DfE green lights six ‘Early Years apps’ to support home learning

The apps help children with their reading, writing and speaking

The Department for Education (DfE) has approved six ‘Early Years apps’ to support students’ home learning.

Following a competition to find the highest calibre educational apps for children, a panel of experts approved a range of smartphone and tablet learning tools, designed to help parents and carers assist their children with reading, writing and speaking.

Handwriting app Kaligo is one of the successful products, blending years of neuro-scientific research with cutting-edge AI technology. Kaligo makes handwriting interactive, giving children a stylus and tablet to trace letters through colourful screens, storing their data as they go so parents and carers can monitor progression.

“The first few years of a child’s life are crucial in equipping them with the skills needed for the classroom, and we are working with families to make it easier to weave early learning into daily activities,” said Gavin Williamson, the UK’s education secretary.

“We know that the majority of families are using technology in fun and visual ways to support their child’s early education, but it can be difficult for busy parents to work out what content is best.

“This list of expert-approved apps helps them make confident decisions that benefit their child’s language and literacy skills.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, added: “Early language skills are the foundation of all literacy and learning and parents have a uniquely powerful role in developing these skills in their children through talking and reading together.

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“Technology is now such a powerful component of the home that it’s important to recognise the powerful resource it can be in enriching these interactions. We believe that the apps which we have chosen will help parents feed their children’s hungry little minds with great stories, exciting and fun experience of language and offer the support for the early reading experiences which provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning.”

When discussing the apps, the DfE’s expert panel described Kaligo as “A really good app to support a child’s handwriting development.”

All six successful apps met the panel’s criteria, including elements of play, interaction and ranging difficulty levels, receiving a mark of quality from the DfE. The accredited apps now form part of the Hungry Little Minds campaign, which is building a library of helpful apps for parents and children across the UK.

The campaign hopes to help tackle the barriers parents face in empowering their child’s home learning. It draws on expertise from children’s digital media consultants, early learning charities, and university researchers to select the most engaging educational apps for children.

“The research from the DfE today shows that over half of parents surveyed (52%) played pretend games together or took turns in fun activities with their child every day,” said Faisal Hamid, director of Kaligo. “It’s wonderful for the Kaligo team that our app has been recognised by the DfE.  Many users are already witnessing the great improvement in handwriting, as well as the joy and fun Kaligo brings to the children.  We look forward to seeing the benefits Kaligo can bring to children across the UK.”

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