7 simple ways to boost learning on the way to school
If you’re lucky enough to be able to walk to school with your child then you’re likely to be doubling their one-to-one time with an adult for the day.
In the busy classroom, teachers rarely have the opportunity to work directly with a child, so the time you have together first thing in the morning is incredibly valuable. And, because it’s tailored to suit your child’s needs, it’s much more effective than a teacher pitching a lesson at the middle ability level.
You’ll know what’s best to concentrate on for your child but here are some suggestions for walking to school learning:
- I Spy: with the letter sound, rather than the letter name. Once all sounds are known securely, you can move on to letter names.
- Times tables: for nursery and reception pupils, this may simply mean counting up to 20 and back down again. Later, they can count in 10s and twos and, eventually fives. Finally, the tables can be recited in the traditional way.
- Songs: the alphabet song, nursery rhymes, tidy up songs or washing hands songs, etc.
- Rehearse lines: for an upcoming assembly or end of term show.
- High-quality questions: let your child talk about anything they like, but try to dig down into their underlying beliefs. If your child wants to talk about Batman, ask a few questions and see where you end up. Why does Batman catch baddies? Why doesn’t he leave it to the police? Why is it important to stop crooks? What would happen if Batman decided not to help? What should happen to baddies if they decide to become good? The aim here is not to get to any particular answer (though you may decide there’s something worth investigating). Rather, you want to teach your child to think more deeply, and not simply to accept the first answer that comes into their head. Walking is a great time to explore such questions. You could also try playing 20 questions. A little advanced, perhaps, but for those children who enjoy it, the rewards are great. They'll learn to classify, to go from the general to the specific, and they'll have great fun trying to catch you out.
- Mental maths: you have three sweets and I give you two more. How many do you have? You have four toys and you give one to your brother. How many do you have left? Count in twos (0, 2, 4, 6, but also 1, 3, 5, 7...), count in tens. Rehearse doubles.
- Memory games: I went to the shops and I bought… an apple, a banana, a carrot, etc.
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