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Our Story

The idea for Phonics Stars™ came when Founder Samantha Baldwin was an Early Years Educator (EYE) in a London Primary school. Sam has always thoroughly enjoyed working closely with young Children during their Early Years, having previously developed a successful Childminding operation.

As an EYE Sam discovered that many new Reception starters were struggling with listening and attention, with insufficient language affecting their understanding, speaking and their confidence. Children’s social skills needed to adapt to even the friendliest and play-based of classroom settings; or to benefit from the opportunities it provided. Many lacked in muscle strength and would find holding and using writing resources a challenge. In some cases, instead of progressing with the curriculum, the staff had to spend time teaching real basics that they would expect a Child age rising-five to have already grasped.

The Reception team were committed to supporting the foundation stage Children and together encouraged Parents and Carers, introducing them to simple and effective teaching methods which could be used at home – not only with Phonics but with other areas of learning. One of their aims was to work in partnership with Parents hoping that they would also support their Child’s all round development.

But with limited time and resources, still very many of the Children were struggling – with Teachers under strain and Parents in need of help. Since that time, this has become an increasingly critical UK-wide issue as evidenced in the following report – (download/view report). In addition, there is a great deal of evidence proving that Children who perform well in their Early Years remain on this trajectory throughout their education; and vice versa for those who struggle from the start. With Teachers under increasing pressures, Children and Parents in need of support, Sam decided to create something that could make a difference.

So she spent a year researching the subject as an academic foundation upon which to establish the first Phonics Stars™ Classes. She needed to secure a loan to get the business going, and so is very grateful for the support and faith her husband provided during this period; but it has all been worth it.

Phonics Stars™ Classes are designed to be fun, educational and interactive; and provide regular opportunities for young Children from around the age of two years to gain a gentle introduction to Phonics, develop those essential listening skills and build up their fine and gross motor muscle strength. We enable Children to gain knowledge in Phonics through play which helps them to feel positive about Phonics before starting school. But as importantly, Children also gain an opportunity to enhance their social skills and understand codes of behaviour, learning to share, take turns and have fun learning through play. Confidence, self-esteem and learning the art of conversation is positively encouraged throughout our activities. All of this helps Children with transition into formal education by laying those all-important building blocks as a foundation into School life.

During 2016 Sam and her business partner methodically systemised the Classes so that the program and activities could be learnt and led by like-minded Class Leaders across the UK under Licence. The team created a three-day face-to-face training course which is supported by a comprehensive Operations Manual and enhanced a series of follow-up call sessions. We also provide a comprehensive menu of branded, personalised, communications and Class resources which enable fully trained Class leaders to establish Phonics Stars™ Classes across their local communities under an exclusive operating Licence for that Territory. This empowers individuals with a gift for working with Children to build a flexible and rewarding term-time business in the area where they live.
Public Classes are usually held in church, village or sports halls. Parents and Carers are in attendance and an important part of these sessions as our Leaders work closely with them to help to build on our Classes throughout their Child’s week. Classes are also delivered within Pre Schools and Nurseries without Parents and with Early Years Professionals who manage the setting and who participate, learn, observe and work with their key Children.

Phonics Stars™ After School Clubs bring together the magic of Phonics Stars™ with a combination of teaching methods and techniques from the classroom. These Classes are planned to specifically link to Early Learning Goals and Characteristics of Learning from the EYFS, which help and support children within Reception to reach their goals and targets. Parents and Carers are not usually in attendance and the ASC provides Childcare with education.

From the very beginning, it has been clear that Phonics Stars™ is addressing an increasingly unmet need amongst Parents and Carers who want to make the most of their time at home with their Children prior starting School, and to prepare them to enjoy their transition into formal education – because research consistently proves that it is so important to get off to a great start! And as our team gradually meets, trains and licenses the highest calibre of Licensed Class Leaders from all over the UK to chose join the cause, the more Children will benefit from all the benefits that we provide.

Thank you for visiting us here atPhonics Stars™.  Please do not hesitate to contact the team at fun@phonicsstars.co.uk.