Teaching technique pioneered in South Tyneside to be used in Middle East

Andrew Westerman, Director of Education and Training at Ebdaah, is pictured with Coun Joan Atkinson (centre) and Dr Madeleine Portwood.
Andrew Westerman, Director of Education and Training at Ebdaah, is pictured with Coun Joan Atkinson (centre) and Dr Madeleine Portwood.
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An innovative approach to learning pioneered in South Tyneside has proven so successful it will be used in the Middle East.

Teachers from a training consultancy in Dubai have been in the borough this week to observe the Baskets of Opportunity (BOO) programme in action.

It was developed in South Tyneside in partnership with educational psychologist Dr Madeleine Portwood.

The scheme sees families given resources from a basket including building blocks, a jigsaw, a nursery rhyme book and CD which parents and carers are encouraged to use to stimulate language learning and physical, social and emotional development in two-year-olds.

The initiative has led to outstanding results with youngsters who took part in the sessions found to be on average 14 months ahead of their peers in terms of physical, personal, social and emotional development and more than 12 months ahead in their communication and language skills.

Managing director of Ebdaah, Michael Davey, said: “It is a fantastic opportunity to use the model of excellent practice developed in South Tyneside to make a difference to children and their parents in the Middle East.

“We were extremely privileged to be able to have teachers from United Arab Emirates observing the delivery of the child development programme by such committed practitioners.”

Lead member for children, young people and families, Coun Joan Atkinson, said: “We know that parents in South Tyneside have been hugely impressed by this programme as it helps them to play a more effective role in their children’s development.

“The fact that this innovative programme has been noticed from overseas and could potentially be adopted in the Middle East is testament to its effectiveness.

“Once again, it shows how South Tyneside is blazing a trail for radical and pioneering initiatives which lead to positive outcomes for families in the borough and beyond.”