The problem

Covid-19 dramatically transformed our work, social, and family lives. Parents have been thrust into the position of being responsible for their children’s learning and education. They have set about building new routines and finding harmony at home through balancing work with care, physical health with mental health.

Disadvantaged families are facing increased pressures and challenges and without support there is a risk of the disadvantage gap widening.

Early years educators have had to quickly get to grips with supporting learning and development at a distance, while keeping families engaged and connected.

Disadvantaged families are facing increased pressures and challenges and without support there is a risk of the disadvantage gap widening.

The solution

Developing the award winning EasyPeasy model to enable distance learning, support parents and help local schools and families stay connected.

EasyPeasy quickly identified that both families and practitioners need further support at this time. They set out making development plans for their platform, as well as making access to free from March until the end of June to ensure more families could take part.

Developments include:

  • Enabling parents to sign up directly (as opposed to through their child’s nursery/school), and practitioners to create an EasyPeasy ‘pod’ to help local schools and families stay connected and learning through play.
  • Working with the early years sector to adapt their resources to use the platform for distance learning. They’re also developing new functionality for users to create and share their own content from their mobile phone.
  • Regularly adding relevant games, advice and support for families.

Work in action

The team responded rapidly to the coronavirus pandemic, immediately identifying that families (particularly disadvantaged families) and early years educators would be facing increasingly challenging circumstances.

Since Covid-19 hit the UK, EasyPeasy have been working tirelessly to ensure families and educators are connected during this difficult time. Demand for the app increased as soon as lockdown hit and continues to grow, with parents registering for home-based, inexpensive learning and games for their children. By the end of May, 8000 parents had registered, either being referred from teachers from their own childcare/schools, through local or central government or signing up themselves.

They are partnering with early years organisations like Scouts and National Childcare Trust to adapt their materials into accessible, distance-friendly learning and play resources. These new resources will help young people to develop skills for life and develop children and parents at home.

New functionality is in the process of being tested and will enable user-led content so that parents can learn from each other, stay connected and keep mentally well at this time.

The Big Changers

Founder and CEO Jen Lexmond began her career working at the national policy level with organisations like Demos, NESTA, the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility, and the Behavioural Insights Unit. She believes in the importance of policy and practice being underpinned by evidence, and has published widely on factors influencing child development and children’s life chances in the UK.

We’ve worked with Jen since we funded EasyPeasy in 2018. With a background in research and policy, Jen founded EasyPeasy to try and tackle the developmental gap that can occur in early years. Under her leadership the app has won multiple awards for its services for families.