The evidence suggests that the first 1000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age two – is a time when their brain, body, and immune system develop significantly; this is a critical window that can impact significantly on a child’s life chances.
We know the restrictions put in place during COVID-19 limited children’s access to the new experiences and interactions that can help them develop: play groups and activities were cancelled or reduced and nurseries were closed for a time. While the restrictions were needed, there has been an impact on some children and families.
Working together, the Childcare and Early Years Service and the Best Start Partnership looked for accessible ways to reach and support families with young children. In spring 2022 we launched 50 Things to Do Before You’re 5, universal offer that includes 50 fun, low cost or no cost activities that help families promote positive health and wellbeing habits with their young children.
Both organisations are committed to all children having the best start possible in life, and this includes developing parental confidence to provide the firm foundations on which their children grow and thrive.
I remember how excited we were setting up for our launch event in Millbrook Park and feeling a sense of nervous anticipation as parents and children started arriving throughout the morning. Seeing the park filled with families and children delighted at being at one of the first large public gatherings since Covid restrictions eased was a sight to behold!
Fast forward to today, and the 50 things app has been downloaded 1500 times by parents, carers and people working in early years. That’s at least 1500 children who have benefitted from playful opportunities to engaging their natural curiosity and exploration, both indoors and outdoors.
Most importantly, this means hundreds of parents have access to ideas for things to do at home, including trips out in our local areas. Jersey offers many unique opportunities with its beautiful beaches and playgrounds for families to enjoy.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve had the chance to talk to parents and professionals at local events about how they have enjoyed using the 50 things app. On the 15 April, we’ll be returning to Millbrook Park for a free family event to celebrate the app’s one year anniversary at a picnic and play morning. Once again, we’ll be offering free activities for all families linked to the app which will be hosted by local services and organisations. We know this event will be just as well attended and enjoyable as last year’s launch- we can’t wait!