Early Years Scotland has prepared the following case study for the Early Years Collaborative, focusing on our Stay and Play sessions in North Lanarkshire.
Working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Early Years Collaborative (EYC), Early Years Scotland (EYS) supported an EYC Improvement Project over an eight week period working with 90 families in their Parent and Toddler Groups, and 51 Families in their Stay and Play Groups. Sessions were offered to encourage and increase parent participation and interaction with their child and build on early attachment. This was identified as a key driver in the achievement of Stretch Aim Two of the EYC and is part of Early Years Scotland’s overall improvement journey in North Lanarkshire.
Stay and Play was initially introduced in four settings which due to early success, was then increased to five sessions per week which were facilitated by EYS qualified Play Practitioners. The aim of the EYS Stay and Play model is to work with children and families to encourage them to play and learn together to improve attachments, strengthen bonds and children’s overall development. Stay and Play entails drop in sessions, delivered once a week from a room within the nursery, school or community centre. Our EYS Play Practitioners offered a range of play and learning activities, encouraging the parents to engage with their children in small group settings, to help build their confidence in playing with their child and thereby increasing early attachment and bonding.
Improving and adapting
Collecting improvement data on parents’ interactions with their young children, we discovered that in groups with a defined leader or key person in charge of the group, parents participated more willingly in a range of activities. After analysis of this data, we adapted our original model to reflect the need for a defined leader.
After running the sessions for five weeks and through a series of small EYC tests of change, it was agreed that there were a number of additional families that could benefit from these sessions. This resulted in improvement testing of both a morning and afternoon sessions to assess the benefits of this for more children and families. We also learned through the families attending these sessions that they would not have had the confidence to attend a larger conventional Parent and Toddler group and would find these groups very stressful.
The Play Practitioners also noted, that as the weeks developed, the parents had increased engagement with their children and seemed less distracted. They also stated that they were enjoying replicating the activities in the home environment. The data showed that:
The Play Practitioners noted increased attachment of 85% between parent and child
Parents’ confidence in shared play and learning activities with their children increased by 95%
Following this EYC Improvement Project, we devised a proposal for North Lanarkshire EYC, seeking to adapt our current project and offer a greater range of Stay and Play sessions linked to nurseries or family centres to support families from propriety populations. We are currently revising this Improvement Project in conjunction with North Lanarkshire EYC and other key agencies that support the children and families in the local area.
Overall, the work of this EYC project links with recent Effective Pre-school, Primary and Secondary education (EPPSE) 2014 data, that states, “Positive parenting experiences, especially a more stimula
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