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Better Health Start for Life Home Learning Environment 2024

The Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care's Start for Life ‘Little Moments Together’ campaign aims to educate parents and carers about the importance of brain development in the first five years of a child’s life, and the crucial role they play. A suite of digital resources are available for partners to download and support their work, as well as tips and advice on the Start for Life website.

Campaign details

Related website
Start for Life early learning and development

Target audience: Healthcare professionals, Parents and children, Parents-to-be

Topics: Childhood health, Early years, Maternity

Campaign start date: 15th January 2024

Campaign end date: Always On


The Department for Education (DfE), in partnership with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has launched its Start for Life ‘Little Moments Together’ campaign. The campaign aims to educate parents about the importance of brain development in the first five years of a child’s life, and the crucial role they play, with advice and tips from Start for Life.

Many disadvantaged children in the UK start school developmentally months behind their peers, particularly in speech and language ability. This gap often widens over time, with children who have poor vocabulary skills at age five being less likely to succeed academically. They are also up to twice as likely to be unemployed in their thirties.

By focusing on behaviours that can easily be integrated into their busy daily routines, the campaign aims to illustrate a ‘way of being’ to parents, showing them that sharing simple, child-led ‘serve and return’ moments together throughout the day has a big impact.

By directing parents to the Start for Life website, they will find simple ideas from other parents on how to build these little moments into each day. It includes lots of examples of tips and activities for parents to do with children at different ages. It also signposts parents to the relevant in-person support available in their local communities.

As part of the campaign’s resources, a new film has also been released to explain how children’s brains develop during the early years, and the crucial role parents play through all the little moments they spend together with their child. Watch it here.

Family Hubs

For partners in areas with Family Hubs, we have created a range of resources with a specific Family Hub call to action, encouraging parents and carers to use the Start for Life website to find their local Family Hub. On the Start for Life website, users can find a link to the GOV.UK website to find out if there's a family hub in their area

Start for Life Email Programme

We know that what happens during the first few years of life (starting in the womb) has lifelong effects on many aspects of health and wellbeing – from obesity, heart disease and mental wellbeing, to educational achievement and economic status. We also know that parental behaviours impact heavily on their child’s behaviours. Parents’ health can act as an enabler or barrier to nurturing their children’s development.

Research shows that becoming a parent presents an opportunity to provide information to support behaviour change, and that when looking for information and advice people want validated sources of authority, such as the NHS. This puts the Start for Life Email Programme in a unique position within a very crowded market of pregnancy and parenting advice.

The Start for Life Email Programme is a universal offering, for all parents-to-be and parents of children up to four and a half years old. The service provides regular emails to the audience as their child reaches key milestones.

The Start for Life Email Programme has a particular focus on those from less socioeconomically privileged backgrounds, as we know that they are much less likely to be searching for and accessing reliable information on pregnancy and parenting. Healthcare professionals are also a target audience as they are a key channel for driving people to Start for Life services.

The email programme can be translated in to dozens of different languages, provides personalised messaging that is time sensitive and served to parents and carers as and when they need it, according to their parenting/caring journey. Encourage parents and carers to sign up now.

Published: 8 January 2024