As nurseries re-open, Jersey pre-schoolers ‘ahead of the game’ from home learning

As nurseries open their doors again, many young children and parents in Jersey will be better prepared to hit the ground running, after thousands took part in an innovative project to build their home-learning skills in language, literacy and communication.

In the last four years, the Jersey Early Childhood Development Programme’s literacy work has reached over 2,300 pre-school age children across Jersey, and encouraged 1,956 parents to create rich home-learning environments for their little ones.

Early literacy is just one element of an ambitious programme coordinated by the National Children’s Bureau in partnership with the Jersey Child Care Trust and funded by UBS Optimus Foundation UK.

The Jersey Early Childhood Development Programme has also brought internationally renowned speakers to the island to share the latest thinking with local staff, trained 282 early years workers on supporting early literacy, and helped States of Jersey officials to introduce a new method for measuring and improving impact.

The first phase of the programme has delivered impressive results and an external evaluation by the Centre for Research in Early Childhood indicates the programme has either met, or exceeded expectations. Well over three quarters1 of local parents who took part, said the programme had increased their confidence to support their children’s literacy and learning.

One local parent explained the impact on their child: “We can see the difference in our child’s language, stories, patience, self-organisation, concentration, there is more interaction, he is more confident and less judgemental.”

Anthony Donnatelli, Head of Philanthropy UK at UBS confirmed:

“The UBS Optimus Foundation believes that all children deserve every opportunity to grow and thrive. We are really pleased to see the positive results that have been achieved in Jersey through the hard work and commitment of local parents and early years staff. We remain committed to this programme and are currently working on seeking funding for the next phase.”

Annamarie Hassall MBE, Director of Practice, Programmes and Fundraising at the National Children’s Bureau, added:

“During lockdown and the closure of local nurseries, we saw how important it is to be able to provide learning opportunities at home. Thanks to this programme, many Jersey parents were ahead of the game when the pandemic struck. We are delighted with the achievements of local people and are planning to continue this excellent work to keep the momentum going and reach even more children across the Island.”