My name is Katty Knight, I have been teaching for 8 years and am currently working at d’Auvergne Primary School in Jersey. My school is the biggest primary school on the island with nearly 500 children, many of which are eligible for Pupil Premium or have English as an additional language. For the last three years at this school we have noticed that language levels on entry are significantly below where they should be.
After lots of researching on the EEF toolkit I came across EasyPeasy and decided to give it a try. My journey with EasyPeasy started when I took on the position of Pupil Premium lead at d’Auvergne School. After lots of researching on the EEF toolkit I came across EasyPeasy and decided to give it a try.
At the time I was teaching in Reception and thinking about how I could support the children’s language and communication development before they arrive in my class in September. I decided to offer EasyPeasy to a trial group of Nursery children and their families.
Although I received lots of positive feedback from some parents, it was difficult to target parents who were not engaging as I didn’t see them during the day. A few times I arranged for someone to cover my class so that I was able to speak to these parents in the morning however, as I didn’t not have a strong relationship with these parents, the impact was minimal.
Recently after a few unsuccessful mornings, I found out that I was going to be the Nursery Teacher the following September. I decided that I would fully prepare for my cohort and their families and offer EasyPeasy to all children.
I spoke about EasyPeasy and shared some current research with them (Sutton trust article). I think as Teachers, we do so much research and offer so much to parents that sometimes we forget to share why we are implementing different things with the families. In July we had our ‘Meet the Teacher’ information evening for parents. During this time I spoke about EasyPeasy and shared some current research with them (Sutton trust article). I think as Teachers, we do so much research and offer so much to parents that sometimes we forget to share why we are implementing different things with the families. With consent, I added all of the parent’s mobile numbers and names to our Pod immediately after that first meeting so that the children could access the games over the summer holidays.
I really felt that I was the EasyPeasy Queen!
In September I invited parents into the Nursery to find out more about EasyPeasy, share some of the things that they found successful over the summer and to help support with any technical difficulties or change of mobile number etc.
After the parents information evening I found that 40 out of 45 children were accessing EasyPeasy, some of the children were using it daily and I could see from parent’s comments that the children were including their siblings into the games too. I really felt that I was the EasyPeasy Queen!
Pod Leader Hero Badge
“It’s so fun, I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like but we love it!”
“She pretends it’s her homework she needs to do for Nursery”
“I’ve noticed she tries to get me to play with her a lot more”
“We never played together before, I just used to watch her but I love playing too!”
“He’s been asking if we can go on it most days after dinner, it’s becoming part of our routine.”
“We love involving younger brother with the games, he loves them too”
“A couple of times we didn’t get round to it and they asked me to play, they were missing it so I know I need to try harder to fit it in”
“I was reading on the website about it and I didn’t realise it did so much for their learning, I thought it was just for fun, I’ll try to make more of an effort to do it every time now”
Unfortunately I noticed that after two to three weeks that there were less and less parents engaging online. Trying not to feel defeated and using my Early Years training in Positive Reinforcement, I decided to invent EasyPeasy Champions.
"I decided to invent EasyPeasy Champions"
Photo with thanks to K.Knight
I created an EasyPeasy display board which had each week’s game along with ‘This Week’s Champions Are…’ each week the champion’s photos were stuck on with velcro.
I then photographed this and put it onto Tapestry and tagged all of the children. This celebrated the families who were using it but also motivated those who were not.
Photo with thanks to K.Knight
My top tips would be to create a display for EasyPeasy Champions and to make sure that the person leading and driving the project is the class teacher for the children using it. It is near impossible to have those little “How are you getting on?” chats with parents you do not know and who you rarely see.
Thank you to Katty Knight for sharing her insights and tips!
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