Swiis Foster Care Scotland are always looking at new ways to engage our carers and emphasise the importance of early years intervention with the children in our care. Sandy McLeod, one of our fantastic Education Workers explains why reading is so important to children.
If I remember correctly, the first ever story I can recall my Mother ever reading to me when I was a child was, Herge’s ‘Adventures of Tintin’. I still remember to this day how I loved his adventures along with his trusted dog Snowy trying to solve mystery’s that they probably should have left for the Police to crack. I didn’t know it at the time, but my Mother told me that she had been reading to me since I was born.
I thought about this and tried to recall any thoughts or feelings I had of this time. I couldn’t remember any specific instances of my Mum doing this, but I do remember the warm feeling I got when it was just me and her sharing time together with ‘Tin Tin’ and how close I was to her.
Sadly, my Mum stopped reading me stories, when in her opinion I was too old… I was 45 – but I still miss those stories. Joking aside, it can’t be reiterated enough about the power of storytelling from an early age and the positive impact it has on a child’s development and those early interactions that play a crucial role that helps in building a secure attachment.
Positive interaction, such as stories, songs, rhymes and play, is a key component to helping a child develop. All these activities help to form positive parent and child relationships which form connections in a child’s brain. This leads to the development of key areas of emotional regulation, which in turn helps a child to develop emotional self-regulation. (Golding and Hughes)
How do stories, songs and rhymes help to foster secure attachment?
- Stories, songs and rhymes include elements of touch such as cuddling or tickling. This helps parents/carers and children bond and develop their relationship.
- Many songs and rhymes involve face to face interaction. Eye contact helps to develop communication skills, helps cognitive ability and at the same time foster secure and trusting relationships.
The Scottish Government have put the same importance on children all over Scotland and decided to relaunch the children’s reading initiative in September 2017. This was a no brainer for me as we have loads of children in our care and professional carers ready to engage in anything that helps them develop.
We contacted Dundee libraries who informed us that they had an initiative ‘Bookbug’ in conjunction with the Scottish Book Trust. They already had an initiative that was up and running in all Dundee primary schools.
Elaine Halliburton, from Dundee Libraries’ Storytelling Initiative, was soon in touch and we arranged for storytelling training to be held in our Dundee office on Thursday 22nd February. Elaine came along with her cohort Moira and they delivered two sessions to eight of our carers with no children involved, or so I thought…
After singing, wiggling and playing, you would think that the carers were revisiting their childhood given the amount of laughter that went on in the sessions. And that’s the point, storytelling is not just about the written word, but the interactions that take place between the adult and child.
It was clear that the carers enjoyed every minute of Storytelling. Plans are afoot to start our own Bookbug Club with our carers.
Let the storytelling begin.