Learning & Skills

You can help a child learn or you can teach a child – there is a big difference and the clue is in the grammar. \”You can teach a child\” is a simple sentence about you. Helping a child learn is much more complex, it has two actors and two actions.

Is colouring-in good or bad for children?

Colouring in gets a bad rap these days. Once very popular, these days they are accused of imposing unnecessary rules, stifling creativity and making children feel like failures. But is this really so? Like everyone else, my opinion comes from a mix of childhood memories, adult observations, and reading other’s opinions. As a child, I [...]

Maths and Homeschooling

There is an article on a site that promotes homeschooling that pretty much summarises the reasons why I think home-schooling is not such a good idea. It was always the homeschoolers that convinced me, not its detractors. With a title “5 reasons why you don’t need to teach math” http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2012/08/16/5-reasons-why-you-dont-need-to-teach-math/ we don’t get off to [...]

Why would the likes of you want to learn calculus anyway?

It’s not nice, the discourse between homeschooling advocates and those who oppose it. And the not-niceness goes both ways. I’ve just read this A response to the completely asinine “7 reasons I’d never homeschool my teen” by Rebecca English, which sent me to an article that I’d probably never come across otherwise. “7 Reasons I’d [...]


I’ve always loved puppets. They’re different to dolls because they demand action. They need a person to give them movement and a voice – and they also encourage playfulness and communication. Puppets are good for imagination, story telling and vocabulary, communication, and fine motor skills. Puppets are not gender specific toys; they don’t encourage children [...]

The Importance of Outdoor Play

The outdoor environment offers fresh air and freedom to run, to climb, to shout, and to otherwise interact on a grander scale than indoors. The outdoors also offers a quiet freedom that children, and perhaps adults, never get indoors. Hours spent playing in the sandpit, experimenting with water, making mudpies and watching bugs and butterflies [...]

Language Skills for Young Children

Language is what makes us human.  It underpins our social interactions, intellectual development and pursuits, negotiations and understanding of the world.  During a child’s first year, we watch them develop from having no language to quite effective communication. By their first birthday, they can talk to us in quite a complex way even if we [...]

Art and Craft

Making something themselves encourages children to see themselves as producers and not just consumers. On a large scale, it encourages them to think about how things are made and why someone would make them. During these activities, it gives them opportunities to experiment with colour and texture, and to see what happens when you mix [...]

Gross Motor Skills

Motor skills are the ability to initiate and control movement impulses. Signals within the body’s nervous system that coordinate movement for activity are divided into gross motor and fine motor. Gross motor and fine motor interact and overlap one another, each area having its own importance and influencing the other’s development. Gross motor skills use [...]

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills are the intellectual skills to analyse and understand new ideas, making sense of things, fitting new ideas into what we already know. These are the basis of learning, reasoning and creative problem solving. Research shows that strong cognitive skills developed in the early years help children become confident and independent learners. A sense [...]

Music and Movement

Music is to be listened to, danced to, sung to, played and enjoyed. Even very young babies respond to music and it doesn’t need to be simplified for them. Not only will they enjoy the same music adults do, complex classical and orchestral music helps the development of pathways in their brains which will help [...]

Eats, Talks and Reads – What has food got to do with literacy?

To me, sharing a meal with friends and or family is one of life’s essential pleasures. It doesn’t matter much whether it’s a big family dinner, light lunch, or coffee and cake with a friend, but the food should be good and the atmosphere convivial and unhurried. I appear to have passed on that attitude [...]

Fine Motor Skills

Motor skills, the skills that enable us to initiate and control movement, are divided into gross motor and fine motor. Gross motor and fine motor interact and overlap one another. Fine motor skills involves the coordination of the small muscles of the hands or feet with the other senses to enable essential movements like picking [...]

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