Bispham Endowed Primary School gets children chatting with new communication scheme

A communication project has been launched at a Bispham school to boost the creativity of youngsters through music, language and storytelling.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 4:29 pm

Bispham Endowed Primary School in Bispham Road launched Natterbox Nook last month, to encourage early years children to communicate effectively.

It comes after concerns some children have poor communication skills when starting nursery - so the Nook was formed, with help from £17,000 grant from education charity Shine.

The grant will pay for the extra teacher hours needed to plan and deliver sessions, which are held twice a week for both children and parents.

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Nursery teacher Sharon Bowie gets youngsters and parents involved at the Natterbox Nook. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

One of the 45-minute sessions involves music-making, while the other is story-focused.

Cath Anderton, nursery teacher and project lead, said: “This is a bespoke project we have created specifically to meet the needs of the children starting at our school. Some children upon starting nursery have poor communication skills and this programme is designed to improve children’s ability in this area.

“Natterbook Nook is all about finding children’s voices, whatever kind of voice that is, and about making sure that they have fun.

“Currently we find that lots of our children are reluctant speakers when they arrive at our school, which can hold them back in their development and education.”

Evie Trickovic and James-Junior Henshaw. both three, enjoy making music together. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Mrs Anderton said the combination of music and storytelling will encourage children to communicate more efficiently.

“This is quite different to anything I’ve seen before, because it's merging the music with the story, making it engaging and enjoyable,” she added.

Children will be encouraged to interact, question and play with other children and their families, and as well as helping youngsters, the sessions will give parents an opportunity to get involved and improve their own communication with their children.

Mrs Anderton continued: “We are delighted to have received the support from Shine, and are now excited to get started. I am certain that this project will make a real difference to our children.

Three-year-old Aria and her mum Amanda Law play the drums together. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

“Although Blackpool is rich in cultural opportunities, some of our families are unable to access all the town has to offer. This funding will also enable us to significantly subsidise the costs of these activities, making them accessible for all children.”

Michelle Warburton, headteacher at the school, said: "As a school family, we are so excited to be launching the Natterbox Nook. This is a wonderful initiative which will enhance early literacy and communication through music and story sessions for our nursery children and their families.

“We are truly lucky to have such highly skilled teachers with a wealth of experience, who will deliver Natterbox Nook sessions with passion and enthusiasm. I have no doubt that this project will greatly benefit all those involved.”

Dr Helen Rafferty, Interim CEO of Shine, added: “We are delighted to be supporting this exciting project at Bispham Endowed Primary School. We know that music, storytelling and engaging cultural experiences are hugely valuable for children and families, helping to develop language skills, vocabulary and curiosity, and we are really looking forward to seeing the impact of this work in the coming years.”