Champion start to the day

11th February 2000 at 00:00
Learning activities can add value to your breakfast club and help children get ready for lessons. Here are some suggestions from Breakfast Clubs: a how to guide:

* Have a moveable library or bookshelf with the children's favourite books (try bookshops and libraries for remaindered or duplicate books). Children can form a book club, read aloud or write stories and poems. Newspapers appeal to older children - and teachers - who want to follow the news.

Encourage children to bring in a favourite book and review it, or their worst book and explain why they don't like it. You could also hold a book auction for swaps. You could try a five-day 'carousel' with literacy-related activities each day. Create a weekly or monthly quiz club, or set up a story-telling club and invite librarians, writers and parents to come and tell favourite stories.

* Start the day with some music. Instrumental practice may be a bit ambitious, but surely there is a corner for a little guitar playing?

You could create a music club and invite children to bring in records or CDs and talk about why they like them. You could also try a singing club, and aim to make a special club contribution to the end-of-term concert. The music staff might enjoy the challenge, and there may be a retired singer or musician who - subject to the usual checks - would love to become involved.

* You could also try more energetic activities. These could involve extra sports coaching or might allow access to equipment that is popular and hard o get hold of later in the day.

If time is short and team games impossible, board games can sharpen reflexes. Aerobics, tai-chi, yoga or table top sports are popular.

* What about homework? For some children, getting to school early means a chance to catch up with schoolwork. Create a homework corner, marked out with flags or special tables and chairs to signal that you support homework.

Another possibility is to make computer-based activities available, and for older children especially, to give them access to the school library.

* The Breakfast Club Awards scheme, sponsored by Kellogg's in association with Education Extra, ranges from 30 "start up" awards of pound;500 for new clubs to 20 "expansion" awards of up to pound;2,500 for clubs demonstrating best practice. The scheme, running for the next three years, is administered by Education Extra and is open to all UK primary, secondary and special schools. The first round of awards is being made in June and the closing date for applications is March 31. Application forms are being sent to every school in the UK. Guidance notes are available from the breakfast club enquiry line on 0800 7311895, and will be available on the website from March 3.

Published by The New Policy Institute and Kellogg's, Breakfast Clubs: a how to guide is designed to help schools set up, run, fund and sustain breakfast clubs. It will be available from a website set up to provide information about breakfast clubs at the address above.

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