#50thingsstories: Keeping fun at the forefront of our under-fives activity app
Andrea is the 50 Things To Do Before You're Five Project Lead, with over 30 years experience in Early Years. She discusses her role in the 50 Things journey, and explains where she sees the initiative going next.
From an idea to reality
My name is Andrea Layzell, and I am the Project Lead for 50 Things to Do Before You’re Five. I have been working on the project since it started in 2018, following an inspired idea from the then Executive Head Teacher at St Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre in Girlington, where the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School is based.
I ran the consultation meetings that took place in every ward in the Bradford and Keighley District, asking parents, practitioners and other professionals what experiences every child in our villages, towns and cities should have tried before reaching their fifth birthday.
I chaired the local steering group, made up of people who volunteered their time and knowledge to whittle more that 500 suggestions to create a list of 50 Things for the Bradford District, that would contribute to the best start for all our children. The criteria we used to select activities were that they were low cost or no cost, supported children’s development and were fun.
Most of my work at the moment is alongside current and new partners from a growing number of local authorities, steering new app developments and working with Bradford colleagues to increase the number of families engaging with the project.
Great outcomes for everyone
50 Things benefits from a growing number of local partners, such as our local museums, libraries, Bradford Under Fives Association, the local branch of the Early Years Alliance and schools and experts from Early Years, Public Health, Family Learning and Health Improvement on the national Stakeholder Group who review content, marketing and evaluation to ensure that the project thrives whilst being responsive to the needs of young children and their families.
One of the best parts of my work is the opportunity to work with the parents of young children, many of them 50 Things Enthusiasts who help to share the project in the district, who provide wonderful videos and photographs of their children actively participating in 50 Things, illustrating our success in finding 50 activities that meet the criteria of being fun!
My hopes for 50 things
Where do I see 50 Things in the future? I hope that in the future, a growing number of families gain access to a localised app, and that the feedback and contributions, from more families and colleagues in additional fields of expertise and local authority areas, mean that the app content grows in value to both families and project areas across the UK. It's a delightful and exciting project to be involved in, and I'm looking forward to seeing our plans develop!
Andrea is the 50 Things To Do Before You're Five Project Leads, and has worked in Early Years for over 30 years. This includes 20 years working for local authorities, as a consultant supporting practitioners, and most recently with the Bradford Birth to 19 Teaching School.