Home-Start UK http://www.home-start.org.uk/ has produced the resources as part of its Big Hopes Big Future project, backed by the Department for Education.
The downloadable activity cards contain tips, ideas and activities to support families in establishing the daily routines needed for attending school and help children to start recognising numbers and letters. They cover the four categories of ‘Reading and writing’, ‘Fun and games’, ‘Keeping clean’ and ‘Building routines’ and also suggest additional books and resources that parents can use.
Home-Start’s chief executive Rob Parkinson said, ‘The early years of a child’s education are so important to their chances in life. Making sure they are ready for that first school day starts in the home. With Big Hopes Big Future we have been supporting those families where otherwise their children would not have been ready for that first day, we have now put our resources on our website so they are available to every family.’
The Big Hopes Big Future programme aims to help parents to understand the benefits of early learning, encourage them to create a positive home learning environment for their children and help parents manage the transition into early years settings. It is currently running in 94 communities across England and so far 831 children have received support from a specially trained volunteer.
An evaluation of the programme carried out with the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge and the University of South Wales last year found that Home-Start’s support led to between 25 per cent and 33 per cent improvement in the children’s school readiness.
The study also showed that improvement in language and cognition was particularly evident for children who were eligible for free school meals, for families with mental health issues and for those with multiple deprivation.
The free resources can be downloaded at: www.home-start.org.uk/bighopesbigfuture.