Home-Start Edinburgh West and South West (HSEWSW) have steadily built the Peep provision they offer and the progression support for parents. The Peep Progression Pathway is a key element of this. The three case studies they have kindly shared with us here shows how through the skill and dedication of their staff, and using the Peep Learning Together Programme and Peep Progression Pathway:
parents who were wary of 'services' have engaged;
parents and children have fun at Peep;
the home environment has improved;
parents have completed qualifications which have taken them nearer their career goals;
parents have progressed from attending Peep to training as Peep practitioners - gaining qualifications and confidence on the journey.
Margot MacKenzie, Senior Coordinator at HSEWSW highlighted how much she has valued the support from the Peeple Scotland team over the years.
Janey is a young mum who has attended Peep groups with her daughter Ellie for 2 years. As a child Janey had a difficult time and was in the care system. Janey has some additional support needs and records that she has learning difficulties.
Janey shares the care of Ellie with Ellie’s Dad, and it is not always easy. During her time at Peep Janey enjoyed some additional support from Home-Start. This has helped her to improve the safety of her home environment and look at healthy eating. As a result of attending Peep, Janey came to a First Aid awareness session and was delighted to receive a certificate as she had not obtained many of these at school.
Janey would like to work in childcare one day, maybe in a crèche. When she heard that Home-Start were offering the Peep Progression Pathway, she quickly signed up to the course. The Pathway is ideal for her as there are levels to suit all abilities.
The unit she completed was called Personal Social and Emotional Development. Janey said that initially she did not share books, songs or drawing/craft activities with Ellie but now does this most days. She has been awarded an SQA credit-rated unit at SCQF level 3 and has just completed a second unit in Early Maths at SCQF level 4. Her confidence as a parent has increased 100%.
Janey does not have the care of her daughter every day but the flexibility of the programme allows her to attend classes for learning, observe the children present and use the learning when she has her daughter at home. Her portfolio will be completed to reflect her time with Ellie.
Janey is obtaining real qualifications at the same time as enhancing her parenting skills. This is improving her confidence and helping her on her path to reaching her ambition.
Susan is a single parent with three children, one of whom is currently in care. It took her a long time to trust Home-Start as she felt a lot of people were involved in her life and ‘telling her what to do’. Her mood was very low at that time. Susan and her family receive coordinated support from several agencies.
The Family Support Worker asked Susan if she would like to look at a Peep Progression Pathway portfolio with her. The module chosen was Communication and Language because there are concerns about the youngest child's developmental delays due to the home environment. Susan has some difficulties with literacy issues. The Peep session supported her learning and did so in a fun, accessible way: through stories, songs and chat.
When she was preparing for her multiagency meeting Susan asked if she could take her Peep Progression Pathway workbook to show to the professionals around the table. Susan is proud that she has something positive to share and continues to engage in this learning. This is welcomed by all the agencies involved with her family.
Hazel started to come to a Baby Peep group with her son Stephen while her daughter was at playgroup, and then moved to the group for one-year olds. Hazel valued the opportunities to learn with her son and reported how she used the play ideas at home. We saw Stephen grow in confidence over the weeks and Hazel developed friendships with the other parents. She started to share her ideas and experiences with the other mums. English is not Hazel's first language and Peep has given her the opportunity to learn in English together with her son. She said she liked the fact that the weekly session was themed, and that the information given was very helpful.
Home-Start offered the parents and carers the opportunity to attend a Peep Progression Pathway course focusing on Communication and Language. Hazel signed up to the course. She completed a portfolio during the session and was awarded an SQA credit-rated unit at SCQF level 5. At the time she explained that she would like to look at volunteering to gain experience for future employment.
Hazel discovered that Home-Start had volunteering opportunities and she completed an application form to be a volunteer. In the spring of 2017 Hazel completed training to allow her to assist with Home-Start Peep groups. At the same time, she completed a second Peep Progression Pathway unit at level 5.
Since the autumn 2017 she has regularly supported one Peep group per week. She also welcomes the opportunity to attend volunteer events and enjoys meeting other volunteers.
Home-Start has recently been awarded some Neighbourhood Partnership Funding for Peep Learning Together Programme training, to become a Peep practitioner. Hazel has been selected to attend this training in 2018. She will then be supported to complete her portfolio for submission to be assessed for a City and Guilds unit at SCQF level 6/7. This will involve Hazel taking the lead practitioner role in a Peep group.
Hazel is a valued member of the Home-Start team and appreciates the Peep approach. She says “I think it is a really good opportunity for parents to get going and start learning something in a relaxed and carer friendly environment. You can bring your children.”
Peep was identified by the Educational Psychology Service in Stirling as a strong evidence-based programme which contributes to securing better outcomes for young children through increased parental engagement in their child’s learning. The Educational Psychology Service currently leads on the implementation of Peep in Stirling, working collaboratively with early years establishments and partners.
A number of practitioners have been trained to deliver Peep approaches across Stirling Council. They include family support workers in Health and Education, Early Years’ Educators from nurseries, as well as practitioners from Homestart and the Learning & Employability team.
During the 2-day Learning Together Programme Training, we cover the why, what and how of delivering the programme, and discuss practitioners’ individual questions. We’re proud of how positive the feedback is from delegates, and are grateful to them and our trainers for their enthusiastic participation:
“Excellent course, I feel I learned a lot, going away feeling more confident. I would recommend it to anyone working in any environment with children and families.” Jodi, Early Years Practitioner, Braehead Primary School
Practitioners come with a range of knowledge, experience and skills, which the Peep training and programmes value and build on - and a shared need to do more in less time...
You can use our online support (included in the training price) or book in-house implementation/ delivery support sessions or refresher training - read more below:
Website: As well as providing downloadable practitioner and parent resources (session plans, parent handouts etc), our practitioner log-in areas contain guidance on getting going with Peep delivery in a range of contexts. We also share case studies on our 'public' webpages, illustrating different ways that the Programme is being used.
We have two e-newsletters, sent alternately every few weeks. We automatically add Peep-trained practitioners and managers to both lists, as part of our post-course support, but you can unsubscribe at any time from the bottom of the newsletter. Peep Postings is for Peep-trained practitioners and their managers, focusing mainly on ideas and updates that support your Peep delivery. Our Peeple Newsletter focuses more generally on working with families to support the home learning environment, and anyone can sign up.
Access to both the log-in website and the newsletters is included in the price of LTP and Antenatal training.
The experience of our own practitioners and the many we’ve trained around the UK and beyond – not to mention thousands of Peep families – tells us that the LTP is engaging, easy to use and makes a real difference to parents' understanding about how to help their child’s development.
"Peep is great for building confidence in the person delivering Peep sessions as well as service users. Great for parent to pick up tips and hints to help understand children's learning and development." [Lynda, Nursery nurse, South Ayrshire, feedback 3 years after LTP training]
“Peep’s an easy way for parents to enjoy their child's learning, and for them to see the benefits of what they are already doing, and what else they can do.” [Linda, Senior family support worker, Hampshire]
However, when people get back to work they'll have additional questions, which will vary depending on their level of experience, confidence and knowledge in working with parents and children together, the sector they work in, the families they work with, etc. You’re welcome to phone us with quick questions.
You can also book implementation/ delivery support session/s with one of our trainers/mentors, which we'll tailor to the needs of your staff. These can be held via skype or in person. They can be useful soon after training, to help practitioners get going, or as a follow-up/ refresher a few months later. Either way, they contribute to practitioners' CPD and help quality assure programme delivery.
Delivery support sessions fast-track and can extend what practitioners would learn for themselves, drawing on the trainers' in-depth Peep knowledge and experience to help deal with any challenges or questions. You might have a question about recruiting or engaging families, or managing a session with parents and children together - especially if you're used to working with just parents or just children, and are suddenly faced with a bunch of roaming two year olds and very quiet or very talkative parents...! Whatever your questions, there's a very good chance we will have come across them before, and will be able to discuss some useful approaches with you.
Some organisations and local authorities have their own Peep co-ordinators or 'champions' who can provide on-going support to colleagues as part of their role. In our log-in Members Area we've provided some tips on establishing this, drawing on the experience of those already doing it.
We share regular tips, ideas, links and updates (for parents as well as practitioners) via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook - and have started using the hashtag #PeepIdeas, to make them easier to find. We also love to hear about what parents and practitioners are doing. There’s absolutely no pressure to include identifiable photos of children. Social media gets a (deservedly) bad press sometimes – but it also has lots of supportive communities - such as our @PeepleCentre pages - especially helpful for anyone who is feeling isolated.
Exciting news - Baby Club, Cbeebies' first programme for parents (as well as babies and children!) - starts on 4th March! Our very own Helen, along with colleagues from the Foundation Years Trust and the University of Sheffield, were proud to be consultants on this. We loved working with Giovanna and Nigel, and the Three Arrows team.
We think you'll enjoying watching Baby Club as much as we enjoyed helping to make it. There will be songs, stories and activities for parents and babies to join in with at home - lots of ideas for everyday learning and play! We'll post some related ideas for things to do at home on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out. And hopefully you'll also find a local baby or toddler group, like Peep, if you haven't already!
>'Early Intervention - Briefing Paper' (June 2017, for House of Commons library)
"Early intervention is a public policy approach which encourages preventative intervention in the lives of children or their parents, to prevent problems developing later in life. Interventions can either be targeted at children deemed to be at higher risk of disadvantage, or can be universal in scope. As well as the political and social benefits of preventing poor outcomes in later life, such as mental health problems, low educational attainment and crime, advocates of early intervention also cite economic benefits to the approach. This is based on the argument that preventative policies cost less to implement than reactive policies. Due to the rapid pace of physical and social development in children’s early years, early intervention is a policy approach often targeted at very young children. This briefing paper looks at early intervention in terms of policies targeted at children from conception to age five."
> Childcare Act 2016 (March 2016, UK Parliament)
"An Act to make provision about free childcare for young children of working parents and about the publication of information about childcare and related matters by local authorities in England."
"I’ve really enjoyed the course, it’s made me feel more confident in being a first time dad and I have discovered lots of activities me and my son can do together.”
left to right: Mairianne Nairn (family support project co‑ordinator, CALA), Conor (Parent), Stephen Coyle (Prison Governor), Scott (Parent) and Gillian Forbes (Peep co-ordinator for Highland Council)
Peep Learning Together sessions, which support parents with their young child’s learning, have been running in the Highlands for a number of years, with 62 practitioners trained so far. However, the programme has taken a new step forward and has successfully been introduced into Inverness Prison through a partnership with The Highland Council, Care and Learning Alliance (CALA) and Scottish Prison Service. Two fathers have graduated with nationally recognised SCQF level 4 qualifications through the programme. This is the first Peep Progression Pathway group (i.e. including parent qualification units) to be delivered within a Prison in the whole of the UK, and the first Pathway for the Highlands.
Two Peep-trained practitioners, one from Highland Council and another from Care and Learning Alliance, built on CALA’s existing Prison Service links, delivering supportive group work to families with a member in remand. This led to discussions with the Prison’s Family Contact officer, who had daily contact with the inmates, about using the Peep Progression Pathway units. Here's their feedback on what they did and how it went:
Planning – and overcoming barriers: Initially we had to look at logistics: how many inmates we could have within the sessions, timings of the group, if it was viable to have the children present; and content: which developmental stage and strand/s of learning we would focus on for their Pathway portfolio.
Duration: We ran 13 weekly hour-long sessions with the families (10-11am) followed by an additional 30 mins for the dads to work on their portfolios. For some families, it was too far or complicated for them attend, which resulted in one inmate withdrawing from the programme.
Content: Due to the age of the children that were going to attend the sessions, we decided to give the families a taste of the entire Peep Learning Together programme so opted to complete Early Child Development portfolios. Two of the dads opted to complete at SCQF level 3 and one at level 4.
Retention: Given Inverness Prison is a short-stay setting and is over-crowded, we had several issues regarding transfer of inmates. However after further discussions with and support from senior managers this was rectified and any transfer of candidates that were completing the Pathway were put on hold until after the course was completed.
Engagement: Over the course of the 13 weeks, we could see the dads growing in confidence and get really involved within the sessions. On assessment of one of the portfolios, it was decided that one of the level 3 portfolios could reach level 4 with a small amount of additional work, which the dad was really keen to do as this was his first recognised qualification. Around seven weeks into the course, one of the dads had to be transferred due to personal circumstances; however, this did not impact on the dynamics of the group.
Outcomes: The dads that completed the Pathway were delighted with the outcome and were very appreciative to both practitioners involved. They both gave positive feedback and one of the dads is keen to progress on to level 5, while the other dad was due for release two weeks after the pathway finished.
“I gained useful skills through the programme that will help me day-to-day when I’ve been released from prison. It gave me a better understanding of parenting and what can help my child.” Parent
Inverness Prison Governor, Stephen Coyle was also very pleased with the results of the programme and said: “It has given the fathers in our care the skills and confidence to shape play in a way which is fun yet maximises the benefits to their children, whilst strengthening the bonds in the wider family group. We are delighted this work will be ongoing with a new course starting in September.”
Given this was the first Pathway for both practitioners, it has been a highlight for both involved. It has developed and strengthened joint working relationships further, with the recognition of the Prison Governor asking us to complete further Peep Progression Pathway groups.
Peeple is a charity, and we always intended that Peep Learning Together sessions should be free to families. We don’t want any families to be excluded because of cost. Until recently this has not been a problem - most Peep-trained practitioners have been employed within the public or voluntary sectors, and have been funded to deliver the Learning Together Programme to all families free of charge.
However, times have changed and austerity has led to cuts in our sector. This has meant that there is very little funding available for the universal provision of parenting and family support programmes – and that even targeted services have been affected.
Not surprisingly, we are sometimes asked if Peep-trained practitioners can charge families to attend, on a not-for-profit basis. We ask that you look for other sources of funding first. We understand though that you may need to put together a sensitive, voluntary charging plan, which would enable those unable to pay to still access sessions.
We have also had enquiries from practitioners who want to offer Peep Learning Together sessions to families on a self-employed basis. We are not currently set up to support this, but we will be exploring whether to develop a licensing model which would be in keeping with our charitable aims, ensure quality and fulfil legal requirements.
Please let us know if you’d like us to update you on any changes in the future, and do get in touch if you have any other questions.
We ask all delegates to sign an agreement that they will only share the programme with families involved in the programme and/or with practitioners who have completed the current Peep Training (i.e. since Feb 2015), and that they will not train other practitioners.
This helps us to protect and maintain the quality and integrity of the Peep programmes and delivery, by ensuring that everyone using the programme/s:
is trained to the same standard
uses the programme materials appropriately in their delivery
includes all of the necessary elements that make the programme effective.
who can train practitioners to use peep programmes?
Peep practitioner training can only be delivered by trainers who have been inducted and approved by Peeple. We continuously quality assure our Peep training delivery; we don’t have a cascade model of training.
Local authorities or large organisations may benefit from having their own Peep trainers, as part of a Peep Training and Support Agreement. Please contact us to discuss this further.
links to further info and ideas (to encourage discussion, not necessarily to endorse)
> 5 baby crying sounds to 'learn' that might help parents interpret their baby's crying more easily! The video clip shows Priscilla Dunstan on Oprah, explaining how she has a photographic memory for sound. When she had her own baby she identified 5 distinct cries that tend to mean different things - this is definitely easier to do when she's pointed them out and labelled them, as she does in the clip! We're not suggesting that this 'works' - it did for the mum who shared it with us, but it's had 1.6m views, and might be worth a look... 2-minute video clip of the five baby cries (longer version available online)