What happens when parents and carers lead the conversation about what supports the best start for their children? The First 1,000 Days (F1D) project starts here, listening to understand and then using parents’ knowledge along with early childhood research and evidence to create community learning resources.
This project is building on the work developed in 2021 by Burnie Child and Family Learning Centre (CFLC) and Burnie Community House (BCH). Together with local parents, CFLC and BCH looked at the research, developed a logo and created the 4 quadrants:
- Connection – the importance of face-to-face interactions from birth for good brain development
- Nutrition – the importance of healthy food choices from pre-pregnancy right through to 5 years and beyond
- Moving the importance of physical health
- Caring – understanding the impact of toxic stress on brain development
Supported by the Tasmanian Government, Burnie Works have partnered with the University of Tasmania (UTAS) to grow this program within Burnie and across the North West Coast. Working with the quadrants and families who have already supported this work, the project is looking to engage more families in F1D in Burnie, Smithton and Devonport.
F1D will work with the families, services and researchers to understand what families in each community need to know about the first 2 years of life. Families and services in Burnie, Smithton and Devonport will be invited to join in the design of parent workshops, learning resources and community awareness campaigns, which will be specific to that community’s needs.
The resources developed by the F1D project will stay with the community to support ongoing learning.
What will we see from this project?
- Parents are inspired to share their learning through stories, creating a ripple effect.
- Parents and carers have the ability, resources and confidence to support child development for wellbeing from birth.
- Parents, community, and decision makers know the value and benefits of having community involved in design and decision-making.
- Parents adopt F1D strategies early, supporting baby’s brain development and assisting school readiness.
- F1D literacy and understanding increases across community.
Parents and carers across the three communities are welcome to join the project by sharing their experiences and knowledge of what is important in a child’s first two years of life. Local participation is key to the success of the project and will happen often during the project’s 2 ½ year timeline.
Early relational health is a biological necessity for babies to grow and develop well. When babies receive responsive interactions from parents and carers, like ‘serve and return’, the connections in their brain are strengthened, which builds a strong architecture for all brain development to come. Connection also refers to how families feel connected to others, culture, nature, community, pets, religion, or spirituality. We want to hear from families about how connected they feel to their baby and their world, and what might help improve those connections.
Nutritious food and drink during pregnancy and beyond, sets conditions for healthy development for baby, and good health for parents. Unpacking the latest information about pregnancy nutrition, breast and bottle feeding, introducing solid food and creating healthy food habits for toddlers can be done in a way that feels inclusive, non-judgemental and supportive. We want to hear from families about what impacts food and drink choices both for themselves and their children.
Too much stress interrupts healthy brain development for babies and makes it harder for parents to be kind and patient. But there are factors which can help protect baby from stress, like maintaining safe secure relationships, keeping regular routines, and getting good sleep. Access to mental health care and safety support is important too. Care will be taken to better consider impacts of intergenerational factors such as colonisation and trauma, to hear from families about what is helpful when seeking healing.
Being safely active during pregnancy and beyond is likely to improve the physical health of both parent and baby. Right from birth, babies need to move, wriggle and stretch. One of the best ways for this is ‘tummy time’. When newborn babies rest on their tummy (on a rug on the floor or even their parent’s chest, they build head, neck, and upper body strength. Toddlers need daily opportunities to run, climb and jump. Daily activity is great for parents too. We’d like to hear from families about things that help or hinder moving in daily life.