5 to Thrive

Early years approach to be rolled out in Lewisham

What is it?

5 to Thrive is an approach developed by Kate Cairns Associates which frames emotional/social development within brain growth and neuroscience. Using the popular ‘5 a day’ approach to healthy eating, this is 5 a day for healthy relationships and brain development ‘the building blocks for a healthy brain.’

-Talk – Play – Relax – Cuddle – Respond –

 How does this relate to Lewisham?

In November, a 5 To Thrive Conference was held at University Hospital Lewisham. With an opening address from Frankie Sulke, Executive Director, Children and Young People’s Directorate, and Kate Cairns and Carmel Duffy from UNICEF’s Baby Friendly initiative (Lewisham is working towards Baby Friendly Accrediation). After the morning of talks, there was a workshop session for Children’s centre staff to think about how to apply these ideas in their settings.

Frankie spoke about resilience and protective factors and how 5 to Thrive can be part of early attachment and strong parenting. Lewisham currently has, Best EYFS results in the country in 2014 (apart from the Isles of Scilly!)’ which is a great achievement. However Frankie tells us, there is still more to do, and 5 to Thrive may be a way to support working parents, families and within services. Some interesting stats about Lewisham’s Children’s Centres can be found here.

Kate Cairns spoke of her experience as a social worker and foster parent; she set out some interesting case studies- such as how a mother who had been through the care system was able to learn, with support of staff, how to interact and develop a relationship with her daughter. Her previous child had been adopted, but in this case study, mother and child were able to stay together.

This might be of interest if you:

-          Are an early year practitioner working with parents and use this as a tool kit

-          Are an early years manager and could use this with staff

-          An creative practitioner/ organisation who may be developing an arts workshop with early years