I am currently investigating good early years and family provision for some courses I am preparing for library, museum and gallery staff, and was invited to visit a story and play session at Oasis Children’s Centre in the London Borough of Enfield. What a wonderful time I had – and so most certainly did all the children and other adults who attended. The children ranged in age from under 18 months to just pre-school, and the morning was structured to appeal to them all, with lots of play, rhymes, music and books. David Pickering, pictured here with just one of his many props, had everyone enthralled. He has been doing weekly sessions at the Centre for three years, and is evidently a great favourite. He told me that his particular focus is on developing children’s language skills, though undoubtedly their social, emotional and creative skills also benefit enormously from his approach. He’s a dab hand on the ukulele. The session included a trip to the library of Oasis Academy next door to listen to some extra picture books. Both there and in the Centre, it was lovely to watch masses of very enthusiastic joining-in.
Many thanks to David, to Josie Layzell from Enfield Library Service, and to Kerry, Marie and everyone else at the Children’s Centre.