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‘Learn with me’ guides help parents give their children the best start

Surrey County Council’s early learning experts have produced a series of free online guides to help parents get their children off to a great start.

The resources are packed with tips, advice and suggested activities for children aged from birth to five and span six key areas of early learning – talking, reading, writing, counting and developing physical and social skills.

The ‘Learn with me’ guides have been developed by specialist practitioners and while mainly aimed at parents and carers, they are also a valuable resource for childcare professionals.

They are some of the most comprehensive early years resources available and span the six main learning and development areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which covers the time spent in early years education and childcare settings to the end of reception class in infant or primary school.

Linda Kemeny, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, Skills and Educational Achievement, said: “These excellent resources will help parents, childcare settings and teachers give children the very best start in life. By helping children develop early skills we are aiming to unlock their potential and enable them to get the most out of their school years.”

The guides – available online here – are broken down into age groups ranging from prenatal to five-years-old.

At the same time, almost 3,000 Surrey two-year-olds are eligible for up to 15 hours a week of free early education and childcare.

It is an extension of the Government scheme giving all three and four-year-olds free early education before they start school.

To check eligibility for free early education for two-year-olds and for an application form, visit surreycc.gov.uk/feet.

Six tips from the Learn with me guides

* Place your baby on their tummy, so they can practice using their back muscles to be able to lift their head. This is sometimes called Tummy Time. (Move with me – newborn to six months)

* Maths is everywhere, even for babies and by seven months old your baby already has a sense of numbers. For example, they can match the number of voices they hear with the number of faces they see. Feeling beats in songs helps them learn to count, so rock, bounce and sing with your baby. (Count with me – newborn to 12 months)

* Swapping comes before sharing! Two-year-olds find it hard to wait for their turn or hand over a toy. Telling your child they must share won’t work, instead try having enough toys or things for them and their siblings or friends to choose from. (Being, Belonging, Becoming – 1 to 2 years)

* If your child’s sentence is muddled don’t correct them but repeat back to them how they could have said it. (Talk with me – 2 to 3 years)

* Your child’s beginning to understand how stories work and that the words on the page mean something. Reading together will help them start to make sense of those words and recognise some letters. (Read with me – 3 to 4 years)

* Write party invitations together or play cafes; your child can write the menu and write down what each person wants to eat. (Write with me – 4 years plus)

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