Top tips on the Home Learning Environment

Research shows that learning at home can have a significant impact on a child's cognitive development that continues through into school. Here's our guide on encouraging a positive home learning environment.


The earliest years are some of the most important developmental periods in a child’s life. Parents and carers who engage with their child’s development from birth have a direct positive link to their child’s future economic well-being, health, educational attainment and relationships during adulthood.

Father reading to his daughterHome learning benefits for parents and carers

Parents and carers are often keen to help their children learn but sometimes need help to do so.

Their involvement can have positive outcomes for their child's development and learning, their own confidence and knowledge about what is best for their child and their parent/carer-child relationships.

Early Home Learning Environment Index (EHLEI)

Researchers have identified seven main areas, known as the Early Home Learning Environment Index (EHLEI) as being the most important elements of home learning that improve educational outcomes: 

  • Parents and carers reading to their child
  • Parents and carers taking their child to the library
  • Children playing with letters
  • Parents and carers helping their child to learn the alphabet
  • Parents and carers teaching their child numbers or counting
  • Parents and carers teaching their child songs, poems or nursery rhymes
  • Children painting or drawing at home.

As a practitioner you need to think about ways in which you might give effective help to encourage parents and carers to develop a positive home learning environment. Studies show that the vast majority of parents and carers are interested in the progress of their child and want to be effective advocates for them.

Mother reading to her childrenEncouraging home learning with parents and carers

So now we know the benefits of home learning, how can you encourage home learning with parents and carers? Here are some ideas:

  • Informal conversations with parents and carers 
  • Formal meetings with parents and carers 
  • Two-way sharing of information about a child
  • Notice boards/newsletters
  • Information sheets
  • Lending resources like books
  • Running sessions for parents and carers.

More support...

Looking for more support? Check out our Home Learning Environments online course here to learn more about: 

  • Good home learning environments
  • Overcoming barriers to home learning
  • Ways to engage parents and carers 
  • Ideas for improving practice.

Remember, the early years are some of the most important developmental periods in a child’s life and need to be invested in both at home and at your childcare setting to have the biggest impact.