Good morning! Hope you had a good week. I took ‘Excellence in Early Years’ up to Scotland for my first official ABC Does conference North of the boarder in Glasgow. I had such a great day with a great bunch of people. I even got my own tin of Hawick mint balls to compare with the tin of Uncle Joe’s that I got when I went to Wigan. I will let you know which one I prefer! I will definitely be back to Scotland!
Off to Belfast next week – I will see you there if you are coming…
When I first came across Tales Toolkit, I loved the simplicity of it. I have featured on my blog a couple of times and have seen its popularity grow.
This week I an email from a school who had used it after seeing it on my blog and they are getting some amazing results, especially with their reluctant talkers and mark makers.
I thought today I would share this blog post from Kate (the founder of Tales Toolkit) again incase you missed it last time.
Hello, It’s me again, Kate, founder of Tales Toolkit! We love Alistair so much we’re back for another blog and this time we’re making it official and taking up permanent residence in Alistair’s website sidebar.
Whoop. Big thank you Alistair for backing and believing in us.
Like you, we know that story is a super powerful learning gizmo.
So Tales Toolkit provides interactive, child led resources all using easy to remember symbols to represent story structure.
Our kits give children the independence to create stories around their interests using anything they have to hand; old sock, conker, picture of the teacher! These resources are provided with online training for teachers and on-going support to ensure progress is made across many areas of learning.
As a former Deputy Head I know how important it is for resources to have maximum impact with minimum planning and paperwork (unicorns do exist!) and so I have worked really hard to design Tales Toolkit with this in mind. Today I want to talk about what we all really care about – impact, (I know you love that word!) ensuring the littlest of people have the best possible opportunities. Read on to find out more.
Learning skills impacted
Tales Toolkit provides a supportive environment for reluctant talkers, children with EAL and those with low levels of language. Stories can be created using only a few words, a child’s home language or actions, signing and mark making. Over time you will see an increase in the vocabulary and confidence of your children. We’ve been amazed at the stories from schools.
“A girl in Nursery very reluctant to speak watched the other children tell their stories. She then drew and told me her story. It was amazing for her, the first time I heard her speak in sentences. She doesn’t speak at all in other contexts.”
Rachel Lloyd, Nursery teacher.
We believe it’s not a race and children learn at their own pace so have designed Tales Toolkit to adapt to the child’s level, building confidence, developing empathy and nurturing creative problem solving from any starting point. Once familiar with the character-setting-problem-solution story structure that the Tales Toolkit resources use we have also seen children use the same structure in their play to help them solve everyday problems.
“Simple and fun method of encouraging social problem-solving. Children are encouraged to think about the emotional and social consequences of their suggestions, all while having a good giggle’
Dr Alice Jones Bartoli, Goldsmiths University. Director of Schools and Families Studies
Tales Toolkit stories are interactive, fun and led by the children. This lights the lust for learning in your children, leading to high levels of engagement and attention and a passion for story leaving children wanting to tell, retell and write their own stories. Our online films train teachers to include early phonics in storytelling and make links with core books. Our writing resources all using our same four symbols help children build muscles for writing so they can move from large messy mark making of stories to longer story writing.
‘We’ve had amazing results with children improving their writing skills.’
‘Big increase in mark making. Especially boys.’
Imagination is a mind-set for creation. As children become more sophisticated in their storytelling, they move away from obvious props – such as a bear, Frozen’s Elsa and magic wands – to symbolic props, such as leaves and stones.
Soon they can create stories anywhere with anything which is really exciting as this symbolic play is key for later literacy. Stories are fast paced, keeping the children innovating and as they learn there are no wrong answers their ideas become more creative.
A powerful approach to boosting imaginative play supporting children’s first steps in creating stories –
Dr Julian Grenier, Head teacher, Author, Founder of Partnership Teaching School.
Impact for every child
By creating this fun, safe space where you take on the children’s ideas, include their interests and bring them to life with lots of interactive, tactile excitement, (actions, song, large props, puppets and lots more) we found that lots of the trickier groups of children are engaged and learning.
Children with SEND respond really well. Our resources are easy to use with Makaton and PECs We’ve had feedback that Tales Toolkit is super effective for children with autism as it develops their creativity and gives them a way into their friends play. And we have lots of schools using Tales Toolkit successfully with 2 years olds with fantastic results.
‘For children with SEND participating in imaginative activities is very difficult. The structure of the 4 bags, they can adapt their imagination within that. They realise the ideas come from them.’
Ceri Ann Knoller. Assessment Centre teacher.
And we won the Teach First Innovation award 2015/16 for our ability to make a difference to children eligible for pupil premium funding. And Goldsmiths University believe in us and are funding a study to measure progress made.
Impactful training for teachers
By now we hope you’re wondering how you get your hands on Tales Toolkit. We manage to make such a huge difference for schools by providing you with the right training and lots of support for a whole year. Check out our previous blog for information about what’s included in the pack.
We’ve been working with top experts and leading schools to develop training that really works!
We made 5 films, each 50minutes long so you can fit them into a staff meeting. You get together as a team with no additional supply costs! The training is delivered over time which gives staff time to really embed each stage before moving on.
“A real strength is the quality of the training materials which bring together a wealth of sound practice in an accessible and supportive format which you can watch again and again and we have!
Yes, definitely one of the best resources we have bought this year- an educational bargain!” Alex Law. Head teacher. Harry Roberts Nursery School.
Session are led by me, Kate, and include interviews with experts, teachers using Tales Toolkit, footage of the children using the resources and activities for you to do as a team.
Our resources are super simple to use. Staff really enjoy our training and find Tales Toolkit easy to implement and make their own.
And we learn from you! We want you to be part of our family. Let us know your needs and share your stories with other schools. We keep adding to our training over time with films, webinars and best practise ideas.
“Tales Toolkit is now part of our culture. It permeates everything we do… conflict and resolution, experimentation with new ideas and concepts, dealing with everyday problems and situations!’ Liz Adie, Nursery teacher, Cale Green Primary
And we have some Superstars webinars – Dr Alice Jones Bartoli discussing violence in story Dr Julian Grenier chatting about Ofsted and Tales Toolkit, John Webb exploring music and story.
And the main man himself Alistair is doing a Tales Toolkit webinar next year. So, if you join Tales Toolkit you could soon be chatting with Alistair online (It’s the handbags at dawn photo again Alistair!).
Sound good? Has this made an impact on you?
So, you can see when you add it all up. It’s a great package.
I know you’re all wanting to know the price! It’s £800 for the year which gives you all of the following.
Schools signed up for our training have been forward thinking innovators willing to jump with something new that has big potential to make a difference. We’d love you to join them and become part of our family and start sharing your stories!
“The staff have been so inspired by the training sessions. In the days leading up to it people actual say to me “It’s Tales Toolkit training next week … can’t wait” – how many staff meetings get that kind of response!!!”
Early Years Coordinator
And because friends of Alistair are friends of ours and if you’re following his blogs you’re already doing wonderful things, we’re offering £50 credit to spend on resources to anyone who orders our online training using the code ‘ABC50’
Find out more about Tales Toolkit at www.talestoolkit.com
Thank you Kate!
Have a great weekend – I am going to be planting the Spring bulbs that have been sitting in our utility room for the past 2 months. I hope they still sprout!