The role of parents as the first and most important teacher for their children is being supported by a number of groups being established throughout Moray.
NHS Grampian and Moray Council have formed the Parents Early Education Partnership (PEEP), part of the Early Years Collaborative in Moray.
The initiative was launched on Monday by Councillor George Alexander, who is vice-chair of the children and young people’s services committee, and Susan Maclaren, the council’s head of integrated children’s services.
They were joined by parents and children from Lossiemouth and Elgin and by NHS Grampian community nursery nurse Elizabeth Duncan, who set up Moray’s first PEEP programme in Lossiemouth three years ago.
Training has already been provided for 18 people including council and NHS staff, volunteers from the Step by Step charity and a parent from the Lossiemouth PEEP group. Funding has been provided by the Scottish Government’s Early Years Change Fund that will allow trainers to start groups in Elgin, Buckie and Forres.
Mrs Duncan said: “PEEP is an enjoyable and structured series of one-hour sessions once a week involving parents with babies and pre-school children.
“Parents get a lot out of the sessions, helping them with confidence and knowledge. We emphasise communication − this includes singing, story-telling, and talking.
“Play and interaction is also important, using everyday household items. Young children spend most of their time with their families and this is also a time when they are learning a great deal very quickly. PEEP helps families make the most of this.”
Susan Maclaren added: “Spending time playing, talking and having fun is the best thing we can do for our children.
“PEEP can help families to make the best of this time and can help to ensure that we give our children the best possible start to life.
“Learning together through PEEP helps families to develop and grow together and we hope that the service can be taken to more areas of Moray.”
PEEP supports a wide range of developmental and educational needs which are age and stage appropriate.
It has a set curriculum, but is also flexible enough to incorporate resources such as Play@home – a programme of activities to support the development and wellbeing of babies and young children – and the Before Words programme for parents with young babies, which is developed by NHS Grampian’s speech and language therapy service in Moray and delivered by health visitors.