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Working with Children and Families

Toddler Group Improvement Programme

This service runs through a local authority/Early Years Scotland partnership agreement. A programme is drawn up whereby an Early Years Scotland Early Years Practitioner works with a range of toddler groups on a weekly basis for an agreed period of time (for example, eight weekly sessions). The central aim of this service is to improve the overall quality of experience and outcomes for the children who are mainly, but not exclusively, under three years of age.

As well as supporting groups, Early Years Scotland staff work hand in hand with parents and children on a continuous basis, with a focus on building parental skills and capacity to improve, strengthen and maximise:

  • Positive attachments and relationships
  • Early literacy and communication
  • Shared interactions and approaches to learning
  • Cost free enriched home learning environments
  • Healthy living
  • Sustainability and effectiveness of toddler groups.

Stay Play and Learn

This service is planned, set up and delivered by Early Years Scotland, often in collaboration with partners. Essentially the central aim of the Stay Play and Learn service is to provide shared play and learning opportunities for a small group of families with young children 0-5 years in local community settings. Once a suitable venue has been identified, the 1.5 hour sessions run once or twice per week.

Stay Play and Learn sessions are facilitated by an Early Years Practitioner and are often located in areas of disadvantage.

All Stay Play and Learn services aim to support and improve:

  • Parents’ capacity to support their children’s development and learning
  • Parents’ levels of confidence, knowledge, skills, motivation and communication
  • Promotion of effective, positive approaches to managing behaviour
  • Social isolation and peer support
  • Attachments, relationships and parents’ responsiveness to their children
  • Active learning, problem-solving and growing independence
  • Children’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical development
  • Concentration, curiosity and social interaction
  • Healthy eating and living
  • Opportunities for signposting to other support services
  • Effective transitions

Baby Massage

Qualified and experienced Early Years Practitioners offer 6 or 8 week courses in Baby Massage. As well as providing many of the benefits associated with Stay and Play (above), Baby Massage also facilitates:

  • Bonding, closeness, secure attachments and physical contact
  • Increased feelings and levels of love, responsive care and respect
  • Ability to soothe and comfort baby
  • Increased levels of relaxation and quality of sleep
  • Understanding of how to treat wind, colic, teething and distress
  • Parents’ understanding of baby’s body language and behaviour
  • Enjoyment of one-to-one quality time between parent and baby
  • Increased knowledge and confidence around how to nurture baby
  • Learning about the importance of parent / baby communications

The wide-ranging benefits extend well beyond the course itself. Health Visitors sometimes offer this valuable service.

One to One Service – Supporting Individual Families

This service has been designed to provide support for families who are experiencing disadvantage or difficulty and who will benefit from individual intervention. Working together can take place at the family home or in an appropriate setting, such as a community venue or nursery. The sessions are planned in accordance with the needs of the parent and child.

The focus is on the Early Years Practitioner supporting the parent to support the child through shared approaches to developing and strengthening relationships, bonding, learning and interactions. The frequency and duration of sessions are planned in line with individual needs, preferences and circumstances. There is always an emphasis on facilitating transitions into group and/or mainstream provision. Such transitions are promoted and supported as a matter of priority to ensure that independence rather than dependence is valued and encouraged.

Supporting Young Mothers and their Babies

This service has been specifically designed to support teenage mothers who are experiencing a range of difficulties such as poverty, bonding and forming secure attachments, substance misuse, social isolation, lack of confidence and knowledge with regard to positive parenting and so forth.

The young parents and babies, who are also receiving support from other service providers, attend a weekly session which is led by a qualified and experienced Early Years Practitioner.

During this session, positive relationships are encouraged and the parents are supported in appropriate ways to improve their knowledge and understanding of their role and also of child development and the importance of play, bonding and healthy living. The Early Years Practitioner models a variety of approaches and behaviours.

The central aim is to improve babies’ life chances and, by intervening early, prevent or reduce the likelihood of the need for crisis intervention at a later stage.

Young Children Affected by Imprisonment

Early Years Scotland also works with prisoners, their children and families in six Scottish prisons. More.