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Local grandmother of nine leads the way through stay and play

23 November 2023

Grandmother of nine, Shaheena Perveen, received funding from Better Start Bradford’s Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund to set up her Tiny Toes Soft Play Sessions at Horton Park Primary School for families with 0–4-year-olds.

In this story, Shaheena shares her inspiration for wanting to set up her sessions.

Shaheena’s Story

Watching my daughters with their children and then observing others, especially after lockdown, I felt there was a need to create more opportunities for families in our community to come to a play group where they see a familiar face and feel comfortable around others.

My daughter highlighted a real need in the Canterbury area as she works as a local Neighbourhood Worker and I thought this would be a great opportunity to give something back as I am now retired.

I wanted children to come along and learn together through play and show parents how important play is for the development of their children.

I designed each session around heuristic play, so that the children are using everyday and natural objects to play with rather than expensive toys that have one function. This way we can demonstrate low-cost play ideas to parents and show how this type of play encourages sensory stimulation, their imaginations through the use of loose parts (such as pegs, rocks, cardboard tubes/boxes, lollipop sticks etc) and their fine motor skills.

I also hired in soft play shapes that can moved around in different formats for the children to climb over and under, and for them to explore. We have a sing song at the end of each session using ‘magic bags’ that have different items in to accompany the words of the song.

I have loved delivering the Tiny Toes Soft Play sessions, I have enjoyed meeting new people and their young children, and I’ve also had access to training such as First Aid. Running an initiative for families with 0-4s is especially rewarding when you hear what parents have to say.

Here is just a selection of their feedback:

My child loves the sensory play and treasure baskets -she explores all the different textures.

A wonderful mix of soft and interactive play.

This is my first experience of a play and stay, we made some friends and got to know about other groups in the area.

Tiny Toes Soft Play Sessions run at Horton Primary School every Wednesday in term-time from 9:30 to 10:30am. Check out our events calendar for more information.

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Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund

The Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund enables parents, grandparents & other adult carers in the Better Start Bradford area to apply for up to £2,500 to develop ideas and initiatives for local families and their 0-3s.

HEY! Fund Application Forms

Download the Happy Early Years (HEY!) Fund application form after you have read the guidance notes.