Wirral Council’s Early Childhood Services and The Foundation Years Trust have launched a campaign to support parents in their role as their child’s most important educator.

Funded by the Department for Education and supported by the National Literacy Trust, the Hungry Little Minds campaign was launched by the Mayor of Wirral, Tony Smith, and the Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Donelan, at Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers Football Club.

The campaign will provide lots of simple tips and activities to build children’s early speech and language skills that families can slot into their routine and that children love. Such as:

  • Playing ‘I spy’ on the bus will build children’s vocabulary and light up their imaginations.
  • Chatting to children about what has happened so far in the day and what’s going to happen next.
  • Looking at picture books together and talking about what children can see.

To launch the campaign, Foundation Years Trust have partnered with Arriva North West and Wales bus services to decorate two bus ceilings with pictures and games for families to play and talk about as they travel. The buses will be used on routes throughout Wirral, so that lots of families will have the opportunity to see them. Wirral’s Arriva buses will also have posters with more games, tips and ideas for parents to help them encourage their children’s language development.

Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan said: “Parents and carers are the key to unlocking a child’s potential, long before they put on a school uniform. Our Hungry Little Minds campaign supports them to begin the learning process at home, whether that is by chatting away with your children about toys or food, playing make believe games or sharing books together.

"There are lots of fun and accessible ideas on our website for all children up to five years old and the work of the National Literacy Trust is bringing this campaign to life across six new areas, including in the Wirral.”

Anna-Louise van der Merwe, Director of Foundation Years Trust said: “In the first five years, parents and carers have an incredibly powerful role in helping their children learn. Children soak up every little bit of stimulation we give them. All the little things make a big difference to the development of children’s speech and understanding of words. “

Cllr Tom Usher, Wirral Council's cabinet member for Children, Families and Education, said: "This is a great way to help parents use something like a bus ride to help stimulate youngsters into learning.

“I’m really pleased that the Council’s Early Childhood Service are supporting the Hungry Little Minds campaign as it’s vital to help ensure as many young children as possible are getting the best start to developing their speech and language skills for when they start school.

“The campaign and the initiative with the buses is a great way to open up a world of words and opportunities in a fun and interactive way."

The Hungry Little Minds campaign messages will be shared through Wirral Council and the Foundation Years Trust’s #parentsmakethedifference social media sites.

More Hungry Little Minds events will follow in Wirral in the coming weeks. Keep an eye on www.foundationyearstrust.org.uk/for-parents for updates.

For more information on simple tips and activities to do with your children, visit hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk/