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Reading to children vital - council boss

PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 July 2010

Adam Woodard does some craftwork with his son, Riley, 3, during Activities Day at Toftwood Infant School, Dereham.

Adam Woodard does some craftwork with his son, Riley, 3, during Activities Day at Toftwood Infant School, Dereham.

The importance of the written word and parents spending time with their children reading and doing activities was stressed on Wednesday by Norfolk's children's services chief Lisa Christiansen.

THE importance of the written word and parents spending time with their children reading and doing activities was stressed by Norfolk's children's services chief Lisa Christensen.

She spoke while spending a couple of hours at Toftwood Infant School, during a craft activity session for parents and their children.

The school is one of 17 schools in the Dereham cluster - a group which shares information and best practice.

This includes new initiatives to encourage parents into the schools to take part in sessions and spend time with their children.

"This is a really impressive school and it was fantastic to see so many parents here with their children," said Ms Christensen.

"They were really engaged in playing, spending time with them. There was a wonderful atmosphere. It's what we want to see for all schools. It is particularly important for parents with young children that they feel the school is open and for them.

"The most important ingredient in children's development of reading skills is the parental attitude and their own level of numeracy and literacy

"In the busyness of life and the availability of technology for young children, it is important parents spend time with their children and read with them and they discover what fun it can be."

Head teacher Joanna Pedlow welcomed Ms Christensen's visit and discussed with her issues she felt needed highlighting, including a vacancy for an educational psychologist.

During the visit, extended schools co-ordinator Karen Hanson said sessions where parents were invited into school to spend time with their children were part of a move to make schools more of a community hub.

She said there were 270 families connected with the school and 41 families had taken part in the sessions.

Parents were invited to sign up for free courses, including family literacy and numeracy, family arts, basic computing and keeping up with the children.

More information about the courses is available from Ms Hanson on 07825 833682.

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