Friday, 25 October 2013

Come and join us on the Early Words programme in Lichfield and South Staffs

The National Literacy trust is  working with 12 Local Authorities to trial a package of support that will help children’s centres to identify families in need of support around early home learning. Small Talk is delighted to be co-ordinating this is the Lichfield and South Staffordshire areas. The families we aim to work with do not currently attend or access children’s centre services beyond universal services such as health checks.

The identified families will be supported to improve their home learning by working with trained community volunteers. The families will also take part in a book choice session and will be able to choose up to 3 books. In focussing on improving and increasing early home learning we are supporting families to increase their child’s school readiness and future attainment.

By March 2015 we will have contributed to the development of a package that can be adopted by other Authorities and that will include:

• Training for staff from a variety of referral agencies (health visitors, housing officers etc) to embed a set of home learning indicators into data they already collect (but not creating new bureaucratic systems!)
• Stakeholder mapping support and new partners for children’s centres
• Training for children’s centre staff to use early home learning indicators (EHLIs) and referral information to successfully attract identified families to their services
• Training for children’s centre staff to coordinate our community volunteering
programme and run book choice / book gifting sessions
• Promotion of referrals from the beneficiary parents
The success of the identification framework is very much reliant on positive and
open local partnerships – between Local Authority frameworks and with the
families. What is effectively a process of identifying and supporting certain families
to provide quality home learning environments for their children obviously requires
a high level of sensitivity and should be a positive rather than negative experience
for the families.

The aim is that home visiting professionals and others understand more about the
home learning environment, why it is important to their own work and to wider local
outcomes and how they can talk and work with families in a positive way that leads 44
families to access appropriate and meaningful support. At the same time, we will
be providing children’s centres with skills and knowledge that will help them to attract new, relevant families to their services.

What Small Talk will be doing:
Recruiting and training volunteers, then matching them with the families and overseeing the 6 week support programme. We will also run the book choice /book gifting session (funded by Benoy Foundation). At the end of the 6 week programme the families will be supported to refer others into the programme and encourage them to attend the children’s centre.

What we need you to do:
Attend the training sessions
Support the families over the 6 week period

We'd love you to be  apart of this exciting project. Please email us for an application form on if you are interested

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