As a parent of a nine year old, I, like many other of my parent friends, find myself very aware of how childhood is a completely different experience now, compared to how it was when I was the same age as my daughter, Elodie. It may be a bit of a cliché to say, but it's true that when I was young, I spent my spare time riding my bike, playing in the garden, reading and drawing, whereas these days it's all about computer games, tablets, social media and tv, and as amazing as all of this technology is, I do believe that childhood is suffering because of it. 
I'm really lucky with Elodie because as much as she does love to play games on her iPad, she also loves to be creative. She loves school, loves to learn and is always reading and writing. This is the main reason that I am so excited to be working with the Premier League Primary Stars and their Writing Stars competition this year.

You may have seen me Tweeting about the competition over the past few weeks, but in case you haven't, Premier League are using their influence from their teams and players and some well known celebrities to encourage children from primary schools in England and Wales to develop skills in all areas such as reading, writing and PE. This year they are holding their Writing Stars competition to encourage all children, whether they love to read and write or not, to get involved and share their own poems all based around the theme of diversity, which of course is such an important subject for children to think about.

The theme is inspired by the poem titled 'Beautifully different, Wonderfully the same' by Joseph Coelho, who is one of the competitions judges this year and wrote the poem especially for the competition. He will be judging all entries alongside ex footballer Rio Ferdinand, singer Olly Murs and author and illustrator Lauren Child. Since the competition opened in October, the judges have all been visiting schools around the countries to hear their entries and have been getting thoroughly involved in the project. 

Elodie is really excited about the prospect of Olly visiting her classroom, and has encouraged her class teacher to let some of her class friends enter. Not only will the overall winning and regional winner's poems be published in an official Writing Stars book, but there are lots of other great prizes to be won, including Premier League visits to the winning schools, poetry workshops and poetry book bags filled with books with prizes being selected for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 entries separately.

Lauren Child, best known for her writing and illustrations for the Charlie & Lola and Clarice Bean books (both of which, Elodie loves!) has encouraged children to enter by sharing her tips for writing in this video which really inspired Elodie when writing her poem. In fact, she couldn't wait to get started and it was so lovely to see her getting excited over something she had written... I may be a little biased, but I think her poem is wonderful!

With just one week left to encourage your child's class teacher and school to get involved, you can find all of the information about how to enter the competition, here. Winners will be announced in March... I'd love to know if your child will be entering.

(This is an AD written in collaboration with Premier League Writing Stars)
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