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Parenting & Education in Ireland

What can I do to help my children to learn before they go to school?

Talking and listening

  • talk to your children and encourage them to talk
  • listen to them and respect what they have to say
  • talk to them about what happens in television programmes you watch with them

Stories, reading and books

  • read and tell them stories, say nursery rhymes and poems, and encourage them to talk about what they hear
  • encourage them to tell stories and to repeat rhymes and poems
  • make sure there are books in the home (picture books, picture books with captions, simple story books, etc.), and encourage children to handle them, look through them and talk about them

The Environment

  • take them for walks and point out and name flowers, trees and other items that arouse their interest
  • point out and talk about things in the urban environment such as signs, names, types of shops, statues and monuments

Play and activities

  • encourage children in make-believe play and play with them
  • play games that involve physical activity with your children
  • let them play with water, sand and other materials
  • involve them in activities around the kitchen, and encourage them to talk about the activities

Music and Art

  • sing to them and with them, and encourage them to sing
  • play singing games with them
  • play music for them, get them to clap and dance to the rhythms, and talk to them about the music
  • encourage them to draw pictures and to talk about them, and display their drawings and pictures in the home

Source: Your Child’s Learning – Guidelines for Parents – Published by the Department of Education 1999.