Giving Children the Best Start in Life
Giving children the best start in life is a fundamental part of improving health and reducing inequalities. The earliest years of a child’s life have a significant impact on their long-term development and their life chances.
Giving a child the ‘best start’ begins before birth, with good pre-conception and maternity care. Pregnancy and the early years offer a unique opportunity to shape the lives of our children: if a child receives appropriate support during their early years, they have a real chance of maximising their potential.
How we treat young children shapes their lives, and ultimately, our society. If we get the early years right, we pave the way for a lifetime of achievement. If we get them wrong, we miss a unique opportunity to shape a child’s future.
The first 1001 days - from conception to the age of 2 - are a critical period of development. This is because the earliest experiences, starting in pregnancy, shape a baby’s brain development and have a lifelong impact: during the first two years of life the brain develops a remarkable capacity to absorb information and adapt to its surroundings. From birth to 18 months, connections in the brain are created at a rate of one million per second.
Nottinghamshire launched their partnership Best Start Strategy 2021-2025 [PDF] in February 2021 which will help every child in Nottinghamshire to have the best possible start in life, because we know that a good start shapes lifelong health, wellbeing and prosperity.
The strategy brings together all key organisations to improve the life chances of all children in Nottinghamshire; working as a multi-agency Best Start Partnership to engage and support families prior to conception, in pregnancy, and across the early years.
We have developed ten ambitions for Nottinghamshire informed by the evidence base and our engagement with partners.
The ten ambitions for Nottinghamshire are as follows:
- Prospective parents are well prepared for parenthood
- Mothers and babies have positive pregnancy outcomes
- Babies and parents/carers have good early relationships
- Parents are engaged and participate in home learning from birth
- Parents experiencing emotional, mental health and wellbeing challenges are identified early and supported
- Children and parents have good health outcomes
- Children and parents are supported with early language, speech and communication
- Children are ready for nursery and school and demonstrate a good level of overall development
- Children have access to high quality early years provision
- Parents are in secure employment
The Strategy builds on successful work already being delivered in Nottinghamshire and will be developing and evaluating activities and services which help to achieve the 10 ambitions.
Find out more
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Local Services and Support for Families
- Breastfeeding and maternal health
- Children's Centre Service
- Early Childhood Services
- Families Information Service
- Healthy Family Teams Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
- Help with childcare
- Home-Start Mansfield
- HomeStart Newark
- Home-Start Nottingham
- How to register a birth
- Maternity Unit at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Trust
- Maternity Unit at Sherwood Forest Hospital Trust
- Maternity Units at Nottingham University Hospital Trust
- Notts Help Yourself
- Public Health Children’s Commissioning