Welcome to the 23rd edition of our A Better Start Southend Research Bulletin, bringing you the latest on ‘what works’ in early years’ around our outcomes: Social and Emotional Development, Diet and Nutrition, Communications and Language, Community Resilience and Systems Change.
Your regular update, edited by Rachel Wood, also shows how we’re using these findings to influence our work in Southend. In addition, we invite you to help shape our ‘test and learn’ projects and innovations in prevention and early intervention.

If you would like to contribute an article, want to sign up to receive these updates, or have a question, please e-mail: abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk

Contents:
Early Intervention and Cognitive Development (Social and Emotional; Communication and Language)
Promoting a Healthy Weight in the Early Years (Diet and Nutrition)
Home Visiting Programmes (Social and Emotional)


Early Intervention and Cognitive Development (Social and Emotional; Communication and Language)

Title: Asmussen, K. Law, J. Charlton, J. Acquati, D. Brims, L. Poye, I. and McBride, T. (2018), Key Competencies in Early Cognitive Development – things, people, numbers and words, Early Intervention Foundation

Research source: https://www.eif.org.uk/report/key-competencies-in-early-cognitive-development-things-people-numbers-and-words

Publication date: December 2018

Our Summary: This report aims to build on two previous reviews which identify early language development as critical to children’s well-being. This also looks at children’s understanding of objects, people and numbers as vital learning building blocks.

It aims to:

  • Provide a summary of the recent evidence in these areas
  • Identifies what might support competencies in these areas of development
  • Translates the evidence into information that would be useful for the development of policies aimed at increasing social mobility

Among the supporting factors were found to be:

  • Children’s understanding of things (e.g. breastfeeding, being read to, family routines, and learning opportunities)
  • Children’s understanding of people (Theory of Mind) (e.g. ‘mind-mindedness’ and conversation)
  • Children’s understanding of numbers (e.g. ‘number talk’ conversations, care-giver emphasis on numerical values, enriching early education)
  • Children’s language development (e.g. age-appropriate infant directed speech, joint attention activities and availability of books at home)

On the basis of this the recommendations are as follows:

  • The earlier the better – early years services should be optimised
  • There should be a comprehensive approach to early intervention

How we’re applying this in Southend

  • The principles of early intervention and prevention are at the forefront of everything that we do, and the projects and services that we design.

Help us help Southend

  • What innovative ways could we support children’s development in terms of the understanding of things, people, numbers and language development?
  • What other ways can we support social mobility in the early years?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk


Promoting a Healthy Weight in the Early Years (Diet and Nutrition)

Title: Public Health England (2018), Consistent Messaging to Promote a Healthier Weight – Birth to Age Four

Research source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/healthier-weight-promotion-consistent-messaging

Publication date: June 2018

Our Summary: This document aims to provide a set of training tools to support evidence based healthy weight messages. It explores how practitioners can use ‘Making Every Contact Count – MECC’ to enable positive change through day to day conversations.

It advocates a three step framework of –

  • Ask
  • Advise
  • Assist

and outlines a series of tools (e.g. ‘Let’s Talk about Weight’ and ‘Childhood Obesity Animations’).

The core messages in summary are as follows:

Stage: Birth to 6 Months – Core Messages:

  • Infant feeding
  • Nutrition
  • Healthy Start Scheme
  • Diet
  • Oral health
  • Physical activity
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Sleep

Stage: 6 months to 4 years – Core Messages:

  • Diet
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Speech, language and communication skills
  • Oral health
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Sleep

How we’re applying this in Southend

  • We are currently developing a healthy weight pathway across a range of services including maternity, health visiting, our (HENRY) project development.

Help us help Southend

  • What services and organisations do you think should be included in the pathway?
  • How best would the pathway be shared with practitioners and communities?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk


Home Visiting Programmes (Social and Emotional)

Title: Goldfield, S. Price, A. Smith, C. Bruce, T. Bryson, H. Mensah, F. Orsini, F. Gold, L. Hiscock, H. Bishop, L. Smith, A. Perlen, S. and Kemp, L. (2019), Nurse Home Visiting for Families Experiencing Adversity: A Randomised Trial, Periatrics, vol. 143 (1): e20181206

Research source: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/143/1/e20181206..info

Publication date: January 2019

Our Summary: This Australian study examined the difference that a home visiting programme would make on school readiness. The aims of the study were to look at outcomes in terms of 1. Parent care 2. Responsiveness and 3. The home learning environment at 2 years old.

The delivery programme called right@home was structured around MESCH (Maternal Childhood Sustained Home Visiting) an evidence based delivery programme.

This involved 5 evidence based strategies (in 25 nurse visits up to the age when the child is 2 years old) – sleep, safety, nutrition, regulation, bonding and relationships using the dual delivery methods of video feedback and motivational interviewing strategies.

The study concluded that the right@home project (in comparison with 1 home visit and the remaining centre based) may have potential to affect change. Fidelity to the evidence base of the programme was found to also be good along with the retention of the participants.

The study acknowledges that Family Nurse Partnership has a strong evidence base in the terms of young first time mothers. However, this programme was found to have strengths in a broader range of sub-groups.

The authors argue that such a programme was shown to be effective when:

  • Embedded in a population wide system of care
  • Offered to women regardless of age, and circumstance

25 visits were shown to be optimum.

How we’re applying this in Southend

  • Southend is one of the areas nationally that are trialling adaptations to the Family Nurse Partnership programme. Young mothers enrolled in the programme will have the same family nurse until the child’s second birthday.

Help us help Southend

  • How can we learn from the programme in terms of groups which are not young first time mothers?

Let us know what you think by e-mailing abssresearch@pre-school.org.uk

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