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Introducing Smart Start

The Smart Start Programme has been carefully developed to equip all Early Learning and Childcare practitioners and parents with the tools and confidence to enjoy delivering a crucial aspect of all children’s learning and development. As practitioners and parents supporting children’s early development, you are in a position to make a significant positive difference to children’s lives and the choices they make later on.

The programme has been split into two packages:

  • Package A = for all practitioners working with 3 to 5 year olds in Highland Early Learning and Childcare Centres.
  • Package B = for practitioners working with toddlers, young children and their families in Highland years.

About Smart Start

boy-swimmingHealthy eating, physical activity, and the self awareness to begin making the best choices for ourselves are core components of every child’s development. The Smart Start programme covers these through an engaging and relevant set of resources and ideas for possible lines of development to follow the children’s interests. It also addresses many key experiences and outcomes outlined in Curriculum for Excellence.

‘Child Healthy Weight’ has been a major priority for the Scottish Government for several years, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. We strongly believe that ‘health’ is the most important aspect of this – physical, mental, social and emotional health. We use an approach based on nurturing the strengths and abilities of individuals, families and communities to make the best choices they can within the real life circumstances they face. It is an approach that is inclusive, positive, non-judgemental and person centred. It looks to create supportive environments, and draw out the skills and resources of all participants to be as healthy as they can be.

Background

Smart Start forms an essential part of the health improvement support that we provide across the whole life course. From pre-conception; through pregnancy, breast-feeding, weaning and early years; throughout a child’s journey through school and into adulthood; across the working aged population and into older age: we strive to provide consistent and cumulative opportunities for good health.

The foundations that we build in the early years and through Smart Start are built upon through our High 5 Health and Wellbeing Programme for Primary Schools, and as of 2015 we are developing more resources and programmes for Secondary Schools that will form the bridge to our adult provision.

NHS Highland, in partnership with The Highland Council and Care and Learning Alliance, thank you for your participation in this broad picture of supporting health and learning; and we hope you enjoy sharing Smart Start experiences with the children.