The National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action issue parents with guidance advising them to use household chores to improve children’s basic skills.
Parents should allow their children to manage money during shopping trips and weigh out ingredients in the kitchen because pupils’ education “shouldn’t end at half past three”, according to head teachers.
Mothers and fathers have been urged to use everyday chores to teach children basic skills amid concerns that many families fail to encourage their sons and daughters to think outside the traditional school day.
Schools across Britain will issue an advice leaflet to parents telling them that they have a vital to role to play in making sure children develop properly at a young age.
The guidance – drafted by the National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Family Action – encourages parents to use domestic tasks as a basis for their education.
This includes developing children’s numeracy skills by helping them to add up the shopping basket and measure ingredients while cooking family meals.
Parents should also read with their children, allow them to maintain the garden, make collages using household items, teach sons and daughters to plan journeys using maps and even find time to “sit together and think and dream”.
The move forms part of a campaign launched by the two organisations designed to make sure children turn up at school “ready to learn”.
It follows the publication of research earlier this month that found many primary schools are being forced to deal with children who are unprepared for education, including those who have not been properly toilet trained.
Bernadette Hunter, president of the NAHT, said: “Learning shouldn’t end at half past three.
“There are hundreds of activities that can be enjoyed by families that will help children to be better learners and show them the links between learning at school and applying this in real life situations.”
She added: “Just by encouraging children to help with things like cooking where they weigh and measure ingredients or by chatting together about the natural world around them as they play outside, means parents can help their children apply the lessons they have learnt to their everyday life.”
The NAHT, which represents 28,500 heads, deputies and assistant head teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will distribute the advice through members’ schools. It could reach 85 per cent of primary schools and almost half of secondaries.
The guide tells parents to:
• Allow sons and daughters to play a full part in maintaining the garden to learn about plants and flowers;
• Make models, pictures or collages out of everyday household items;
• Turn off TVs and game consoles to make regular time for reading with their child, including accessing books, magazines, newspapers and even blogs;
• Make greater use of educational outings to nature reserves and museums, with parents taking time to talk to children about their experiences and ensuring they fully understand;
• Show children how to use maps, compasses or GPS systems to plan journeys;
• Look at the stars at night to ensure they know about the planets
• Go pond dipping and take a walk in the woodland.
The document also makes it clear that parents should do more play an active part in school life, including joining the parent-teacher association, offering to help out in lessons with reading and taking part in formal school trips.
The guide is the latest in a series of leaflets produced by the NAHT and Family Action as part of an ongoing campaign to make sure that children start school ready to learn.
Previous leaflets have focused on building children’s communication skills and urging parents to ensure children get a good night’s sleep, eat a decent breakfast and carry the correct equipment to make sure they are prepared for classes.
David Holmes, chief executive of Family Action, said: “We know from the work that we do with families that a good home life is vital for a good school life.
“Giving children the best possible start means helping them learn, not just at school, but also at home and out and about.
“Whether it’s taking them to a museum, visiting a library, or providing a quiet place for them to do homework, we want to encourage parents to think even more about what they can do to support their children to learn and to enjoy learning.”
Source: The Telegraph