Thanks to the Buddying scheme and the local Community and Learning partnership, the nursery and the pre-school at Doxey Primary in Stafford were able to participate together in a joint project of Languageland Training. This is a package which was developed to provide a complete programme to improve the speech and language skills of children in Primary and nursery education. It works by demonstration training to support nursery & class teachers in adjusting their teaching practice through demonstrated language lessons, and to achieve collaborative practice.
Uniquely, Doxey also invited parents to attend so they could see what I was doing and to have the opportunity of discussing language activities they could do at home. Each week they had materials they could take with them.
When this idea was first mooted, I wasn't sure it was good one, as it meant 8 children, 8 parents and 8 staff. It can be quite difficult to keep the children's attention, control the group and be discussing what you're doing with staff but to have to then also present it in a way that's readily understood by the parents too was quite daunting.
The activities were delivered to children from the nursery and pre-school via Circle Time style sessions and targeted language basics such as: General interaction/social skills, Good listening, Sound awareness skills, Vocabulary and Comprehension. The children just thought we were having fun playing games, singing songs and pretending to ride on a magic carpet but each session was structured to show staff ideas for activities.
I needn't have worried as it worked very well and feedback was 100% positive from staff and parents. Jo Upton from the pre-school said that the staff were 'inspired', they also signed up for our next project on signing training.
We are hoping to do more with the Buddying project as its a great way of sharing good practise. The next one is in Stretton near Burton with staff from Lansdowne nursery and the Stretton pre-school. Helen Stretton will aptly do that one!
We're also writing our own version for younger children of around 2 yrs. Watch this space!!
Languageland is avialable to buy from www.blacksheeppress.co.uk