Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How To Find Quality Educational Resources For Children


As a student teacher, over the past four years in college we have been presented with many educational resources, websites and learning aids aimed at young children. In this vast ocean of material it is necessary to dive in and take a swim around to uncover the hidden high quality gems that will transform and enhance your child's learning. The purpose of this article is to share a selection of educational diamonds with you alongside thought-provoking  questions to consider before choosing resources for young children. 

Books
Reading to young children is the single most important thing you can do to aid their language development, communication skills and to encourage them to embrace their imagination and explore their innate sense of creativity. If the child is old enough to read themselves there are also steps you can take to ensure the content is educationally beneficial Here are some questions to ask yourself before considering books to read to young children and to help them to choose worthwhile material independently.


Reading aloud to children: 

  • Does this book contain vivid imagery?
  • Is the language clear, coherent and challenging? (It is recommended to read books aloud to children which are above their current level, your presence will help to scaffold the learning)
  • Is there a beginning, middle and end to the story? Is it logical?
  • Will this book encourage children to use their imagination?

Helping older children to select suitable books: 

  • Is the language and theme of the book appropriate to the level and age of the child?
  • Will this book encourage the child to think critically? It is highly worthwhile for older children to engage with topics that will encourage discussion and provoke debate. 

Online Resources


Mash.ie
Mash.ie is an online store where Irish primary school teachers offer a variety of planning materials and teaching equipment, you can visit my store Grace With Love Resources at the following link:  mash.ie/store/gracewithloveresources


Twinkl
The website thoroughly recommended to teachers and parents from Grace With Love Blog is twinkl.co.uk. Twinkl provides a superb selection of planning materials, power-points, activities, classroom management and behavioural systems for teachers with special sections dedicated to Special Educational Needs and English as an Additional Language. Furthermore, there is even a designated section for parents including tips on how to help your child to learn at home accompanied by excellent support materials. A selection of the resources on Twinkl are available for free, although you must subscribe to the platinum plus membership option for full access to the amazing catalogue. For more information visit twinkl.co.uk/premium




Toys

Research studies have shown how we should be willing to provide children choice and flexibility when it comes to selecting toys of their own to encourage a sense of independence. Theory of education has taught me how children are instantly drawn to colourful and interactive toys that again spark their natural sense of imagination and creativity. Here is a top tip for you, did you know that puppets are a great way of developing a child's social and communication skills that can be easily used in the home and classroom? Through socio-dramatic (pretend) play we can create vivid and imaginary situations where children are motivated to use language for a purpose and interact in an engaging and fun environment through play.

Hoping this article provided you with some food for thought.
What are your favourite educational resources for young children? Let me know in the comments below. 



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