Following the roll out of Music and Me in East Lothian, the various agencies involved with early years provision expressed the need to share information about the positive benefits of music, storytelling and play-based learning with the parents of young children.
Although successful programmes such as Bookbug and Rhymetime are well established in parent and toddler groups across the region, it was felt that the addition of a strong music element could add value to these experiences and help bring parents up to speed with current research in these aspects of child development.
Support from the Start, ELJAM, and Dadswork contributed funding for a pilot project and afforded the opportunity to work with Maureen Black, an experienced Family Engagement Worker at Whitecraig Community Centre.
I was invited to join Maureen’s “Stay and Play Group” – a group of 10 local parents with their children aged 6 months – 3 years, who had been meeting each week at the centre for over eighteen months. Together we devised an eight week programme which became a useful blueprint for future parent and toddler music groups. The group came up with the name Tots, Tunes and Tales. Each session included free playtime for the children; discussion time for the parents; group singing and music games; rhyming games; snack time; shared story time and a book review club. The structure also enabled Maureen and I to introduce and share ideas about child development, play, stories and music in an informal and enjoyable way.
Afterwards, Maureen and I were encouraged to write up our experiences with the group into a resource pack for other groups. The resource contains session plans for a six week project, detailed information on research, games, songs, information sheets for parents, book review questionnaires and much more.
ELJAM helped to fund 2 training sessions for group leaders in 2013 to help introduce the resource pack.
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