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Helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed at school

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If you are a foster parent or carer for a child who has had a hard start to life, you might be worried about how they will do at school. Luckily there are some relatively easy things you can do to help increase your child's success at preschool

Create a language rich environment

One of the issues that children from poorer backgrounds face is that they hear less language overall, leading to a poorer understanding of language structures and a lower vocabulary. You can help to remedy this by using rich and varied language around your preschooler. Try to use different adjectives to describe things that you see as you walk to child care or different descriptive words to cover the way that the street smells or a sunset looks. Challenge yourself to use different words and phrases to create opportunities your child to hear new words and phrases. 

Read to your child regularly 

As part of your child's routine, it's useful to read regularly. This can be a great way to have some close and snugly time with your child each night and get them to create a positive association with reading books. Finding books that they enjoy can help to motivate them to learn how to read. Reading can also expose them to some language which does not occur in as much in natural verbal communication but is more common in written language.  

Choose high-quality child care

In a high-quality, child care environment children will be exposed to interesting toys and stimulation and will naturally start to build curiosity and language skills. Child carer relationships with children are also stronger in high-quality child care environments which can be useful for children who have had a trickier start to life. When you are looking at preschools and child care centres for your child it can be useful to ask them what experience they have had with forming relationships and building school readiness skills for children from more challenging beginnings.

Children tend to be very adaptable to new situations, especially when they get early support for any difficulties that they have had. A positive experience with preschool can set a positive foundation for your child's future experiences at school. If you are hoping to encourage your child's schooling success the best thing you can for them early on is to provide a supportive and stimulating environment from a young age.