Council's Early Years service scoops national award for innovative early years programme

Published: 18 December 2019

The council’s Children’s Centres and Early Years service took centre stage at a national awards ceremony after winning a top award for their innovative early years initiatives.  

The service won the prestigious Children and Young People Now Early Years Award for their ‘Ready to Learn and Mental Health in Early Years’ programmes.

The highly regarded programmes involved working with local families to ensure children are school-ready. It provided training and resources for families and practitioners, as well as a detailed guide for parents and professionals that show the aspects a child needs to have mastered in order to be able to fully take advantage of school.

A multi-agency steering group developed the school readiness programme called ‘Ready to Learn’, following consultations with parents and practitioners, and two of the key messages from the programme were that school readiness starts from conception and that perinatal mental health is key to child development.

As part of the implementation of the programmes around the borough, Children’s Centres now have two perinatal mental health champions trained by the Institute of Health Visiting who are also mental health first aiders.

The programme has been warmly received and Redbridge Children’s Centres have been invited to be key note speakers at many events across London and beyond to share this work as examples of best practice.

Judges of the Children and Young People Now awards praised the programme’s “strong whole-system approach to health and wellbeing”.

Interest in the programme also resulted in a recent visit to Redbridge by the Deputy Mayor of London, Joanne McCartney, who met with parents and partner agencies to find out more about the initiative and how it ties in with The Mayor’s ‘Healthy Early Years London (HEYL)’ initiative.

Dr. Hasneen Choudhury, initiator and lead of the Redbridge School Readiness programme said: “This new approach to mental health in pregnant and new mothers aims to reduce the impact of maternal mental health on child development.

“I am extremely proud that the determination and hard work of our staff and our partners is being recognised in this way.

“This is a prime example of what can be achieved to improve children’s life outcomes through a whole-system approach to ensuring all children are Ready to Learn, grow and succeed at school and beyond.”

The Children & Young People Now Awards have become the gold standard for everyone working with children, young people and families.

Now in its fourteenth year, the awards recognise teams and individuals from the public, private and voluntary sector that work with children and young people from birth to adolescence, as well as their families. 

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