information for transformational people

Life Chances


Overwhelming evidence suggests that, within the context of the early years of a child’s life (0-5), the single most important factor influencing a child’s intellectual and social development is the quality of parenting and care they receive and the quality of the home learning environment that this creates. What parents do is ultimately more important than who parents are.

Effectively, our brains are largely formed by what we experience in early life. At birth there are 100 billion neurons (brain cells) and 50 trillion synapses (connections). By age three, the number of synapses has increased twenty-fold to one thousand trillion. Many new synapses are formed and strengthened by experience – early life defines which of them live and which die. Synapses become ‘hard-wired’ by repeated use, enabling very rapid learning via early life experience. Conversely, just as a memory will fade if it is hardly ever accessed, unused synapses wither away. The whole process has the effect of making early learned behaviour resistant to change.
 
The brain of an abused or neglected child is significantly smaller than the norm: the system which governs emotions is 20-30 per cent smaller; the part responsible for memory is also smaller. Both of these stunted developments are the direct result of much less stimulation (e.g. sight, sound, touch) than is required for normal development of the brain.

The Church is already involved with parents and children but could we adjust our social actions to make more of a difference for this group?


 

Parent report 492
What do parents hope and fear for their children? 
The Parent Report from Spurgeons Childrens Charity looks at parents’ hopes and concerns for their children and where they turn for help. More ...
Geoff Knott
Commission 492
Commission on Inequality in Education 
As well as factors including location, income, etc., the importance of parental engagement in education was assessed. More ...
Geoff Knott
XQ 492
Reimagining senior school 
In the USA, 13 schools in 11 cities are exploring new, innovative ways to engage students and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow. More ...
Geoff Knott
Chain 492
Working with young women in prison 
Young female offenders and ex-offenders in particular are in desperate need of positive role models, new skills, new opportunities and new aspirations. More ...
Geoff Knott
Thanks 492
Counting your blessings improves mental health  
Recent evidence suggests if the practice of gratitude is added to counselling, it shows great psychological benefits. More ...
From research by Joel Wong and Joshua Brown, India
Streetplay 492
Street Play - communities brought together by kids playing in the road 
Closing a street for several hours, several times per year so that kids can play in the street and through that neighbours can meet each other. More ...
Geoff Knott
PREP 492
Within My/Our Reach - an opportunity to improve relationships 
Workshops birthed out of 30 years of research in the field of relationship health given to over 300,000 people. Results; lower divorce rates, better communication skills, reduction in violence. More ...
Geoff Knott
dads 492
Dads want to succeed as fathers but parent relationship needs to be strong
There is a narrative of absent fathers who had multiple children with different women and abandoned them. However, research on those fathers offers another, more uplifting story. More ...
Geoff Knott
baby 492
Voice for the voiceless 
What you won’t find in the news each day Is that five hundred babies were aborted in the UK Their silence in death matches our silence in life An inconvenience kept out of sight More ...
Geoff Knott
Pregnancy 492
10 myths about parenthood and mental health
NCT have debunked popular myths and misconceptions about mental health as related to pregnancy and early years parenting. More ...
From an article by NCT
GenZ 492
Gen Z: Rethinking Culture 
Research on youth culture to help to understand how to connect effectively with today’s young people and share the good news of Jesus. More ...
From research by Youth for Christ
ollie 492
Ollie's story 
200,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment each year. Here is the story of one of them. More ...
From a video by PACT
raki 492
Random App of Kindness 
Is it possible, through an app, to teach children empathy? Early results promising.. More ...
Geoff Knott
kindness 492
Children's books that encourage kindness towards others 
Kindness is one of the most important character traits and books can help show the best ways to be kind to others or why kindness matters. More ...
Geoff Knott
CDCHU 492
8 things to remember about child development 
Harvard University's Centre for the Developing Child has published a list of key findings about aspects of early child development. More ...
From an article by Harvard University's Centre for
Safe Families 492
Safe Families for Children 
Helps stop children being taken into care. Instead they are placed temporarily with volunteer Host Families, mostly from churches. More ...
Geoff Knott
Lets Talk 492
Let's Talk 
Short videos and education packs that encourage conversations about key mental health topics. More ...
Geoff Knott
Life 492
The Beginning of Life 
This beautiful film, supported by UNICEF, explores the impact of a child’s early environment on their cognitive, social and emotional development. More ...
Geoff Knott
CoS 492
Circle of Security 
An early intervention programme about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened. More ...
Geoff Knott
selfharm 492
A Parent’s Guide to Self-harm 
Selfharm UK have published 'A Parent’s Guide to Self-harm' and an article 'Ten Top Tips for Parents of Children who Self-Harm'. More ...
From an article by Selfharm UK
father 492
Fatherhood: the impact of fathers on children’s mental health 
From pregnancy and early years through to adolescence, fathers are a major influence on a child’s emotional and behavioural health. More ...
From a report by the Centre for Mental Health
Grandparents 492
Grandparents and children - two-way benefits?
We intuitively know that grandparents contribute to children's wellbeing but what are those benefits and are there reciprocal ones to grandparents? More ...
Geoff Knott
Creativity 492
Encouraging creativity 
Creativity is very relevant to the way people work and also discovering who you are - what interests you and what could be your vocation. More ...
Geoff Knott
Shelter 492
Books that help children understand migrant and refugee experiences 
A great resource to help get children focusing on identity, belonging, conflict, migrant and refugee experiences - helping them make sense of the world around us and our place in it. More ...
From an article by The Centre for Literacy in Prim
emotions 492
Teaching children about emotions 
Helping children to understand and manage their emotions is a key to their future health and development. More ...
Geoff Knott
mother 492
The things I would tell myself before I had children 
Emi Watson is a mum of two and a Digital Advertising Sales Manager. In this extract from her blog on the Mental Health Foundation website, she reflects on the changes she has experienced since becoming a mum. More ...
From the Mental Health Foundation
zeroto3 492
The 'Missing' First Year?
While parents have a general understanding that what happens in a child’s early years can last a lifetime, many don’t realize at what age babies and toddlers can begin to feel complex emotions. More ...
Geoff Knott
LearntoLead 492
Empowering the young to lead
Learn to Lead - a programme for youngsters that takes engagement to a new level. Applicable to church children and youthwork? More ...
Geoff Knott
Limited 492
Forecasting which children will cost society the most 
20% of the population accounts for the lion’s share of social costs such as crime and welfare dependence as adults. Can we predict at age 3 and intervene? More ...
From research by King’s College London, Duke Unive
people 492
Higher levels of education do not mean higher levels of tolerance 
Education is said to make people more tolerant by enhancing their knowledge and reasoning skills. As the generations become better educated and enlightened, does society become more tolerant? More ...
From an article by Jan Janmaat, UCL
We are family 492
We are Family: the changing face of family ministry
How is the Church working with families today? What does this ministry look like? What training and resources are available for those working in this field? More ...
From research by CGMC and The Methodist Church
resilience 1 492
10 tips for building resilience in children and teens 
Building resilience — the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress — can help our children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. More ...
From a guide by the American Psychological Associa
easypeasy 492
EasyPeasy - learning through play, every day 
Nearly half of children arrive at school ‘not ready to learn’. EasyPeasy is an app for parents to use that supports learning through play at home and shows significant improvement in school readiness skills. More ...
Geoff Knott
EIF Cost 492
£17bn per year - the cost of late intervention
Results of research of the costs of ‘late intervention’: the acute, statutory and essential benefits and services that are required when children and young people experience significant but preventable difficulties in life. More ...
From a report by EI Foundation
working parents 492
How families are combining work and family life
Earlier this year, Working Families published their 3rd Modern Families Index - a snapshot of family life in the UK today. In particular, it focuses on how families combine work and family life. More ...
Working Families
Mate 492
Adverse Childhood Experiences - a doctor's story
Gabor Maté has worked worked in a palliative care and in an area challenged by hard core addiction, mental illness, HIV and related conditions. He talks about the importance of early years' development. More ...
From a talk by Gabor Maté
sulky child 492
5 steps of emotion coaching to help child development 
Successful parents tend to do 5 very simple things with their children when they were emotional. Children who had “Emotion Coaches” for parents were on a more positive developmental trajectory. More ...
Geoff Knott
Village 1 492
The Village
This is the story of a remarkable village in Luquan, Kunming which has taken 166 special needs children from the Kunming orphanage into their families. A picture of God adopting us. More ...
From a video by Care for Children
adoption 492
Home for Good - a home for every child that needs one
Sunday 6th November 2016 is Adoption Sunday. It is an opportunity each year for the Church to share the good news of our adoption into God’s family and to respond to the needs of young people in the UK care system. More ...
From Home for Good
What to expect when 492
What to expect, when?
A simple guide which takes parents of 0-5 year olds through the expectations of each age band and how they can support their children’s learning and development. More ...
A publication of 4Children
Parenting Styles 492
Four Styles of Parenting 
Developmental psychologists have identified four parenting styles and all have different impacts on children; Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, Uninvolved. What is impact on children? More ...
From an article by Kendra Cherry
Resilience 492
How a community becomes trauma-informed
A few weeks back, I wrote about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the effect they have on adult health including mental illness, doing time in prison, and work issues, such as absenteeism. More ...
Geoff Knott
encourage 492
'You'll either be a millionaire or locked up.'
We can all encourage youngsters as they grow up and that can, without you knowing, have a great affect on their future. To illustrate this, here are two stories: More ...
Geoff Knott
Mindset 492
Why mindset matters
A fixed mindset believes intelligence is static which leads to children not achieving their potential. A growth mindset on the other hand believes that intelligence can be developed and leads to higher levels of achievement. More ...
Geoff Knott
VCS 492
Private schools helping primaries in deprived areas  
In Silicon Valley, California, there is a very high achieving set of schools – Valley Christian Schools. They have linked with a primary school in a local area where there are lots of social issues. The results in this primary school have risen More ...
Geoff Knott
Village 492
Where is the village?
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but where is that village today? Bill Milliken, now 75, reflects on lessons he has learnt from helping troubled students in the USA stay in school, graduate, and succeed in life. More ...
From a talk by Bill Milliken, co-founder Communiti
Mum and child playing 492
Three resources for parents of toddlers
Free downloadable resources for you to give away in your community to parents of 1-5's and advertise your parent and toddler group based on resources of SKIP, a community campaign in New Zealand. More ...
Geoff Knott
Parents and baby 492
Three resources for expectant and new parents
Free downloadable resources for you to give away in your community to expectant or new parents and advertise your parent group, based on resources of SKIP, a community campaign in New Zealand. More ...
Geoff Knott
money and marriage 492
The marriage gap between rich and poor parents 
The Marriage Foundation has found that a marriage gap between rich and poor parents exists throughout Europe, contrasting marriage rates between top and bottom income quintiles. More ...
From a briefing paper by The Marriage Foundation
Art 492
Key factor that predicts community involvement
A study in 2013 found that attending cultural or sports events was the largest predictor of civic engagement. Young people who said they went "often" to theatre, ballet, classical concerts, museums, galleries or sports events More ...
Geoff Knott
Refugee youth club 492
Youth club for young refugees and asylum seekers
An example of a church which started a youth venture among vulnerable young refugees and asylum seekers. "Once the basic needs are provided for [by the authorities], their other needs take a back seat. More ...
Geoff Knott
ACE 492
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and future health
A multi-year survey of 17000 patients looked at their health and also asked what childhood traumas they had experienced. When the doctor conducting the research first saw the results, he was stunned. “I wept,” he says. More ...
Geoff Knott
Ragged School 492
John Pounds, Thomas Guthrie, Thomas Cranfield
A cobbler, a minister, a tailor. Men of faith who started teaching poor children in the late 18th/early 19th century that led to a revolution in the British education system. More ...
Geoff Knott
Mental Health 492
Resources for youth mental health
"Some people with mental health problems today are almost guaranteed to live a life in poverty. And the number of people who suffer from poor mental health is larger than you might think." More ...
Geoff Knott
Parents 492
Wide division in building good childhood foundations in high-low socio-economic families
"Social mobility begins in the home. Parenting has not received the attention it deserves. Parents provide the foundations for children’s progress in later life" More ...
Geoff Knott
helping children succeed 492
Help children by helping their parents
In 1986, in a few of the poorest neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, researchers held an experiment that has done a great deal to change our thinking about how to help children succeed. Its message: Help children by supporting and coaching their parents. More ...
From an essay by Paul Tough, author
Children in care 492
Too many children in care ending up behind bars 
An independent review, established by Prison Reform Trust. Around half of the 1,000 children currently in custody in England and Wales have experience of the care system. This is despite fewer than 1% of all children in England More ...
An independent review Prison Reform Trust
Parental Relationships and Chi
The effect of inter-parental relationships on children
The quality of the inter-parental relationship, specifically how parents communicate and relate to each other, is increasingly recognised as a primary influence on effective parenting practices and More ...
Professor Gordon Harold and Dr. Ruth Sellers
Afterschool club 492
After-school clubs help poorer primary school pupils to get ahead
Taking part in after-school clubs can give primary school children from poorer families a boost in academic performance and provide them with important social skills. According to a new working paper More ...
From article-Emily Tanner NatCen Social Research
Helping in homeless shelter 49
The opportunity of work experience and community service
Why do university educated, professional classes continue to move ahead while those at the bottom can remain stuck? What can we do about the advantages that are lacking? More ...
Geoff Knott
education 492
6 resources to help with education
When the Life Chances initiative was launched in January 2016 to help the poorest children in the country, one of the 4 areas of focus was education. Many churches are already involved in giving assemblies, etc., but what might be extensions More ...
Geoff Knott
Lifesavers 492
Lifesavers - financial education and savings clubs
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group and pfeg, the Personal Finance Education Group are rolling out LifeSavers, a national financial education programme for primary schools. Could you register a primary school you are involved with? More ...
Geoff Knott
School Kit 492
School Kit - for parents to help their kids get the best out of school
TLG have just launched a video-based course called School Kit. School can often present challenges to children and to parents. School Kit brings together the experiences of lots of parents and unpacks More ...
Geoff Knott
couple arguing 492
6 resources to help relationships - families and early years
In my last blog about this subject, we looked at resources that could be helpful in developing good parenting for early years. In this one, let's look at resources that churches can use to help relationships. More ...
Geoff Knott
Mum and child playing 492
11 resources for parenting - families and early years
"Families are the best anti-poverty measure ever invented. They are a welfare, education and counselling system all wrapped up into one. Children in families that break apart are more than twice as likely to More ...
Geoff Knott
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