Free sessions for parents and toddlers in Morecambe aimed at giving children best possible start in life

Free fun sessions for parents and toddlers are planned at a Morecambe school, after it received almost £40,000 in funding from an education charity.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:40 pm
Morecambe Bay Community Primary School. Photo: Google Street View

Later this year, Morecambe Bay Community Primary School will launch “Get Set…Go”, a programme of activities and classes for young children and their families.

The programme will see the introduction of free, staffed weekly sessions which include messy play, story time, singing nursery songs, arts and crafts, physical play and vocabulary building.

There will also be evidence-based theory for parents on how to play, how to talk and how to interact with their child’s environment.

The sessions will be developed in consultation with parents, to ensure they are fun and useful for both them and their children.

The school is employing a part-time member of staff to run the programme, which aims to encourage parents and caregivers of toddlers to interact and communicate with their young children in ways that prepare them for entry into school.

It is hoped the project could make a significant difference to the lives of the children involved by increasing their school readiness.

The school’s business manager Trudi Wilkinson said she is “very excited” by what is planned.

She said: “I hope parents with young children will take advantage of the free sessions. They will be great fun for both the toddlers and the grown-ups, and a big help in preparing the children for school.

“At the moment, we don’t really see children until they start nursery, at three years old, but we realised that if we could tap into the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, we could make a real difference.

“A child’s development within the first 1,000 days has an impact on the rest of their life, in every single area, whether it be health, education, future prospects, or mental health.”

The school successfully applied for a grant from education charity SHINE’s Ready for School fund, after the successful pilot of play sessions for the younger siblings of pupils at the school and their parents.

“We came up with a plan that will help the development of the children but will also help our parents,” said Mrs Wilkinson.

‘Get Set…Go’ will be particularly targeted at families who may not otherwise be able to access such sessions and for children who are identified as needing a little more help to get them ready for school, such as language development, social or emotional skills’

It is hoped that if the programme is a success, it will be expanded to other schools and nurseries across the region.

The school’s headteacher, Sue Taylor, said: “This programme is all about giving our youngest children the best possible start, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it develop.”

SHINE’s interim CEO Dr Helen Rafferty said: “We’re really pleased to be able to support this exciting project at Morecambe Bay school. All children should have the opportunity to play and learn from the very earliest stages, and we’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact the sessions will have on children and families.”

If you are a parent or caregiver who is interested in taking part in the free sessions, you can contact your health visitor, local neighbourhood centre or programme co-ordinator Janet Stuart at Morecambe Bay Primary School 01524 401002.