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Parent engagement in learning is seen as a crucial key to unlocking the educational potential of children.

Researchers at the universities of Oxford and London have now itemised the vital activities to be encouraged by parents that provide a high quality home learning environment and lift the performance of their children once they get to school.

At Preschool age they are: 

1. Reading frequently to the child 
2. Going to the library with the child 
3. Playing with numbers with the child 
4. Painting and drawing with the child 
5. Teaching the child letters 
6. Teaching the child numbers 
7. Reading poems to the child and singing songs and rhymes with the child

At age 5 years to 7 years they are: 

1. Playing with the child with toys, games and puzzles 
2. Playing computer games with the child 
3. Going to the library with the child 
4. Listening to the child read 
5. Reading to the child 
6. Using the computer with the child for educational reasons 
7. Doing sport and physical activities with the child 
8. Supporting the child to play make believe games 
9. Encouraging painting, drawing and making models 
10. Encouraging the enjoyment of dance, music and movement

At age 7 years to 11 years they are: 

1. Joining in games and play with the child 
2. Visiting the library with the child 
3. Listening to the child read 
4. Reading to the child 
5. Teaching a school subject (such as geography, science or English) 
6. Getting involved in sport, dance or physical activities with the child 
7. Going on educational visits with the child – such as to museums, nature parks, farms etc 
8. Playing computer games with the child 
9. Using the computer with educational programmes 
10. Using the internet for learning with the child

The researchers also checked another seven social or routine activities to see whether they affected how well the child did at school. They did not but the activities were:

1. Playing with friends at home 
2. Visiting friends or relatives 
3. Shopping 
4. Watching TV 
5. Eating meals with the family 
6. Regular bedtime 
7. Playing elsewhere than home