What we did:
During Lockdown, 11 Early Learning and Childcare Centres within Falkirk Council were gifted a resource bag for every child from Starcatchers UK, containing a variety of creative resources and activity cards.
Langlees ELCC created a series of short videos demonstrating how the resources could be used at home, encouraging parents and children to learn and play together. A YouTube page was set up and the link for the videos emailed/messaged to all families, as well as being posted on our Twitter feed to raise awareness of the initiative. #WeeInspiration videos were introduced daily to guide families through the experiences, highlighting the learning taking place whilst doing so. All staff were given the opportunity to be involved in sharing their skills and knowledge. Families shared comments, photos and videos of their experiences via our Twitter feed or email and a floor book has been created to document our Starcatchers journey.
Denny ELCC celebrated the gifting of the bags at their Lockdown Leavers Outdoor Event where all leavers and siblings received a pack. This strengthened their relationships and communication with families during lockdown. All children and families who did not collect a pack received their bags on return from the Covid-19 Closure.
Who we involved:
This involved our educators working in partnership with families, children, colleagues and Starcatchers UK. Educators shared their skills and knowledge through video links and discussions and families and children shared their experiences and learning from home. The videos from Langlees ELCC were liked and shared by various professionals nationally.
The difference it made:
The Starcatchers bags have encouraged our families and children to spend quality time together, exploring resources that they may not have had otherwise. Children were able to take part in experiences that they may not have tried before or had access to at home previously. Families were learning together and most importantly having fun! We love how the cards are aimed at all children under 5 so whole families could get involved with the creative ideas and play suggestions.
The videos from Langlees ELCC explained the importance of these types of opportunities for children’s learning and development, whilst pointing out the specific learning that takes place as a result of these experiences. It has empowered parents/carers to try something with their child that they may not normally have done and given them the confidence to try new things.
Families communicated the experiences they were sharing at home with their children.
Glenburn ELCC followed up the distribution of their bags with wellbeing phone calls. During which some parents discussed the craft bags and how it made their child’s day. They spoke of how the experiences helped to keep their child engaged while making use of the craft materials inside the bag.
What we will do differently in the future:
In Langlees ELCC this has supported us as a centre through the transition to using virtual platforms for learning such as YouTube. We have developed new skills in sharing media online. This experience has enhanced our partnerships with families by giving us another platform on which to share learning and development. Long term we plan to use this and other methods to enhance communication with our families as we navigate Covid-19 restrictions. It has given parents and carers new knowledge and skills in how to supporting learning and development through play at home which will in turn impact the progress of their children.