Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard

The Lifestart Growing Child programme is a child-centred, month-by-month guide for parents on how their child develops and grows from birth up to five years.  It is uniquely designed to support parents create the best possible environment for their child to develop and is delivered to parents on a one-to-one basis in their own home.

Good development does not just happen – it needs appropriate experiences. The Growing Child programme helps parents lay good developmental foundations for a child’s whole life.

Information gives power, helps build confidence and reduces stress.  Knowing what to do and when to do it helps parents give their child the best possible start on life’s journey.  The Growing Child programme helps parents understand what their children are capable of as they grow and develop physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially.

The focus of the programme is on empowering parents, strengthening parent-child relationships through building good emotional attachment and helping to provide a high quality home learning environment.  It is outcomes focused and offers parents a unique opportunity to review their own parenting practice in light of their child’s individual developmental needs.

The programme consists of age appropriate information on all aspects of child development and learning in the form of colourful monthly issues that include a variety of activities to help encourage that development.

The information is brought to life in a stimulating and engaging way for parents through the effective demonstration of activities and conversations with their personal family visitor.

Watch our short promotional video

Growing Child Curriculum

Within each monthly issue, complex child development concepts and insights are explained in clear and readable text, and learning is linked directly to parent/child day-to-day activities, experiences and contexts.

The programme is structured in such a way as to engage parents in children’s learning and to inform and educate them by providing them with the knowledge, information and developmental activities in an integrated sequence, appropriate to children as they grow, develop and learn.

Informed by the knowledge that a child’s learning attainments are built on foundations laid down earlier, we understand that knowledge acquired at one developmental phase is reinforced and enhanced at another.  For example, the same topic may be addressed in different ways and on a number of occasions to help parents understand when, what, how and why behaviours relating to development occur.

The Growing Child programme is therefore spiral in nature and includes half-year/yearly development milestone checklists to help parents assess their child’s development.

The Home Visit

During the home visit the Family Visitor:

  • discusses the content of the Growing Child issue with the parent
  • encourages her/him to reflect on the child’s progress
  • assesses the parent’s practice
  • demonstrates play, communication and learning activities
  • sets goals for further development and learning, and
  • discusses any problems or concerns.

Parent-child Interactions

The family visitor focuses on strengthening parent-child bonds, promoting good child nurture and parent-child interactions that will support the infant’s development and learning.

By illustrating the importance of conversation, listening, gestures, language, movement, play and learning interactions, the family visitor promotes parent/child emotional attachment and bonding and supports the parent to provide good nurture and a good home learning environment.

Use of household objects

The Growing Child programme encourages parents to use everyday objects and situations as playful learning events for children. The family visitor supports parents to see the learning potential in everyday objects by modelling their use in play and learning activities.

The programme is supported by a library of age appropriate books, toys, music, art materials, and learning resources that parents can use to enhance this important interaction, to scaffold learning and to encourage language, cognitive, and social and emotional development.

This long-term supportive relationship between the parent and the family visitor, equipped with a high quality integrated child development curriculum, is one of the unique features of the Lifestart service.

Please contact us if you would like to deliver the Growing Child programme in your area.