Yesterday I attended the last day of a Reading Matters Care2Read training course for Sheffield Foster Carers. It is the first time we have run the course with the Sheffield Fostering Service, and it was just great.
The eye-opener for me was the numbers of children the foster carers look after and the range of ages. Of the 12 carers I met, on average they look after nearly four children each, with ages from 9 months up to 16 and older.
I have one 18 month old daughter who is quite enough of a handful, and clearly dealing with foster children can will be even more complicated.
As well as looking after the children, the foster cares have a big package of training and development to handle too. I hope Reading Matters can play a part in this in the future, obviously without adding to workloads.
The foster carers on the course were full of ideas and inspiration. They will get an accreditation from the course, but I think the main outcome was some reassurance that they are already doing so much to help the children with their reading and confidence. Building activities into your daily routine in an informal way (reading road-signs, recipes, shopping lists or whatever) is just as much benefit as a big structured 'educational plan'.
Another Care2Read training course for Sheffield Foster Carers starts today I hope this will go as well as the first.