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.”
Watch this lovely video that celebrates the work of students from Ayrshire College who have been delivering virtual Peep sessions for parents, carers and children during the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic early learning and childcare students from the College facilitated Peep Learning Together sessions each week for families with young children. In response to Covid restrictions they have found creative, exciting and effective ways to deliver Peep sessions virtually.
“I attended my local Peep group with my youngest child, when she started nursery. I started going along so that I could help my child with her learning. As we went along every week, I started to really enjoy the sessions and when I was asked if I’d like to do the Peep Progression Pathway accreditation, I decided to do Early Literacy. I enjoyed this so much that I decided to complete the Early Maths accreditation at level 5.
Going to Peep really helped my confidence to grow. I was learning so many new things about child development that I realised that I would love to work with children in a school setting. Before I could apply to work in school, I had to go to college to complete Core 3 in Maths, I was able to do this in 8 weeks. Then I applied for a job as a learning assistant, and I am now working in the nursery class in my local primary school. I absolutely love my job and wish that I had made the move sooner but without going to the Peep group I would never have been confident enough to do it!
After the summer holidays I am hoping to continue my learning by completing an HNC in Early Learning and Childcare.”
Children’s early STEM development grows from their natural curiosity and engagement in real-world experiences and play. These can be enhanced through interaction with adults who have the confidence to share the child’s interest, and can be extended still further with relevant knowledge, vocabulary and ideas.
We are thrilled to have been granted funding to create a new programme to support children's early STEM development. The new content will adapt and add to the Peep Learning Together Programme. The project has been funded by the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington, for which the Mercers' Company is corporate trustee, and is part of the Company's Early Years Special Initiative.
The project is taking place from April 2021 to March 2024, and will include:
developing a 10-week programme to upskill Early Years practitioners with the confidence, knowledge & skills to help parents encourage the foundations of STEM through everyday activities and interactions, and to support STEM skills in their settings,
piloting and refining the programme with practitioners and parents from Sheringham Nursery research school in East London,
training and supporting practitioners from the Sheringham Early Years hub to deliver the programme to families,
a small Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) research study,
developing and piloting an accredited unit for parents, to consolidate their learning from the programme and to equip them for further learning, volunteering and/or employment.
We hope that STEM will become something that more practitioners and parents are excited rather than anxious about. Together we will help very young children from all walks of life embrace their inborn curiosity and fulfil their potential to become the scientists, engineers, mathematicians, programmers and inventors of the future.
Feature box body:
supporting the foundations of STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering
and Maths) in the early years
Our Peep partnership organisation in Australia is Playgroup Victoria. They have an exclusive licence with us to distribute the Peep Learning Together Programme in Australia.
Playgroups, both universal and targeted, are a key service for families with babies and young children in Australia. They promote play as central to children’s development and help parents to develop individual strengths, parenting skills and to integrate with their community.
Playgroup Victoria, based in Melbourne, is a not-for-profit organisation committed to helping all Victorian families discover the benefits of playgroup. They advocate for the benefits of play for young children and provide support for communities and families wanting to start and run a playgroup. They gather evidence to influence policy makers of the vital role that playgroups play in creating and sustaining cohesive, supportive communities and in giving children the best possible start in life. In 2018, more than 3,000 sessions of Playgroup ran in over 2,000 venues across Victoria.
Their ambition is to embed the Peep Learning Together Programme across all their platforms, and to train and support practitioners nationwide to use the Programme. They have appointed Claire Georgiou as National Programme Manager. Claire has over three years’ experience in delivering the Learning Together Programme with families, and delivering Peep training to practitioners.
Danny Schwarz, CEO of Playgroup Victoria: "Playgroup Victoria welcomes the opportunity to become the Australian Licensee for the Peep Learning Together Programme. The values and purpose of Playgroup Victoria focus on the benefits derived by children's and parents’ participation in play-based experiential opportunities and learning. Our partnership with Peeple will have significant and positive impacts for the lives of Australian children and their families."
Dr Sally Smith, CEO of Peeple: "Playgroup Victoria is the ideal custodian for the Peep Learning Together Programme in Australia. We have enjoyed a positive working relationship with them over the past three years, and established that the principles behind our organisations are beautifully aligned. We look forward to contributing to their development of Peep in Australia – and learning a great deal together in the process."
Peep practitioners around the country are delivering Peep in lots of ways - through live or pre-recorded sessions, learning journals, phone calls, etc - and gradually returning to outdoor or indoor face-to-face sessions. You might already attend a local Peep session, or you might not have local Peep (contact your local family hub, centre or early years setting to check) - but you're still welcome to join our sessions too if you want to.
Peeple (or PEEP as it was known then) officially began in September 1995, with our first Peep group for families. September 2020 - 2021 is our 25th birthday year. We'll be sharing messages from a range of people who have been involved in Peep over that time - founders, families, staff and trustees past and present, practitioners, trainers, funders, supporters and friends. We'll also share them online, using the hashtag #peeple25.
"The main catalyst for starting Peep was improving the educational outcomes of the students in the upper school where I was governor. Having spoken to school heads in upper, middle and lower schools I concluded (with the support of Bernard Clarke, the head teacher) that the solution was to support children under five and preferably from birth, but I had some doubts and needed professional input …
I managed to get a meeting with Tim Brighouse, then Oxfordshire’s chief education officer: he was hugely enthusiastic and supportive. Teresa Smith from Oxford University helped in setting up some mini-research, with two of her colleagues interviewing 19 local mothers. The response was consistent: they all desperately wanted to help their young children have a good start at school but didn’t know what they should do to support that; nor were they confident in their own abilities.
The crucial person in shaping what Peep did (amongst many influential early supporters and advisors) - and how - was Rosie Roberts, so key as the first Director, with Alison Street in effective and musical support as her Deputy. And additional to their impact with Peep, they helped influence national policy, specifically the DfE (Department for Education)’s definition of ‘early years’ changing to start at age 0 instead of 3 as before, and the Treasury’s creation of Sure Start [later known as Children's Centres], which was heavily influenced by what they learned from Peep.
Less helpful at that time were the Charity Commission: when we applied to be a charity, they rejected our Object [aim] ‘to support the education and cognitive development of children from birth’. They said, ‘education of a 0-3-year-old is a contradiction in terms’. So we had to cheat, changing our Object to 3-5-year-olds but then ignoring that constraint as much as we could in what we did. (Later, the Charity Commission did allow us to change our Object to ‘from birth’.)
But having reminisced, back to the present: with a strong group of trustees, chaired by Mark Harris, and with CEO Sally Smith and her team, I’m confident that Peeple will continue to be a powerful force for good. So I wish Peeple a very happy 25th Birthday and many more successful years ahead!"
Due to Covid-19, we have adapted our Peep Progression Pathway Scotland Training so that we can deliver it online. The training content and access to the Peep Progression Pathway delivery and assessment resources are the same for both online and face-to-face training.
The training equips practitioners to:
effectively embed the units into your existing Peep delivery
understand how to promote, support and assess the units
Practitioners with relevant experience (early years, family learning, adult learning, social work, health and/or family support), who have completed our Peep Learning Together Programme Training. This course is also suited to volunteers, parents and student placements who support co-delivery of Peep groups.
online platform: Microsoft Sway and Forms. You don't need to have these packages, we will send you a time-limited link. Sway is similar to Microsoft Powerpoint, but is more interactive and visual. You can scroll through the Sway and watch embedded videos, complete activities and access links at your own pace.
The Peeple trainer will arrange a follow-up phone conversation with you, to feed back on your activities, make sure that you are comfortable and confident to deliver the Peep Progression Pathway with families following the training, and answer any other questions.
duration online: approx 5 hours, to be completed within a 3-week period, plus a follow-up phone call.
To provide you with the best possible experience we are using Zoom as our preferred platform, and for our 'open' courses listed on the Training Dates web-page.
This is because Zoom:
is easier and more intuitive for both trainers and delegates to use,
now provides strong security measures, including a new ID number and password for each session which we only share with delegates (via email), an online meeting ‘waiting room’ from which delegates need to be admitted by the trainers, and the ability to ‘lock’ the meeting once everyone has arrived, so that no-one else can join,
can be used at no cost to the delegate/ commissioner.
We are reluctant to use Microsoft Teams because we (and several other training organisations we have spoken to) have experienced some difficulties using Teams for training with other local authorities and organisations:
Teams seems to require a fast and strong wi-fi connection, and connectivity can be problematic, interrupting (and occasionally halting) the training.
Local authorities and organisations sometimes have very tight IT controls and permissions, which don't allow their staff (our delegates) to be able to use breakout rooms (channels) in Teams. These are an important part of the training, enabling delegates to work together in smaller groups.
If there is any way for you or your staff to use Zoom, that's really helpful.
Giving certificates to families at the end of a Peep course or term isn't essential, but it's often valued by parents, carers and children. It forms a nice part of an end-of-course session, celebrating everyone's efforts and achievements.
You're welcome to use either of the versions below.
> Attendance Certificate PDF (to print and handwrite names and date) - just add the names of the child and their parent/s or carer/s who attended with them, and sign and date it.