Fifty things to do before you're five, marks first anniversary
Parents and carers have been sharing their experiences of ‘50 things to do before you’re five’, an early language development scheme from Oxfordshire County Council.
Being able to communicate effectively supports children’s mental health and wellbeing, their self-confidence and the forming of friendships in early years, as well as being the backbone of later literacy development.
The initiative, which officially launched in July 2021, uses a free downloadable phone app to provide families with a list of activities designed to help their child’s pre-school development. There is emphasis on parent-child interaction to assist with speech in the under-fives.
Keira, a parent and resident of Oxford, said: “I’ve found the app so helpful with my three-year-old. What I particularly like is that there are everyday activities that aren’t complicated or require big purchases, yet there’s so much opportunity for learning within them.”
Each suggested activity is no cost - low cost. The choice is almost endless: Making mud pies, looking at birds and other easily accessible wildlife; enjoying learning to understand and describe the things around us by using a list of suggested words to expand vocabulary.
Rosie, a parent from Banbury, said: “The ‘50 things to do before you're five’ app has been so helpful to me, especially in the holidays when you're running low on ideas! I've made sure that family members have it too, so it gives them ideas. The main thing for me is it’s not just an idea, it's where you can do that idea and the learning behind it.”
Mike, an Oxfordshire childminder commented: “I like using this app as childminder, the activities are well thought out and easy to adjust to suit my setting and resources. The accompanying information provides a huge amount of depth to expand on learning outcomes for the children.”
Councillor Liz Brighouse, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Youth Services, said: “The phone app has been downloaded nearly 4,800 times since we launched this exciting initiative. That’s testament to the county council’s school readiness work, creatively supporting families and nurseries to enable children to have all the ingredients they need from birth to develop their early language skills.
“There are so many wonderful and rewarding ways to interact with your child, from singing nursery rhymes, dancing, telling stories about everything you do together, jumping in puddles and skipping to the shops and nursery.”
The ‘50 things to do before you're five’ app also promotes local activities and experiences to young families – with links to local venues and events. It offers notifications of important dates and reminders, such as registering with a local dentist and applying for a nursery and school place.
It contains information, guidance and supporting resources that allow parents to build a private digital memory bank of their child's special moments.
The county council estimates that there are just under 40,000 children under the age of five in Oxfordshire.
Further information is available on the 50 things to do before you're five website, from where the app can be downloaded.
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