The Early Words together project is in full swing at the Lichfield and South Staffs Children's Centres now. It is a superb new initiative from the National Literacy Trust to help families develop their skills in order to help their children at home. Studies have shown that parents are a huge influence on children's educational success, so if they can help from very early on, it will have a knock one effect to school progress and beyond. The NLT call it the 'home learning environment' or HLE.
The 6 week programme looks at the importance of sharing books, how nursery rhymes are still important, mark making, choosing stories and also includes a visit from the library staff.
Many people think that libraries are quiet places where children should be seen and not heard but in fact, they actively encourage families. The library staff use puppets to show children the positives of joining the library so they can have access to new books every week.
The feedback from the families so far has been very positive, 'I think its really useful to know about these things,' said Anne-Marie, mum of 2 pre-schoolers. The sessions will be fully evaluated both internally and externally as part of a pilot project running until next March. If successful, it will be run nationwide.