The purpose of toddler tales is to widen opportunities for developing early literacy and social skills in the community, set up to reach the preschool demographic. Through shared story telling children are encouraged to develop the beginnings of early literacy in a social environment where other important life skills can be developed in tandem with the story sharing.  

The impact of lockdown has been significant for preschool children and their families. The closure of public libraries in particularly affected young families who suffered deprivation through the financial and social impact of lockdown impacting on access to free books and groups. 

Lockdown resulted in loss of opportunity for social interaction resulting in lack of confidence in social settings, lack of time and space to develop social skills: this is reflected in the rise in EBD and language delay in under-fives and children entering reception classes. The work at Toddler Tales seeks to address these losses in an informal, social setting.   

“It has made our week more interesting and introduced us to new people.” 

Toddler tales is funded by The Outreach Project at Malvern Book Cooperative, who provide the books, craft resources and staff to facilitate the sessions. These sessions are held at Malvern Cube who provide support in many ways: social media promotion, email communication and space for the group plus storage for all our equipment. Malvern Cube have also organised a regular volunteer to support each session. This setting was chosen because of the strong partnership working offered, the accessibility and the democratic nature of the venue. 

“It’s great to have a group where we don’t have to book or pay in advance, I can just fit it in round my children’s needs.” 

The project can only run if there is funding to support it, therefore the group is currently looking to secure more funding. There next steps are to hand over elements of the session to volunteers, offer more sessions and some that are longer as well as developing more outdoor learning.