early explorers child health clinic study

Peep-trained practitioners worked alongside health visitors in child health clinics (known as Early Explorers), to engage parents in supporting their child’s development through interaction and exploratory play. A two-year evaluation was carried out by Professor Jane Barlow and Chris Coe at the University of Warwick: ‘Early Explorers: Integrating partner professionals to support parents with their children’s development from birth’ (2011) .

key findings

The study reported that the process of joint working was effective (despite initial challenges, as professionals adjusted to working together), in terms of:

  • promoting positive infant mental health and development
  • working together to reach those most in need – identifying and supporting vulnerable groups
  • over-coming barriers and building relationships, trust and confidence
  • delivering an enhanced service through integrated working with a complementary agency.

There were also positive outcomes in engaging families who access services infrequently, in supporting their children’s development.

  • The Early Explorers clinics promote maternal mental health - supporting parents that they may support their infants.
  • The child health clinic offers a unique opportunity to meet and forge relationships with parents in a non-stigmatising, non-threatening environment, in a place where they already go.
  • The opportunities for social engagement created by an Early Explorers clinic offer an important opportunity to increase parental confidence and reduce social isolation.
  • Parents reported spending more time in the clinic when the practitioners are there, learning new skills and having a better appreciation of infant development.
  • Families can be sign-posted on to Peep and other local services.

You can download the research summary and an article published in Community Practitioner about the project and the benefits and challenges of partnership working.

Peep-trained practitioners from any professional background can use the Learning Together programme with families in any context or setting. Follow the links for more information about our Learning Together Programme and Training.