Child development: Early literacy is in the bag

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A Manchester children's centre has begun an innovative movement education group that helps develop early literacy skills in under-threes.

Swinton Moorside Children's Centre in Salford runs a group with eightchildren, aged six weeks to 14 months. The sessions are based on theBaby Moves kit developed by Dance in a Bag, a creative play productcompany run by creative therapist Sue Sutherland and educationalmovement specialist Olwyn Maurer.

Ms Sutherland said, 'We realised how little there was forbirth-to-three. We had attended exhibitions, seen research about braindevelopment and picked up that it wasn't really filtering down to thenurseries.

'One product is Wiggle Sticks, a soft-handled stick with a nine-inchribbon. The children are mesmerised by it. We're suggesting that readingis a visual activity as well as a cognitive one. It lays down afoundation for future literacy.'

Centre manager at Swinton, Nicola Ramsden, said, 'The session brings inhand-eye co-ordination, imagination, and everyone is involved in theirown way, even a six-week-old.'

- See www.danceinabag.org.uk.

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