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Home corner makes work fun

Early intervention pilots in Stirling are beginning to pay off, according to Linda Kinney, head of the children's service. Teachers say the difference in pupil progress is marked.

Five primaries and their associated nurseries have been involved since August as part of the Scottish Office-funded scheme, a major plank of Labour's education agenda.

Mrs Kinney said: "There is evidence from the teachers themselves that they are much more reflective practitioners. They are trying out new approaches and feeling more confident about the developmental approach they have taken."

"Quite significant" staff development on literacy research, early intervention and how children learn had been crucial.

Fiona Richardson, a first-year teacher at Cornton primary, said: "The network of infant teachers is very important and it is the first time in 14 years' experience I have had this contact." Mrs Richardson believes the nursery nurse her class shares with primary 2, has made the difference. "More adult input to help interact socially is beneficial," she said.

In the home corner, the nursery nurse works with small groups on phonics, games, rhyming, memory and analogy. She develops language through craft activities and technology. Mrs Richardson said: "It allows me to be more focused on those aspects because the classroom teacher often does not have enough quality time. Maybe we have not had really focused play in the home corner."

She has also emphasised emergent writing. "You encourage them to write whenever they want to write, for example, helping with labelling in the classroom. There is more print by children around the classroom. It gives them more confidence in the fact that they are writers and readers and gives them confidence in being literate."

She has also established links with the local library and takes her class along to look at books.

But what would make it even better? "I'd like a full-time nursery nurse," she said.

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