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Literacy Champions

I’m delighted to have Rebecca Marsh with us to discuss how she implemented literacy within her setting.

Rebecca is a manager at one of the Portico group of settings. Rebecca has been in Early Years for over 10 years, three of these as a manager.

Rebecca is currently completing a level 5 in management, and is passionate and driven about leading successful teams and ensuring the children in her care are given the best possible start in life.

Rebecca explains:

“Starting the literacy project was by far one of the best decisions I have made in management. We were able to participate in the NDNA Literacy Champions as we had an Early Years professional (EYP) in the setting. The project works so well for us and will do for any busy setting because apart from certain deadlines, you use the resources and webinars at your own pace and when it’s useful for you.

Along with this you complete action plans after gathering everyone’s views on the setting, whether this be resources or staff confidence. We were then able to make some positive changes, which really helped us improve how we self-evaluate as a full team, creating higher expectations from all.

The resources and webinars have enabled us to really improve our in-house training and continuous professional development. We were able to directly link training needs into supervisions with what the project could offer, whether this be resources to help make a more inviting book area, or supporting practitioners by freeing time for EYP (Literacy Champion) or myself as manager to be in the room with the practitioner to lead good examples.

Webinars were so useful to improve practitioner’s development – and in turn their practice with the children. The nursery EYP (Literacy Champion) would create PowerPoint presentations and information leaflets for training at staff meetings. I feel in-house training to be particularly successful because all practitioners are learning together.

We were then able to offer training for parents at our successful coffee and cake afternoons. We have the booklets with us during the sessions and the Literacy Champion and I then share and discuss with parents in an informal way. This worked really well, as they were learning but had the opportunity to discuss personal issues and received hands-on ideas to go away with. This has had such a positive impact on how well parents engage with us, whether this be dads coming in to read and be good role models for all of the children, or taking notes from the home learning board!

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One of the webinars we watched was ‘Engaging boys in Literacy’ as we know boys in the Early Years don’t always want to read and write unless we make it fun! We learned all about how boys’ brains develop differently to girls’ – it really helped us to understand boys more and we were more than excited to share the information with parents, who have since commented on how much it has helped.

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We chose certain key children from each key group to be in the project. Within one term we could clearly see the improvements for children’s meeting age bands and making progress, not only with the chosen children, but all children in the cohort! These improvements have gone from strength to strength each term.

Here’s some of our percentages to show you the improvements over the first term of the project:

In the autumn term 89% of children were meeting their age bands in reading and in the spring term 97% of children are now meeting their age bands! 96% were making progress in the autumn and 97% are making progress in the spring term.  In the summer term 100% of all children are meeting their age bands in reading! 100% of all children are making progress!

When our nursery EYP started with us, she had very little experience and was new to her role as a senior practitioner. I was personally able to see her grow from strength to strength and thrive in her new role.

As well as everything else, we were asked by the charity Save the Children if they could come to visit the setting to film literacy practice and interview Chloe and me for the ReadOnGetOn campaign.

This project has made such a difference already and I have no doubt it will continue to do so for years to come!”

Clip from NDNA:

Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @Portico_Lodge

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