I don’t talk about my “day job” a lot, partly because it’s a part of my life I prefer to keep separate, although I know that some of the lovely families that come to the groups I help to run, do follow me on social media, and occasionally read my blog.
I work with a team of people, and we run toddler/parent/carer groups and music groups for pre schoolers locally to me. Our groups started off very small, and have grown, and keep me busy during the term time. I LOVE what I do, and have met and built so many relationships in the past few years, and it’s lovely to be able to provide a community and welcoming space, for families. I struggled to find a nice toddler group when Big Girl was small, so I went to the church I belong to and said “I want to start a group” and it kind of went from there to being a job that keeps me on my feet and busy as well as being something I could take my own children to, so family friendly.
One of my goals for this year, and into next is to improve the resources and learning activities we provide in the group. We are not Ofsted registered, or officially an education facility, but I want to do more craft, fun but also educational things with the children and be able to provide resources for families too.
Also, as a parent, of two children, once starting the road of Key Stage 1, in the curriculum at school, and one who has just been through that stage (and is now a junior in school, don’t let me get all emotional, must focus!) I like to have resources of my own, to help me to support them, in their learning journeys, and to have that little bit extra on hand.
There is A LOT out there, books, websites, media of all sorts so it’s hard to wade through and find out what works and is also easy to use.
Twinkl is a brilliant website, when they say “the trusted home of thousands of exclusive, unique teaching resources” they are not joking. When I first visited the site, I spent nearly an hour just browsing, looking at all the different things available.
The whole site is set up for anyone who works with children, from parents, to childminders, nursery teachers, pre school, and those teaching in Primary schools as well as being useful for home-schooling. From Early Years to Key stage 2 as well as Special Educational Needs and access to the new National Curriculum (which has just changed, and come into force in schools) as well. There are downloadable/printable resources, in all stages, and so much to look for and to use.
My particular favourite at the moment is the Early Years section, given that I work with children under 4, but the site is really useful all the way up to Key stage 2, and I have already had a look at a few items, in that area, to help Big Girl with her maths (well, actually to help with me my maths, so I know what she is supposed to be doing, so I can make sure she is getting on ok with her homework and doing working out, and using the correct methods for problem solving) and Literacy work at home. The science resources also caught my attention. Basically I could write endless reams of what I have found useful, in this site, but I would say to go and actually look for yourself, instead.
They also have a resource store, where you can browse online and order items as well as a forum, and a blog.
You can sign up to Twinkl for free, to access their resources but you can also join with a Premium membership, for £3.33 or £2.08/month, for a year, which is brilliant value for money, when compared to other online resources or what you would spend in a shop for resources. Schools can also sign up, so if you are teacher, or work for an educational organisation, you can join for your whole school to have access to the site and the extra benefits it offers.
The Mad House of Cats & Babies gives a huge thumbs up to Twinkl, we love the resources it offers and would recommend it to anyone who works with children and we are looking forward to using a lot of what it has to offer, both at home to support our learning, and also in my job, to help provide more resources for the families I work with.