In good hands – Bookstart and the health agenda
Enjoying and sharing books with your baby or child is an excellent way of developing vocabulary and language structures. In speech and language therapy, we regularly use the books as assessment and therapy tools.
Health Visitor, Derbyshire
Bookstart is about whole-child development. So how closely do we work with health professionals?
Bookstart Baby packs are usually gifted via the family’s health visitor. Regular book sharing significantly shapes behavioural patterns and attitudes and increases a child’s life opportunities. The benefits gained from Bookstart contribute to:
- parental bonding
- early listening and communication skills
- development of attention span
- pre-literacy skills
- social skills.
Health professionals celebrate parents as first teachers and can direct families to informal learning opportunities at story time and Rhymetime sessions in the local library. They can also advise parents about further learning opportunities and basic skills courses.
What the professionals think
Bookstart packs are universal so there is no stigma attached. The children whose families do not share books are encouraged to do so and given the books to enable them to start immediately. The packs also act as encouragement to attend the health check.
Professional Lead Health Visitor, Bury PCT
We help children to develop the speech, language and communication skills that they need to "enjoy and achieve" at school.
Professional Lead Health Visitor, Middlesbrough PCT
What parents think
I think this is an excellent scheme, especially as the pack was given out as part of an essential health care check-up. It inspired me to get on and get a library card for my daughter and start taking out books for her. The bag was a great size for keeping Alice’s borrowed library books in.