Investing in Young Children Matters
This month has seen Ofsted publishing their “Best Start in Life” report, sharing their evidence about the importance of ensuring that every child experiences a high-quality curriculum in the prime areas of learning.
We have seen the newly formed Early Education and Childcare Coalition, united in their belief “that
real and lasting change can only be achieved through the focused and collaborative efforts of
everyone with a stake in the future of early education.” Their short film is moving and once again
highlights the importance of investment in young children’s lives.
And, there was the launch of The Child of the North: Addressing Education and Health Inequity report. It’s timely publication, just weeks after we launched our first Impact Report for 50 Things to Do, and reinforces the value of our work.
We stated in our chapter, we believe that intervening early is the most effective way to reduce inequality among children, and the most efficient way to deploy public funds.
James J. Heckman, a Nobel Memorial Prize winner in economics and an expert in the economics of human development. Argues that “Investing in early childhood education is a cost-effective strategy—even during a budget crisis. Data shows that one of the most effective strategies for economic growth is investing in the developmental growth of at-risk young children.” You can read much more about this here.
Our 50 Things to Do initiative is a place-based, parent facing offer for Local Authorities and other public sector organisations. Based on the simple notion that fun, low or no-cost experiences with family, indoors and outdoors, are great ways to support children’s development, combining to create a life-enhancing environment, it helps parents to develop their home learning environment so that far more children thrive by the age of five.
These experiences are crucial for improving social mobility and for mitigating inequality argues Ariel Kalil, from the School of Public Policy University of Chicago. Furthermore she stated that “Children need both cognitive and what we call noncognitive skills to succeed in life, to perform well in school, to perform well in the labour market, to get along with other people.”
Our impact report presents evidence on the effectiveness of 50 Things to Do in promoting positive changes in the home learning environment and, in turn, positive outcomes for children such as:
- Increase family engagement with their child’s learning.
- Increased parental confidence.
- Increased activity outdoors
- Increased engagement with the local community
An unexpected outcome of our 50 Things to Do initiative was describing it as a “Golden Thread.” By one of our Commissioning Partners: “50 Things to Do provides a joined-up approach and runs like a golden thread through the support available for families and young children. It provides a consistent message for our local partners, frontline practitioners, and parents, and ties the different strands together to positively impact on outcomes for children” Wakefield Health Improvement Team
The localised initiative provides Commissioning Partners with a structure and framework, informed by best-practice, to support cross agency working. They encourage their local partners to use 50 Things as a tool bringing teams together to work towards shared local and national goals.
Ann Longfield, in her forward of the Child in the North report, commented that the report emphasises that “the responsibility for improving outcomes for children and young people lies with everyone and across all our public service organisations. Health inequalities cannot be addressed through health services or local action alone….In fact, one of the key messages shining through this report is the need to better connect all our public services”
If you’re looking for a tool to increase cross agency working, at the same time as improving outcomes for children, do get in touch, and/or come to our free webinar on 26th September.
Written by Rebecca Oberg
Head of Partnerships, Bradford Birth to 19