Liverpool’s Parents as Partners in Early Learning (PPEL) project complemented existing priorities and initiatives focused on engaging parents with their children’s early learning and the city’s drive to promote healthy, active lifestyles.
The PPEL funding was used to create an Active Play project aimed specifically at fathers. Six-week courses were run in over 20 early years settings. A free rucksack, crammed with equipment designed to sustain the positive indoor and outdoor activities and messages learned on the course, was promised to each father as an incentive to encourage regular participation in the PPEL Active Play sessions.
Liverpool’s Active Play programme relied on four part-time key workers, whose flexible approach to programme delivery meant that training programmes could be run at times convenient for those fathers who could only attend at weekends or in the evenings. Overcoming these time barriers enabled good levels of uptake for the courses.
Many of the children’s centres had already benefited from broader active play training aimed at children and early years practitioners, so the PPEL funding fell on fertile ground. The project extended work where there were fathers’ groups already in existence, and also helped develop new groups in other settings. All shared the same purpose: encouraging fathers to engage with their young children.