Education has always been a priority in our house. We love to learn, just about as much as we love to have fun, it’s even better if we manage to combine the two. My husband is a perpetual learner and I’ve always been keen on keeping my brain in shape wherever I can. Educating ourselves is one thing, but with two little people under our belts education has become even more important. With nursery just around the corner I find myself drawn to enriching our children’s lives as much as I can.
Ever since our children were born, I’ve had a clear idea of the level of education they would receive at home. First and foremost, I recognise that it’s essential to make our children’s world as fun as it can possibly be. They are happy, healthy and loved which is paramount. Within the realms of fun though, I knew I wanted to teach them as much as I could along the way. I took some time out to educate myself on the Early Years Foundation Stage goals (EYFS), so that I’m aware of what goals our girls should be achieving and when.
Now that our eldest daughter is close to three years of age and therefore about to begin her school career, at an educational, state nursery. I’m keen to get her as nursery ready as can be.
The key thing to remember with EYFS goals, is that ultimately they’re just guidelines. I personally believe that it’s necessary to have an idea of where your child is on the scale, without getting hung up on, or upset about them not hitting every goal by a certain age.
How do we work on reaching EYFS goals, age 2-3 years?
Communication and language –
- Reading together, recognising characters, discussing the story.
- Role play.
- Listening to fun and educational nursery rhymes.
- Involvement in everyday activities, discussion, fun and giving them responsibility.
Physical development –
- Visiting soft play centres.
- Toddler play groups.
- Outdoor exploration.
- Messy play.
- Use of different equipment and teaching how to use them e.g) sieves, pouring from jugs, holding and using scissors.
- Practicing climbing stairs using the hand rail.
Personal, social and emotional development –
- Making conservation.
- Toddler groups – interaction with peers.
- Organised classes – taking instruction and interaction with peers.
- Arts and crafts – painting and drawing lines, patterns and shapes.
- Flash cards – first words, recognising items.
- Use of favourite characters to engage them in story telling.
- Rhyme and verse to instigate learning phonics in a fun environment.
- Arts and crafts – painting and drawing numbers.
- Flash cards – recognising numbers and putting them in order.
- Rhyme and verse to instigate learning numbers in a fun environment.
Understanding the world –
- Toddler groups – interaction and exploration of different situations with different people.
- Allowing children to develop meaningful relationships with their peers.
- Teaching them about themselves – how to recognise themselves and introduce themselves to others.
Expressive arts and design –
- Organised classes e.g) dance.
- Exposure to music, learning to enjoy rhythm using fun and educational songs.
- Free play.
- Messy play.
- Role play.
- Arts and crafts.
Not everyone chooses to prepare their children for nursery in the same way. Here are few words from my fellow bloggers, giving an insight into how they got their children nursery ready;
Becka from Mummy Est. 2014: ‘I’ve always believed that the ‘Prime Areas’ are the most important part of the EYFS. I think that supporting skills such as having experience around other children (such as toddler groups), knowing their own name and identity, being able to communicate (signing, speaking or symbols) and having basic self care such as getting shoes on and off, washing own hands etc. These sort of basics I believe help children have a starting point to grow from.’
Beth from Twinderelmo: ‘We let ours choose their own water bottle and lunchbag so they were excited to go and use them. In terms of EYFS, we just practised their name. Jolly phonics is a great place to start and they used to watch on YouTube.’
Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives: ‘I let nursery prepare my little one. Because they are linked to the school they prepare the children by teaching them the basics for reaching those goals. I did no ‘learning’ with him at home at that age as I wanted him to enjoy the time he had with mein a non learning sense. I did no letters or phonics and he is doing really well because he has been taught by one person and not more than one. We did some maths such as counting to 20 and down from 20. If you aren’t sending your child to a nursery linked with a primary school then I’d concentrate on lots of play based activities that strengthen there grip and movement. I’d do a lot of counting songs with them and other similar rhymes. Again if there’s no chance for nusery then toddler groups, especially at centres, are great for children. They tried to get Jamie to get himself changed too early in his life and it made him scared of jumpers. I’m all for when they’re ready with regards to getting himself dressed.’
Jessica from Beauties and the Bibs: ‘I wouldn’t worry about if they are ready academically that’s what nursery is there for. I would say make sure they are ready emotionally so if your offered settling in sessions take them and talk about nursery at home so they know what will happen.’
Jenni from The Bear and the Fox: ‘We found that reading books together about nursery beforehand really helped. I shared some of our favourites here…http://www.thebearandthefox.com/2017/09/books-starting-nursery-pre-school/’
Michelle from Seeing Rainbows: ‘All I did was encourage to draw, colour and know/write their name. I also took them to playgroup from very young to encourage socialisation and attempt to avoid shyness. But of course none of this is necessary, every child is different and nursery will encourage all these things anyway!’
Emma from Bubba Blue and Me: ‘I didnt prepare him because he’s been in day nursery from a year old. So socially and psychologically it was just another step for him the same as going to school. At home we just did normal things through play. Lots of communication, singing and activities that helped with motor control. He wasn’t interested in phonics or writing even though they did it at nursery. I just made sure there were plenty of books and drawing things available for when he wanted to use them.’
Sinead from Sinead Latham: ‘We spoke a lot about exploring a new school (nursery), making new friends and having a teacher just for them. They had a good 2 weeks settling in period so when they went full time all the kids were ready.
As for EYFS at home. We focus on play, imagination and encouraging his love of books. He’s too little for extra ‘teaching’ at home, he’s got enough of that ahead of him.’
Pete from Household Money Saving: ‘We took are daughter out to quite a few groups. One was a music group near to us that was run by the local library. A lot of the time, they would need to sit quietly in a circle and listen to the lady explain. We thought this was great leading up to nursery, and something she would never have learned at home.’
Jade from Thrifty Yorkshire Mum: ‘Our local nursery used to run ‘stay and play’ sessions, essentially a playgroup where we stayed with him. This got my son used to the environment, and members of staff. I also spent a lot of time explaining what he’d be doing etc. He’s a sensitive little boy but thankfully settled in very quickly.’