I saw a new blog post from Jarfullofmoonbeams considering what resources you need for primary education. I read about her top ten buys for primary education and it got me thinking about my own top ten.
A few years ago, I wrote a post about my favourite resources for primary education. It included: Scales, Maps, Chronology Sheet, Anatomy Model, Ray Box, Coins, Fabric Pens, Balloons, Two Colour Abacus, and Air-Drying Clay.
Obviously, what you need for a primary education was a key question when we were putting the Frogotter Box together. I wanted to gather the absolute minimum required to provide a complete primary education.
Scales, Maps, Chronology Sheet
Some items, like the scales, and a big map, are so brilliant, that they made it into the box pretty much unchanged. These are key resources for maths, science, and geography. I can’t imagine trying to educate without them!
The Chronology Sheet, took a bit more thought. There are loads available, and I spent some time considering all their benefits (I spotted that Jarfullofmoonbeams uses one from What On Earth Wall Books). In the end, though, I designed my own: the Time Snail. It’s simple enough for children to learn, and I am very pleased with the spiral effect, which I think really helps with the way that we compress the most distant past.
Coins, and Consumable Resources
Coins aren’t included in the Frogotter Box – though I still think that they are an important resource. It’s a really good idea to practise maths with coins, because it helps children learn the denominations. But, the box does include counters, which can be used for lots of counting and sorting games. The big 100 numbergrid is a brilliant addition to coins and really helps with seeing the patterns of numbers. My children have actually found it easier to use than the two colour abacus, so that’s been pushed off my list.
Fabric pens, air-drying clay and balloons are all consumable resources. I always have plenty of them in my house! They are so helpful for making learning hands-on. You can buy them pretty much anywhere, and I don’t have a favourite type. I stand buy these as vital supplies for science, art, history, geography and just having fun!
Anatomy Model, Ray Box
I would have loved to include an anatomy model in the Frogotter Box; they really are a wonderful resource for primary education. But, they’re just too expensive, and I think they would have nearly doubled the cost of the box! We’ve tried some small ones with the children, but young children find them too fiddly, and older children don’t find them detailed enough. So, I comprimised and drew my own simple anatomy sheet. It covers the skeletal system, the digestive system and the respiratory system. It comes without labels so that it can be used to remember the names of the main organs. Also, parents can choose how much detail to use at different ages.
The only thing left on my original list is the ray box. We do still use that quite a bit, and I still think it’s an excellent resource. It didn’t make it into the Frogotter Box, because it isn’t required for the National Curriculum at Primary level. So the Frogotter Box includes a mini electronics set instead. I bought my ray box from Better Equipped, who are great value for science lab supplies. Though you do also need a 12v power supply to connect it to.
Some resources that I would add to my original list now would be a globe, and a set of geometric solids. Though maps are easier to examine, a globe is really important for helping children to picture a more realistic shape of the world. And geometric solids that can be picked up and moved around are vital for helping children with counting sides and corners!
My opinion of which resources are vital for primary education hasn’t changed much over the last few years. Which is a relief, as it means that my younger chlidren are getting a similar standard of education to my older ones!
I haven’t included any books, because there are too many, so I thought it deserved a seperate post. I’ll put that one up next week!