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Date: January 11, 2021

EYFS in Lockdown – Meaningful Learning Opportunities in the Home

From Zoom meetings and Facetime chats to online activity ideas and YouTube story times, technology has provided us with the ability to stay connected with family, friends and our classes with relative ease during this lockdown period. Understandably, most of our responses as EYFS teachers during the current crisis, have been based around the use of technology for remote learning. This setting of work or providing ideas for children and parents enables a degree of normality to continue in these strange times. Realistically, providing ideas from afar is likely to become more difficult as time goes on. If so, then we will need to look beyond the hunt for learning activities to share and instead consider the fantastic potential of meaningful opportunities for learning that are available in every home.

As human beings we tend to be more positive about learning experiences when we see them as relevant to us and our lives. Meaningful experiences give young children an opportunity to embed learning and often provide holistic learning experiences. With this in mind, it’s important that we consider the home environment, and the meaningful experiences it can provide when suggesting home learning opportunities.

Any home will have a predictable list of jobs that will need to be done on a regular basis. This might be hanging out the washing, cleaning and tidying or cooking and preparing food. At a time of stress and anxiety, completing simple everyday tasks will give comfort and provide time to be together. what we can also predict is that many children will want to mirror what the key adults in their lives do in the same way that they want to pretend to be the teacher in a classroom setting.

If you are suggesting possible activities for your children during the lockdown period, you might want to try some of the following. It’s probably best not to be too prescriptive; parents will know which jobs around the house their children are likely to engage in. The shared experiences and opportunities for talk will provide a rich context for learning.

Putting Away Clean Clothes

This is a great job for exploring a range of mathematical possibilities. Matching and sorting socks using size, colour and pattern would be a great start.

Cleaning and Tidying

Putting things away will involve a degree of matching and categorising. It will also lead to some great conversations. Even something as simple as having a go with the vacuum cleaner and then talking about how it works will be fascinating for many young children.

Washing the Car

This is a great sensory experience for young children. It’s rich in physical movements and often leads to some great water play too. This probably won’t work for parents who are particularly protective of their new car!

Sorting out a Kitchen Cupboard

Helping to sort out the kitchen cupboard is a great activity for getting children involved. It will often naturally lead into talk about likes and dislikes and using different senses.

These are all simple, straightforward activities but each rich in learning possibilities if we take the time to use them as a shared experience. Lack of time often leads our daily lives to be rushed. It’s early days yet, but the silver lining from this lockdown period might just be the shared simple experiences with our families that we perhaps had begun to take for granted. Simple, shared experiences that aren’t technologically exciting but are full of meaningful learning potential.

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