August 1st, 2018
I’m really excited to introduce a blog from
Helen has been a huge advocate for us, supporting us right from the start of our journey! We love visiting Stockport where there are lot of super enthusiastic schools creating Tales Toolkit stories and supporting us with new ideas.
My current position is the manager of Early Years Improvement Team and the early education strategic lead for the council, with my background being in teaching in primary and nursery schools for 16 years and the last 14 years working as an early years’ consultant for Stockport local authority.
As a nursery teacher I was involved in the development and publication of ‘the nursery narrative approach’ for Black Sheep Press which led to a local language development programme called LEAP delivered in our maintained nursery schools. Having also trained in the use of Makaton and visual symbols to support young children’s conceptual and linguistic development,
I just knew it would work and I have been a huge fan from the beginning of Kate’s story.
Kate came and delivered a day’s training for myself, the team and a number of our leading practitioners and teachers in our local Early Years Partnership. It was fantastic, and the best day’s training we’d had in a long time!
Liz shared her practice with other local teachers offering a ‘Learning walk’ in her school. Once teacher’s saw first-hand the impact the approach had on improving the language and writing skills of the children, the majority of whom had EAL and very low starting points on entry to the nursery and reception class, more and more Stockport teachers became interested. We also saw the impact on children’s imaginative play and creativity, their stories were amazing!
I was starting to see just how effective and adaptable the approach was and how it supports our current focus on restorative practice too. Many a time I have heard children say, ‘oh look, there’s a problem!’, and then coming up with the solution themselves.
Myself and team colleagues completed the online training programme, and this then led to the idea of a special promotion in partnership with Kate to offer the online training package to our local Childminders, Early Years Settings and Schools, especially with the online format being so innovative.
I particularly like how the first of the 5 modules is all about the crucial importance of children’s language skills and how adults can improve this through high quality interactions.
The members Facebook group provides a place to share ideas and access further resources, and we currently have a group of our network Childminders and 15 primary schools who have or are in the process of completing the online programme.
I absolutely believe that the use of Tales Toolkit is improving the outcomes of children’s educational development in Stockport; our next step being to work with Kate in supporting the evaluation study measuring the impact of the programme. Kate is currently working with Goldsmith’s University to complete this and data from Stockport schools feature heavily in the research.
Kate came on a visit to Stockport recently and it was a real pleasure for us to share our local success! Visiting a number of our schools and seeing Tales Toolkit in action alongside the children’s progress by the end of the year was definitely highlight of my year.
I have also recently been inspired by the idea of social stories as part of our recent training on attachment and understanding children’s emotional development. Another idea I am excited to talk to you about Kate! ☺