Minister in Monkstown to launch reading programme

Booktrust NI Manager Lizz Canning, Minister John O'Dowd and Booktrust CEO Viv Bird are pictured with Principal Hazel Armstrong and pupils at Monkstown Nursery School.
Booktrust NI Manager Lizz Canning, Minister John O'Dowd and Booktrust CEO Viv Bird are pictured with Principal Hazel Armstrong and pupils at Monkstown Nursery School.
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Reading is not just a vital skill - it can open up a world of fun, imagination and learning for children and young people.

That was the message from Education Minister John O’Dowd as he visited Monkstown Nursery School to launch this year’s Bookstart Programme and distribute Bookstart Treasure Packs to children and their parents.

The Department of Education has been providing funding to the Bookstart Programme for 10 years and this year £250,000 has been allocated which will enable Bookstart Baby and Bookstart Treasure Packs to be gifted to over 50,000 children and their families.

The packs will be distributed to all nursery schools, nursery units and pre-school providers over the next two months.

During the visit, which marked the start of Children’s Book Week, Mr O’Dowd praised staff at Monkstown Nursery for the “outstanding” standard of education provision at the school.

“A recent inspection of Monkstown Nursery School found the standard of education in the school to be outstanding in all areas,” he said.

“In the inspection report, language development was reported to be a particular strength. It is clear that the children here are given every opportunity to develop their early language skills and an interest in books. That is something that I want to see repeated in all our schools.

“I want to take this opportunity to commend Principal Hazel Armstrong, the staff, the governors, parents and families connected with the school on this outstanding achievement,” the Minister added.