Staffordshire County Council is working to transform Children’s Services by reducing the number of children entering the local authority system and prepare them for starting school. During National Libraries Week, find out more about how Stafford Library is doing its bit to make sure the library is a welcoming and inclusive place where families can gain practical skills.
Why ‘Ready Steady Library’?
A priority in East Staffordshire is to increase the number of children accessing universal education provision, reduce referral rates to services and improve school readiness – that’s where Ready Steady Library comes in.
The project helps to create and distribute educational resources, running workshops to support families and library staff to use them as well as suggesting additional sources of help and information.
Bringing people together
Work has been progressing over the summer with 20 critical friends recruited to the project including representatives from Early Years, Polish Association, Islamic group, OFSTED, Children’s Centres, parents, adult and young volunteers and health. Their role is to be part of focus groups – with ten taken place so far – giving feedback on resources, engaging the community while acting as observers and advisers.
The Early Years work has also been inspirational, thanks to artist Jacqui Shankly who’s been busy creating the content for the Early Years Foundation stages boxes, while illustrator Steve Smallman has developed a woodland theme for the characters.
The project launched on 2 September with the workshops starting soon after. The initial sessions for babies and toddlers were extremely popular. Families who had signed up to attend the 3+ years session, however, did not attend as their children are now accessing nursery places, which is actually good news for the County Council as it means more families are taking up the 30 hours of child care, so are now reconsidering how the project can best support children in this age group.
The project now plans to work with local nurseries in the nursery setting and in the library, with the digital element being introduced to the workshops in the coming weeks.
To date the project has enabled the library service to make new partnerships, while strengthening existing ones. Encouraging families to visit the library is key, and our aim through this project is to help parents give their child the best start in life by understanding and reaching their full potential ahead of starting school. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved so far through #ReadySteadyLibrary for families across Stafford.