With schools hard-pressed to provide appropriate enrichment activities for higher ability pupils, family learning is an important yet neglected resource.
Research has shown that families have a more profound effect on children's attitudes to learning than schools. One answer to the question of how to support teachers in providing stimulating work for gifted and talented pupils is to provide informal learning and "edutainment" opportunities where children and their families come together to engage in learning activities.
Family study days, where the school provides themed activities and specific tasks designed foradults and children, show that parents' knowledge and understanding of their children is an important asset in helping children to learn effectively, particularly when backed up with good materials.
Resources such as galleries and museums, zoos and arts centres can be capitalised on for their "edutainment" value and provide ideal opportunities for parents and children to discuss, explore and learn together while having fun at the same time.
Family Learning, "Edutainment" and the Needs of More Able Children by Carrie Winstanley, University of Surrey, Roehampton. e-mail: C.Winstanley@roehampton.ac.uk