On a daily basis in school children are provided with a wealth of experiences to support their knowledge and skill development across the full breadth of our curriculum. As well as new learning, children are also given plenty of opportunities to make links, revisit, practise and apply their knowledge and skills.
On a weekly basis learning at home ideas, for children in Reception, and homework, for children in Owls and Toucans is set to complement this school-based learning. We strongly believe learning should be meaningful, enjoyable and engaging, and should be embedded in real-life contexts and personal interests where-ever possible. We also recognise the value of quality shared interaction, talk, and play to young children’s development and the need for them to have quiet time at home to process their day’s learning.
As such we try hard to strike the right balance and ensure our little minds remain stimulated, have opportunities for pre-learning, or consolidation of knowledge and skills, and also have plenty of time to play, switch off and enjoy quality family time. Homework is not compulsory, and children are not sanctioned for non-completion. However, research shows that children who partake in home-based learning have a greater understanding and achieve more, so we do encourage the completion of tasks regularly and when possible to do so. Our homework offer is therefore as follows:
Weekly working together ideas: a summary of the week's school-based learning is provided to parents with simple ideas on how learning can be supported in play-based ways at home, covering multiple curriculum areas. For example, in class this week we have been learning about two dimensional shapes, at home you could go on a shape hunt and make a list of all the objects that you find within your home that are circle, square, triangle or rectangle shape. Parents will be given a selection of ideas to dip in and out of according to time and children’s interests.
Owls and Toucans
Weekly tasks in maths and English will be sent home related to the week’s school-based learning and/or class topic. In addition, children will be given weekly spellings to learn at home and information on phonics learning will be shared with parents to encourage practice at home.
All children are given a homework book to record their home learning in and these are reviewed by school staff weekly, with effort acknowledged, praised and celebrated in class. Homework is usually handed out on a Friday and requested for return on a Wednesday.
Parents and carers are encouraged to support the independent completion of home learning tasks and ideally offer support and guidance as needed.
In addition to set homework tasks the following home learning activities are recommended as they strongly support children’s development, learning and academic success:
The value of reading and shared story times – we encourage all our pupils to read and share books daily and are happy to send home books on a regular basis to promote shared reading experiences. All readers are encouraged to read for short periods daily, with the support of an engaged adult, to promote their phonics application, decoding skills, inference and comprehension. Levelled reading books, targeted to the child’s reading ability, will therefore be sent home weekly for all our ‘readers’ and we encourage all parents and carers to set aside time to support this independent reading e.g. by asking key Qs regarding plot or character, by defining new words, by prompting the use of reading skills to manage unknown words e.g. reminding children to use their phonics knowledge to sound out unknown words, and by supporting one to one correspondence in younger children as they follow each letter/word with their finger, sounding out as they go.
In addition to children’s own reading development it is imperative that children receive plenty of opportunities to enjoy reading for pleasure through the sharing of books and stories with adults or older siblings. There is often no greater pleasure than creating an intimate time daily, often before bed, to snuggle down and share a book together, allowing young children to handle the book, turn pages, explore illustrations etc, and to hear stories being told allowed, discuss characters and events and relate to own experiences. We therefore advocate, that in addition to daily independent reading, all children share stories at home daily, and are happy to help by loaning books for shared reading to families. Staff are happy to advise parents regarding reading development and how best to support young children’s reading throughout the school year.
The value of play - Children learn through play. Play provides them invaluable opportunities to explore and practice their developing skills, knowledge and understanding of the world in a safe and protected way. Opportunities for rich play experiences that allow for creativity, imagination, interaction, talk and exploration of the wider world are therefore crucial to child development and are strongly encouraged at school and home. Staff are happy to advise parents and carers on ideas for quality play at home, through the school year.
The value of talk – Studies show direct correlations between children’s vocabulary and their educational ability. Children therefore need rich and varied opportunities to talk to engaged adults, and peers whenever possible through the school day and at home. Opportunities for talk support children’s receptive understanding, their ability to express themselves, their ability to interact and explain. Family meal times are a fantastic way to promote daily opportunities for quality talk and throughout evenings, weekends and school holidays try to ask your child lots of engaging open questions that stimulate thinking – give them opportunities to detail, describe and explain their ideas, engage in two-way conversation to promote social understanding, debate and challenge through the exploration of new ideas and the modelling and use of new words and interesting vocabulary.