Cooking – an incredible teaching tool

Cooking is a life skill, an educational tool and also just great fun. It is an excellent way to help children of all ages learn. Cooking enables children to work in a variety of curriculum fields simultaneously. From maths to English, science to geography, history to PSHE, cooking can be the tool which helps children practically explore many areas of education and life, often without even noticing they are learning. I used to teach in a special needs secondary school where cooking was taught both as a subject and as a social activity.  They ran ‘foody-Friday’ where the students planned, budgeted, purchased, … Continue reading

The importance of play

I was reading a paper today, published back in 2012, by Dr David Whitebread from the University of Cambridge. The paper is entitled “The Importance of Play” and it is a review of evidence surrounding children’s need for play. It is interesting to read this report at a time when headlines over the first part of this year have been suggesting that we seem to be heading for earlier and earlier formalised learning and less space for play, as children are not ready when they start primary school. Dr Whitebread’s report opens “‘Play’ is sometimes contrasted with ‘work’ and characterised as a … Continue reading

Maths with young children

Maths is a subject which people are often happy to say they are not very good at. There is no stigma attached to saying “I’m rubbish at Maths” or “I hate numbers” unlike the stigma which would be attached were you to say “I’m rubbish at reading” or “I hate words”. This is strange, as in many ways we use Maths as much in our day-to-day lives as we do the core English skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Maths is a part of our lives in a much less overt way than English. When you drive a … Continue reading

Science with young children

The world around us is a pretty incredible place and this is what your young child should be exploring as a basis for scientific learning and discovery when s/he is older. Science can be seen as the territory of geeks and the uber-clever, but this stereotyping does nothing to help our children progress. Firstly, what is wrong with being a ‘geek’ or very clever? Secondly, at a basic level, science is both common sense and fascinating. The everyday world is a place to be explored when you are a child and exploring it with your child can make you re-examine … Continue reading

Spelling

Spelling is something which has been the bane of my life.  I was in the generation of children whose primary teachers had been trained that spelling should be “caught, not taught”, but unfortunately, I didn’t catch it; or at least not all of it. I obviously managed to drag myself through, however, and did indeed go on to get an English degree and to become an English teacher.  Only for spelling (and how to teach it) to become the bane of my life again! A few days ago, a friend of mine bemoaned the fact that she was struggling to … Continue reading

Phonics

If you have children in nursery, pre-school or primary school at the moment, you will no doubt have heard the word phonics. A school or nursery which communicates well might have had a parents’ information evening to help you. However, when your child comes home with “split-digraphs” and “CVC” words to learn, you may become a little baffled by it all. Fear not, in this blog post, I hope to demystify the whole thing (at least a little) and leave you feeling able to help your child learn to read in a way which will complement the way in which … Continue reading