Oct. 20: Parents who talk and sing to their children from birth give them a head start at school, says a study of families in disadvantaged areas.
Those who followed a curriculum of one-to-one activities improved their children’s literacy and numeracy skills significantly compared with other families in similar circumstances.
The study followed a project to teach parents on a deprived council estate how to help their children develop. Those whose parents followed the curriculum of daily activities such as singing nursery rhymes and action songs, playing hide and seek and counting everyday objects, were 5 per cent ahead in language comprehension and 7.7 per cent better at number work.
The group, called Peep — the Peers Early Education Partnership — has combined the traditional childrearing tips with explanations of how children develop. The results, a curriculum for babies of one, two, three and four years old is a step-by-step guide to helping at home.
Children of parents attending the scheme in Oxford were compared with others from similar backgrounds whose children attended the same sort of playgroups and nurseries.
The ones whose parents had been trained to teach them at home scored significantly higher in verbal comprehension, vocabulary and early number concepts by the time they were five. They were also more confident.