Winners of the Bookstart Corner and Additional Needs Gifting Partner Awards
Find out how Greenfields Children's Centre in Ealing and Bridget Lockyer in Wakefield go above and beyond to deliver Bookstart programmes, and what winning a 25th Anniversary Award means to them.
Bookstart Corner Award
Greenfields Children’s Centre, Ealing
Greenfields uses the Bookstart Corner programme to its maximum effect by supporting families in the most deprived wards of Southall.
The centre has carefully thought through how best to use the resources and sessions available with Bookstart Corner, making sure that it is delivered in a way that is comfortable for local families, which come from many different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
Taking into account their own capacity constraints, as well as their families' needs, the centre has adapted Corner's home learning model to create a small group family learning programme, while keeping true to the original intention of the programme.
Regular sessions are held at a local library and participants include children with additional needs and with English as an additional language. Resources are skilfully adapted to specific children and their needs. The centre has a member of staff who speaks several South Asian languages, has a number of fathers attending and continues to look for ways to engage those families that would most benefit from the programme.
Greenfields also stood out for its extensive and close work with local libraries, which provide a sustainable and safe space for families to continue their reading journeys.
Bookstart Corner is a targeted programme for children aged 12-24 months, which enables settings to gift additional books and other resources, and to carry out additional sessions with families who need a bit of extra support beyond the universal Bookstart Baby and Bookstart Treasure packs.
Greenfields works with local libraries to ensure that its Corner programme reaches those who need it most
Gwendaline Chin, Project Developer and Assistant Headteacher, says:
'Winning this awards really consolidates that all the work which is going on is good work! It has come as a nice big surprise!'
'Being involved in Bookstart Corner has really opened another world for some families. We know some families living in shared housing feel isolated and have limited access to space. Going out to the library for Bookstart Corner opens up opportunities for families to make friends and to learn about other services such as Stay and Play sessions and Nursery Readiness courses.'
'Families are very engaged in the programme. Having Bookstart Corner sessions run in libraries really works for the children's centre as it introduces the library to families who perhaps didn't know about the library before, or hadn't realised about the services that libraries and children's centres offer.'
Additional Needs Gifting Partner Award
Advisory Teacher, Children’s Sensory Team, Wakefield
Bridget really impressed the judges with the amazing care she takes to gift the right book, to the right child, in the right way.
Bridget believes strongly in the power of the pleasure of reading and that all children, including those with additional needs, have the right to access Bookstart and the richness of resources provided.
She gently helps parents and carers become more confident with their children, some of whom have quite severe visual impairment. Many of these families risk being quite isolated, due to the additional needs of their child and the challenges that can bring.
Through her skilful gifting, families discover how much enjoyment their child can have with books and rhymes. Bridget models how to use the resources to support literacy development and leads parents to a closer and more trusting relationship with the Sensory Service.
She works hard to ensure that the Booktouch Baby and Booktouch Toddler packs she gifts are appropriate for each child’s visual acuity and interests, as well as each parent’s ability to support. Bridget often adapts the packs she gifts, adding Braille and tactile elements to the books, which open up a new world of communication for many families, and creating 'bespoke' Booktouch packs for each child.
Bridget adapts the existing Booktouch packs (above) to create bespoke resources for children
'I was completely surprised and delighted to be given this award. The Bookstart Additional Needs packs hold so much value, and they are an amazing thing to gift to children and families... The award validates all the work we do with Booktouch in Wakefield and I'm delighted to be part of gifting the Booktouch packs.'
'I go into the homes of families who are currently on a journey which is not always positive, as medical diagnosis is about what their children will not be able to do. To gift the Booktouch pack for children with visual impairment is something so positive and is showing families what their children can do. This can be a very powerful and emotional experience for families.'
'The Booktouch pack enables me to help children become readers and allows me to engage a family with a physical gift. As a service we do not have funding to gift books to families, so having the Booktouch packs is a joy and helps to build our relationship with families.'