Shaping Brains, Shaping Lives.
Together we can improve the lives of everyone in our community!
Shaping Brains is a Not for Profit 'Community Interest Company' that has been formed to support the wider Dorset community, by offering a range of services specifically targeting the eradication of illiteracy, and improvement of speech, language and communication skills. Initially the group to benefit the most will be families with very young children. We will offer help to those already working with families, and raise awareness through a 'Shaping Brains Centre' where our playgroups are made 'visible' through the use of cameras in every learning area, while always mindful of child protection issues.
The Centre Director will lead the EY play based learning programs and develop the training programs, working closely with the Senior Research Executive to collect data and inform the public about our work from an 'evidence based approach' perspective.
25 out of Weymouth and Portland’s 38 LSOAs are in the 50% most deprived in England, and many areas are amongst the most deprived across all categories making up the Indices of Multiple Deprivation. The district also has poor outcomes for some pupils eligible for free school meals, with only 21% of these children achieving expected levels. The Early Years program (playgroups) will offer an early intervention for those local to the centre, and a way for those managing EY facilities to observe sessions online, for ideas and strategies.
Shaping Brains will provide playgroups run by early years educators trained to offer an early intervention for dyslexia, speech, language and communication difficulties. These playgroups will also offer a place where parents and educators can come and learn how to set up their own Shaping Brains playgroup in the Dorset area, with the same aims, and receive ongoing support and visits. Those already running playgroups can see how to include additional play based activities, and further support their children and families.
The Shaping Brains Centre will also provide services for school leavers and adults experiencing difficulties with literacy, speech and language skills. The National Literacy Trust estimates that 5.1 million adults in England are functionally illiterate, meaning that they have a reading age of 11 or below and can understand only the most straightforward, short texts on familiar topics. Nine million adults in the UK are functionally illiterate, and one in four British five-year-olds struggles with basic vocabulary. Three-quarters of white working-class boys fail to achieve the government’s benchmark at the age of 16.
Shaping Brains will offer face to face and online support including the use of software that clients can undertake in private at home, or at locations such as juvenile centres, prisons and homeless shelters. The centre director has over 20 years experience working with disengaged, illiterate teenagers, and video footage will allow the public to see HOW she achieves such incredible success with every student.
The Shaping Brains Centre will offer program for women, including mothers who do not speak English as a first language. The World’s Women 2015 study says 496 million women are illiterate, with significant hurdles to overcome in achieving the global goal of gender equality. Programs offered will not only enable them to learn to read, write and spell in English, but best help their children.
Programs will also be created for online use.
The Shaping Brains Centre will employ a Chief Technology Officer, who will lead projects, creating resources that enable centre visitors to develop literacy skills without face to face sessions with tutors or teachers if they so wish.
After testing the resources in-house the plan is to then set them up in homeless shelters and any safe spaces available to adults, where school leaders and adults can go to learn without shame. Functionally illiterate adults are more likely to be socially isolated and lack self-esteem. Books, newspapers, email, the internet, forms, road signs, bank accounts, instruction leaflets, written directions: all are beyond their reach. They are unable to help their children with schoolwork, reinforcing a cycle of illiteracy. On top of that, there is a pervasive sense of shame and secrecy. “It’s a lifelong disability,” said Fiona Evans of the NLT. Source
Children in the wider Dorset community will enter school with the skills that research indicates best prepares them to do well cognitively, personally and socially. Ideally intervention should begin from birth. How young children acquire early literacy and its oral language foundation has gained the attention of educators and policymakers. Research establishes four major principles of early literacy acquisition:
Oral language is the foundation for literacy development.
Children's experiences with the world greatly influence their ability to comprehend what they read.
Children's experiences with books and print greatly influence their ability to comprehend what they read
Learning to read and write starts long before they start school and has long-lasting effects.
Teachers will receive reports relating to each child, to enable them to more effectively meet their needs, and to further support the child’s family.
Programs will seek to evoke discussions about 'best practice' and 'what works' offering opportunities for researchers to visit the centre and observe experienced and passionate teachers supporting children through play based activities
Ongoing support will be offered to families with children identified as most at risk of difficulties, throughout their school years. This support specifically relates to literacy success, as this has such an impact on mental health.
This really matters in Dorset where 44% of surveyed schoolchildren need more help dealing with mental health issues. (Hidden Dorset II Report) B - 13 areas in Dorset are in the top 20% of deprived areas nationally. Mindfulness Programs will be offered, among others, with the centre collaborating with professionals across the country.
20 areas Are in the top 10% most educationally deprived in England.
Many leave school without the literacy skills required by most employers. By offering Dorset children an early intervention, and also a ‘second chance’ we can help break many negative cycles that impact, not only on individuals, but their families and the wider community. As our work within playgroups will be shared (while being mindful of child protection issues) in addition to offering 'teacherless teaching technological tools' Shaping Brains will be able to reach a wider audience, and evoke discussions around the world about eradicating illiteracy.
By offering a range of services specifically targeting the eradication of illiteracy, and improvement of speech, language and communication skills the aim is to positively impact on four main areas across the wider Dorset area: Disadvantage & Poverty, Work, Education & Training, Wellbeing & Mental Health and Loneliness & Isolation.
If you think you can support us while we establish the new centre, please do not hesitate to get in touch !