Education Endowment Foundation:Tales Toolkit (2023 pilot)

Tales Toolkit (2023 pilot)

Goldsmiths, University of London
Project info

Independent Evaluator

The Institute for Employment Studies logo
The Institute for Employment Studies

A package of training and resources supporting children’s early language and social development through oral storytelling.

Pupils: 1500 Schools: 30 Grant: £41,251
Participating settings: 30

Tales Toolkit is a package of training and resources supporting 3 – 5‑year-old children’s early language and social development through oral storytelling.

In Tales Toolkit sessions, practitioners guide children through an interactive process of creating their own story. Making use of props or pictures relevant to children and clear symbols representing character, setting, problem and solution, children are supported to create their own stories.

The programme provides opportunities for early years practitioners to responsively interact with children and support the development of children’s language and communication skills, problem solving skills, creativity and motivation for writing. The Tales Toolkit package includes five 50-minute online training videos for early years practitioners and a set of physical resources used in the delivery of Tales Toolkit. Resources can be embedded across the provision for children to access in their play.

The delivery of the programme for this research project will be led by Goldsmiths University of London in collaboration with Tales Toolkit Limited.

As part of the Department for Education’s Early Years Recovery Programme, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is working with Stronger Practice Hubs across England to fund Early Years settings’ access to evidence-informed programmes and study the programmes’ influence on practice and children’s outcomes. This initiative aims to support education recovery following the pandemic, whilst also developing our understanding of effective professional development in the early years.

The EEF is working with Thames Valley Early Years Stronger Practice Hub to fund settings’ access to Tales Toolkit and evaluate the programme through a pilot study. There is wider evidence that approaches similar to those used in the Tales Toolkit programme, including responsively interacting with children through storytelling-based oral language approaches, can support children’s language development. Through this pilot study, we will explore whether the Tales Toolkit programme is ready to be trialled in a larger number of settings.

The EEF has commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to conduct this pilot evaluation. The study will explore how Tales Toolkit is delivered in practice in 30 early years settings, the feasibility of delivering the programme and early years practitioners experiences of using the programme. The evaluation will focus on the delivery of Tales Toolkit in maintained nurseries and Private, Voluntary and Independent early year years settings. School-based nurseries are also able to deliver the programme to their Reception classes.

Key evaluation activities will include early years practitioner surveys, observations of programme delivery, a review of the training videos and materials, and interviews with stakeholders.

Private, Voluntary and Independent early year years settings and maintained nurseries in the following Local Authorities can register their interest in taking part in this research project: Bracknell Forest, Oxfordshire, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham. If your setting is based in one of these local areas, please register your interest by filling in the form below.

Bristol & Partners Early Years Stronger Practice Hub, Kent Early Years Stronger Practice Hub and HEART Midlands Early Years Stronger Practice are also funding early years settings to access Tales Toolkit at a subsidised rate in some local authorities. For further information, please contact bbeyh@​bbearlyyearshub.​co.​uk for settings based in the South West, KEYSPH@​theeducationpeople.​org for settings in the South East and MidlandsSPH@​birminghamearlyyearsnetworks.​org for settings in the West Midlands.