Erect Architecture

Erect Architecture

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LEAP in 'Social Education'

Journal-Leap Japanese Article

Erect Architecture are working with the National Children's Bureau and Lambeth Council to improve Early Year facilities in the borough as part of the Lambeth Early Action Partnership (LEAP) programme. LEAP is an innovative programme funded by BIG Lottery and aims to improve outcomes for young children. All designs are co-developed with stakeholders and users and range from the very small, such as the improvement of an Early Years playground to medium size extensions to enhance the capacity of oversubscribed children's centres.

The project was featured in a Japanese magazine called Shakai Kyoiku (Social Education).

Shakai Kyoiku is a monthly academic journal on education as a life-long pursuit published by Nihon Seinen-dan. It is mainly targeted to those who are working at the Ministry of Education and local education authorities, practitioners and managers at schools, and researchers., as part of an on-going research into Non-Profit Organisation's involvement in social education. 


Series: NPO overseas – Case Study 15

Magazine name: Social Education 2018-1

Title: LEAP: A charity for supporting parents and infants (pre-schooling)


1: Summary of the characteristics of Lambeth and the activity of LEAP

1A: summary of Lambeth:

Densely populated/large number of people of Portuguese/African/Caribbean origin. Ranked 8th highest in London for the number people living in poverty in the area and 22nd in the UK. The area consists of mixed demography with varying economic backgrounds. There are problems caused by poverty, violence and drug problems.


1B: summary of family/children demography of Lambeth

5000 new born babies/year in Lambeth. 5% of the population is below 4 years of age = 17,000 children. 1 out of 10 households is a single parent household. Average of 30% of children live in poverty. 11% of children aged between 4-5 are obese. The pregnancy rate of girls aged 15-17 is 29 people out of 1000 (higher than the UK average of 19).


1C:  summarises the history of LEAP

Funded by lottery, Lambeth is one of the 5 areas. Project timeline spans from 2015 to 2025. Aiming to improve social / health problems amongst families with young children between 0- 3 years old. The project is evidenced based, to achieve preventative care.  The project is run by a team consisting of an executive director, a sub director and 19 employees.


1D: LEAP Approach

The early action approach consists of 5 regions. The operation is collaborative between parents and residents of the neighbourhood and volunteer organisations.

Specific activities include: 1-food and nutrition, 2- social and emotional development, 3- communication and language, 4-“Parent Champion Programme”.

LEAP’s vision is humanistic. Furthermore, it not only supports the family and children but also helps to establish a neighbourhood-based support mechanism to aid raising a child. Some activities involve: support for parenting, creating friendships amongst parents, support for the neighbouring community, access to specialist advice.


2: Main activity of LEAP – Early involvement aimed at parents and new born to early years children.

Laura McFarlene, the sub representative and other specialist employees have shared their stories with us. Below is the summary from the interview on the main LEAP activities.

(1)    Food and nutrition: CAN is a food/nutrition program aiming to change the eating habits of pregnant people with a high BMI index. The program supports breast feeding, and create a peer support network and promotes an oral health program. The oral health program is in collaboration with the local King’s College medical department. To develop these programs, firstly, a workshop is held to make the problems clear to parents with infants. The specific program is developed using the outcomes from the discussions with the participants. Hence, the importance is heavily placed on the point of views of the participants.

(2)    Social and Emotional Programme: By employing a child psychologist, PAIRS is a programme that develops the bond/attachment between the child and parents. Supporting parents and children with experience of domestic violence in the household. To understand problems arising from poverty, and to run training programmes for the staff and volunteers. 

(3)    Communication and Language Programme: together with organisations of child care providers. To visit households with particular problems with children with language development and execute programs to improve their linguistic abilities. The collaborators include 20 nurseries and 80 households. Teaching parents play/games that aid linguistic learning. The program also includes training sessions for different organisations involved in child care provision.

(4)    Cross fertilisation of the above 3 programmes: Parent Champion Programme. This starts from identifying a parent with leadership abilities. To train this individual to become a connector between the parents (service users) and LEAP (service provider). To aid with improvements in employability, partnerships between nurses and expecting mothers below the age of 20, aiding households with overcrowded living conditions.

(5)    More detailed summary of PCP: This programme provides learning opportunities for parents with infants prior to entering formal schooling. At the same time, this learning leads to qualifications in high school education. The course includes 3 hours/week for a duration of 6-10 weeks with a one on one teaching session once a month.  The eligibility for the PCP course includes parents without GCSE qualifications. After completion of the course, they are eligible for NVQ level 1 through applying through the Open College Network. The fact that you can achieve a NVQ Level 1, is one of the motivations for the participants, as this opens the door for acquiring further education in NVQ Level 2, 3 etc.  The learning is not only desk based, it includes active learning such as role play and experiment-based learning tools such as brain games (developed by Harvard University), which involves understanding child brain development through craft making. Some of the PCP includes grandparents of the infants. Some of the PCP become employees of other charity organisations. Characteristics of LEAP lie in providing opportunities which lead to educational qualifications leading to potential employment opportunities.


3: LEAP accomplishment and assessment

The assessment procedure of LEAP is structured with detailed analysis and propositions. Universities including Oxford University are involved in the assessment process. It Includes yearly assessments and 3-year assessments to record development. This structural process of the planning of assessment and execution reveals the effectiveness of the early involvement in preventative problem solving.

Already many achievements have been made clear.

Food and Nutrition Programme:  the ratio of children exceeding BMI index of 25 have decreased and breast-fed infants have increased. In the Lambeth region, fast-food establishments have decreased.

Social and Emotional Programme: Decrease in the number of children experiencing domestic violence, neglect, behavioural and emotional difficulties. Increase in the number of children with good academic achievements and preparation for schooling.

Communication and Language Programme: Decrease in number of children experiencing communication and language developmental problems.

4: Future Development

The importance for the future development is placed on the system change programme in LEAP. The aim is to change people’s mind towards pre-school period education and to improve the system. For example (a) By focusing on the family as the core of education, incorporate opinions of the users  (b) to eliminate existing duplicate services and make it more user friendly (c) to collaborate with small scale volunteering organisations (d) to collaborate with social workers involved with the family and parents e) to support male parents who feels disconnected from parenting or people who feel socially marginalised due to differences in their mother language (f) to promote cross cultural exchange.

The future development of the organisation consists of two points. One is to leave a legacy in the five regions where LEAP is present. To encourage the on-going operation of LEAP lead by the neighbourhood community, even after the committed budget period when the leading organisation will cease to exist. To make an example to encourage other regions that programmes such as LEAP can take place. The UK’s welfare system is vulnerable to the cycle of political party change - LEAP believes that charitable institutions need to have a stronger influence in policy making. The staff of LEAP are led by a strong belief and dedication to bringing improvements to social problems.


5: Opinion of the Researcher

LEAP is actively engaging in early years action programmes for infants and parents backed with a large budget. This is a social model using a ‘trial and learn’ method. In Japan, I hope that corporations and charities will increase their financial contributions for social improvement programmes. LEAP’s approach to providing learning opportunities for parents is a great idea. Provision of learning opportunities enables further qualifications and employment acquisition for the parents.

These types of early interventions prevent and improve the core of the problem.

We hope that the Japanese education and welfare system consider the root of the problem and takes a preventative approach.