Tips from our educators

An idea to use familiar objects as a way to explore numeracy.

Using real life objects and props can give children the opportunity to transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another. This idea supports educators and families to take note of letterboxes and the numbers on them in their day-to-day walks.

While families or educators are on walks, they take note of the letterboxes they see. 

Notice the numbers on your own letterbox.

What is on the letterbox next door?

What is next?

Educators and families can then ask the questions:

What do you think will be next?

Is there a pattern?

What numbers do you recognise? 

Have we seen that number before? 

Walking in and around your local area is a valuable way for children to connect with their local community. Also, letterboxes are everywhere and this idea can be used on any walk or exploration anywhere there are letterboxes. 

This idea can also be used in the education setting. Children can bring photos of their letterboxes to the group and these can be used to create a 'road'.


Follow your child’s lead - to Observe, Wait and Listen (OWL)

A tool to understand that the interactions we have with children support the learning of language.

This tool supports educators by helping them to identify stages of language development, conversation styles and strategies such as (OWL) to support educator to follow the children’s lead- to Observe, Wait and Listen.

Reading is a great time for interaction-not just about reading the book out loud. Educators can use the OWL technique by: 

  • Observing-see what part of the book interests the children
  • Wait- (use a slow pace) to give the children a chance to say or do something
  • Listen-for what the children are telling you with sound, gestures or words

Through this children at all stages can become actively involved, whether its pointing, asking questions or making a comment

Tips for parents

Parents can support their child's learning by taking advantage of everyday opportunities to enhance children learning language.  Identifying what motives your child to interact-them read a story about their interest-learn a song-create a picture-try and keep the interaction going. Everyday routines that you go through with your child such as bath time for example is an opportunity to show your child how language is really important part of your world and theirs. In the bathroom you can pull up a comfortable chair-so you can sit and chat, this could also be the beginning of lifelong habit of singing in the bath, add kitchen equipment-such as measuring cups for children to experiment with fluids and volume


Lifelong learning, reading is the key!

I’m often asked by families what they can do at home to help with reading, writing and maths. Luckily, the answer is easy : read story books! Reading story books has endless benefits for all ages, from babies – older children, and provides early literacy and numeracy skills essential for life. But don’t just turn the pages, play with the words, and bring life to story through conversational reading. 


Reading one favourite story, and one new story, each time you read. Go back and forth with your child, chat and ask questions, pause for thought, and make it fun! 

Ask, ‘What can you See?’ ‘What can you Show me?’ and ‘What can you Say about the story, characters or pictures?’ Don’t just stop at books either, recipes, the newspaper, signs and magazines are great too. Make your home a print rich environment, filled with letters and words – creating a love for learning.

More information about conversational reading