Finding 9: Early years

Children who take part in arts activities in the home during their early years are ahead in reading and Maths at age nine

In the surveys at ages three and five for the UK cohort study Child of the New Century (CNC), mothers were asked how often they helped their child with reading and writing and activities such as drawing and painting. Researchers have found that children who had these types of interactions in their pre-school years tend to display better behaviour and moods, and higher ability in reading and Maths (Child of the New Century, 2016).

Using the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, which tracks 10,000 children and families, Australian research has shown that the frequency of children’s home activities, which include being taught a song, playing games, and doing arts and crafts activities with their carers when they are aged two to three years, is related to their reading and numeracy performance aged eight to nine.

Children who engaged in home activities achieved higher NAPLAN (Australia’s National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy) reading and numeracy scores equivalent to being 12 weeks of schooling ahead in reading and six weeks ahead in numeracy (Yu & Daraganova, 2015).


Child of the New Century. Home and Family 2016 [Online].

Yu, M. and Daraganova, G., ‘Children’s early home learning environment and learning outcomes in the early years of school‘ in The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children Annual statistical report 2014, A. I. o. F. Studies, ed. (Melbourne: AIFS, 2014)