Daily activities such as sorting laundry, cooking and travelling to and from school are perfect learning opportunities in busy households
(Toronto, ON – January 10, 2012) – ABC Life Literacy Canada today released new national research regarding the learning habits of Canadian families. The study, conducted by national research firm Ipsos Reid on behalf of ABC Life Literacy Canada, found that 62 per cent of Canadian parents agree that they don’t have as much time as they would like to spend helping their child learn.
Despite the belief and desire to nurture a learning environment at home, with six in 10 Canadian parents indicating that the primary place for a child to learn is in the home, parents are overlooking inherent learning moments in their daily activities, with just three in 10 using daily tasks as key learning opportunities.
“While it’s encouraging to see that three in 10 Canadian parents always use grocery shopping, traveling or participation in sport as a learning opportunity, there are still 70 per cent of parents who are missing out on embracing these moments,” said Margaret Eaton, President, ABC Life Literacy Canada. “It’s easy to use day-to-day tasks as a way to teach children. When traveling in the car, play word-association games with the letters on license plates, or when grocery shopping, try to add up the total before the cashier tells you. Learning can happen anywhere.”
When it comes to paying bills, for example, over half of Canadian parents surveyed rarely (27 per cent) or never (28 per cent) use it as an opportunity to teach their children key financial literacy skills. Colours, matching and measurement can be taught while doing the laundry, yet only 19 per cent of parents always use it as such.
Looking at more traditional literacy activities, we see that:
Regionally, parents in Quebec and Atlantic Canada spend the most time writing stories with their children, with 22 per cent writing together daily or weekly. Parents in B.C. visit libraries the most, with 49 per cent going at least one a month. The majority of parents in Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and Manitoba visit the library less than once a month. When it comes to using a computer as a family, 34 per cent of Atlantic parents do it daily, but that number dips to 20 per cent in Alberta and just 14 per cent in Quebec.
“Seventy per cent of Canadian parents agree that they are their child’s best teacher,” commented Sean Simpson, Associate Vice President of Ipsos Reid. “This data shows us that there are many more opportunities they could use to be a non-conventional teacher to their kids.”
With Family Literacy Day taking place this month on January 27, parents have the perfect opportunity to start embracing learning opportunities happening in their daily lives. By downloading the Journey to Learning Passport, families can see how easy and fun it is to share these moments and start learning together.
For more information on Family Literacy Day, including event listings, literacy tips and activities, please visit FamilyLiteracyDay.ca.
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Many studies have shown that improving parents' skills directly and positively affects the language development of children (Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society, IALS 1997, page 62).