Save the Children works in the UK to create a significant and sustainable improvement in the quality of children’s early years. It also seeks to narrow the gap in early learning between children growing up in poverty and their better-off peers. Save the Children has been re-focusing its work away from developing, delivering, evaluating and scaling-up individual evidence-based programmes and towards whole system approaches designed to achieve breakthrough and population-level change. Save the Children is developing a UK network of ‘Early Learning Communities’ in which it will work with partners to co-design effective local early learning systems. An early years toolkit, drawing on evidence and consultation with practitioners, system leaders and families, will be used by Save the Children staff and their partners as a tool to guide strategy and activity in these communities.
To produce the toolkit, research will be led by PenCLAHRC Associate Professor Dr Nick Axford. The project aims to synthesise the experiences and circumstances that best support the early learning of children in poverty and help protect against the impact on development of significant family stress or adverse childhood experiences. The research team will consult practitioners, system leaders and families in the first four Early Learning Communities sites to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of existing practice and priorities for change before working with Save the Children and the first four Early Learning Communities to affect whole system change, based on evidence and consultation.
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