I’m Jen and I’m the founder of Caterpillars Clubs, when setting up clubs for children with disabilities we were approached by parents of younger children who had found no other clubs for this age group of children with disabilities. So we created Caterpillars Clubs for children aged 3-10 years.
When we were working with the children we recognised that by involving them in reading stories and giving them the tools to become part of the story themself their interest and enthusiasm towards books and reading increased greatly. Parents of the children who attend our clubs have said their children have little/no interest in books or stories and since we have been doing a story book segment within our sessions the children are choosing to look at books at home and recreating the stories in their play. If we can raise the funds we would create a storybook club that would operate in four towns across Essex for children with disabilities. The club sessions would be planned around a different story each time, where the storybook would be shared with the children in an interactive manner and the children will be given the tools to recreate the stories in their play. For example we read the story bear hunt and we had obstacles to go over, go under and go through and different textures to represent the mud, the grass and the different elements in the story.
We used visual aids to assist the children to share their opinions on the activity and the children all indicated they had fun and they felt safe and happy. A week later when asked what activities they would like to do 16 our of the 18 children pointed to books, the picture option for books had always been available and hadn’t ever been selected until this time.
We hope to use the same visual method to get the children to choose the books for the future sessions for us to be able to plan, whilst being lead by the children.