Early Intervention project praised for supporting parents

Photo: Alex Norris MP is pictured with parents, children and staff at the Peep session at Southglade Access Centre

A programme to help parents understand more about the way their children learn and develop has been praised for its work in Nottingham Children’s Centres.

The Peep Learning Together Programme, developed by the charity Peeple, is an early intervention delivered by Nottingham City Council that shows parents how to do more activities at home that make a difference to children, such as singing, sharing books and stories and talking about a range of ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Children’s Centre hubs across Nottingham City offer a range of Peep programmes including:

  • Peep Watch Me Grow (birth to nine months)
  • Peep Inbetweenies (nine months to 18 months)
  • Peep Getting Ready for Nursery (18 months to two years+)

Alex Norris, MP for Nottingham North, visited a Peep Watch Me Grow session at Southglade Access Centre on Thursday 19 July. He praised the way parents and carers get help to make the most of play and learning opportunities in everyday life.

Mr Norris said: “It’s so important that babies get the best possible start in life to ensure they develop into happy, healthy children – and, of course, parents and carers play a crucial role in this. However, being a new parent can be daunting and many of the skills needed to help your child play and learn do not necessarily come naturally. The Peep programme provides vital skills to ensure the home environment can become a place where children are stimulated and engaged with the world around them.

“I’m pleased that Nottingham City Council is giving parents and carers this great start by ensuring the Peep programmes are delivered in their Children’s Centres.”

During the session, Mr Norris joined families to explore and learn about health and physical development, early sensory experiences, music and movement, exploring foods and early language and literacy.

Dr Sally Smith, Chief Executive of Peeple, said: “Nottingham’s Children’s Centres have used the Peep Learning Together Programme with families for several years.

“Sessions are for parents/carers and children together, and include singing, storytime, book-sharing, play activities and talk time about an aspect of children’s learning and development. They offer an effective but fun way for parents and carers to improve their children’s life chances, by making the most of day-to-day learning opportunities – listening, talking, playing, singing and sharing books and stories together.

“Research tells us that doing these kinds of simple things at home has the biggest influence on children’s outcomes.”
Jemma, who has been bringing 11-month-old Lola to the Peep group for the last five months, said: “We really enjoy the classes. Being a full-time mum, it really helps to break the week up and it’s something that we really look forward to each week. I’ve learned lots that I can take home with me, like songs and games.”

Becky has been bringing Ezmai, 11 months, for the five months. She said: “We really look forward to coming. Ezmai loves everything, especially the music.”

Kim, who attends the sessions with five-month-old Mason, added: “We learn new things every week and I also get to meet other people. My other children tend to be a bit shy so I was keen for Mason to start interacting with other children as early as possible. He loves the sand and making handprints. I’d definitely recommend it.”

Cllr David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years at Nottingham City Council, said: “Nottingham is an Early Intervention city and is committed to finding new ways of supporting our children and families. The Peep programme is an excellent example of how we can give parents and carers the skills to play and learn with their children to ensure they get the best start in life.

“The positive steps taken during these vital early years of a child’s development can impact hugely on their future.”
To find out more about The Peep Learning Together Programme and Peep sessions in the local area please visit www.peeple.org.uk and www.asklion.co.uk

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