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Help me avoid the pitfalls of being 'disadvantaged' please.(32 Posts)
I have recently found out DD (21mo) is eligible for 2 year old childcare funding as she is disadvantaged due to our low income. Obviously I would like to avoid her being disadvantaged. Does anyone know why kids from lower earners are disadvantaged, and if so what can i do to avoid it?
- we both work, DH more so than me. I look after her most the time.
- we don't struggle financially day to day but we can't afford classes (massage, tumble tots etc)
Read lots, non-fiction books too. Talk lots using good vocabulary. Primary schools like'talk a lot families' where your child might have 5000 words in her usage upon arrival at Reception. Museums. Good programmes like documentaries on the solar system. Talk about numbers 1-20, what is bigger/smaller than 5 (for example) l, what is one more than 7?
Off the top of my head, my youngest is 5. Just thought I'd be your first poster.
Apparently one if the first important differences between the classes is the volume of words a child is exposed to and the 'quality' of that communication, ( meaning, is it directed to the child with good eye contact, does it reflect that child's interest at the time, is is pitched at the right level - not too complex).
"Disadvantaged" children are identified statistically based on such factors as, as you've found parental income. It doesn't mean that ever child in those groups is "disadvantaged" - just that they are statistically more likely to be.
Chidren from low income families statistically may have
- poor standard of living due to poor food/living conditions/chaotic family cirumstances
- parents who are less well educated and don't do things like talk to child/have books round the house/ play game with them
- poorer aspirations
and all these things - again statistically - tend to mean that the child will have poorer outcomes.
Stressing again that this is statistically - many children from low income families of course don't have any of these factors and/or do very well!!
In terms of what you can do - talk to your child, read to her, let her explore differnet times of play ...
Income is just an indicator it doesn't mean that your daughter is disadvantaged just that she might be more likely to be.
Being with her, reading to her, taking her outside the home to enjoy experiences, routines and boundaries all help a child to thrive.
Take the free funding if that's what you choose to do but enjoy your daughter. The fact that you are worrying about it probably means you'll already be doing everything to ensure she isn't disadvantaged
join the library. Take advantage of all the free activities on offer there. Talk to her, read with her, and care about her education. Tbh the fact you're asking probably shows you don't have much to worry about, as you're already interested in countering any disadvantage
Thank you for all your replies. I'll really push myself to talk more (I'm not a natural talker) and keep reading books together. It's nice to hear that being 'poor' doesn't automatically write her off. We don't feel poor, and when i found out she was classed as 'disadvantaged' I suddenly started doubting us as parents. She is down to go to nursery 2 mornings a week from january. In the mean time I'll take all your tips on board and hope for the best.
You sound like she won't be disadvantaged at all! Personally I think you're at a disadvantage if your parents simply throw money at you to shut you up all the time: Nintendos, wii and Xbox, TV programme after TV programme as infinitum. Talking about all sorts will be just fab for a 2 year old, about bugs in the garden, what she did yesterday, what you're doing tomorrow, about seeds and plants, tadpoles and frogs, how many strawberries and how many blueberries; more or less. Some of the cleverest children I teach are 'disadvantaged' because their parents are good parents and because they value education and instil this into their child. The result is a child who is a delight to teach and who reached their potential. Good luck!
It's a blunt tool- don't feel bad about it!
Chatter to her, real running commentary. It's a habit and even if you feel silly, reassure yourself that it's incredibly good for her vocabulary and awareness and also good for your relationship!
A friend teaches primary age in a small town. Lots of those children have been never out of the town, probably because most of their extended families live locally.
There are lots of experiences that don't have to cost much money.
If you go for a day out, cut costs by taking a picnic.
Art galleries, museums are often free, old churches are always interesting for a quick visit.
It's worth reading through the ONS report on intergenerational inequality:
The Sutton Trust does a lot of research on this topic, so a good idea to look up their reports as well. They say that a child's father's education level is the strongest factor in child’s success at school so it may be worth investing in your DH's education if you want the best future for your dc.
There is also a relationship between educational outcomes and the number of adults and children living in the household - having three or more dc raises the odds of a poor educational outcome.
Agree with the talking (general day to day conversations about nature and people, transport and things around you), lots of books and reading and add counting into everything eg. count the steps/stairs or house numbers. Go to any free museums, galleries, country house places. There are loads of free ones.
I'm a teacher and we had some training once (quite some time ago) but the stats were something like dc of professional parents had approx. 60,000 words at age 11, non-professional workers 20,000. I may be way off the mark with those figures but I do remember the huge difference. NB. They must have been very crude averages!
You sound lovely and I'm sure your dc will be anything but disadvantaged.
It sounds like you're doing fine. Some poorer families have to work very long hours and don't have time or bus fares for library and museum visits, trips to natural places like woods or farms, nurseries go to these places so funding places for low income kids can give them experiences they'd miss out on normally.
As others have said, it's a statistic. Lower income often correlates with things like less well-educated parents and chaotic home lives. But that obviously isn't always going to be the case. If you are already thinking about this stuff the chances are that this correlation will not apply to you.
Look into sporty and literacy classes run free by the local libraries and councils.
I work in a school which is top 5% for disadvantage on paper, but culturally many parents are low income employed, ambitious for their kids and encourage books and sports at home. As a result the school is in the top 3% for progress nationally and we get the vast majority of our kids into great careers and degrees every year.
Income makes it more challenging to provide those things but the key 2 are books/literacy/communication and physical health/team work/perseverance. .. and those things can be found.
Also just listen and encourage.
The statisticians lump everyone on one income together- the reality is far more complex. Within the bracket of low income there are many parents who are most definitely advantageous and better than some richer parents who rely on "bank of mum and dad" and ignore their kids.
Watching with interest. I am in a similar position
Use every opportunity as a learning opportunity;
ie go for a walk in the park. Talk about the different flowers you see, what animals you would find in a park.
Doing the shopping - running commentary on the various items you are buying. 'These look like lovely tomatoes. We like tomatoes. We will have them with our lunch/dinner/tea (or whatever you call you meals) today.'
So basically a running commentary, but withe some questions thrown in. Encourage interaction. Also numbers ie bus numbers, house numbers etc.
But not loud parenting. You only need to talk loud enough for your lo to hear you
Farms are great 'cos you can do all the animal noises, which most children love doing.
Would agree on the reading. - whatever they are into get them to read or look at books with them. In terms of talking, speech etc make it a two process ask them to describe something, ask them to compare it to something else e.g. Bigger, smaller, colours etc and as they get older ask why do they think x, if they ask you a question turn it back on them and make it a discussion. Developing critical thinking is really important. If they are into something go with it, visit museums, find TV programmes on it and talk to them about what they think. Have fun I have a 8yo and 5yo twins and I've been learning about loads of new things through projects.
Agree with pp, it's a correlation, it doesn't mean that it will be the case.
Agree with running commentary for everything: try and narrate the whole day from the moment baby is up to when they go to sleep. It's exhausting to start with but becomes second nature after a few weeks (and results in some questioning looks in the supermarket)
When reading, make a point of reading the words but then describing, in detail, what is happening on each page ("look, the boy is wearing blue shoes and he is throwing a red ball to the dog")
Like others have suggested, free museums, parks, library are all good. Look for free baby classes-not because your DC needs it, but because you need some variety!
Pretty much what everyone else has said. I'd probably add doing some of these things for yourself as well.
If you are modelling reading books or taking an interesting finding out more about things, then your children are likely to follow your example as it's seen as normal.
It isn't just reading.
Explore the world with nature detectives. (Don't join, just do the sheets at the park or local woods)
Explore art, if you can't get to a local gallery do something online like this
Basically, explore the world!
Sorry for multiple posts, my iPad was refreshing once I pasted a link!
People with lower incomes often have lots of other stresses, so they tend to have less security & stability: socially & financially. Not always, but it's increased risk. It's harder to think in terms of long term achievements or goals if you're very stressed out taking care of today.
So low income can mean Lower Aspiration and reduced expectations about what can be gained from education.
So it sounds really basic, but planning carefully for financial and relationship stability underpins all the other things posters have suggested.
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