Peep groups are for parents/carers and their children together, and aim to support families with their children's early learning in a simple and 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 Peep-trained practitioners.
An important part of Peep groups are the relationships that develop. There are usually up to a dozen or so families in a group. The welcoming approach and group agreement developed by all the families creates a safe space, where a sense of trust and security can develop. Parents and carers become confident in sharing their own experiences, challenges and ideas that they have tried at home. Groups can be open to all families in an area, or targeted to meet particular needs or interests - see examples below.
Peep practitioners (if appropriately qualified) can offer parents and carers the opportunity to complete an NOCN or SQA credit-rated unit as part of the Peep Progression Pathway, over at least a dozen sessions. This can contribute to parents' confidence as a learner and to their employability.
what happens in a peep group?
The different elements of a Peep group provide opportunities to have fun together and to share the key ideas that support children's development. Peep sessions include:
songs and rhymes
joint play activities
a talking time for adults (about an aspect of children's development)
story and book-sharing time
ideas for families 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
Peep groups may be targeted to meet the needs or interests of families. Parents/ carers and their children can 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.
These have included groups for young parents, dads, foster carers or kinship carers, parents with post-natal depression or low mood, families whose children have profound or multiple disabilities, children with speech and language delay, 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.
The menu on the left includes a few examples of how Peep programmes have been used around the UK and beyond.
Comments from Peep parents when asked: '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.’