Lea Forest’s Head Teacher, Mr Craig Clarke-Castello saw Tales Toolkit in action at another school within their academy trust; Noel Park Primary are in their second year of membership with us and part of the Academy Enterprise Trust. Craig was so impressed that he returned from his visit and recommended that the Phonics Lead, Mrs Carina Gonzales look into it.
Carina saw that Tales Toolkit could work really well in their setting: “It goes alongside the welcome screening, hits the things we need to work on. I think we can run with this!”
We were delighted to see Lea Forest begin their Tales Toolkit training at the beginning of this academic year.
Carina was immediately impressed with the resources and training and she was kind enough to have a chat with me about their experience with Tales Toolkit so far.
“The children just gravitate towards to it”
Language and Communication – that’s the biggie. The big worry Carina and her colleagues have about children coming into Early Years. Especially for the COVID generation.
But within months of implementing the programme, Carina is seeing a huge rise in the children’s confidence. They now feel confident to come up with ideas and seem eager to begin writing for the first time. Carina says that the beauty of Tales Toolkit is that the children can’t be “wrong”!
When Carina first looked at the Tales Toolkit Big Bags, she was worried she would have to go round finding items to fill them every day but Carina quickly realised that she didn’t need to worry! Thanks to our online training, they have quickly progressed with other ideas that gave control over to the children. Leaving Carina and her team with very little need to prepare or plan – there is basically no planning!
Not only do the children love it, the teachers do too. Carina tells me that staff are really enjoying the training videos. Very easy to use and can be fit into the schedule easily, doing the additional activities if they have time or having a quick recap if needed.
“It’s simple and it’s effective and it looks really good when people walk around. If you’re walking around, you’re gonna be impressed by what you’re looking at.”
When the Ofsted inspector came, Carina made sure that Tales Toolkit was planned into the day. Carina told me how the inspector was really impressed by the engagement she saw in the children during their Tales Toolkit storytime.
They like to run the sessions outside, and when the children knew it was almost time, 20 out of 26 were already waiting outside.
“The children are so engaged, they can’t wait!”
Carina is confident that the demonstration of Tales Toolkit contributed to their Outstanding inspection rating. And they haven’t even finished the training yet! Think how much more they have to discover!
Lea Forest Academy is part of the Academy Enterprise Trust.
Lea Forest Academy got Tales Toolkit because they saw it in action at another school in their trust, Noel Park Academy. Lea Forest has now recommended us to another school in the trust – Four Dwellings Academy.
Carina, who supports the EY provision at Four Dwellings Academy, recommended that they become Tales Toolkit members to help boost their attainment in Language and Communication.
Nikki Maisey, the Early Years Lead for Four Dwellings says, “We’re already seeing a positive impact on the children and their storytelling. They really find the structure of it helpful.”
Four Dwellings are just a few months in but we’re seeing such great innovation from the teachers and the exchanging of ideas between them and Lea Forest.
Take a look at these resources that Julie Tyers from Four Dwellings has been making for her school and Lea Forest:
Written by Georgie Matthews
Pictures shared with permission from Lea Forest Academy and Four Dwellings Academy