peep groups: overview

Peep groups are for parents/carers and their children together, and aim to support families with their children's early learning in an enjoyable way. The Learning Together Programme was designed to be flexible, enabling practitioners and/or families to choose the range of child development topics and the number of sessions that they want.  Groups can be for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers or mixed age. They are held in local venues (e.g. health centres, schools, community or children's centres) and are led by at least one Peep-trained practitioner.

Practitioners (if appropriately qualified) can offer parents and carers the opportunity to complete a Gateway or SQA credit-rated unit as part of the Peep Progression Pathway, over at least a dozen sessions. 

Another benefit of a Peep group is the relationships that develop. There are usually up to a dozen or so families in a group. When families know that broadly the same people will be there each week, it makes it easier for a sense of trust and security to develop. Parents and carers become more confident in sharing their own experiences, challenges and ideas that they have tried at home.

elements of a peep group

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The different elements of a Peep group provide opportunities to share the key ideas with parents and carers. Peep sessions always include:

  • songs and rhymes

  • story time

  • activities with the children

  • a talking time for adults (to share the key ideas and put ORIM into action, based on the topic)

  • story and book-sharing time (and the opportunity to borrow books or information about local libraries)

  • ideas for parents/carers to try at home.

Adults do not need to read or write during a Peep group. Everyone is invited (but not pressured!) to join in during singing and talk time.

targeted peep groups

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Peep groups may be targeted to meet the needs or interests of families.

Parents and carers are always welcome to attend universal Peep groups (open to everyone), but sometimes prefer, initially at least, to attend a group with people that they have more in common with. The groups are still for parents/carers and children together. These have included groups for:

  • families whose children have profound or multiple disabilities, focusing on sensory learning
  • children with speech and language delay
  • young parents
  • dads
  • foster carers or kinship carers
  • mothers with post-natal depression or low mood
  • expectant parents with substance dependency issues
  • traveller families
  • Asian families
  • families with English as an additional language
  • child-minders
  • parents/carers with low literacy levels.

Here are a few examples of how the programme have been used at the Peeple Centre in Oxford or elsewhere in the UK and abroad:

‘If you have any older children who came to Peep, do you think it has helped their learning and development?’

  • ‘Peep helped him lots as he didn't enjoy doing stuff like singing in front of people. He went into nursery confident.’

  • ‘Both my children have been very good with their speech. I believe bringing them to Peep from such a young age and singing with them has supported this. Thank you so much for Peep. It really has made a difference.’

  • ‘Yes, Peep helped them socially, and it helped me to make long-lasting friendships.’

  • ‘Yes, Peep built their confidence, they can sit, listen and learn to wait, share and take turns.’

  • ‘They have picked up counting quickly, loved books and still remembers the songs. They have confidence being around other children.’