Cooking, walks, stargazing: Make life a lesson, parents told

cooking with mum Cooking, where children weigh and measure ingredients, can be useful

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Parents should make time to plant seeds and watch them grow, look at the stars, make a tent, walk in a woodland or make a model, head teachers suggest.

They should help out on school trips and in class and help children learn their spellings and times tables.

Mothers and fathers play an invaluable part in a child's education, they say.

The advice comes in a new leaflet published by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the charity Family Action.

The leaflet, entitled Giving Your Child a Helping Hand, aims to inspire parents to try a number of ideas at home which will support their children at school.

Start Quote

Learning shouldn't end at half past three”

End Quote Bernadette Hunter NAHT president

It urges parents to get involved in their son or daughter's schooling by helping out on school trips and in class, taking an interest in their child's education, attending parents' evenings and keeping teachers informed of any changes at home.

Parents should consider joining the PTA (parent-teacher association) and getting involved with fund-raising to support their child's school.

The guide, which the two organisations say is based on the latest evidence about what helps children to succeed at school, suggests parents come up with educational activities for youngsters such as visiting museums and historical sites.

It also suggests families could "look at the stars at night and find out about the planets" or "find time to sit together and think and dream".

mother and child The NAHT says parents are the best partners schools can have

It says parents should make sure their child has a quiet place to do their homework and to help them learn the basics such as spellings and times tables.

Natural world

It goes on to urge parents to take time to listen to their youngster's concerns and answer questions, as well as to be patient when their child is helping them with something.

"Parents are the best partners schools can have in helping pupils make the most of their education," said Bernadette Hunter, NAHT president.

"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.

"Learning shouldn't end at half past three."

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.

"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."

The new leaflet will be distributed to NAHT's 28,500 members who will in turn be encouraged to share it with parents.

It is the third in a series produced by Family Action and NAHT. Previous leaflets provided tips on getting children ready to learn and on speaking and listening.

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