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#325 Improving Early Literacy – The Children’s Triangle Nursery

Natalie Mann

What did we do?

Completed a literacy project which included drafting action plans, networking with other settings across Ipswich to gain ideas of ways to help support literacy and numeracy in setting. Wrote and redrafted a securing Achievement action plan, acting on feedback from an evidence lead in education.

We were fortunate enough to receive £2000 to be able to spend on resources and training to help improve literacy skills in setting, with the £2000 we were able to purchase new resources which helped us improve literacy in all areas of our setting. We were able to use some of the money for in house training which was amazing as due to Covid none of us had received any in house training for two years, we have some apprentices in setting which had never had in house training so this was so beneficial to them.

The training we received was called ‘For the love of traditional fairy tales’ it sparked so many new ideas on how to promote literacy skills from all the practitioners in setting. We now focus on a different fairy-tale every half term and we base some key activities around the fairy-tale. We now do more local outings based around our fairy-tale of the term. We recently took a trip to the local bakery to see if we could spot the gingerbread man, he wasn’t there but on the way back to setting the children found crumbs which they were so excited by! At the beginning of this project I conducted staff surveys to see how the staff confidence levels were regarding promoting children’s literacy skills this provided me with a baseline on where and which staff needed improving, the new staff rated themselves quite low on confidence levels for activities for children and ways to engage children in literacy activities.

I recently (May 2022) had a conversation with all staff regarding how they feel their confidence levels are and the feedback from staff was that after training and all the literacy activities they see across the setting they are feeling more confident in promoting children’s literacy skills. Our outside area and cosy area was the main focus for areas we wanted to improve literacy skills, our outside area now has whiteboards, chalkboards, lots of writing resources which are being used daily and our cosy area now has many new books, cushions which has made it more welcoming for the children it is now used more by adults and children.

I conducted staff meetings over the past few months to make sure all staff were kept up to date with this project and was always ready to listen to their ideas. This project has given me so many opportunities and experiences, as a practitioner it helped my confidence grow, networking with other settings and taking part in weekly meetings really helped push me out of my comfort zone, I am very grateful I was able to take part in this project.

Summary of impact

Staff have been much more engaged with children and are finding new ways in promoting children’s literacy skills in various ways. I can see staff have gained confidence this is evidenced by a staff survey I conducted at the beginning of the academic year which was followed by a 1-1 talk with staff for me to gain some knowledge on their personal growth development. We have seen an increase in children using their literacy skills, this is highlighted on our local walks . We have expanded literacy in all areas of the setting, it has improved our daily routine and staff are more engaged.

Steps taken

We discussed as a team where we think the improvements need to be made and the general feedback was literacy so from this we decided to focus on literacy for this project. We looked at the areas of the setting we thought needed to be improved and we worked out what we need to purchase to enhance these areas. I planned for outcomes and targets to try and make sure these were met, these were short term, mid term and long term targets which took us though the current academic year.

I arranged staff training to take place on our January PD day from a company called ‘ Growing together in early years’ . I had heard about this company from a group EYIL chat and a few others were using her, people had spoken highly of Pauline and she was as great as what people said, the training she delivered was so beneficial and it extended our literacy knowledge. We are one of 6 nurseries across Ipswich who work for the Bows and Arrows group. We joined up with two other settings in the company and we shared our literacy training day with them. They also invited us to their mathematics training day which was April PD day , they were also taking part in this project and their focus was maths.

What would we do differently

If I was to do this project again I would get staff on board from day one and tell them the plans for the project. I think some staff found it difficult that I wasn’t based in the room yet wanted to make changes to the room. As this project took me out of ratio it was hard to get staff on board to implement some changes. But as a whole being part of this project gave me some personal growth. Network meetings and networking with other settings was something I found particularly helpful. As some of the settings in the company were taking part in this project this gave us a chance as EYILs to have regular meet ups and visits to each others settings to converse about the areas that were working/ not working and to gain different ideas.


Cost to release an early years practitioner to attend meetings and be out of ratio to be able to work on projects. Access to a laptop with internet connection to attend the virtual meetings and training. £2000 to be able to fund relevant training and resources.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

Developing literacy and numeracy teaching in an EY setting - Nature Den Nursery

Developing practitioner confidence in teaching early literacy and numeracy - Wellington Nursery

Making Maths Matter - St Helen's Playgroup

Implementing Maths into the Early Years Setting - ABC Childcare

Developing Literacy and Maths - Wigwams Nursery

Improving Literacy Skills - Early Years @ Highfield Whitehouse

Improving Maths as an Early Years Implementation Lead - Happy Tots Pre-School

Supporting Early Literacy - Rainbow Bright Nursery

Maths in Action - Little Learners Nursery

Developing early numeracy and literacy - Daisy Chain Pre-School

Improving mathematical and literacy development in all areas of learning - Sunflowers Preschool, Ipswich


Natalie Mann, Senior Early Years Educator