Does it make a difference?

How is Starting Out improving lives?

Research and evidence shows that what parents do with their children at home has a significant effect on wellbeing and achievement.  Helping parents to use the home as a natural educational environment and empowering them with knowledge and confidence can make a big difference.  Studies show that early home involvement has a significant impact on narrowing the gap.

This is critical as children in the bottom 20% of attainment at age 5 are six times more likely to be in the bottom 20% at Key Stage 1. Advances in neuroscience indicate that key factors in promoting children’s health and development during the foundation years and improving their readiness for school are ‘the things that parents and carers do with children at home, like talking to, reading to, and playing with them.’ (Supporting Families in the Foundation Years: DfE).

Since its creation, Starting Out has been widely implemented in Children’s Centres, Early Years settings (nurseries, pre-schools and childminders) and Schools in the Borough of Poole and has also been used in a number of establishments elsewhere.  Feedback from both parents and practitioners has been very positive and parents who have engaged with Starting Out report increased confidence and understanding of brain development and an increase in time spent doing quality, low/no-cost activities with their child.

Starting Out makes a difference in multiple ways

For Families

Starting Out gives families the knowledge and tools to enhance their child’s development through effective use of the home learning environment.

‘The Home Learning Environment has a greater influence on a child’s intellectual and social development than parental occupation, education or income.  What parents do is more important than who they are and a home learning environment that is supportive of learning can counteract the effects of disadvantage in the early years.’

(Families in the Foundation Years – Evidence Pack, DfE, July 2011)

For Children

Children learn through play.  Their understanding of the world increases when they have opportunities to explore and discover the environment around them.  Repeated experiences help children develop a readiness to learn, and better equips them for school.

‘Parent involvement in home learning activities makes an important difference to children’s attainment (and social behaviour) at age 3 years through to the age of 11.’

(Families in the Foundation Years – Evidence Pack, DfE, July 2011)

For Practitioners

Starting Out offers an excellent opportunity for staff to include parents in their child’s early development and build effective parent partnerships.

‘The diaries in each pack have been fantastic home learning evidence for EYFS assessments.  It has been great to see the parents from the scheme becoming more open and willing to come into school and get involved in events … I am looking forward to continuing the scheme next year.’

(Teacher, Manorside School, Poole)