Can Dora Help You?

I received a really lovely email yesterday from Louise, telling me all about the rather fantastic sounding Help Dora Help campaign which has just been launched by Nick Jr, the pre-school channel from Nickelodeon. With my teacher hat on, especially as I am due to go back to the little ones in September, I jumped at the chance to take a look.

Nick Jr, supported by The Princes Foundation For Chidren and Arts, has employed the help of leading education experts to develop a series of learning developments which fully embrace the Early Years Foundation Stage goals. Pre-schools and nurseries across the UK are being encouraged to sign up for the chance to apply for a grant of up to £20, 000 to further enhance their learning environments. Establishments also get a free educational resource pack, which I have been lucky enough to take a peek at!

The activities available are an excellent mix of creative and fun lesson ideas, designed to aid in early writing development; knowledge and understanding of other cultures, languages and traditions around the world; knowledge and understanding of climates and weather changes; environmental issues; rhyming, keeping pulse and performing actions to songs; exploring the local environment and wildlife; using imaginations and counting skills, both in English and other languages. Each session also has a list of extension ideas and ideas for differentiation.

Teacher hat still firmly in place, the lesson ideas are excellent. Dora the Explorer is a lovable, familiar character which all pre-schoolers are able to relate to. Not only that, but all the lesson and activity ideas are formulated so that children are given optimum chances to learn, develop and expand their worlds. With the Early Years Foundation Stage now fully in place in all settings, the people at Nick Jr have certainly done their homework with this one. I love it!

Now, swapping my teacher hat with my parent hat… I still love it. My daughter was very much into Dora when she was younger and so that alone tells me that this will be a hit with pre-schoolers. The lesson and activity ideas are also very much based around real life, things that children can relate to and that parents can extend beyond pre-school. There are real learning opportunities that are presented in a fun, engaging way. We all know that children learn best through play, after all.

Help Dora Help is an excellent resource for nurseries and pre-schools and with the chance to receive a grant of up to £20,000 it seems that there are more reasons than ever to encourage your child’s setting to take part! Runners up will be awarded dicovery and learning packages and Dora the Exploer herself will visit selected successful establishments! Some nurseries may also get the chance to be featured on Nick Jr.

Nurseries and pre-schools can visit  www.nickjr.co.uk to apply for their free Help Dora Help activity pack and award fund, but they must do this before the 22nd July 2011. Applications will be posted on the Nick Jr website and a team of judges, including a representative from The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, Nick Jr. presenter Helena Dowling, education and parenting expert Collete Ford and Nickelodeon management, will be drawing up a shortlist.

Now please excuse me while I nip to the baby’s nursery to get them to sign up!

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