2: EasyPeasy Bournemouth – finding ways to experiment with new ideas and act as a test bed
To improve children’s skills through family learning, Bournemouth Borough Council has been working in partnership with the Sutton Trust and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to introduce EasyPeasy, a smartphone app for parents of pre-school aged children.
The app, which sends game ideas to parents combined with information on child development, was first prototyped in 2014 and then piloted in Bournemouth in partnership with the Council. It is designed to encourage positive habits within families both in terms of play and interaction and games were developed in consultation with experts to ensure its efficacy. The app covers all of the EYFS areas of learning and development, sending tailored prompts, encouragement and reminders to parents.
The Bournemouth trial was rigorously evaluated by researchers at the University of Oxford and was found to have a positive effect on families after 18 weeks. Children made progress in terms of social and emotional development. Furthermore, the app had positive effects on parents’ engagement and confidence in setting rules and sticking to boundaries. Given its success, the app is now used in a number of other local authorities, including Newham and Camden in London, Doncaster and Coventry.