Who we surveyed and what we asked
This report explores the findings of a survey conducted with 1500 parents of children from birth to age five about the home learning environment.
We asked parents how often they were carrying out these seven key learning activities at home:
- Reading (including books, e-books, and picture books)
- Looking at the alphabet
- Playing outside the home (e.g. at a library or play group).
We compared the results to surveys we commissioned from OnePoll in 2020 and 2019.
- Fewer parents engaged in all home learning activities in 2021 compared with 2019. For example, 76% of parents said in 2021 that they had chatted to their child at least once a day in the last week, compared with 83% in 2020 and 90% in 2019, and 53% of parents said in 2021 that they had read to their child at least once a day in the last week compared with 62% in 2020 and 66% in 2019
- This year, slightly fewer disadvantaged parents engaged in some home learning activities on a daily basis compared with advantaged parents. For example, 50% of parents from the C2DE group (lower socioeconomic status) said they had read to their child at least once a day in the last week, compared with 56% of parents from the ABC1 group (middle and high socioeconomic status).
- There were also differences in the frequency of engagement by other parental characteristics:
- More mothers than fathers engaged in home learning activities, with the exception of reading (where there was no difference by gender) and playing outside (which fathers had done more frequently, and mainly with their sons).
- More parents aged 34 and under said that they played, sung, looked at the alphabet, painted, and played outside at least once a day in the last week compared with parents aged 35 and over.
- More parents with higher levels of education said that they read to their children at least once a day in the last week compared with parents with lower levels of education. The higher the level of education the parent had, the more likely it was that they had read to their child at least once a day in the past week
- Many parents said they intend to engage in activities more frequently over the coming months. For example, 47% of parents said they intend to play outside more than before, and nearly a third of parents (32%) said they intend to read more frequently.