Updated: May 18
Why is it important to support creative learning at home in addition to schooling?
As an educational expert who is focused on creative learning techniques, I strongly believe that supporting learning at home has numerous benefits for children. Not only does it reinforce what children have learned at school, but it also promotes curiosity, critical thinking, and independence. Being supportive of creative learning does not always mean practical activities, it can be as simple as using positive learning language and being a good learning role model. If your child sees you celebrating your own learning, they are much more likely to become engaged themselves. Being an adult does not mean learning stops, the best role models are those who are open to learning new things, comfortable with celebrating mistakes and keen to explore new perspectives.
Supporting creative learning practically within the home does not have to be onerous and you certainly don’t have to be an expert in teaching. You don’t need huge amounts of resources and you should take it at a pace that suits your family’s routine and commitments. Feeling guilty about ‘not doing enough’ is counter productive, do what you can do and what is enjoyable for you and your child. Learning at home, outside of the school day helps children develop a love for learning as they are learning with the ones they love. When children are encouraged to learn at home, they are more likely to see learning as something fun and enjoyable rather than a chore or a burden, especially when creative learning techniques are used. Schools often send home the seemingly ‘quick and easy’ tasks such as spellings and reading which can often become tasks that are seen as chores due to the nature of how they are approached. If approached in a way that enthuses, motivates and inspires, these simple tasks can really support a child’s creative learning experience rather than becoming a battle.
Tip 1: Avoid approaches that test. We love a flashcard and even have a flashcard element built into our Enchanting Learning Cards but often, a simple flashcard activity can turn into a drill or a test situation which, for some children, is a big turn off and even a confidence knocking moment. We want to build confidence and set children up to succeed. We are not saying to avoid tests but set them up as fun challenges, use flashcards in the right way through games where it feels safe to get something wrong. Celebrating mistakes builds resilience and an openness to take risks. Head to our creative learning page for lots of simple and creative ideas.
Supporting creative learning at home helps children develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking
involves analysing information and making informed decisions. When children are given the opportunity to explore and learn on their own, they are forced to think critically. This can be done by encouraging children to ask questions, do research, and make connections between different pieces of information. When children are able to think critically, they are better equipped to solve problems and make good decisions in all areas of their lives.
Tip 2: Storytelling involves lots of decision making and careful thinking, to build an exciting plot that comes to a conclusion. The earlier you start experimenting with storytelling (without a book) the better equipped your child will be to think critically and face problems with confidence.
Learning at home away from daily routines, support and classmates, promotes independence. When children are encouraged to learn on their own, they become more self-sufficient and independent which is especially important as children grow older and start to take on more responsibilities. By supporting creative learning at home, parents can teach their children 'how to learn', give children the opportunity to understand about how best they learn( another blog post is on its way about this!) and how take responsibility for themselves as learners. This is the key growing into a life long learner!
Tip 3: Set up some simple games that focus on your child’s targets. Perhaps they are learning their phonic sounds, working on spellings or their handwriting. If you lay the foundations by playing along and then gradually stepping back, your child will feel more confident to have a go in their own.
Another benefit of supporting learning at home is that it allows children to explore their interests and passions. A good way to foster this is to set up open ended tasks or provide toys that have no set pre-determined structure such a blocks, sensory bases , playdough, marble runs etc check out Babipur for the best range of open-ended toys on the market. When children are given the opportunity to learn on their own terms and in their own way, they are more likely to discover what they are passionate about. Additionally, children who struggle with traditional classroom learning can benefit hugely from input at home. For many, just getting through the day in a different environment can be a challenge and have a knock-on effect to learning.
In summary, supporting learning at home has numerous benefits for children. It promotes a love of learning, critical thinking skills, independence, exploration of interests and passions, and provides additional support for children who struggle with traditional classroom learning. I encourage parents to support their children's learning at home using creative learning techniques; encouraging children to think critically, and allowing them to explore their interests and passions. By doing so, in the right way for their circumstances, parents can help their children develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in all areas of their lives.
Zoe Duff, educator, Founder of The Phive and creator of The Enchanting Learning range.