National Institute for Health and Care Research


Upcoming webinars from the Supporting Early Minds Research Network.

We are pleased to announce that the registration links for our upcoming webinars are now live!

Hear from research experts working in the 0-5 sector, including results of recent studies and reflections on research methods.

You can sign up for each webinar using the links below.

Soft Launch of the Supporting Early Minds Research Network: Why does the English 0-5 Sector need to be Research Ready?

Dr Michael Fanner and Professor Jane Barlow (University of Oxford)

10th May 2024, 1pm to 2pm

Jane and Michael will be hosting a ‘soft’ launch of the Supporting Early Minds Research Network, explaining how the research network can benefit everyone in the 0-5 sector in England.

Michael will then present preliminary findings from a qualitative study that explores both the facilitators and barriers to engaging with research in services for children aged 0 to 5.

This study involved a diverse group of key stakeholders (n=40), including practitioners, service managers, commissioners, researchers, and policy officials.

He will also share practical advice on how these services can increase their involvement in research studies, drawing on insights from the study’s findings.

Parents’ Perceptions of the Impact on their Child’s Development during Covid-19 Lockdown: Findings from a Study

Debra Laxton, Lianna Wilding and Lorna Earle (University of Chichester)

14th June 2024, 1pm to 2pm


Debra, Lianna and Lorna will present findings from a research study conducted during the 2020 lockdown focused on Personal, Social, and Emotional Development (PSED) in two-year-olds, examining parents’ perceptions of the lockdown’s impact on their child’s development.

The study included responses from 827 parents, of which 6% received funding for two-year-olds.


Carol will introduce the SUSI model, designed for under-5s and their families, offering a comprehensive approach to assess and intervene in children’s social-emotional development and their relationship with caregivers.

SUSI includes a detailed assessment, a tailored intervention plan ranging from 6-15 sessions, and employs therapeutic techniques aimed at addressing the core issues within the parent-child dyad.

Created to fill the gap in resources and accessibility for this age group, SUSI aims to support families through customisable resources and by embedding the service within community networks and social care services. It is evidence-based, reflecting a broader effort to improve early mental health care.


Thriving in the Early Years-Place Based Approaches for Better Outcomes

Patrick Myers, Thrive at Five

13th Sept 2024, 1pm to 2pm


Patrick will discuss Thrive at Five’s Collective Impact model encouraging collaboration between funders, service partners and the public to improve the outcomes in the early years through a shared agenda and a range of joint activities.

The approach offers sustainability by working at the practice level and systems wide collaboration.

The webinar will discuss how the Collective Impact model works, including its implementation in their first local authority (Stoke on Trent).

Thrive at Five is a national charity with the express aim of improving outcomes for children in their early years.


Knowledge Mobilisation Training in Communities to Share Evidence-Based Information about the First 1001 Days: Using Community Champions as Trusted Messengers

Georgie Marks (Action for Children), Siobhan Mitchell and Kath Wilkinson (University of Exeter)

11th Oct 2024, 1pm to 2pm


Georgie, Siobhan and Kath will discuss how training non-professionals who interact with parents in communities (e.g. breastfeeding peer supporters) has been used to mobilise knowledge about the First 1001 Days.

They will share the theory behind this ‘community champion’ approach as well as the outcomes of research investigating how it works in practice.


Exploring Neonatal Nurses’ and Parents’ Understanding of the Factors that both Enhance and Hinder Communication and Early Interaction between Preterm Infants and their Parents

Dr Lisa Whiting, Dr Julia Petty (University of Hertfordshire) and Professor Celia Harding (City, University of London)

15th Nov 2024, 1pm to 2pm

Infants born preterm face heightened risks of speech, language and communication issues, impacting education and social connections.

In neonatal care, bonding and skin-to-skin contact are often mistakenly seen as fostering verbal skills. Yet, the specific strategies for linguistic development are poorly grasped and rarely applied.

Lisa and colleagues explore a qualitative study on parents’ and nurses’ perspectives on fostering communication in preterm infants. Parents primarily focused on bonding and skin-to-skin care, while nurses emphasised broader communication practices. Given the risk of delayed language development from insufficient parent-infant interaction, accessible resources tailored to parents are urgently needed.


Laura will discuss insights gathered through conversations with women, healthcare professionals, social workers and prison staff.

The research delves into the emotional intricacies and challenges surrounding newborn-mother separation in criminal justice settings. Findings have shed light on the profound impact on maternal well-being, the complexities faced by healthcare and social workers, and the dynamics within the prison system.

By capturing these narratives, the study emphasises the critical need for comprehensive support structures, advocating for a deeper understanding of the nuanced interplay between institutional protocols and the early development of young minds affected by maternal separation.


The Watch Me Play! Approach

Dr Jenifer Wakelyn and Dr Vaso Totsika (Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust)

14th Feb 2025, 1pm to 2pm

Jenifer will discuss new research findings on the Watch Me Play! Approach.

Watch Me Play! is a way of supporting parents or carers and their baby or young child – aged from birth to around eight years old – that promotes child-led play, individual attention from caregivers and talking with children about their play.

Parents or carers are encouraged to provide children with age-appropriate toys and their undivided attention in a quiet environment for regular short times two or more times a week.

Parents or carers are also encouraged to talk with the child about their play, and to reflect with another involved adult or professional on their observations of the child’s play and how it felt to be with the child as they played.

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