Tiger Primary School teacher Johnathan Crockett shares reception phonics and maths lessons in Mr C EYFS YouTube videos

A Kent reception teacher who began filming maths and phonics videos to help his young pupils with home learning in lockdown, is now being watched by families from across the UK and Ireland after a parent shared his online tutorials.

At the start of the first lockdown, long before schools trialled online remote learning, Johnathan Crockett began making short YouTube videos to help his very young pupils get to grips with home school and the paper packs of work they were learning from.

Johnathan Crockett made his first videos in lockdown 2020 to try and support his reception pupils
Johnathan Crockett made his first videos in lockdown 2020 to try and support his reception pupils

In the absence of face-to-face teaching the Tiger Primary School teacher began filming guided maths videos before then reading stories aloud to his pupils and their families each week as the videos grew in popularity.

Despite a brief return to school in September 2020, classrooms soon closed again at Christmas, and the Maidstone teacher quickly returned to filming more videos to help guide his pupils, who are four and five, through their first year at school remotely.

Whilst being designed primarily for reception-age children Johnathan, who is married to wife Laura, says the stories he reads can be enjoyed by all ages whilst the lessons may also help parents feeling the pressure of now being partly responsible for their children's learning.

He explained: "They're a great tool for parents as it show them how we teach different aspects within school, which they often don't have the chance to see.

"There is also an introduction video to phonics for parents, which gives them an insight into how we pronounce pure sounds and explains any vocabulary that we use in school e.g. digraph, phoneme, blending and segmenting. It also shows how we can support early reading by segmenting and blending but also a technique to support early writers to hear sounds in words."

Whilst his efforts began purely to help pupils and parents at his own school in Boughton Lane, it took one share by a parent into the wider world before he found his video views soon stretched far past Kent.

He said: "It started off with pupils and families at my own school using the videos but it was shared by a parent which others saw, then the next thing I had people from Manchester, Birmingham, Northampton and even Ireland messaging me to say they had been using them. I was really surprised as it only started as support for my class, but as I began to share them mainly on Instagram, I now nearly have 1,000 followers.

"I have had lots of good feedback with parents tagging me in their children's work I get various requests to read stories and asking for other ways to support children in their learning. I have had a few EYFS teachers from different schools asking me for advice on how to address certain aspects of learning, which is a huge compliment to know that other teachers respect my opinions and teaching styles."

Families can now follow long on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram searching for @MrC_EYFS and all of the full videos are available on YouTube.

Polishing up on video editing skills has helped him add better graphics to videos to further engage pupils
Polishing up on video editing skills has helped him add better graphics to videos to further engage pupils

So popular is his work that alongside teaching phonics and maths Johnathan has also had to embark on some learning of his own understanding video editing skills to make his videos even more user-friendly, whilst also roping in a friend to turn his beloved dogs into cartoon characters who now are popular features in the footage.

"As I've made more videos, I've found various techniques I can use. It's quite simple to do but there are lots of little things to put together, especially the phonics ones with the spinning wheel etc so can be time consuming" he explained.

"To make the videos more personal, I asked my friend who is a graphic designer if he could draw my two dogs in a cartoon form and he created these amazing pictures with various expressions, and Betty and Barney are now huge stars of the maths videos!

Betty and Barney pups now make regular appearances as characters in the videos
Betty and Barney pups now make regular appearances as characters in the videos

"I love making the videos and by doing them it's made me think even more about how I can be a better teacher. By interacting with other practitioners on social media and seeing the way they do certain things, I can take what I think works and put them together with my ideas to create each learning video" he added.

To subscribe to Mr C's EYFS YouTube channel please click here.

Read more family-related news from across Kent at www.mykentfamily.co.uk

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