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Brentwood teacher publishes childrens’ books to help combat effects of technology on communication development

PUBLISHED: 21:32 08 November 2020

Author Kaye wants to get kids back into reading to help improve their language skills. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Author Kaye wants to get kids back into reading to help improve their language skills. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

Ricci Fothergill

A Brentwood teacher has published a series of books she hopes will help infants communicate more and spend less time on electronic devices.

Princess Nanny will soon be available, launching at The Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Brentwood, Picture: Ricci FothergillPrincess Nanny will soon be available, launching at The Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Brentwood, Picture: Ricci Fothergill

“As a grandparent I was horrified when my daughter was shopping for prams and pointed out clear pockets in prams and pushchairs for a tablet,” says teacher Kaye Patten from Warley Hill.

As an advisory teacher support for nurseries and schools in Brentwood, and previously working many years in primary schools in Havering as part of a referral unit for children with social communication difficulties or autism, Kaye says that she and her colleagues have noticed a significant decline in young children’s verbal communication skills over the past five to 10 years.

She explains: “If children are sitting looking at screens, they are not being exposed to all those early learning opportunities and pre-verbal skills like recognising familiar adults, eye contact, expression recognition and copying to name but a few.

“While I agree there is a role for technology in today’s society I don’t believe it belongs in the lives of children under three, and only in limited ways for those under five,” she said.

Other books in the series, A Donkey Named Dave, Marcus and the Milk Snatcher and When Santa Got Stuck are available on Amazon now. Picture: Ricci FothergillOther books in the series, A Donkey Named Dave, Marcus and the Milk Snatcher and When Santa Got Stuck are available on Amazon now. Picture: Ricci Fothergill

“Children need to get ready to cope in the world we live in and develop the appropriate skills, but before that they need to be able to communicate and socially interact in a meaningful and appropriate way.”

In each of her stories, Kaye reflects on the different structures that create a modern family dynamic.

“Each one attempts to represent the diverse culture we live in and celebrate all its differences,” she says.

Her newest release, Princess Nanny, is about the relationship between children and grandparents and the importance of imaginative play and its the vital role that has in language development.

Kaye said: “When my children were young and I was working I would never have managed without the support of my mum and dad and I know that is the case for lots of young people with children today.

“In the story, Olivia is reluctant to go to her grandparents because her mum has to go to work.

“However, when she is there she has a wonderful adventure with Nanny as they turn the furniture upside down, build a castle and battle the cushion dragon that lives on the sofa!”

Princess Nanny will soon be available, launching at The Chicken and Frog Bookshop, Brentwood, when deemed safe enough.

Other books in the series include A Donkey Named Dave, Marcus and the Milk Snatcher and When Santa Got Stuck which are available on Amazon now.

The Bad Nans, about two mischievous grannies, will be published next year by Pegasus n.

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