Speech and communication difficulties are becoming increasingly common in children, for a variety of reasons.The Department for Education warns that these difficulties may have significant implications for a child’s future. One contributing factor could be a lack of experience – it is very difficult to gain confidence in talking about ‘things’ when you have not had the opportunity to experience them, after all!
In addition, ‘cultural capital’ is currently being emphasised within education. This places value on the wealth of experiences a child has to draw on. The more a child has experienced, the better their later understanding of concepts is likely to be. For example, a child may be able to recognise shapes by completing a shape inset puzzle. However, when presented with a real object of the same shape, they may be unable to recognise the shape as it does not directly match the illustration. In contrast, a child who has searched for shapes among leaves will have more experience at recognising the properties of each shape, rather than simply matching. This knowledge of properties will support the child later as they learn about dimensions, vertices, and faces, as well as supporting them as they learn to draw. This illustrates the importance of real world experiences as a way to develop conceptual understanding.
With all this in mind, we have created our ’50 Things to Do Before You Go to School’ checklist. We believe that this list of 50 low cost experiences will be beneficial to our children’s academic future, as well as enabling them to develop their speech and communication skills through recalling experiences and learning specific vocabulary. In true Westgate fashion, many of the activities included are designed to promote a love of nature, health, and emotional wellbeing. From ‘telling a story’ to ‘rolling down a hill’, your child will have 50 rich experiences to draw upon when they go to school. And who better to teach them than their ultimate role models: you, the parents, family, and carers!
You can download the list HERE: 50 Things to Do
So let’s get learning!