Ways to help at home – ‘Extended Learning’

Extended Learning at Home: School-leavers

As the preschoolers prepare to leave for reception, their daily routine increasingly shifts focus from free play to small, focused group activities, emphasizing their literacy and maths skills. But throughout every group we try and keep the lines of communication open and offer ideas to help parents find ways to help their child develop at home. Our online learning journals are a perfect way of bridging the gap as parents/carer can do an observation of their child doing these activities thus progressing their development and planning even further as they communicate through them with their child’s key person. Here are a few of the current suggestions for our preschoolers, who remember have the largest age range in the setting of between 3 and 5….

Personal Social Emotional Development:

1. For the children that find hard to share toys is good to use ‘small world’ (train track, pirate ship, farm, etc). Different members of the family can take part, giving a certain toy (train/animal) to each person and explaining that they would all have a toy and they would all share the train track/ship/farm and play together, building up a story with everyone’s ideas. Then they will swap the toys around.

2. Work on your child’s confidence by praising every little thing they do, every little achievement is a big deal for them.

Communication and language:

1. Use your child’s name at the beginning of every sentence to get their attention straight away so they know that what you’re saying is directed to them.
2. Ask your children open ended questions (When? How? Who? What?) about things they have done at nursery, about what is happening in a story you’re reading, describing the characters on the book, etc. that way they would gain more confidence in talking in public and would start forming more complex sentences with your support.

Physical Development:

1. Some children might not be very interested in doing mark-making using pencils or paint brushes (this can be especially true of boys – not always of course but often) so you can use other things they can do marks on, for example using sand/shaving foam/ corn flour and water on a tray where they can use their finger or other tools to make marks and different patterns.

2. If your child doesn’t like to seat for long periods of time at meal times and keeps standing up and leaving the table you can help him by trying different things; engage in conversation with her/him about what they have been enjoying doing that day, talk about what ingredients that particular meal has, where those ingredients come from (e.g. cheese comes from milk, the milk comes from different animals that live in farms etc.). You can as well talk about the differences and similarities in textures and flavours of the foods they’re eating.


Reading and writing are a large part of the Gorillas routine. The following are some activities that are more specific to the school-leavers literacy skills:

1. Storytelling using visual prompts and non-illustrated books – make up stories, describe and summarize familiar stories, etc., role play

2. Name, key words and logo recognition – paying attention to familiar signs and print in the environment, scavenger hunting for familiar signs or print, placing labels of objects around their bedroom or home environment to further extend their awareness of print

3. Rhyming activities – the Gorillas greatly enjoy the Dr. Seuss, Hairy McClairy, and Julia Donaldson series of books and they show an awareness of rhyming patterns and are offered opportunities to begin their own rhyming strings

4. Typing and keyboard skills

5. Writing – tracing activities, using scissors and pouring from jugs to support strength and coordination, purchasing triangular grip pencils to encourage the use of a tripod grip


Simple, everyday maths is one of the easiest ways to engage children in using their numeracy skills. The following are some great activities to support them:

1. Sequencing activities – storytelling (emphasizing structure and the importance of beginning, middle and ending), recognizing number and routine sequences, role play

2. Cooking activities – using mathematical language (weights and measures, less and more, etc.) and visual prompts such as ingredient cards with pictorial representations of measurements, i.e. 3 little spoons/1 big spoon to represent and practice knowledge of measurements

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