We are encouraging young children at nurseries across our areas to share books and start a life-long love of reading with ‘Little Libraries’.

Cockleshell Day Nursery are the first of our pre-school and nursery settings to receive a ‘Little Library’. The nursery’s World Book Day event was delayed by a fortnight due to the snow from the ‘Beast from the East’, but the children and staff got into the swing of things following the delay by dressing up as their favourite book characters.

The ‘libraries’ are supplied free by Chris Gostling, a retired teacher, who is passionate about education as well as spreading and encouraging a love of reading. The wooden hand-made book exchange ‘libraries’ will be donated to a range of local A Better Start Southend children’s settings for under 4s by Chris, and children and parents can bring and exchange books for the library, swapping them and discovering the exciting world of reading.

As well as the libraries, we have a number of free projects which promote reading for children aged 0-4, such as Fathers Reading Every Day and Let’s Talk, a project to help develop children’s communication and language skills.

Belinda Allen, Manager of Cockleshell Day Nursery, said: “We are really excited to be the first nursery in Southend to have a Little Library from A Better Start Southend. Our children and their families are already making good use of our library and it’s encouraging to see them sharing books together.”

Lynsey Weston, Specialist Early Years Teacher at A Better Start Southend, said: “Sharing books is such a powerful way of promoting children’s language development. We hope that the Little Libraries will do just that. We are so pleased that Chris has been able to donate this library to Cockleshell. Look out for more libraries popping up locally at our other settings!”

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