In Expert opinion, The Nursery

Each month, Jackie Hardie, owner of The Nursery, gives advice and guidance on aspects of parenting. Drawing on almost three decades working with early years children, including roles as a Reception teacher and an Ofsted inspector, running an international education consultancy, and of course, being a parent, Jackie gives down-to-earth and practical advice.

This month, Jackie focuses on the importance of a jigsaw puzzle.

How many jigsaw puzzles does your child have?

A jigsaw is one of the most important resources for a child to use regularly. Ensure you choose the correct puzzle for your child. A sense of achievement is important so start with a two or three piece puzzle and build up slowly as they gain confidence.

The benefits of using puzzles

Problem solving: Puzzles are great for helping children develop an understanding of trial and error. They encourage children to persevere and to keep trying until they succeed.

Early reading: It can help to support early reading as words appear on the page just like shapes and puzzle pieces.  Children will explore words before they gain phonic knowledge and begin to recognise that some words are have high bits, short bits, bits that stretch high and bits that hang down.

Hand eye co-ordination: Puzzles encourage children to use their hands to rotate and slide puzzle pieces into the right place. This all helps to strengthen the coordination between their eyes and hands; in addition it helps to give those tiny muscles in their hands a workout. This all helps when they start to hold a pencil and form letters.

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