Reflecting on five years of 50 Things in Bradford
I started working on 50 Things to Do Before You’re Five in 2017, gathering thoughts, beliefs and ideas from parents, grandparents, professionals and (of course) children, on what every child should do before they reach five years old. We gathered over 500 ideas about what activities to include, and with the help of a Steering Group we whittled these down to a broad offer of 50, spanning the first five years of life, all certain to develop skills, knowledge, delight and understanding that would put children in a strong place to make the most of the opportunities that would be available to them in the future.
Once we had the activities, we set about writing the content for a website and smartphone app, further engaging our communities by gathering images of local children, buildings and assets from across Bradford and Keighley. Families told us where we would find small bridges over streams, where accessible walks were and which parks they loved. With content ranging from ‘How to Do It’ giving the basics to ‘Research and Articles’ that gave a deeper insight, inclusive of all children including those with special educational needs and disabilities our offer took shape. Underpinned by theory developed by Vygotsky, Bruner and Kolb, and extending to an Events page highlighting local opportunities that were low cost or free, we’re confident that there’s something for everyone who wants to support children’s early development.
Last year, 50 Things Primary was developed and launched, extending the principles of experiential learning into later childhood. As 50 Things reaches our 5th birthday in 2023, I reflect on how this simple idea has developed across the Bradford District, and how it engages parents, professionals and supporters. I have the opportunity to see continuous improvements to the offer - working with a growing and inspired Bradford team as well as individuals and teams across the UK who run a localised 50 Things initiative in their area, and contribute to the continuing development and success of 50 Things with terrific ideas and enthusiasm. Without a doubt, 50 Things is the most satisfying and enjoyable work I have done in a career spanning over 40 years!
Written by Andrea Layzell
National Early Years Projects Lead, 50 Things To Do