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Nelson 'Story Grans' spread the word - reading to children reaps rich rewards

Now here is a great idea for your club – start a Story Gran organisation in your area!

"I am a Story Gran, well let’s say Granddad, in the Nelson region, and I see first-hand just how beneficial it is for the children in the kindergarten where I read each Friday, says Nelson North Lion Paul Lunberg.

"It works like this.  Once a week, for about an hour, the Story Granddad goes to his allotted kindergarten, sits at some spot and children can choose if they want to listen to the stories he will read.  I get five or six books from the local Nelson library, but many Story Grans just rely on the books in the kindergarten. After they have spent about an hour, which is about as long as kids want to listen anyway, I beat a retreat until the next week. Some Grans stay on and help as they enjoy the company so much. The interaction with the children is very rewarding and the staff find their workload is lightened.

"The organisation in Nelson is completely run by the Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association. If one wants to be a Story Gran one approaches the Association and they ask some questions and allot a kindergarten. The kindergartens request Grans for specific days and times to fit in with their programmes.

"It works a treat. It’s fun and you get school holidays too! But strangely though, there are no other such groups in the country. It struck me that this was an ideal Lions project, and perfectly aligned with International President Madden’s theme. A club could approach the local Kindergarten Association and offer to set up a Story Gran organisation in their area.  If the Association liked the idea then the club would need to find a few Grans to start the ball rolling and let the organisation grow over time. Once it is a going concern, the organisation would pass it over to the Kindergarten Association. This could interest Lions, Lionesses and their spouses, and involve many other members of the community. It would also raise the profile of Lions, in particular among younger parents – the age group we are keen to involve in our activities".

Nelson Tasman Kindergartens has around 38 volunteers reading at 15 kindergartens. Administrator Margaret Bartlett would be very happy to discuss the project with anyone interested in becoming part of the movement. She can be contacted on (03) 546 7683 or email info@nnkindy.org.nz.

For those who would like more detail there is a STORYGRAN INFORMATION SHEET produced by the Nelson Tasman Kindergarten Association.

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