Ages and Stages

Early Years' settings constantly strive to support children's development: physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Staff monitor children's progress and plan activities to support next steps in learning. They focus on the development of specific skills, identifying and addressing developmental delays. If children need specific support, staff engage with parents and other relevant agencies as required to plan for individual needs.

Ages and Stages aims to enable settings to raise parents' awareness of important milestones in child development and to support them in recognising their children's achievements and specific needs. Settings can apply for up to 450 to provide information sessions/ workshops, guidance and support materials to encourage parents to help develop specific skills at home.

Settings may wish to:

  • share information about stages of development
  • demonstrate learning experiences and strategies used to develop specific skills
  • provide guidance and support materials to help parents extend children's learning and develop specific skills in the home environment
  • sign-post parents to services and sources of relevant information

As part of the Early Intervention Transformation Programme, all DE funded pre-school settings will, over the next few years, have access to a named health visitor, providing up to date health information, guidance and support in relation to individual children and the pre-school population. Settings may therefore wish to provide Ages and Stages workshops to disseminate some of these key health related messages to parents, for example, relating to:

  • Language Development
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Active Play
  • Encouraging independence
  • Routines
  • Sleep
  • Positive behaviour
  • Physical Development
  • Safe-guarding

Within Getting Ready to Learn there is no set programme to follow. Each pre-school setting is best placed to decide which elements would be most relevant to support their parents and children. Guidance material will be provided to support settings in delivering tailor-made programmes to suit their specific needs, including:

  • suggested session outlines and sample presentations;
  • practical ideas for workshops;
  • advice from Early Years' Education and Health Professionals
  • access to current research
  • sharing of practice across local pre-school settings