‘Ready for Nursery, Ready for Learning’ is a parental engagement intervention from School-Home Support, a UK charity. The project is designed to be highly flexible, and easily adaptable for individual settings and families. Overall, it consists of a main tool, ‘My World’, which supports parents to recognise and value their own strengths and abilities, and to help them engage with their children’s learning. This tool, however, is supplemented by work outside the setting, which is designed to be as flexible as needed, to support parents and families in a holistic manner. This support can include a wide range of activities, from helping parents access emergency funding as needed, to individual support for particular issues.
The project, which is running in a highly deprived area of Bradford, is being evaluated over three years by Dr Janet Goodall. The evaluation is mainly qualitative, including group and individual interviews with parents accessing the programme, as well as staff in the programme and staff from the schools working with children from the families involved.
The programme lead is working with families around six main targets:
2. Behaviour progression & parental confidence
3. Emotional literacy and understanding
4. Independence (child) & health/wellbeing (parent)
5. Literacy and numerical development.
6. Routines and planning around school attendance
One of the elements of the work with the One World Tool is the use of ‘strength cards’; parents choose two strength cards a week from a preset deck, and work on those particular issues until they meet again.
The programme also uses simple methods to allow parents to record their achievements (such as writing them up on paper plates to share at the next meeting). A large element of the programme is centred around emotional development, and some parents created simple tools to use in discussing emotions with their young children.
The evaluation is still in its early stages and the programme is still in its infancy. However, the early signs from the first report for School Home Support are that the programme is having a strong effect on those families involved; parents report increased self confidence, children have attained various goals set for them and are much closer to being ready to enter nursery education.