Hi there, the language and literacy team of Youngballymun are, like most people in Ireland, currently working from home. Our work specifically includes working with parents to support them to develop their children’s literacy skills using the evidence based Balanced Literacy Framework and the Family literacy framework SPACES (McCarthy, L., 2017). We normally engage parents through our family literacy programmes, such as Story Sacks and Breakfast Buddies, which we deliver in partnership with the HSE Speech and Language Therapy Department, Home School Community Liaison Teachers (HSCL) and Youth and Community groups. With Covid-19 restrictions currently in place we have had to rethink and redesign our engagement with parents to be able to support them remotely with their children’s literacy development.
We are aware that for some parents’ literacy is a challenge, to address this we have offered homework support to parents. We contact parents’ and parents can contact us, by text message, phone call, email or the Youngballymun facebook page. We are conscious that parents’ may not have access to printers, it was therefore important to design activities for parents and children in facebook posts that could be completed without the need to print. For example, our posts will include an online link to a popular book, such as The Gruffalo By Julia Donaldson, and language and literacy activities based on that book. These have proved to be very popular with parents and children on our Youngballymun facebook page.
In addition to the ongoing work with parents and our collaborative partners, the Language and Literacy team are currently finalising manuals on our family literacy programmes, and creating a training programme based on the family literacy programmes to include our evidence based unique style of working and engaging parents’ to a high effect (SPACES framework). The language and literacy strand of Youngballymun also coordinates the National Oral Language Forum and are currently looking at ways to continue the forum whilst maintaining the Irish Governments social distancing requirements. We have two fabulous research practitioners available to share their work and models of practice with us, so watch this space!