Cornwall Council and Cornwall Down’s Syndrome Support Group work together to launch Going to School book
A new book aimed at three and four year olds in Cornwall which is using images of children who have Down’s syndrome to help promote a positive message about inclusion in schools has been officially launched on Monday.
“Going to School”, which will be included in the BookStart Treasure Packs given to every Cornish rising school age child in the county for the next four years, has been produced through a partnership between Cornwall Council and three parents from the Cornwall Down’s Syndrome Support Group
The book, which is the second title in the Looking Up series, takes the reader on a journey through a typical school day showing children having fun learning alongside their peers. Some of the children in the book happen to have Down’s syndrome and some of them don’t – with the publication designed to celebrate diversity and inclusion and show children, and parents and carers that all children are more the same, than different.
The creation of this amazing new book stems from a visit by parents of children with Down’s syndrome to County Hall to celebrate world Down’s Syndrome Day. Parents asked how they could raise the profile of Down’s Syndrome by using their book. It got me thinking on how best this could be done, then I thought about BookStart and how this has a potential to be used.
For those who do not know, last year 6,498 BookStart Treasure Packs were distributed to 336 different Early Years settings across Cornwall by the Council.
As a result of this visit I arranged a meeting with Cornwall Council officers from the Reader Services Team and parents to discuss how to include the book into the BookStart pack. I am pleased to say, in a short space of time of just less than five-months from the initial meeting, we officially launched the book at an event in St. Austell yesterday.
The Cornwall Down’s Syndrome Group raised – in a short space of time – just over £3,000 for a print run of 30,000 copies of the book. The cost of distributing the book will be met by Cornwall Council via its BookStart programme.
It was great to work with the group and in welcoming the launch, Angie Emrys-Jones, one of the three parents who have been involved in the project, said:
“Vicky, Sandy & I are thrilled to have worked with the Council and BookTrust to see ‘Going To School’ included in BookStart Treasure Packs. The Support Group has around 150 families, all of whom are passionate about promoting inclusion for children with Down’s syndrome. We are very proud of this book, which has been produced with their support.
“Our approach is to use pictures rather than words to convey a message and the images the book contains have been chosen to give opportunity to talk about the many things that may happen during a typical school day – learning together, making friends and having fun.”
A massive thanks has to go to the Council’s BookStart Coordinator, Deborah Averil and Merryn Kent, the Council’s Reader Services Team Leader for making this happen from the Council’s end. From the initial meeting we had (plus a few more), the team just wanted to help get this book to as many people as possible. More so as in today’s tough financial climate, we cannot always give groups money to do something, but where possible, we will find a way to help. This book is a perfect example of how this can happen.
Sharing picture books is a great way to help young children discover more about their world and take their first steps in learning to read. ‘Going to School’ does more than promote inclusion in a very clear and simple way and I am really pleased that through BookStart, we are able to share this book with young children and their families across Cornwall.