My name is Francesca and I am a qualified and experienced primary school teacher and mum. I started creating pre-school learning folders during the initial Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. I began by creating different activities to support my daughter's learning and development at home; colour sorting, first word activities, numbers, puzzles etc.
To keep everything together, I decided to adapt the activities and create a laminated learning folder. My daughter loved the engaging nature of the folder, and she would want to get it out every day for us to do.
My little girl's reaction to the folder and her progression of learning inspired me then to create a learning folder for my 4 year old nephew, this time with content suitable for his level of learning and with an additional language to accommodate his Welsh-medium education . The bilingual folder continued to support his Welsh language development throughout lockdown, as his parents only speak English. I then began receiving requests for learning folders from family and friends which then led to friends of friends and so Little Learning Bears was born.
The activities in each folder are visual and engaging, making learning fun and exciting for children. They support independent skills but also provide parents and carers with opportunities to teach their children at home with educational content that has links with the Early Years National Curriculum. The Learning Folders follow 4 stages with guided age groups.
The guided age groups gives parents and carers an idea based on standard year groups and pre-school learning, however it is important to note all children learn and develop differently and hence might not fit into a fitted 'age group' category and so we have divided our folders using the 4 different bears. There is a progression of skills from the Koala Bear Folder through to the Polar Bear Folder.
I am passionate about my Italian heritage and I have always had a flair for languages. I was brought up in Cardiff and my husband, Steffan, is bilingual in English and Welsh. With us both being proud of our cultural backgrounds we have decided to encourage our daughter to connect with both the Italian and the Welsh language. We often read bilingual books at home and watch TV programmes in different languages. During the Covid lockdown, I created some learning activities for my daughter in Italian and for my nephew in Welsh.
I noticed my daughter started to engage with some Italian words and phrases and my sister found that they supported my nephew's Welsh language development whilst he was not attending school. Bilingualism is an important part of my family and I know this is the case for many families around the world. We therefore decided to offer our folders in bilingual: English-Welsh, English-Italian, English-Spanish and English-French. We will be introducing a new language very soon!