Childminder Joanne Walker has seen great results from taking part in the National Literacy Trust’s Early Words Together at Two programme with the families she works with.
Jo’s goals for the sessions were to have a greater focus on early reading skills, to better support families’ understanding of the foundations of reading and to support young children’s communication and language development.
Families were invited to take part in the sessions online with her. Using the guidance from the Early Words Together at Two indoor and outdoor plans, Jo split each theme into five or six sessions and delivered these via her online Learning Journey platform, Tapestry, with written information along with a video and/or photos to help demonstrate.
Jo saw really positive responses from parents who told her all about how they were really proud of their children for listening so carefully, having fun and going on to discuss what they’d learnt after the sessions at home.
It was clear that the children were really enjoying the sessions and they were excited to see Jo share the videos they had been making with her, doing activities, enjoying stories, singing songs and rhymes with their parents for ideas they could try at home with their families too.
Jo said: “I have really enjoyed making the videos and sharing my knowledge with families. The toolkit has made me think more about how I can share with the children’s families what we do and why we do it. This project has enabled me to develop my practice and better understand how to develop early reading.”
Jo made up 6 different ‘Rhyme Time’ bags for parents to borrow, each had a nursery rhyme book, song sheet, a little bag of props relevant to the nursery rhyme story/characters and a small wooden spoon with a symbol or picture of the nursery rhyme as a visual reminder. These were to promote and encourage rhymes, songs and singing and build familiarity with rhymes parents maybe didn’t know so well and parents could borrow these for use at home.
She said: “This was something I had planned to do for a long time, being part of the project gave me the motivation to do this. The feedback was very positive!”
One of the sessions that stands out for Jo is the Nature Collage session. This session helps to extend children’s speaking while exploring the natural world around them. Children collect objects they find around the garden to make a nature collage, talking about what they find as they are doing it, with specific tasks to look for specific items, for example, something small and green (i.e. a leaf) and they are encouraged to talk about their findings (i.e. size, colour, texture).
Following the programme, Jo is dedicated to regularly sharing information with parents this way in the future.