North East Connected

Teachers turn to classic book to help families prepare for school

NURSERY children have proved ‘they’re not scared’ when it comes to getting ready for school life thanks to the help of some literary friends.

Pupils at Springfield Academy Nursery, part of the Education Village, Darlington, and their parents have taken part in the Everyone Ready For School project using the popular Michael Rosen children’s story We’re Going On A Bear Hunt.

They have spent weeks swish swashing, splosh splashing, squelch squerching, stumble tripping, hooo woooing and tip toeing, through the initiative run by the Literacy Trust in partnership with Walker Books and the education charity SHINE.

Everyone Ready for School is currently being run in ten early years settings in Darlington, with a further seven settings joining the project in 2020.

The aim is to engage parents in their child’s learning and aid the transition from pre-school to school through a series of fun, creative sessions held at the primary school the child will start in September.

Sessions with parents build relationships between them, early years settings and schools, boosting confidence by meeting staff as they prepare to join a new school.

The scheme also helps parents engage in simple communication, language and literacy activities that will support their child’s learning in the home.

Everyone Ready for School is based around We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, which is explored each week for six weeks through physical and creative activities designed around the themes and content of the book.

Literacy Trust early years project manager Alison Tebbs said: “Parents and children have been fantastic and the levels of engagement have been amazing.

“Starting school can be a worry and getting children and their parents into the classroom early makes them feel appreciated and highlights what they are doing at home to learn. The project is certainly helping the transition to be less of a jump.”

Laura, mum to four-year-old Ivy, said: “She has really enjoyed the programme. The children have always been the focus, with lots of fun activities, stories and free goodies. It has been a warm and welcoming group.

“They shared a lot of material on school readiness, have looked at books, what children will do in class, had discussions on lunch, learning and practised writing their names. It has all been delivered in a light hearted manner, not a bombarding information overload.”

Springfield Academy deputy head Paula Austin said she was delighted with the impact of the scheme. “Parents are telling us that they are now doing a lot more reading at home and that the children have become more focused on numbers, letters and rhyming words, which is fabulous,” she said.

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