Ten super-easy KS1 hacks you're already doing at home
If you have a child aged five to seven years old, you may or may not know that they are in Key Stage One (KS1). Along with this rather dystopian sounding label, there are a series of learning outcomes that your child's brilliant teachers will aim to get your child working towards.
If that all sounds like hard work, it's actually not at all. We asked Maggie & Rose Curriculum Head Lucy Prew to shine a light on these learning outcomes for us to translate into some easier to understand, bitesize 'parent language' tips.
Now we're not sharing this to give you anything further to worry about, but to put your mind at rest. These are things you have probably been doing for years, proving you are doing a brilliant job, just keeping on doing what you're doing right now.
Some of our tips just suggest games to play or questions to ask while you're going about your everyday business - whether it's going to a park, cleaning the fridge, or reading the newspaper with a well-deserved cup of tea and a biscuit!
1 Let's play bingo with Mummy's book!
Kids love playing games so why not let them play bingo with words in your book, newspaper or computer screen? Helping your child to read 'tricky words' in particular and then spotting one that is the same, is a brilliant way to support your child with their reading and writing skills.
Here are some key words you can start with, geared towards Reception and Year 1.
2 What you can remember? (Learning how to spell)
This tip mimics the old fashioned trick of Look at the word – Say the word – Cover the word – Write the word – Check the word.
Make a list of words with the same end phonic sound that will be familiar to your child such as ck, ss, ch, ll and ing sounds, and then, with your child - look, say, cover, write and check.
3 It's good to talk...
Listening, and speaking out loud often don’t come naturally to young children. But helping your child answer questions not only builds knowledge but also encourages their ability to express themselves and to feel proud. Ask them who, what, when, which, where and how.
4 Which way is up?
Whether you are cooking in the kitchen, playing a game or tidying the house. using positional and directional language supports learning. Here's a few easy examples:
'The sugar is next to the tea'
'The cereal is above the flour'
'Can you see what is below the line?'
'Look on top of that building'
Other useful words to include are: Underneath, around and through.
5 Maths is all around us
While you are out shopping, indoors organising or just playing with your child, have a think about how to solve some mathematical problems through language. Ask them how many eggs are in a box, try simple 'number sentences' when you're cooking or giving them a snack - would they like three more, two less, or fill the cup? They'll soon catch on!
6 Drawing and the imagination
A pencil, crayons and a blank sheet of paper allow your child the freedom to express what they are thinking. They may not outline the perfect shape, or trace an exact impression but allowing the freedom of art and design helps them to explore their imagination and develop their thinking skills.
7 Moving and coordinating the body
This is such a simple one, it's almost over-complicating it to write it down. Coordinating the body helps children to learn how to think differently, as well as developing their reading and writing skills. Whether you visit the local adventure playground, use an open space and play catch, football or... jumping in puddles - your child is learning all about coordinating their body.
8 Thinking about what is in the past
We know the museums are closed but your child is still learning to be a wonderul explorer. Try playing 'If I was king or queen for the day'. Ask the questions - "What would you do if you were king or queen for the day? Would you change the world or would you play dress up and have fun for the day? What do you think it would be like to be a king or a queen?"
9 There's science in the small things
Explore and investigate materials that are absorbent and things that are non-absorbent, you
could get your child to help with jobs around the house using cotton wool, newspaper, sponges or fabric and help them to understand what is absorbent and what is not.
10 Location, location, location
Bringing a little awareness into your child's world by asking questions like:" Where am I?" and "where does it belong?" helps to introduce your child to a geographical understanding. Introducing continents and where people come from, exploring land and sea, and even different types of buildings from farm yards, to tall buildings, to houses, will all begin to open up our amazing world and all the wonders in it.
So there you have it. You've not only been surviving a pandemic, but you've also been supporting your KS1 child's learning outcomes while we've been in lockdown. Go you!