South Shields captain Jon Shaw swapped the pitch for the classroom as he starred in a South Tyneside school’s World Book Day celebrations.

Shaw read four books to reception class pupils at Monkton Infants School, in Simonside, South Shields, as he showed he is as adept with a book in his hands as with a ball at his feet.

The 35-year-old was joined by SSFC Foundation programme delivery lead Nathan Kew as they kept the children entertained through the power of reading.

Peppa Pig and The Paper Bag Princess were among the books Shaw read to the children as part of the initiative, which aims to promote reading among youngsters.

Shaw, who is a dad-of-two, said: “It’s a really important cause, and something I know a lot about with having two small children myself.

“Everybody should be reading to their children, and you hope that those we engaged with at Monkton will go home having enjoyed listening to someone read, and will ask their parents to do the same.

“From a club point of view, it’s fantastic because the children will hopefully go home and talk about South Shields.

“It shows another side to our club.

“We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented, community club and if we weren’t willing to go and do things like this, we wouldn’t be standing by what we believe in.”

The club and its foundation have visited schools across South Tyneside over recent months as part of several initiatives.

Kew is delivering a number of programmes in schools and nurseries, mainly centered around PE but with cross-curricular links too.

On the visit to Monkton, he said: “It was a really good morning for the children and ourselves.

“The initiatives that have arisen over the last three to five years are brilliant, because they show literacy as a fun, engaging subject which can be seen in a different light, particularly within Key Stage One.

“It’s important that we push that because it’s the development of the children in our area, which is only going to make better people and a better community.

“Our brand within the area is quite big because of how well the club is doing at the moment.

“It’s good that we use that to promote literacy, and we’re not hiding that’s what we’re doing sometimes in PE.

“We’re trying to create strong cross-curricular links to create better children and a better future for them through the power of sport.”

Click here for full details about the Foundation’s programmes across South Tyneside – including information on how your child can get involved.

A conference is to be held next month to officially launch South Shields FC Foundation’s new programme for primary schools and nurseries.

Led by the Foundation’s Nathan Kew, the conference will be held at The Word, in Market Place, South Shields, on Friday, February 15.

We will discuss the current PE curriculum and how we can contribute to schools’ current provision.

We will also talk about interventions and how to successfully link literacy and numeracy into the PE curriculum.

Schools and nurseries which attend the conference will get the opportunity to meet other schools which have been piloting the programme during January.

As well as PE co-ordinators, the conference is aimed at school and nursery staff who have the responsibility for bringing the everyday curriculum into sport.

Nathan Kew, the Foundation’s Programme Delivery Lead, said: “We are very excited to welcome schools to the launch of our new programme.

“We feel that the programme can greatly assist primary and nurseries and look forward to explaining this at length at the conference.

“High-quality PE can have a huge impact on a child’s social, physical and emotional development, and this starts in primary education.

“It is vital children are given the best possible opportunity to get their physical education off to a good start, which is what we feel we are able to provide.

“The programme fits perfectly with the Foundation’s ethos, which is about improving the health and well-being of the local community.

“We hope that the conference is well-attended and that schools will be as enthused about the programme as we are.”

Nathan has written and developed the bespoke programme, and will deliver it in schools which sign up.

The conference will take place at The Word between 10am and 12pm on Friday, February 15, with lunch to follow.

Registration and coffee will begin at 9.30am.

If you would like to attend the conference, please send an email to foundation@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

Please note that all those who attend must be school or nursery staff.

Youngsters in South Tyneside have taken their first steps with South Shields FC after a new early years programme kicked off.

The first session led by South Shields FC Foundation’s Nathan Kew took place at Beach Hill Nursery, in South Shields.

The session saw pre-school age children take part in fun activities which included the key principles of movement and mobility.

Nathan is the Foundation’s Programme Delivery Lead and is developing and delivering programmes for all children in primary education settings, building on the Foundation’s existing schools provision.

He said: “The aim is to get children within early year settings moving in different, fun ways.

“We’re developing bespoke sessions that progress a child’s fundamental movement and motor skills in a buzzing environment.

“Sessions are linked to the national early years curriculum and individual targets.

“This is the younger age┬ábracket we’re going to be working with and when they’re that young, they take everything on board.

“It’s a great age group to work with and we’re excited about the future of the programme.”

Beach Hill Nursery manager Gemma Brown is confident the children will benefit from the partnership with Nathan and the Foundation in many ways.

She said: “I think it will be really beneficial for the children to have a male role model in the nursery, because there aren’t many male nursery nurses.

“We are expecting to see improvements in speech development and it will help with their movements.

“Nathan is absolutely fantastic and all the children absolutely love him because he’s just so fun.

“For the nursery to have that connection with Nathan and the club is brilliant.”

Nathan is currently writing and developing a bespoke primary education programme which will be formally launched at a schools conference at The Word in South Shields on February 15.

More details about the conference and how schools and nurseries can register their interest in attending will be announced soon.