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Bookbug Session guidelines for early years settings

Everything you need to know about running a Bookbug Session in your early years setting.

Children and parents dancing and signing at nursery Bookbug Session

Bookbug Sessions are a great way to engage mums, dads and carers in a nursery or early years setting. They build relationships with families, strengthen the links between learning at nursery and home and help promote how stories, songs and rhymes support children’s brain development (emotional, thinking, language and literacy skills) with parents and carers.

A Bookbug Session held in an early years setting may differ slightly from a community Bookbug Session. Here are some things to consider when planning.

Who can run a Bookbug Session?

Bookbug Sessions should always be led by a trained Bookbug Session Leader who has completed Bookbug Session Leader training, and all Bookbug Session Leaders should abide by the Bookbug Session Leader code of conduct. If you are running a Bookbug Session in your nursery, please let your local Bookbug Co-ordinator know.

Including mums, dads and carers

Bookbug Sessions are primarily aimed at families, so think about how you will invite parents and carers to join in with your Bookbug Session. We understand that may be difficult with the current COVID-19 precautions, so some early years settings have been running online Bookbug Sessions.

We know that it might not be possible for every child to have a parent or carer present. Even if a child’s parent or carer is unable to attend, all children should have the opportunity to participate in the Bookbug Session.

Do not be discouraged if parents and carers aren’t able to attend or don’t immediately get involved – keep reminding them or try having one or two Bookbug Sessions as part of a bigger special event to engage them. It may take time to establish your Bookbug Session. Here are some ways to encourage family participation:

Adapting the Bookbug Session when a parent or carer can't attend

Interaction and participation are at the core of all Bookbug Sessions. You may need to think carefully about which songs and rhymes you include and how you could adapt the activity for children who do not have a parent or carer with them.

If children do not have a parent or carer present, they could:

Alternatively, you could choose songs and rhymes that don’t require a partner. Some partner games and activities work well if you put the group into a big circle and encourage everyone to work together. Try games like Cross, Cross, Line, Line where everyone can sit in a circle and trace on the person in front of them. Other circle games like Ring o’ Roses and Zoom Zoom Zoom are great ways to get people moving that don’t require a partner.

Making your Bookbug Session open to the public

Please consider making your Bookbug Sessions open to the wider community, not just families that attend your setting. Many early years settings have had great success in engaging wider communities and you will be providing a valuable opportunity for all families to share in song, rhymes and stories. It will also allow children that may be attending your early years setting in future to become familiar with your setting.

Planning your Bookbug Session

Here are some things to think about: