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What is home learning?

Home learning is everything that a child learns at home. Learning starts when we are in the womb.

In the first two years of their lives babies make billions of connections in their brains. These connections are strong when babies are talked to, listened to and played with.

When mums, dads and carers pick up a crying baby, and sing or talk softly to them, or play peekaboo over and over again, they are literally building their baby's brain.

We all want the best for our children: feeling secure and loved supports the development of the brain. It helps to build children's self-esteem and confidence.

Parents are our first teachers

Parents really are our first teachers. Babies learn how to respond to feelings and experiences by watching their mums, dads, carers and other close family members.

Research shows that parents who:

  • Are responsive to their babies needs 
  • Talk and play with their babies

have a positive influence on their child's education, right up to 16-years-old.

All parents can improve their child's learning and life chances. There is no need for special training. Daily life and routines offer daily learning opportunities.

There is no need for expensive toys. It really is true that a box is often more fun, and the most exciting play for a baby or toddler is with you, their parent.

Children whose mums and dads play, talk, sing and read with them do better at school.

Children who are good learners, can:

  • 'Have a go'
  • Make choices
  • Try again

Mums, dads and carers help their children to learn these qualities by being good role models.

When children are afraid of a new experience, show them how to 'have a go'.

Simple choices such as would you like the red cup or the blue cup give babies and toddlers feelings of growing importance and confidence.

Toddlers whose mums, dads and carers help them to try again often become more resilient children.

In nursery education and at school, we call these qualities 'characteristics of effective learning'.

Hungry Little Minds

Reading, playing and chatting with your child, are hugely important. The Hungry Little Minds campaign encourages parents and carers to use positive activities and behaviours to boost children's communication skills and language and literacy development.

For lots of ideas visit the Hungry Little Minds website (opens new window).

Tiny Happy People

The BBC's Tiny Happy People initiative can help to develop you child's language and communication skills so they get the best start in life.  It shows you why and how you can bond with your child, before they're born and throughout their early lives - it's never too early to start.

The ideas and activities are easy to build into your daily routine.  Quick and inspiring, they're based on expert advice and evidence, and are proven to help your child's development.

Find out more on the Tiny Happy People website (opens new window).

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