The home is the single most significant environmental factor in enabling children to develop the trust, attitude and skills that will help them to learn and engage positively with the world – a process that starts at birth, if not before. Home is hopefully the foundation where babies and young children can grow to achieve their full potential.
•A good home learning environment provides the love, security, stimulation, encouragement and opportunities that help children to flourish.
•The quality of the parent-child relationship is fundamental to children's longer-term development. Warmth, encouragement and an absence of hostility are key elements in a positive home environment. (O'Connor and Scott, 2007)
•'At home good parenting' has been defined (Desforges, 2003) as providing:
- a secure and stable environment
- intellectual stimulation
- parent-child discussion
- high aspirations.
•During babyhood, a vital foundation for later learning is established when a secure attachment is formed through sensitive, responsive care-giving and parents interact with their baby through smiles, talking, touch and play.
•As children grow beyond babyhood, a positive home learning environment provides social interaction, attention and activities which promote the development of a positive attitude to learning, as well as the acquisition of physical, intellectual, language, social and emotional skills.
•The amount that parents talk to babies and young children and the way they talk to them have been shown to have a direct positive impact on children's linguistic and intellectual ability at age 3 and 10 (Hart and Risley, 1995). Parents can provide the building blocks for literacy and cognitive development by:
- chatting as much as possible during normal daily life, using a wide vocabulary
- praising rather than criticising
- talking to children about things, using language with a high information