I created Ten Town over 18 years ago while teaching at a primary school. However hard I tried to teach my five year olds to form their numbers correctly a large majority of them still wrote them back to front, and asked questions such as, "What does a two look like again?"
While trying to teach them the number five I made up a story about Fiona Five and, surprisingly, they remembered it how to write it. When the parents began asking me who Fiona Five was, I knew I was onto something. Children learn a new concept faster if it appeals to their imagination and creates a picture in their minds.
“Why?" is a question all teachers and parents love! Ten Town provides reasons for why the characters look the way they do. For example,
Question: "Why does number four look like that?
Answer: "Because Freddie Four loves to explore and he is paddling his boat away from King One."
Ten Town was born and proved a great success with other teachers and the scheme was sold to over 2000 schools and nurseries across the UK and all over the world, from to Belgium to Botswana.
In 2008, I was offered the life changing opportunity to teach in Christchurch, New Zealand and in the spirit of Freddie Four I decided to take the chance to explore life on the other side of the world. It has certainly been interesting!
I am delighted still to be part of Ten Town and I really enjoyed helping to update the original characters. I feel that the scheme has been greatly enhanced by the characters being brought to life in the new animations and activities, and it has opened up even more exciting and stimulating cross-circular opportunities.
I love the fact that children can play a game about cleaning up Zero Pond and then watch a video about how to recycle the waste, or that classes take part in Ten Town News, creating their own stories and then reporting on the event “live from Ten Town!"
Ten Town continues to be a family-run business, and I now work closely with my brother Bob Sandy, the company's Managing Director. He has 15 years experience in media production, including time at BBC Education, and this experience has been invaluable in developing the on-line content.
I am really pleased that we have now expanded the scheme up to 20 which was something I always wanted to do with the original idea. The introduction of Tia Ten with her animations, songs and games mean that the scheme will be a valuable resource right through the Reception Year.
It’s also great to have leading early years advisor, Terry Gould as part of the team, helping us to ensure Ten Town provides first class teaching materials that are closely aligned to the revised EYFS framework.
I hope you enjoy the new Ten Town!
Creator of Ten Town
B.A. Hons, (Lancaster), P.G.C.E, (Warwick) P.G. Dip Dyslexia, (London),
Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching & Learning, (New Zealand)