Director of Children's Services
Whilst the Director of Children Services for Harrow Council I commissioned the Tales of Bushey Lane and its activity packs and oversaw its roll out across the three Child in Need Teams. Each Social Worker and their line manager were trained in the use of the book and the activity packs and it quickly became evident that there was a positive impact on the detail and information that was gained from children during the assessment process. The book and activity packs are a valuable addition to any Social Worker’s practice; they positively contribute to demonstrating the child’s journey and are an important safeguarding tool which I am more than happy to provide an endorsement for.
Senior Social Worker
The book has been a great aid for myself working as a social worker. As a social worker sometimes you do not find enough tools to use to work directly with children, and you can sometimes lose the main aspect of Social Work if you do not have the correct tools. The book is a universal resource which can be used to explore the child’s true wishes and feelings, the book encompasses all aspects of the common assessment framework. The child is drawn to the pictures and the story throughout, and is able to relate to Willow and the other characters. I have found it to be a great way to speak to a child and be on their level. The images and descriptions are easy enough for a child to follow and they are able to relate to the pages and remember their family members, neighbours, likes and dislikes and any incidents that may have occurred. It is a great great tool to use with children and I can cannot emphasise how helpful it has been in communicating with children. In every case I work, where possible I take the book along with me and make sure it is used in the correct way.
Recruitment Manager - Private Fostering Agency
For the past year we have been using the Tales of Bushey Lane and the Activity Packs as part of of recruitment process for prospective foster carers. We have found it invaluable when using it to gain an understanding of the life experiences of the prospective foster carers own children, and in particular how they themselves are parented.
On-Line Blogger Review
We were recently sent a copy of the lovely book “The Tales of Bushey Lane” which we have been reading before bedtime. My girls absolutely love reading before bedtime and since starting reception their reading abilities have really come on. We always share a story before bed as it helps everyone wind down after a busy day. It’s always the chance to have a chat and then lie down and drift off. I love bedtime as it’s the time where there are no distractions – just me and them together.
It’s quite a daunting thing sending your barely 4-year-old daughters to school. On the whole, it’s been pretty much plain sailing with getting them settled into school. However, after the Easter holidays Phoebe had a wobble and kept crying as I left her to go into school. Despite being quite confident, it goes to show that they still can feel anxious. At 4, it’s not always easy to share how you are feeling, let alone be able to understand why you may feel like this way. The primary purpose of the book is to encourage children to feel relaxed and comfortable enough to open up about any anxieties or issues they may have in a very natural way, without their parent or carer having to use probing or leading questions.
The book was written by Mark Hatter, a social worker and child protection expert with over 30 years of experience of working with children. Although the book was originally aimed at children who may have been abused, the book also works incredibly well across the board for children who may be feeling anxious or upset about something in their day-to-day lives, or feeling unsafe and struggling to communicate this to their parent or carer. The book also works extremely well with children who may have learning difficulties or with children who may have specific communication difficulties. It has lovely bright engaging pictures with bold easy to read text that flows well.
As well as being sent the book the girls were also sent some activity packs, which help support the book. These bright colourful packs takes a child on a journey with many different woodland characters. There are places at the end of each page for the adult and child to talk and to start a natural conversation, which hopefully well enable them to open up a little more. They are bright, engaging and lots of fun. There are stickers, colouring in and drawing activities which all feature the characters they read about in the book, so they marry up really well together.
Through talking through the book and working together on the activity packs, after a while I was able to identify a few issues we have been having recently at bedtime as Phoebe has started worrying about “monsters” at bedtime. This was making her reluctant to be in the dark, despite her sister being next to her. She was able to write about the monsters on Willow’s family tree and hopefully ease her worries about it by getting it out and expressing her worries.
The book is aimed at 3-8 year olds and my girls at nearly 5 really enjoyed it and all the characters. The activity packs really support the story well and is a great way to try to get children talking. You can find out more information about The Tales of Bushey Lane here where you can also purchase your very own copy.
My 4-year-old granddaughter has been affected emotionally because she has a violent father. When I started to read the book to her first of all she enjoyed it so much that I had to read it to her every night and then after a couple of days she started opening up and saying things like don't shout and I am going to my new school to be clever like willow. The packs helped too. So thank you Mark and please keep up the good work.