Let Teachers SHINE winner 2022: Sarah Eggington – STEM Busy Bags

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A teacher from North Lincolnshire has received more than £12,000 to develop her project to improve the language and communication skills of early years children while also instilling in them a love of science.

Sarah Eggington, from the Riverside Federation of primary schools based on the Isle of Axholme, won the Let Teachers SHINE competition for her STEM Busy Bags idea.

Sarah, who is an early years teacher, explained: “What we noticed, since the pandemic, lots of children were coming in with significant communication and language problems. We wanted to try and improve that, through encouraging time spent with parents, reading with them and doing activities.

“This idea came about because science is a really big thing of mine, it’s my happy place. And our children absolutely love science through the school, but I don’t think we do it well enough in the early years.

“The idea is to make a bag filled with activities based around a science topic. So, for example, a bag based around sound could include a fiction book and a nonfiction book to share with parents, and a list of activities, alongside some other resources. These bags will go home for a couple of weeks and the children will do some activities with their parents who will be asked to send in photos in. In school there will be opportunities for them to apply their knowledge from home.

“Early years children are just so naturally curious about absolutely everything. You can get science in anywhere. They always have questions, so it encourages that language and communication. It’s a fantastic subject for that.”

Sarah said she was delighted that her idea had been recognised by Let Teachers SHINE, the annual funding competition run by education charity SHINE.

“I was gobsmacked,” she said. “When I read the email and it said, ‘you’ve been successful’, I literally just screamed. Then I sprinted through the classrooms to tell our head. I can’t believe it’s me that’s been chosen. It’s crazy. I’m just normal.”