Supporting Children at home

Staying at home can be more disruptive to the lives and routines of children with special educational needs and disabilities.

No one expects parents to act as teachers or childcare providers, or to provide the activities and feedback that a school or nursery would.

Parents and carers should do their best to help and support their children with their learning while they are at home.

The government has been working with a range of other organisations to create extra resources to help you.

See A list of online education resources for children with SEND – see below (Links are clickable)

Coronavirus educational resources from The Sensory Projects

SEND-specific resources for learning from home from Tech Ability

They have also worked with other organisations to create information on ways you can help your children learn at home. See;

Advice on supporting children with a learning disability or autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) from the Council for Disabled Children

Please note through out this page there are clickable links, you will know as they are blue and underlined

 

How to help young children learn at home

You can help your child to learn through the little things you do with them, for example:

  • everyday conversations
  • make-believe play
  • games with numbers or letters
  • reading together
  • involving them in the things you are doing, such as household chores, and talking with them about it
  • Find ideas for new things you can try at Hungry Little Minds

You do not need to set separate time or plan complicated activities dedicated to learning. These activities can be incorporated into everyday life and play.

You know your child best. Avoid forcing them into lengthy planned activities if they naturally respond better to a mix of shorter activities. This can stop them getting bored or frustrated and keep them active, interested and learning through things they enjoy.

Keeping a routine

Do not worry about trying to keep to the full routine that your child had in nursery or with their childcare provider. But children will feel more comfortable with a predictable routine, so try to make sure they:

  • get up and go to bed at the same time each day
  • have regular meal times
  • turn off any electronic devices, including the TV, at least an hour before bedtime
  • Keeping active
  • Young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day in total.

It is also good to get some fresh air every day. If you do not have a garden and are taking children outside to exercise, make sure you follow the rules on social distancing. While inside, there are plenty of things you can do to keep children active, such as:

  • playing hide-and-seek
  • seeing who can do the most star jumps
  • making an obstacle course
  • playing music and having a dance-off

Television and using digital devices

There are lots of ways to help your child to learn such as reading together and make-believe play. You can also use what children have watched on television or the internet to help their learning. Talk with them about what they are watching or use their favourite TV characters in other games and activities.

Digital devices such as a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone can help some children learn. If your child does use them, try downloading some apps that will help them learn.

Go to https://hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/#information for ideas.

Set age-appropriate parental controls on any devices young children are using and supervise their use of websites and apps.

See advice on keeping them safe online at https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/keeping-your-under-five-safe-online.

Try sharing things your child makes with your friends and family online and encourage others to do the same. Your child might enjoy seeing things they have made on the screen or seeing what other children have done. You can also visit Hungry Little Minds for ideas of activities to do together without using a device (see above)

Socialising while social distancing

Spending time with other children is important for your child’s development, but at the moment it is important they stay at home.

It will help them if everyone in the home talks with them through the day, responding to them and being led by the things they are interested in. Visit Hungry Little Minds for more information about talking with your child.

If you can, try a video call with other children. Younger children may not have a conversation as you would, but they can share activities or show each other things they have made or like.

Try a call with other people that your child knows, such as grandparents. Sit and do the call with them to help. Not all children will like it, so try again another time or have a call with family members while you are sitting down and eating a meal.

Try sitting with your child and looking at pictures of their friends or family.

Talk about them and the things you have done together.

Supporting older children at home

Structuring the day

Do not worry about trying to maintain a full routine for your child like they had at school. But children will feel more comfortable and learn better with a predictable routine to the day, even if this is difficult. Generally, you should try to make sure that they:

  • get up and go to bed at the same time each day
  • have regular meal times
  • have regular breaks
  • make time to be active – children are used to regular play at lunch and break times
  • Using digital devices. Set age-appropriate parental controls on any devices your child is using and supervise their use of websites and apps. See advice on keeping them safe online and talk to your child about online safety.

The best way to help children this age to learn is to:

  • sit with them as they work
  • do active and practical things, rather than trying to make them sit and listen for long periods
  • try to break down the work into shorter periods, based on how long they can concentrate
  • take frequent breaks
  • praise or reward them when they do well

Reducing screen time

Digital devices are not the only way to learn. Manage screen time with a timer and break up screen time by getting your child to:

 

  • use books and other printed materials that their school has provided or that you have at home
  • write by hand – try asking them to complete work by hand, write a diary, a summary of things they have learned or done each day or ‘to do’ lists
  • be active and get away from the screen regularly – see a selection of physical activity resources for primary school children
  • stop using digital devices at least an hour before bed

Talking

Talk with your child throughout the day and try to explain new words. For example, discuss everything you are doing and pick out words that might be new to them.

Phonics

Phonics is a method schools use to teach children how to read quickly and skilfully. See below for phonics activities.

Our social media also has Phonics Friday. Check in on Fridays for more phonics activities. Links are clickable (Will open in a new window)

Read Write Inc. (This is the scheme that we use at school)

Other resources you could use:

Floppy’s Phonics Sounds and Letters  

Jolly Phonics

Letterland Phonics

Letters and Sounds (supplemented by closely matched and fully decodable books)

Phonics Bug

Phonics International

Sound Discovery

Sounds-Write

Writing

Try to help children to continue to practise their writing. This may include the formation of letters and familiarity with pens and pencils for younger children, or practising creative writing for older children. Ask children to write about their day-to-day experiences of being at home, or to write letters to send to family members. Work from school may be sent digitally, but using pen and paper will help children be ready for when they go back to school.

Links are clickable (Will open in a new window)

Pobble 365

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: a new image is published each day as a basis for creative writing. Story starters, questions and drawing ideas are provided.

 

Classroom Secrets

Description: downloadable resource packs which cover a range of subjects, including reading and writing.

 

English Mastery

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: downloadable resource books providing 8 weeks of activities.

 

Literacy Shed

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: downloadable resource packs with tasks based on video clips on YouTube.

 

The Day newsletter

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: a daily newsletter for parents and carers at home with children, helping to enrich learning with real-world knowledge and skills.

 

The Sensory Projects has free project packs for inclusive learning  and also some simple sensory games to play

 

The Sensory Dispensary have activities available to download from TES SEN website.

 

St Gabriel’s school staff sharing activities for special school learners.

 

Inclusive sensory discovery pack for Shakespeare’s The Tempest 

 

Molly is creating videos to engage her learners

 

Reading

When you read with your child try to:

  • express the emotion in the story
  • give colour to the characters using voices, tone and pace
  • Talk to your child about what they are reading. This will help them understand what they have read and encourage them to read for fun.

You can make a story more interesting and help your child develop their understanding of a book by linking what you are reading to their life. For example, while reading about Cinderella going to the ball, talk about how a ball is similar to a birthday party. Ask your child questions about what you are reading as you go. For example:

  • ask some questions that only need a short answer, such as what colour something is, or the name of a character
  • ask some questions that need a longer answer, such as how a character is feeling
  • ask them to tell you what has happened in the story so far

Libraries are currently closed, but you can find digital services they are providing at Libraries Connected.

Audible

Suitable for: All

Description: all children’s audiobooks are available for free while schools are closed.

 

Authorfy

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: access to master classes on texts from a range of authors, including videos from the authors and activities linked to novels.

Registration: is required

 

BookTrust

Suitable for: All

Description: a site with recommended booklists, categorised by age range and topic, including fiction and non-fiction. Family activities are included in the ‘Home Time’ section

 

Elevenses with the World of David Walliams

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: one free audio book reading is available to listen to every day.

Love Reading 4 Kids

Suitable for: All

Description: a site with recommended booklists, categorised by age range and topic, covering fiction and non-fiction

 

Poetry by Heart

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: a wide selection of poetry covering different topics

Registration: not required to view poems, but it is required to access teaching resources.

 

Storytime with Nick

Suitable for: All

Description: available from Monday 20 April. Films of well-loved stories read by Nick Cannon, a trained actor, teacher and trainer.

 

The Children’s Poetry Archive

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: an archive of spoken poetry recordings. Children can listen to poems read out loud.

 

Oxford Reading Tree Biff and Chip books free online

 

Rhyming multisensory stories

 

Cherry Garden’s Sensory Story: Anansi and the pot of wisdom

 

Pete Wells has some raucous free sensory stories available on his website – and the podcast is well worth a listen too!

 

Greenside sensory stories

 

Activities including sensory and massage stories which are themed for the time of year.

Numbers

Practise counting and numbers. This does not always have to be a planned activity. For example, count things around the house while you are doing other things like cooking or cleaning. For older children learning sums, ask your school for help or see a list of resources to help with maths recommended by teachers and school leaders.

 

Hamilton Trust (home learning section)

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: downloadable resource packs with teacher guidance. A week’s worth of resources is provided for each year group.

 

Mathematics Mastery

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: downloadable guidance and resource packs for parents and pupils.

 

Nrich

Suitable for: All

Description: a range of activities. Some are interactive and some are to be completed offline. Activities are categorised by age range.

 

Numberblocks

Suitable for: All

Description: videos for numeracy development designed for children aged 0 to 6. There are fun activities that can be applied to everyday life and play.

 

Top Marks

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: a range of interactive maths games categorised by age group.

 

White Rose Maths (home learning)

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: presentations and downloadable workbooks which are easy to use for parents. New material is being released each week.

 

The Sensory Projects has free project packs for inclusive learning and also some simple sensory games to play

 

The Maths Mum

Science

Here are some resources for Science

BBC Bitesize

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: interactive resources covering the primary science curriculum.

 

STEM Learning

Suitable for: Engineers

Description: an online resource bank, which links to resources on external websites. The site features a live chat function offering support from subject experts. New home learning resources are being developed.

PE

Here are some PE resources for fitness/activity

Boogie Beebies

Suitable for: All

Description: videos that get younger children up and dancing with CBeebies presenters.

 

Disney 10 Minute Shakeups

Suitable for: All

Description: 10-minute activities based on Disney films that count towards a child’s 60 active minutes per day.

 

Super Movers

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: videos which help children move while they learn. They support curriculum subjects, including maths and English.

 

#ThisIsPE

Suitable for: Investigators and Engineers

Description: videos delivered by teachers focussing on the PE curriculum which are accessible on YouTube.

Communication

Here are two website to help improve communication

Two months free from the AAC  language lab

 

 Clicker – accessible word processing

Broadening the curriculum

Want more? or some different check these out! 

Big Top Musical Adventures – a new interactive musical adventure each week

 

Access Art resources

 

Access Art Sketchbook Online Course

 

An A to Z of sensory activities from Inclusive Teach

 

Printable resources for exploring nature (linked to literacy and numeracy as well.) Good outdoor garden activities.

 

Music apps and interactive resources (even some online lessons)

 

150 sensory learning activities

 

Apps to support learning

Here some Apps to help your child engage with learning, All apps must be downloaded onto a suitable device

 

Brain Parade

Description: a visual instruction app, including flash cards and picture-choosing games, for children with autism and special needs.

 

HelpKidzLearn

Description: a collection of games and resources designed for a range of educational needs and stages. It includes provision for school closure.

 

Sensory App House Ltd

Description: a range of apps are available for pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) or Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD). All are interactive and many do not require significant coordination abilities.

 

Visuals2Go

Description: an all-in-one app created to support people with communication and learning difficulties. For verbal and non-verbal learners.

Websites to support learning for pupils with SEND

See below for website for puplis with SEND

Do2Learn (USA)

Description: a range of downloadable resources grouped by theme. Themes include: social skills, songs and games, and picture cards.

 

Inclusive Teach

Description: downloadable teaching resources to support pupils with SEND.

 

PMLD thematic units – from the Northern Ireland Curriculum

Description: comprehensive guidance on themed activities for learners with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD). A full sensory curriculum is offered.

 

Priory Woods School

Description: resources from an award-winning, innovative school, rated by Ofsted as outstanding and put together by SEND teachers. The resources include apps and programmes.

 

SEND Gateway

Description: A range of SEND guidance videos created in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY) in addition to many other experts within the sector.

 

SENict Activities

Description: downloadable activities aimed particularly at Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) and Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) learners.

 

SEN Teacher

Description: downloadable resources that can be adapted to suit the needs of pupils. Resources are aimed at a range of abilities.

 

Speech and Language Kids

Description: a range of education and therapy resources for speech and language problems. A podcast is also available on iTunes for verbal and non-verbal children.

 

Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

Description: a range of downloadable resources to support blind and visually impaired pupils.

Registration: is required

 

UCL Centre for Inclusive Education

Description: a guide to help parents adjust to remote learning by providing advice and links to resources.

Children working at a higher cognitive level

You can support by:

  • give them support and direction, but encourage them to do work independently too
  • include active and practical things, rather than trying to make them sit and work for long periods
  • try to break down the work into shorter periods, based on how long they can concentrate
  • take frequent breaks
  • praise or reward them when they do well

To check if they are learning try to:

  • ask them questions as they go
  • talk about things they learned
  • Talking
  • Ask children to talk through what they have learned during the day and find time to talk with them more generally.

Information for parents of year 6 children

To prepare for going to secondary school this can be a good time for them to follow their own interests. For example, for:

  • history, by visiting the English Heritage website to explore England’s history
  • geography, by researching other countries
  • science, by finding out more about the human body on BBC Bitesize
  • art, by trying the activities on TATE Kids
  • Ask your primary school about how you can help your child prepare for moving up to secondary school.

 

For any other help and enquires, contact the school who will be happy to help you and make sure you check out our social media which has daily content to support you.

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