The Trust’s core work focuses on testing how early years’ interventions can best be delivered to the families that need the most support and on using the evidence to influence early years’ policy. The package of programmes supports families from pregnancy to when a child enters school. It prioritizes those factors which impact on early learning and development, and which affect poorer families disproportionately. The intervention aims to enhance the confidence and skills of parents, the capacity to nurture their children and their ability to work with schools so that all children start school ready to achieve their full potential.
The Foundation Years Trust in Birkenhead
The Foundation Years Trust's project consists of one-to-one peer mentoring and support for pregnant and new parents alongside parent-child play and reading groups delivered in both nursery and community settings.
In the period July – December 2013 the Trust scoped a pilot programme through a process of audit and consultation. To understand what Birkenhead families feel about the services they use and what they want, we listened to the experiences of 30
mothers who had recently given birth in Birkenhead. We published MATERNITY - Voices of Birkenhead Mothers as a way of opening up a discussion with parents and the services and organisation which support them.
From January 2014 to December 2015 the Trust piloted a series of services in nursery and school settings. In early 2016, the Trust reviewed the programme’s impact to date and which services were proving to be the best at attracting and retaining parental participation. Based on the findings the Trust decided to extend the work we do in nursery settings and to incorporate our group work with parents and children together within the fifteen free hours of child care, as a standard part of the offer.
In working in nursery settings we are providing added value to early years education by ensuring that parents are a strong partner in their child’s early education and that play and learning and equally replicated in nursery and at home. In the mid to long term, the aim is that nursery teachers themselves can deliver group sessions with parents and children for two year olds accessing childcare and for three – four year olds.
The Trust is also delivering the same group sessions for parents and children – but in community settings. Some of the families we work with may not yet have their children in nursery.
The one-to-one support for pregnant and new parents, the Bump Start programme, continues to be delivered through our partner Home-Start Wirral. The Trust supports those parents accessing the Bump Start
one-to-one service to also attend community based groups.