs and access to online resources so make the most of these. If schools have already printed things out try to reduce the amount of printing you do at home, if you do want hard copies of sheets try to print double sided, or on the back of old pieces of paper. Children will be learning life skills relating to technology as well if they are accessing online educational games and resources.
If there is one thing I would recommend investing in its a small whiteboard and pen, this can be used over and over for writing, spellings, sight words, games and much much more.
Instead of trying to sit down for traditional teaching/learning why not shake things up a bit?
Incorporate life skills into the day, you could cover a whole plethora of skills just by making cakes;
- Research – look online for different cake recipes and chose which one you think will be best.
- Writing – Write out your chosen recipe, or make up your own.
- Maths – How much will the ingredients cost, what change would you need to give? – either make up your own price list or look at an online store.
- Maths – Accurately weigh out the ingredients
- Creative – Mixing the ingredients together, talk about what it looks like, what does your child think the mix will taste like?
- Design – While the cake is cooking why not draw a design for decorating you cake?
- Snack – You now have a cake to use for snack for a day or 2.
For older children you could apply this to a family meal, ask them to research a meal, based on ingredients you’ve got at home, price those items up and ask them to plan within a budget, help them to understand portion sizes and ensuring there is enough for the family.
Down to Earth
Even if the country ends up in lock-down this will not prevent you spending time in your garden, so if you have the space why not set aside a small spot to plant some flowers or better still a small vegetable patch.
We’ve got our seeds ready to plant, this will help us to open up conversations around where food comes from, what types of food we can grow ourselves, and how to look after the area while the veg is growing. This leads us nicely into work on how to look after ourselves, healthy eating and exercise. We will be counting seeds, measuring distances between seeds as we plant, writing some labels so we know whats been planted, drawing pictures of healthy plates of food, writing a list of our favourite foods and seeing whats healthy and whats not, and we will be getting active.
With older children why not look into the comparison of the costs of growing your own to shop bought, the benefits of a healthy diet and even food miles.
If space is an issue then why not try growing some seeds in a pot.
Whilst outside why not try some experiments?
- How are shadows made?
- How does a sundial work, can you make your own?
- Can you measure the amount of rainfall over a week or 2?
- Can you make a colourful windmill?
- If you go for a walk see if your local area are taking part in the Window Rainbows, lots of houses are putting rainbows in their windows for children to spot and count while out and about.
I think the most important thing about these next few weeks, however long or short they may be, is not to panic. There are a huge amount of resources online aimed at parents. Remember we are all in this together and there are lots of people happy to support. This is just my little bit of input to get people thinking about the environment while they go about doing their best for their children.
Have a go at making up your own activities, you’ll be surprised how much your child will learn from having fun and doing some different things. Use what you have around you, don’t make it harder than it needs to be! Why not try;
- Learning how to hand sew
- An upcycling project together
- homemade bird feeders
- making a bee hotel
- Starting a compost bin
- making a wormery
- building with lego blocks – sort them into colours, count them, make 2d & 3d shapes.
- using magnetic letters to spell words on a baking tray
Here are a few external sources I have found with useful information and activities for a range of ages.
|Twinkl|| https://www.twinkl.co.uk/ |
|Twinkl is a well used resource by schools and they are offering parents the chance to register free for 1 month. They even have a recycling game!|
|BBC Live Lessons||https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/live-lessons||30+ live lessons in a variety of subjects and age groups.|
|STEM Learning|| https://www.stem.org.uk/ |
3 little eco pigs
|With a wide range of STEM activities for all ages, and traditional tales with an eco-twist|
|Fairy Academy||Fairy Academy – School Closure Support||A lovely lady local to me has set up a facebook support group.|
|Frenzy Youth Theatre|| https://www.frenzyyouththeatre.co.uk/ |
Click here to sign up for free drama activities to your email
|Free activities to your inbox, and coming very soon online drama sessions for just £1.50 per week – Ages 2.5 – 7yrs|
|The Body Coach||The Body Coach TV||9am each morning your children can follow an online PE session.|
|Beach Body Kids||https://vimeo.com/showcase/6880106||Active sessions for kids from Beach Body.|
I hope this post gives a few people just a little bit of help, remember we all need to support each other and do the best we can do in this time. If you’ve got other great sources of educational material or alternative learning sources then please let us all know in the comments.
In the mean time stay safe and keep looking after yourselves and the planet!
“Children cannot bounce off the walls if we take the walls away”Erin Kelly