Basics at home

There are some basics that make an enormous difference to a child’s learning in the classroom.

Getting 1012 hours sleep a night. Most of our children will need closer to 12.
Eating a quality breakfast, ideally high in protein.
Bringing a healthy lunch to school, including brain food for the classroom.
Bringing a drink bottle to school so they can drink water regularly.
Dressing appropriately so they are not too hot or cold.
Not watching TV or playing computer games for at least an hour before sleeping.

Marshall Laing Primary School has several bring your own device (BYOD) classrooms in Y3 – 6. This makes internet security an important consideration for teachers, students and their families.

The Ministry of Education also provides an excellent resource in a range of languages about how parents can support their child’s learning at home. Please click the button below to view these resources.

Information for Parents
Helping your child at home with Key Competencies

Support Learning in Year 5

Reading at home

Talk about their reading

  • Ask your child what they are reading and talk about their ideas: What is the ‘picture’ they have of particular characters? Are there people like that in your family or whānau? What do they want to find out from the book? What are the important messages? What do they think is going to happen next? What else do they need to know to understand the story or topic?

  • Talk about books on similar topics. This helps your child to pull together ideas from different places

  • Talk about different types of stories that are read or spoken. Newspaper articles, internet sites, whakataukī (proverbs), comics, bible stories, songs, waiata or novels will each have different points you can talk about together. Find a newspaper article you’re both interested in and talk about what it means to each of you

  • Help your child to share their thinking. Get them to share opinions and talk about why they think that. Listen, even when you don’t agree with their ideas.

Here’s a tip – give your child space and time to read. Reading longer books they have chosen needs plenty of time.

Read together

  • Find out information together from different places. For example, manuals, dictionaries, the Internet, magazines, television guides, atlases, family tree information, whakapapa

  • Play games that involve reading in a fun way

  • Encourage your child to read to others

  • Younger brothers and sisters, whānau or grandparents are great audiences for practising smooth and interesting reading out loud

  • Visit the library regularly. Help your child choose books they’re interested in (about hobbies, interests or who they are and where they come from) or encourage them to get books out that are about what they are studying at school. They may need you to help by reading to them, as well

  • Find books of movies or TV programmes. It can help your child to learn different ways to tell the same story if they read the ‘stories’ they have watched.

Here’s a tip – help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

Be a reader yourself

  • Talk about what you are reading and why you are enjoying it or what is challenging about it. Read a book to your child that they might find difficult but want to read, and talk about it as you read. Use your first language whenever you can – it can help your child’s learning

  • Read the same book or magazine as your child. You can then share your ideas about what you have read. You could talk about why the authors made the choices they did when writing the story.

Here’s a tip – keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice.

Writing at home

Make writing fun

  • Help your child write about their heroes, sports events, tïpuna (ancestors), hobbies and interests. This helps them stay interested in what they are writing about

  • Play word games and do puzzles together to help your child learn more about words and spelling

  • Have interesting paper and pens available or help them make a special book to write in

  • Write to your child, or give them jokes, cartoons or short articles you think they’ll like to read from the newspaper

  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet, or talk to family and whānau members to learn more about the background and the whakapapa (origins) of the words.

Here’s a tip – be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoy writing. You can use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.

Talk about your child’s writing

  • Talk about ideas and information they are going to write about. Talk about experiences, diagrams, graphs, pictures, photos and material that your child is planning to use for school work. Discussing the information and main ideas can help their planning for writing and their understanding, too

  • Share enjoyment of their writing. Read and talk about the writing that your child does. Give praise for things they have done well to support their learning.

  • Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write

  • Share your own writing with your child – lists, planning for family events or an email. You can help them to see that you too use writing for different purposes.

Here’s a tip – keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, anytime.

Write for a reason

  • Encourage your child to write emails, invitations, thank you letters, poems, stories or postcards to friends, family and whänau – make it fun.

  • Ask your child who they would like to write to. It is helpful if what they write is given or sent to others

  • Ask them to write a story to read to a younger sibling

  • A diary or journal – on paper or on a computer – can help your child to write about their experiences and their own feelings about things that have happened at school, at home, in the world, on the marae, at sports events and on TV.

Here’s a tip – talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand something they are writing about, ask them to explain.

Mathematics at home

Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns
Help your child to:

  • count forwards and backwards (starting with numbers like 10,098, 10,099, 10,100, 10,101 then back again)

  • find and read large numbers in your environment eg nineteen thousand, three hundred and twenty-three

  • learn number pairs to 100 eg 81 and what equals 100?

  • read car number plates, look at the car’s odometer to see how far you’ve gone

  • work out patterns – make codes from numbers.

Here’s a tip – being positive about mathematics is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.

Use easy, everyday activities
Involve your child in:

  • making and organising lunch or a meal for a party or a hui, including equal sharing of fruit/biscuits/sandwiches/drinks

  • helping at the supermarket – choose items to weigh. Look for the best buy between different brands of the same items (breakfast cereal, spreads like jam or honey)

  • practising times tables – check with your child or their teacher which times tables you could help your child with

  • telling the time e.g., 5 past, 10 past, 20 past, ¼ to, 25 to…

Here’s a tip – mathematics is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.

For wet afternoon/school holidays/weekends
Get together with your child and:

  • play card and board games that use guessing and checking

  • do complicated jigsaw puzzles

  • look through junk mail – find the most expensive and cheapest item advertised or make into strips to make a woven mat

  • make a roster for jobs around the house

  • plan for a special event on a budget; eg afternoon tea for a grandparent, teacher or family friend

  • play outside games – cricket, basketball, mini-golf and soccer

  • bake – follow a simple recipe (scones, pikelets)

  • use blocks that fit together to make a model. Draw what it looks like from each side and above. Then draw what they think it looks like from underneath. Once finished, check the underneath of the real object against the drawing

  • make water balloons and see how far you could throw them (outside!!) and how far the water splatters

  • collect the family and whānau birthdays and put in order – make a reminder calendar for the year.

Here’s a tip – the way your child is learning to solve mathematics problems may be different to when you were at school. Get them to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.

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