Home Children and Young People Early learning boost for young children in Knowsley

Early learning boost for young children in Knowsley

by Gemma Melling

Families in Knowsley are receiving support from their local children’s centres as part of a special early literacy programme.

Children’s centre and nursery staff are working with 45 families, with children aged two to five years of age, to help improve their little one’s early literacy skills.

Staff delivering the programme have completed bespoke training in the four aspects of early literacy; books, oral language, early writing and environmental print.

Through home visits and fun events in the local children’s centres staff are able to build parents’ confidence in their role as early educators.

Parents are encouraged to share books with their children, read stories aloud to them, point out signs and what they say while going about day-to-day activities and encourage their little ones early writing by making marks with colouring pens and pencils, to help improve their pre-schoolers early literacy skills.

Raising Early Achievement in Literacy (REAL) is a programme funded by the National Children’s Bureau to improve the quality of early education and care of young children. It supports Knowsley Council’s aim to improve Early Years communication and language development.

Lindsay Jones, who’s attended in Kirkby with her partner and daughter, said:

“I’ve never been a big reader myself and wasn’t sure whether reading to my daughter was something I needed to be doing before they started school.  After attending the special sessions at my local children’s centre I now know how important it is and also what a lovely way it is to spend quality one-to-one time with my daughter.”

Carlo Schroder, who’s attended with his daughter in Whiston, said:

“The project really helps parents to become aware of teachable moments in everyday situations, anywhere, any place.”

Paula Sumner, Knowsley Council Assistant Executive Director (Early Help), said:

“Helping parents gain the confidence to support their young children’s early language, reading and writing development is a great way to get the borough’s children off to the best possible start in life which is the first priority in the borough’s Early Help Strategy which was endorsed by the Cabinet on the 5 April.

“The families attending the sessions are clearly having lots of fun and parents are getting plenty of ideas on how to continue making early literacy a fun activity once back at home.”

Delivered by Prescot, Whiston, Halewood and Kirkby children’s centres and nine private nurseries, in collaboration with the National Children’s Bureau, the findings of the Knowsley REAL programme will form part of a government report for the DfE.