STEM Archives - Little Scholars Playground

Our top 7 tips on how to help your child learn English and Maths

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

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English and Maths are both very important subjects. They’re the building blocks of everything we do. If your child or the child you care for can get a good grasp of these two subjects, then this will help them progress well in all of their academic subjects in the future.

Our 7 tips on how to help your child with their English and Maths:

  1. Repeat, repeat and repeat

When it comes to English and Maths, repetition is a good thing! It will help your child get to grasp with the English language and those tougher Mathematics. As the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’.

2. Positivity is key

Staying positive when helping your child with their English and Maths is important. Try not to say things like “I can’t spell”, “I’m rubbish at English” or “I hated Maths at school” (even though it can be tempting). Your child may start to think the same way themselves.

3. Start young

Starting young is key. As soon as a baby is born, they’re like sponges (just think of all the things you don’t want them to pick up and how quickly they do, eek!). Reading to babies and toddlers regularly is great for building reading confidence, reading comprehension and a love for reading. Which in turns helps them to get a good understanding of the English language. It’s also a good idea to start Maths with your child at a young age too. Simple things like counting their little toes and using number blocks is paramount in setting your child up for a positive Maths and English journey.

4. Keep it fun

Try and keep it fun and relaxed. If it feels serious and tense all the time or like a chore. Your child will VERY quickly lose interest.

5. Don’t be too pushy

Although it can be easy to get frustrated with your child at times, especially if you think they’re not concentrating or they can do better if they just stayed focused. Being too pushy can make them even more disinterested, as they start to feel the pressure. Try not to push them to do more than they can. Doing short sessions can help them not to lose interest.

6. Utilise every-day life

To increase your child’s interest and knowledge of Maths. Point out the maths in everyday life, by including them in activities involving numbers and measuring, such as cooking, shopping and travelling.

7. Give your child regular praise

Last but not least, don’t forget to give your child praise when it’s deserved. But remember to not just praise them when you think they’ve displayed signs of being clever. Give them praise for their effort too. This will show them that they can always improve if they work hard.

We will continuously be adding activity sheets and educational posters to our learning resources pages, found here, which will help you improve your child’s English and Maths skills.

If you’re based in the US and your daughter is struggling with Maths, we came across a really good monthly maths subscription box called Black Girl Mathgic (this is not an ad, we just thought it was a great initiative!)

Good luck on your child’s English and Maths journey.

Natalie

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Natalie is the co-founder and illustrator at Little Scholars Playground. She is passionate about literacy, learning, illustrating, black women in STEM and Montessori.

How to introduce Black children to STEM

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

So what exactly is STEM and why is it so important?

STEM is a neat little acronym for Science Technology Engineering & Maths. One idea behind grouping these broad disciplines into something memorable; is to draw attention to an emerging policy choice within schools, focused on increasing educational interest within STEM. By stimulating interest in STEM early on, we can begin to motivate more young people to study STEM at an advanced level and to enter STEM related industries. This is particularly important for Black individuals who at university for example, only represent 6.2% of students enrolled onto STEM related subjects*.

STEM in early childhood

The idea of introducing STEM to children in the early years is to begin the process of creating scholarly minds. Little children who ask questions, seek out answers, solve problems and become innovators who go onto contribute to the human story. The sooner we get our little ones to see that our world is filled with shapes, materials, forces and numbers; is the start of something special, in the form of inquisitive minds.

An example of STEM in the real world

If you pause and think about the many technological advances humankind has achieved over the centuries, you should be able to appreciate the importance of STEM in our everyday lives. The aeroplane for example, my favourite technological advancement, has transformed our ability to be connected globally with little effort. The thirst for flight has been achieved over 100 years by countless individuals, who have innovated by combining maths and science, and by applying engineering skills to find technological solutions. The end result being to fly you through the sky, delivering you safely across the globe.

Continuing with the theme of flying and literally reaching for the skies, we thought it a good idea to introduce you to Dr Mae C. Jemison, an American engineer, doctor, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.
Mae’s story is one of high achievement and adventure. Mae’s introduction to STEM came from her uncle, who encouraged her interests for science, anthropology and astronomy. As parents and caregivers, the impact of your encouragement and feeding the curiosity can pay off massively, as we’ve just seen in the example of Mae.

How to introduce STEM to children

Encouragement and exposure to broad experiences is a good place to start. Try to nourish as best as you can the little sparks of interests you may see early on. Introduce new ideas continually, invest in wide-ranging books and learning resources that stimulate an interest for STEM. From early on, some simple but effective things you can do include:

  • Questions – ask ‘why,’ ‘what’ and ‘how’ as a way of getting children to explain their thinking
  • Language – use words which link to STEM related topics like: balance, hard, soft, hot, cold, push, pull, high, low
  • Exploration – encourage exploratory play, by introducing messy play with different textures and liquids of varying consistency
  • Imagination – create experiments which include role-playing, scenarios and task specific activities
  • Explanation – explain how simple objects and tools around your house work.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Comment below, let’s start a conversation.

*Stat according to the Black British Professionals in STEM

Denhue

Little Scholars Playground
info@littlescholarsplayground.com

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About the Author

Denhue Little Scholars Playground

Denhue is the co-founder and Author at Little Scholars Playground. He is passionate about literacy, learning, writing and STEM.