Between March and June next year (2020), up to 50 young families - parents aged 21 and under and their babies and toddlers - will come together once a week for 10 weeks in Child and Family Centres, to eat, learn, sing and play together. Family workers and nurses have helped us design our project and will encourage uptake from the families with whom they work. Most of the parents will not be in employment, education or training (NEET)). The families will be well known to family workers and the family nurse partnership. Some will have English as a second language and would naturally only communicate with their babies in their native tongue. Some may be Gypsy, Romany, Traveller (GRT) families. The young parents face huge challenges and often find great difficulty coping with responsibilities, often needing extra support to do everyday tasks and to communicate effectively with their babies.
What we'll deliver:
- Musical interaction between parents and babies, developing language and communication skills
- Confidence and self-esteem building through singing, dancing, musical games and rhymes
- Pathways to volunteering, training and employment
- Community information with visiting speakers
- Informal lunch together to aid social interaction and build self confidence
- Music activities to be led by Cambridgeshire Music's expert tutors
Why it's a great idea:
We have run a pilot scheme for music and language with young parents and it really works. Now we want to roll it out to more young families and add extra elements like a free lunch and some helpful community interaction, that will make a difference to very young parents who are not in any form of employment, education or training (NEET). Music is a universal language and an effective tool for language development and for greater, and more effective and enjoyable interaction between parents and their babies. Our project will lead to more resilient and confident children, and confident parents linked into their community. The project supports the aim of the Talking Together Project in accelerating the achievement of children aged 0 – 6 living in areas of deprivation, with a focus on early communication, language and literacy skills. All activities will be explained as they are introduced, and parents will be given the skills to reinforce the communication with their babies.
Steps to get it done:
- Book the spaces for tasters and full project
- Contact new, and expectant parents, to introduce Sing Chat & Rhyme
- Run the taster and introductory sessions and find out what parents would like from the project
- Confirm the guests for the 'come and meet' sessions
- Ensure lunch arrangements are in place
- Purchase and loan instruments, books and other resources
- Confirm tutors
Each week an informal chat with the parents over lunch will help the music leaders to understand each individual situation. Finding out more about the participants will inform choices of speaker/presenter for the middle session 'come and meet' each week. The sessions will build on their strengths, increasing self-esteem. If there are non-English speaking parents, they will be encouraged to share their folk songs and nursery rhymes. We will be working with local housing associations, council locality teams, and organisations engaging with NEET young people.