The home learning environment and children’s attainment and progress

Learning activities at home in the early years of a child’s life make an important difference to their achievement in school. Katalin Toth and Pam Sammons outline the evidence

The home learning environment (HLE) refers to the activities that parents carry out with their children in order to encourage learning. In the early years this might include reading to their child, supporting learning through play, taking the child to the library, or teaching rhymes and songs.

A stimulating HLE in the early years of a child’s life can provide them with a better start to school, as well as having a long-term positive impact on their academic attainment, progress, and learning behaviour (self-regulation) up to age 16.

What we know
● The early years HLE has a long-term positive impact on children’s academic attainment, progress, and self-regulation up to age 16.
● Although linked with socio-economic status and parents’ qualifications, the early years HLE has a strong independent effect in shaping educational outcomes.
● Other measures of the HLE also show an influence.
● Enrichment activities measured at age 14 are particularly beneficial.

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May 2014