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Escape the classroom: bringing literature to life

Literature is an exciting creative subject that should involve more than just reading. When children read and study literature, they are learning an art form, much like dance, painting, or music, so the subject should be explored using a number of different techniques. Studies show that ‘cultural activities in early years can engage families in their children’s learning’, which thus provides a ‘positive focus for shared experience and communication.’

Fortunately, there are many ways for practitioners to make reading more exciting and increase learning engagement at a childminder, nursery or preschool. There are also plenty of ways for parents to get their children interested in literature and share their passion for this incredible art form. With this in mind, here are some simple ways to bring literature to life in a setting.

Show a passion for learning

As an early years practitioner, you have the unique ability to share your passion and inspire the next generation of artists and performers. Subject knowledge plays a hugely important role in teaching. As a guardian, you are providing the next generation with the skills and knowledge that will help others in the future, and, as every child is different, it will require a range of techniques and learning styles. The best practitioners are truly passionate and enthusiastic about learning new skills, and are aware of the variety of ways this can be imparted onto their children. You can update and maintain your knowledge by continuing to read about different subjects. You can also develop your skills by attending training courses or completing additional qualifications online. Click here for some of the most important professional development skills for teachers that is relevant for early years as well.

Likewise, parents can also encourage their children to gain an interest in literature by showing a passion for the subject and reading to them from a young age. Telling children about the stories you loved at their age and explaining to them the wonder you felt when you finished reading your favourite book will encourage their curiosity. Read to the children regularly and have them use their imagination to tell you their own stories. Encourage them to read and write at home as well, instead of engaging in passive activities like TV watching.

Encourage regular theatre trips

Unfortunately, many creative subjects are now 'classroom-based', and energetic live theatre performances have been replaced with children watching videos online. While these advancements in technology can be a useful tool in literature studies, watching performances online should not replace the theatre experience all together. One way to combat this is through taking young children to the theatre so they can experience the arts and the magical feeling it creates, resulting in a longing to return as they grow older.

Theatre trips are an amazing way for children to see stories brought to life and gain a true appreciation for the art. Why not think about taking a trip to the theatre with your setting? Children can gain a lot from viewing live performances, providing a real insight into the industry. For parents, taking children to the theatre is a great way to inspire them and help them develop an interest in literature and performing arts. Sharing the magical theatre experience is also a great way to bond and spend quality time together as a family.

Create an enthusiastic learning environment

As an early years practitioner, creating an energetic and interactive learning environment is an effective way to motivate children and keep them interested and engaged during activities. Fortunately, you can easily achieve this by adopting an interactive learning style that encourages active involvement from children. When doing planning, you can think about including plenty of questions, fun activities, and group work to increase engagement. You should also consider the layout of your learning environment, always encouraging communication and collaboration. It is also important to ask young children what they do and don’t like about an activity. This will provide you with valuable feedback so you can continue to develop their learning.

Parents can also help improve their children's creativity and literature skills by creating an interactive environment at home. Encourage parents to engage in their children’s learning at their setting, ask them what they did that day, what their favourite books are, and what they thought about it. Ask them to recreate any fun performances and role play at home in front of the family to support their creative outlets. 

Final thoughts

There are plenty of simple ways to create fun and engaging literature activities and encourage participation and enthusiasm from young children. This includes - demonstrating a passion for the subject, creating an interactive learning environment, and arranging regular trips to engage in a particular topic, such as the theatre. Likewise, there is plenty that parents can do to improve their children's literature skills and encourage an interest in the subject. Try these useful tips and bring literature to life in the setting and at home!

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