When literacy is a puzzle, it's fun to learn

27th May 2005 at 01:00
It's fun, games and learning for pupils at St Margaret's primary in Polmont, Elizabeth Buie writes.

The school hosts Falkirk Council's first Games Library, offering nearly 100 educational games for youngsters to borrow. The idea is to encourage literacy and numeracy skills in a fun way.

The impetus for the new provision came from parents keen to see more help for children with memory and concentration skills. Many of the games have been made by parents in conjunction with Wendy Auld, the school's support for learning teacher, to supplement games that are commercially available.

Activities include board games, card games and games using paper and pencil.

A pound;2 annual fee allows the school to develop new games and create even more learning opportunities. There is no restriction on the number of games that can be borrowed and items are available for a two-week loan.

The school also offers a stock of books and factsheets specifically targeted at helping parents to improve their support skills for children.

Ms Auld said: "Parents have been marvellous at helping to develop these games and they have been wholeheartedly behind this idea. Initially, they were invited along to a workshop to explore the idea and make some games.

This was so successful that a second workshop was held and other parents have worked on smaller tasks at school or at home."

Up to 24 mothers and fathers have been working on the library since September 2004 and it is hoped that extra volunteers will come forward to ensure that it is run entirely by parents.

Meanwhile, HM Inspectorate of Education has issued new advice on school libraries as part of its How Good Is Your School? series. Produced in partnership with the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC), Libraries Supporting Learners provides libraries with a framework for evaluating their services as well as providing examples of good practice.

Graham Donaldson, senior chief inspector, said: "Libraries are vital resources for pupils across the country. They are places that bring learning to life and encourage the development of vital research and study skills that pupils can take with them to further and higher education and into the workplace. Good experiences in the school library can stoke enthusiasm for learning that can last a lifetime."

Christine May, the MSP who chairs the SLIC, said: "In addition to the case studies which are included in the guide, a supporting toolkit has been developed to help authorities to introduce the use of the document."

The toolkit for local authorities is available on the SLIC website, www.slainte.org.uk.

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