25 March 2022
The Government of Jersey, in collaboration with the Best Start Partnership organisation, is launching a free app for families with children under the age of five, as part of the COVID-19 recovery plans.
The '50 things to do before you're five' app will help to support families and children to develop positive health and wellbeing habits in the early years and prepare children for future learning as well as promoting local activities and experiences.
The Best Start Partnership and the Childcare and Early Years team, at the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES) will officially launch the app next month.
Islanders are invited to attend and celebrate the app's launch at a free family event on Saturday, 9 April between 10 – 12pm in Millbrook Park. The picnic and play morning will include fun activities from the app hosted by organisations who work with young children.
Children and Education Minister, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: "A survey by the Best Start Partnership revealed that children's development and experiences during the pandemic have been adversely affected. As part of our pledge to put children first we have launched this new app which provides a framework of activities intended to support and help families.
"I would like to thank the Best Start Partnership and Childcare and Early Years team, in CYPES, for launching this family-friendly app. It will provide a universal offer to help families develop their home learning environment, suggesting a wide range of low cost and no cost activities, including local links, top tips and signposting to island events."
The cost of the project is £30,000 over two years and then £10,000 for every year onwards.
Other benefits from the app include resources, developing age-appropriate vocabulary, current child development research and top tips for the 50 activities. The app also highlights the importance of outdoor learning for young children and promotes the unique opportunities of growing up and living in Jersey. The aim of the app is to build parental confidence in understanding that what you do with your children can make the biggest difference in their early development.
Group Director of Education, Seán O' Regan, said: "Evidence from authorities in the UK who have launched this app show that more than 70% of schools report significant improvement in parents' engagement with school and their child's learning.
"This app will help to support families and children to develop positive health and wellbeing habits that will last a lifetime. It will also help champion public health benefits, engage parents and foster whole family approaches to learning health and wellbeing."
Dr Cathy Hamer, Independent Chair of the Best Start Partnership, said: "The Best Start Partnership believe that all children in Jersey deserve to have the best start in life. What children experience in their earliest years is key to their success in adulthood. The Partnership recognises that all parents want the best for their children and value the vital role played by parents and carers. Evidence is clear that what parents do with their babies and young children shapes their development, educational attainment and life chances.
"Having fun together, by engaging in the activities on the app, will be a joy for children and families as well as developing children's skills and social relationships, Bringing the app to Jersey will help the Partnership achieve its ambition. We look forward to seeing the difference it will make in achieving positive outcomes for children."
Julie McAllister, Early Years Adviser, in CYPES said: "We are delighted to announce the launch of 50 things to do before you're five, in Jersey. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this happen. We are so excited to be offering this opportunity to our young children and families, and look forward to meeting them, as they join in the 50 things journey."