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.
The research has the following aims:
1. To synthesise the best available international evidence on:
- 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
- what is effective in promoting the early learning of young children in poverty, including interventions, policies, practices and implementation and system factor
2. To consult practitioners, system leaders and families in the first four Early Learning Communities sites to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of existing practice, priorities for change and what they would find useful in a toolkit
3. To work with Save the Children and the first four Early Learning Communities to co-produce a toolkit for achieving whole system change, based on the evidence review and consultation
We will undertake a review to identify relevant systematic reviews and, where necessary, more recent primary studies. The review data will be synthesised narratively.
Reconnaissance in the first four Early Learning Communities, involving practitioners, system leaders and families, to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of existing practice, priorities for change and what they would find useful in a toolkit
Working with the first four demonstration sites and Save the Children to co-produce the toolkit.
Collectively, the findings will be used to develop a toolkit to equip Save the Children staff and their partners to co-create a UK network of Early Learning Communities and bring about improvements to local early learning systems.