LIFE-START EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME© (LSEP©)
The early years of a child’s life are extremely important, perhaps the most important years of their lives. Babies and young children need support as they begin their journey of self discovery. At family and Friends this journey is supported in a loving and secure environment by experienced and qualified childcare professionals. The very beginnings of autonomy can be seen in the relationships that exist as babies and young children play and explore alongside a close, attentive-warm and sensitive adult.
The ‘guiding’ principles that underpin our Life Start Educational Programme (LSEP) come from the ‘Birth to Three matters’ framework produced by the UK Department of Education and a number of additional sources including representative educational organisations, leading childcare writers, experts and leading western practitioners. The principles of our LSEP are as follows:
- Parents and families are central to the well being of the child;
- Relationships with other people (both adults and children) are of crucial importance in a child’s life;
- A Relationship with a ‘key person’ at home and at Family and Friends is essential to children’s well being;
- Babies and young children are social beings, they are competent learners from birth;
- Learning is a shared process and children learn most effectively when, with the support of a knowledgeable and trusted Family and Friends staff member, they are actively involved and interested;
- Caring adults count more than resources and equipment;
- Schedules and routines must flow with a child’s needs;
- Children learn when they are given appropriate responsibility, allowed to make errors, decisions and choices, and respected as autonomous and competent learners;
- Children learn by doing rather than being told;
- Babies and young children are vulnerable. They only learn to be independent by having someone they can depend on.
Our staff along with the early years team work closely with parents to make sure we give your children the best opportunities to develop to their full potential using the LSEP planning structure. It shows how best to enable children to feel safe and supported and to extend their learning and development.
In our LSEP, and our whole environment we promote the use of the ‘Birth to Three Matters’ Framework, which takes as it’s focus the child. It identifies four Aspects, which celebrate the skill and competence of babies and young children and highlights the interrelationship between growth, learning, development, and the environment in which they are cared for and educated. These four ‘Aspects are:
- A Strong Child
- A Skilful Communicator
- A Competent Learner
- A Healthy Child
1). A Strong Child
In order to become strong, a baby needs a nurturing environment where a Family and Friends key person will play an essential role. By encouraging and supporting decision making, emphasising and providing opportunities for children, the key person will help the child grow emotionally so that they are able to respond to successes and challenges.
2). A Skilful Communicator
To become skilful communicators our babies and younger children are placed in a secure, warm and loving environment together with others. By being together, this leads to the wider development of social relations which include friendship, empathy, sharing emotions and experiences and becoming a competent language user. The early attempts at finding a voice are rewarded at Family and Friends in a variety of ways, thereby increasing confidence and encouraging children to both extend their range and increase their skills. Babies are able from an early age to distinguish sound patterns. They will use their voices to make contact and to let people know what they need and how they feel.
Early communication with babies can be made by using Baby Sign techniques. Family and Friends do provide a course for Parents and their babies to develop further this area of interaction. Family and Friends encourage all our parents and babies enrolled onto our LSEP to participate, thereby allowing better interpretation of non verbal signals.
3). A Competent Learner
Babies that are only a few hours old gaze at patterns which resemble the human face in preference to others. Babies are extremely competent learners from birth, equipped with the most powerful and evolved brain ever to have existed in any species on earth.
As babies explore their world through touch, sight, sound, taste, smell and movement, their sensory and physical explorations affect the patterns that are laid down in the brain. Through repeated experiences of people, objects and materials, young children begin to form mental images which lead them to imitate, explore and re-enact as they play imaginatively with our materials and resources, using all their senses. As they engage, they become increasingly imaginative. Children become creative through exploration and discovery as they experiment with sound, media and movement.
4). A Healthy Child
A healthy child means much more than having nutritious foods to eat, and being free from illness. For babies and young children, being special to someone and cared for is vital for their physical, social and emotional health and well being. At Family and Friends we understand that Emotional well being includes relationships that are close, warm and supportive; being able to express feelings such as joy, sadness, frustration and fear, leading to the development of strategies to cope with new challenges and stressful situations later in life.