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Module 2 - Creating The Right Environment

Last week, we looked at how we can help children keep connected with people beyond their four walls. This week, we think about what the kids are doing within their four walls. In particular, how we can make the environment that they're learning in (and we're working in) the best it can be. For more modules and topics go to our online learning page.

Watch

For the time being, the Interactive White Board, book corner and trim trail are but a distant memory. Instead, parents and children are getting used to sharing physical and emotional space at home. But how can you do that successfully? Watch these videos for some top tips.

Creating The Right Environment

As we're six weeks into lockdown, we will have formed some great habits and some that aren't so helpful. But what can we learn from Sarah Creegan's Grandad Chassie about creating the right environment for home learning? You'd be surprised!

A Mindset to Learn

If we must, we must, but it’s not always easy to create a positive learning environment. Here are some tips from Victoria for home education going forward. Let’s start easy – with getting dressed! And remember, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun…

Read

Are your children having to learn at home during lockdown? Are you having to dive into the recesses of your brain to retrieve knowledge of imperative verbs and long division? Do you find yourself scratching your head at the new methods of multiplication? Take a deep breath - you can only do what you can do. Here’s some tips to help you focus on something you can control - your surroundings. Why not make the best of them and create a happy learning environment?

TOP TIPS FOR CREATING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Many of us are homeschooling our children at the moment - and when we say ‘homeschooling’, we use the term very loosely because, for some families, elective home education is a planned choice.

Homes across the UK (and the world) have become ‘schools’ overnight and not through choice. Added to that, you may be juggling working from home, therefore feeling like your head’s about to fall off.

To quote Joseph Hellett, the headmaster from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in East Sussex, in his open letter on Facebook:

‘’It is absolutely not possible to facilitate distance learning with a primary aged child and work from home at the same time. The very idea is nonsense.

If you're trying to do that, stop now. You can certainly have activities where your child learns, but your focus is your job, and survival. Again, unprecedented. Stop trying to be superheroes…

...If children could all learn new concepts without specific teaching, we wouldn't need teachers.”

This is such an important message.

No one should feel under pressure to replicate the classroom. It’s just not possible. What you can do, however, is arm yourself with optimism and realism. Make the most of what you have, given your personal circumstances and the home that you live in.

It can help to take a step back and consider all of the senses for your home learners. Try asking:

What can you see?

  • Place photographs of happy times, places and people they love around the house to boost them. Who makes them smile the most?
  • For most children there will be tasks set on laptops/tablets at some parts of the day to varying degrees depending on their age and ability. Check:
    • Can they see what’s on the screen clearly?
    • Is it on a flat surface?
    • Light of any sort directly over a screen is likely to cause glare - experiment with home-made shading/laptop hoods.
  • Put a plan for the day on display. Not so it can be rigidly adhered to necessarily, but because the brain likes to know what it’s doing and why. Setting these expectations can, therefore, be helpful. Why not encourage the children to create their timetable using pictures and/or words?
  • Try to work and play in areas with natural light. We’re a nation of DIY lovers, it's true, but you don’t need to give your house a makeover. Consider simple things like letting in natural light and air; moving furniture to make the space easier to use and decluttering where possible to make room for your ‘classroom’.

What can you hear?

  • Depending on the task and the learner, some background music can be motivating and uplifting. However, only have the television on when you’re actually planning to watch it. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ve got a child hooked on chat shows with their entirely wrong versions of ‘show and tell’.
  • Find a room/space in the house that’s relatively free from noise. It could be used for relaxation/timeout or for completing a task that requires focused concentration. In our house, this is my eldest daughter’s bedroom - other bedrooms adjoin the neighbours’ house and our walls appear to have been built from papier mâché.

What can you taste?

  • Food glorious food! Hands up, who’s already got a biscuit belly in lockdown? Me too. I’m not going to lecture you about what you and your children eat, but notice energy levels after eating particular foods. Try and start the day with a decent breakfast and avoid eating late at night. Your brains will thank you for it.

What can you feel?

  • Stimulating our senses is a great way of stimulating the brain. What different textures can your children touch at home? For example: water, dry pasta, flour, uncooked rice. Yes, it will probably get messy, but it will only be temporary and children of all ages will love it.

What can you smell?

  • Erm, if this is an issue, revisit what you’re eating...

Do

Here we’ve got some resources to help you create a positive environment for home learning. Why not join Laughology's Ed and his mate, Sensible Ed, for a Thunk? Or have a go at filling in your very own Passport to Success.


Ed’s Thunk - Where in the World to do Home Learning?

With home learning in full force, this week’s Thunk is if you could go anywhere in the world to do your home learning, where would it be and why? Think of a world where we aren’t confined by coronavirus lockdown restrictions and you could go absolutely anywhere. Where would you go?

Activity Sheet - Passport to Success

You may just be thrilled that your child has washed their face today! But, to keep a happy, positive home learning environment during lockdown, it helps to have slightly higher expectations. Why not download this Lesson Plan and Passport to Success. Then use them to give your child lots of purposeful praise and encouragement - which we all need at the moment!

Coming up...

Just as now is the perfect time to review our home learning environment, it's also a good idea to think about our communication and the chats we're having with our children. Are they still calm and controlled? Is everyone still listening to everyone else?

Next week, we'll give you some Top Tips for having even better chats with the kids. In the meantime, don't forget that there are lesson plans to develop Coping Skills on our website.

Free virtual workplace learning & development classrooms. Register now.

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