Home News New early-years education guide made FREE to help families with young children during COVID-19 lockdown

New early-years education guide made FREE to help families with young children during COVID-19 lockdown

  • Guide helps parents with children (aged 0-5) restricted to home during coronavirus lockdown
  • Free-to-download booklet by University of Chichester and MESHGuides provides ideas on fun and engaging home-learning activities
  • Guide relates to learning and development in the Department of Education’s early-years foundation stage


THE University of Chichester and MESHGuides have collaborated to support families during the coronavirus pandemic by launching a free guide for children aged from nought to five years old.

A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Early Learning and Development at Home (0-5 years), available to download now, supports families by providing fun and engaging home-learning opportunities, given that COVID-19 has led to the closure of most schools across the UK.

The aim of the free guide is to help parents and carers through this period, enabling them to enjoy this time at home with their children while helping them to learn through play. The guide directly relates to the areas of learning and development within the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, 2012), the framework in England followed by nurseries, childminders and reception classes.

It also aims to build on parents’ familiarity of these areas of learning and further understanding of child development and behaviour.


Guide editor Debra Laxton, Senior Lecturer in Education/Early Childhood Lead at the University, said: “Engaging in fun experiences with children has the potential to ease tension at home and allow families to relax and enjoy their time together. Furthermore purposeful, interactive play builds relationships and resilience enabling children to happily return to nursery or school in the future.”

A range of learning opportunities are highlighted, with ideas showing how play and positive interactions can promote effective learning in a fun and informal way.

The guide also provides advice specific to the COVID-19 situation including top parenting tips from UNICEF, managing anxiety, and helping children to develop positive personal hygiene routines that help to protect them from viruses.

MESHGuides Co-Chair Marilyn Leask shares her thoughts on the importance of the guide: “At this time of crisis, parents always the first and most enduring educators, are likely to be a child’s sole teachers. The guide enables us to empower parents and carers to support their children emotionally during a challenging time and provide quality learning experiences that engage and bring families together.

“It builds on the principles of Mapping Educational Specialist KnowHow (MESH), a charity that pools quality-assured knowledge for teachers and mobilises this through technology giving efficiencies of scale and reach.”


Sheryl Goddin, an early-years practitioner at Walberton pre-school in West Sussex, shared the guide with their parents. She said: “[It is] an excellent resource to help support parents and carers by providing meaningful and stimulating learning opportunities at home.

“It introduces the EYFS and child development in simple terms and suggests easy at home activities that families can try. We have received positive feedback from our parents on its usability. Although there is COVID-19 specific advice included, the majority is timeless practical guide for parents with children between the ages of 0-5.”

Download the booklet at www.skipforeyeducators.co.uk/booklet/covid19_familybooklet.pdf.

For more about MeshGuides go to www.meshguides.org. Alternatively find out about guide editor Debra Laxton and her work at the University of Chichester at www.chi.ac.uk/childhood.

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