Parenting, Early Years & Families

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Parenting, Early Years & Families

Infant mental health: the case for early intervention

Infants are primed from birth to relate to another person.  The inter-relatedness of the mother-baby relationship, particularly in the first week and months of life means that each is continually influencing the other.  These early experiences between mother and baby lay the foundation of the infant's fundamental sense of self.  Residues from these early relationships persist across the life cycle.

Impairments in the capacity of parents to offer dependable experience to infants and young children can have a detrimental impact on their emotional, social and cognitive development in ways which may be long lasting and not repairable.

It is in the interests of both child and society that relationship difficulties between parents and children are addressed as early as possible following birth.  Early intervention maximises the potential for development in the individual child and family group.

NSCAP is working with Pen Green Children’s Centre in Northamptonshire on a leading edge development to integrate emotional learning into their model of early years care.  Pen Green is a nationally recognised research, development and training base and leadership centre in early years care and education.  The intention is that the model of training developed there will then be made available in the north of England.

We are also developing training locally including an evidence based programme in Essential Parent-Child Development that we are currently piloting with Health Visitors and a 10 week course combining the practice of close observation of young children and small group discussion to develop an understanding of children’s emotional communication.  

For further information about NSCAP's work in this area please contact our Parenting and Early Years Lead, Sumi Cannon.