Ways you can help prepare your child for primary school – including shape game

Sending your child to primary school for the first time is a major landmark in their lives, as they leave nursery and take the next big step in their growth and development.

Nurseries give toddlers a great starting point when it comes to learning, but sometimes it can feel like a major leap when switching over to a primary school.

While there are no specific rules set for what children should know when joining a primary school, it's never too early to start prepping them in fun and exciting ways to learn and to engage with the subjects taught.

If a child hasn't been properly introduced to and familiarised with maths, the subject that many adults often dread, may appear to be daunting at first to a child as well.

It's important in these early stages to get them comfortable with the topic so that no fear or anxiety is associated with this area.

In addition to the initial skills that nursery or equivalent would have provided your child, at home there are activities and approaches to daily life that can help you to introduce the use of mathematical skills in fun and creative ways. These can spark interest in the practice of maths and basic addition techniques.

Alongside practicing numeracy, working on basic life skills and communication at home also forms the building blocks for their development.

According to CBeebies, children with good mathematical skills are more likely to earn more, stay in education longer and have a higher chance of staying in work when they are older.

It's true that children are born with an innate mathematical ability but a parent's involvement in further promoting this has a positive affect on how their ability can and will develop.

Whether as a parent you feel confident in your own mathematical ability of not, there are simple ways to enhance your child's ability at home.

Incorporating maths into every day scenarios can be a handy place to start, especially when maths is all around us. For example, when you're helping them to get dressed, you could ask them to count the number of Velcro fastenings on their shoes as they help to secure them.

Even if you're whipping up a cake in the kitchen, you could ask them to help you measure out the ingredients, allowing them to be comfortable with using numbers and what they can represent visually.

Another useful tip is to reinforce positivity when it comes to working with maths. Recognising your child's effort not just their ability and success will help with this. They will begin to associate numeracy with this positive feedback.

Similarly, as a parent, avoiding certain terminology such as 'I hated maths when I was at school' or 'It can be really difficult to understand' will limit the possibility of your child picking up and adopting any negative experiences and internalising them.

Getting them comfortable with numbers, how they appear and how prevalent they are in the world around us is also a great opportunity.

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You could begin with pointing out house numbers, numbers on buses or price tags in shops and asking them to describe what they can see. This will boost their familiarity with numbers as well as making them more comfortable when it comes to working with them.

Shapes also play a very important role within maths and are often one of the very first things that young children learn.

You could start to point out shapes throughout the day and ask your child to identify them. As a game, you could also begin to draw shapes and see how quickly they can recognise them, trying to beat the clock, bonus points if they get to grips with the timing aspect.

Once they've got the basics down, you could even move on to introducing them to 3D shapes and names.

So, whilst there are no specific requirements of your child's mathematical knowledge before they begin at primary school, giving them the strongest base that you possibly can will be likely to give them a boost and a head start within academia.

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