My daughter is 2yrs 7mths and she had her 2 year developmental review yesterday. We underwent the standard building bricks etc but she also did some of the 3yr old tests too. At the end of her review she received her bookstart pack. It was a green folder with a velcro clasp and looks like a school book bag with the bookstart logo printed on it.
When we got home she excitedly opened it to find the book 'owl babies' which is one of my elder son's favourites and a hard back book about elmer (the colourful elephant). She also received stickers to put in her books stating they belonged to the library of '.......' and we wrote her name in there. This is lovely as she does not have to share these with her brother's now and she has started to recognise her name!
You also receive a poster (small) with their numbers 1-5 and another 6-10 so we will be putting these on the wall in the space where she is on the bottom bunk to help her with recognising her numbers. She also loved her crayola crayons with around 6 different colours and a book filled with plain paper for ehr to practice her drawing skills.
This bag is brilliant, and free. Make sure you ask your health visitor for one!
My son received his very first free Bookstart pack recently at his 9 month developmental check up.
We have always considered it important to introduce children to books from a very early age and I have a lot of admiration for this scheme. My son already has a selection of books and this pack has added to his collection just nicely.
In his first pack were two books made from thick cardboard, obviously with the chewing baby in mind! Both were great little stories, one in particular caught his attention with its pop up flaps.
Also included were guides and leaflets regarding Bookstart and it's incentives and a laminated sheet of popular nursery rhymes to read to your child. I am aware of the advantages of reading in rhyme to children and I was most pleased with this item as it refreshed my memory a little and gave me a few new ideas.
Although he is still young at just 9 months, my son enjoys his books, in fact he is beginning to hold his books up in the air to us to prompt us to read them to him. It also gives us some valuable and beneficial one to one time with him. I know that he will benefit a lot from Bookstart over the coming years and I am very grateful that this scheme was implemented.
I was very pleasantly surprised yesterday when I went to pick my three year old daughter up from pre -school. I was asked whether I had had Rachel's Bookstart treasure chest yet. I shook my head, looking a bit blank and puzzled, and said 'No'. I was then given a lovely box which looked like a treasure chest to take home with us!
Well, both Rachel and I were very excited, but decided to wait until the little one was having her afternoon sleep, before we explored the contents of the box. We were not disappointed! Upon opening it, we discovered a whole trove of treasure - a colouring book and a pack of twelve crayola pencils, two picture story books ('Doing the Animal Bop' by Jan Ormerod and Lindsey Gardiner, and 'Can you see a Little Bear?' by James Mayhew and Jackie Morris) and a set of 'This book belongs to ...' stickers for Rachel to put in her favourite books! There were also some leaflets for me about libraries and good books to read with your child. And finally, not forgetting, a £1 book token!
So, how come we were given this treasure? Well, I had forgotten all about the government's Bookstart initiative, which we has already taken advantage of twice before! Bookstart is a national programme that aims to get parents and carers reading with their children from as young an age as possible. Their main way of doing this is by providing free books for children, and these are distributed via health visitors and local pre-school settings.
We received our first pack 'Bookstart for Babies' when Rachel went for her eight month check. This was a lovely surprise as I had not heard about Bookstart before. This pack contains two board books and a book of nursery rhymes plus lots of lovely ideas to help parents share books with their babies.
The next pack 'Bookstart+' is for toddlers from 18 to 30 months. This can also be received from health visitors and this pack contains two books, a colouring pad and coloured pencils, a number frieze, and bookplates to put in children's books.
The third pack is called 'My Bookstart Treasure Chest' and is as I described at the start of this review. This pack has a focus on early language and listening skills which will be so essential when they start school. This pack is generally distributed through pre-schools, but you have to present your child's red health record book, so that it can be recorded.
All of the packs can also be obtained from the local library, and you don't even have to be a member!
There is also the Bookstart website where you can find a fantastic amount of information! There are eight areas aimed at different types of people, such as library, health and early years professionals. The main area for me is the one aimed at parents and this is the only one I have looked at in any detail.
Within the parents' area you can find out about all the thinking behind the Bookstart scheme, and there are some quite powerful messages. It talks about parents being the best teachers and how essential it is to give your children a good start with reading so they will be successful in the future! It also states very clearly that reading with your child should be enjoyable and fun!
There is also a news section. This is slightly out of date at the moment as it's main item is World Book Day which was in September! You can also find out more information about each of the three packs. There is some information about Bookstart Bookcrawl which aims to encourage parents to bring their children to the library regularly. Children can collect stickers on each visit which they can exchange for a certificate. Also, there is a Rhyme Time section. Bookstart Rhyme Times are held at local libraries and you can find out when and where your nearest ones are being held. There is also a downloadable Rhyme Time sheet with ideas and activities to share with your child at home. You can also find out where local bookstart events are taking place by entering and submitting your postcode. Finally there is a FAQ and help section.
Overall I think that this is a wonderful initiative and a wonderful website. I wanted to write about it because, if you are not aware of it, it would be quite easy for your child to miss out. The books and activities you receive are really good quality, and it is very exciting for your child to be able to discover what's in their new pack.
The website is really accessible and packed with information. As I say, I have only explored a small section, but if this is anything to go on, the rest is probably very informative too!
So overall, what more could you want - free books and free advice - so no excuse not to read with your child!!