AROUND 100,000 children five and under never spend time at home playing with parents to boost their learning skills, says research.
Almost a third of under-fives do not read with someone at home every day and only half spend time learning the alphabet or recognising words.
Less than two out of three practise counting and numbers or learn songs, poems or nursery rhymes daily, a study for the Department for Education found.
The 2017 survey of 2,685 parents, found 2.4 per cent of under fives in England — 100,000 children — never do any learning activities at home.
The DfE is working with the National Literacy Trust to promote a Chat, Play and Read campaign.
Trust director Jonathan Douglas said: ‘‘Every seemingly small interaction between a parent and a child is a great opportunity to fill that child’s world with words. Bath time can be a great time to sing a song together, bus journeys can provide opportunities to talk about what you see around you, and a trip to the library will enable you to choose a book to take home and share together.’
Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said children from lower income families, whose parents have less time to read, are more likely to fall behind at school, adding: ‘Once you’re behind, it’s hard to catch up. We want to create a generation of confident learners — parents are a child’s first and best teacher.’
Sarah Darton, CEO of the Family Links charity, said that playing with children also increases emotional development.
Poor families ‘£560 a year worse off in benefit freeze’
AN ONGOING freeze on working age benefits and tax credits will see more families ‘pulled into poverty’, a report warns. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said families living in poverty will be £560 worse off on average over the next year. JRF head Campbell Robb said: ‘Keeping benefits and tax credits frozen is unjustifiable. Around 4.1million children are now locked in poverty.’ The government said, increases will resume ‘in the normal way’ after the freeze.