Helping Children through Primary School: Learning Skills

Rationale for two locally developed accredited Family Learning modules (discontinued):

Family learning courses are aimed at parent/carers/those who work with children, who want to help support children’s learning and who may also wish to work on their own literacy. In many cases participating in a family learning course represents the first step back into education and on to further education classes. More information about family literacy courses can be found in ‘Working Together’ Approaches to Family Literacy, NALA: 2004.

Clare Family Learning Project has experience in researching, developing and delivering family learning courses throughout Co. Clare. Its Family Learning Resource pack for parents of children 0 – 7 is well known.

Learning Skills and Home Study Skills were designed as follow ups to broaden the projects initial work in family learning. They are the result of requests from participants in the early years programme for something that would continue to support children through primary school and that might also be accredited. These modules Learning Skills and Home Study Skills have evolved through piloting and evaluating a number of courses and are designed at Level 3.

The focus of Learning Skills and Home Study Skills are distinct from, but yet compatible with the Caring for Children and Child Development and Play modules at the same level. Parents/carers gain an understanding of how children learn, of the content and expectations of the primary curriculum, of the significance of the home environment and especially of the value of parent-child interaction to foster learning. Furthermore the modules encourage an increased awareness of the learning process.

The OECD (PISA) ‘Learners for Life and knowledge and Skills’ Report (2000) indicates that the attention in family literacy work to ways of learning and learning to learn is particularly important. For both parents/carers and children, increased ‘cognitive awareness’ raises the learning capacity and encourages learner autonomy. As a result, learner confidence soars.

The emphasis of the modules Learning Skills and Home Study Skills is on parents as partners in learning. The modules do not presume detail of individual teaching methods or content of the curriculum but focus on activities in the home and community that can enhance the learning for both adults and children.

Learning Skills

Concentrates on the awareness of the overall needs of the growing child, the personal, social, emotional, creative and reflective aspects. Ways people learn and how parents can support school learning at home.

Home Study Skills

Identifies the skills learnt through play and leisure activities and demonstrates links to curriculum subjects. The different areas of literacy and maths are highlighted, broadening the understanding of activities that support the learning in these subjects.

Other relevant locally developed modules are Early Reading Support at levels four and five. See Working Together p.104

Working Together, Approaches to Family Literacy. 2004. NALA.

National Adult Literacy Agency, 76, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, 01 855 4332, literacy@nala.ie www.nala.ie

Postscript:

Both these modules were discontinued by the Further Education and Training Award Council (FETAC) as it redesigned the accreditation system and felt there was overlap with a wide variety of early years and childcare modules.

Clare Family Learning Project now use more generic accredited programmes such as Level 1, 2 and 3 within the now Qualifications Quality Ireland (QQI which was FETAC).

The content for both modules are included below as this is still useful for parents attending family learning programmes. 2015.

Unit 1 The Growing Child

Specific Learning Outcome Performance Criteria/ Criteria for Assessment
The learner should be able to: The learner has achieved this outcome because s/he can:
1.1  Outline changes in children’s cognitive, physical and emotional development from  junior infant to sixth class. List the significant changes in children’s cognitive, physical and emotional development from junior infants to sixth class.
1.2  Discuss the social skills needed by children within their community and how these skills are acquired. List the social skills and how children learn these skills. Discuss how to encourage children to respect themselves and others.
1.3  Describe ways to support  creativity in children. List the creative strengths of one child and ways this creativity could be developed.
1.4  Discuss ways to encourage children’s reflective processes. Discuss things that uplift children and things that make them feel sad and how ‘Learning from bad experiences’ can have positive outcomes.

 

Unit 2 Home and School Learning

Specific Learning Outcome Performance Criteria/ Criteria for Assessment
The learner should be able to: The learner has achieved this outcome because s/he can:
2.1  Identify the important role parents/carers have as partners in their child’s learning. List the ways learning happens in the home.Identify the key things that have helped a child learn a new skill at home.
2.2  Identify differences between home and school learning. Complete a learning style questionnaire and evaluate it.Identify styles most associated with school learning and those with home learning.
2.3  Show awareness of a child’s learning style. Describe resources that would support a child’s school learning at home.
2.4 Discuss communication between home and school. Discuss different methods of communication that can be used between home and school.

 

Unit 3 Supporting Homework

Specific Learning Outcome Performance Criteria/ Criteria for Assessment
The learner should be able to: The learner has achieved this outcome because s/he can:
3.1  Discuss parents/carers’ view of what is expected from children at school. Discuss parents/carers’ view of what is expected from children at school and list examples.
3.2  Identify reasons for doing homework. List the reasons why homework is given to children.
3.3  Outline key ways in which parents/carers can assist their children with homework.

Discover whether their child’s school has a homework policy.

Provide examples, which show how parents/carers have supported their children with homework.

3.4  Explain ways parents/carers can check homework List ways in which parents/carers can check their child’s homework.