The FLINT (Family, Learning and Interaction) research theme at Early Start brings together researchers with expertise in infancy, attachment, parent-child conversation, parental mental health, the home learning environment, early literacy, and the role of fathers, to address important questions about interactive processes in development. We ask how infants make sense of the busy world around them, and how parents and carers support their child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development.
Children don't know what's important to them that there's sort of like an open book everything is exciting to them everything is distracting and it's our job as adults to guide them towards the things that are really going to help them over the long term.
Hi I'm Jane Herbert I'm the research team leader of the early start theme Family Learning and Interaction. A research theme is a combination of researchers from education and psychology and we're really interested in how children learn about the world, so how do they make sense of things and then how the parents support that learning.
Parents are children's first teachers, so we need to actually invest time learning about what are children doing in those first years of life when they're at home with their parents. To be honest a lot of the research hasn't been done yet and so our research theme is really interested in being that core of knowledge helping parents understand what things are really important and then as the children get older if there are problems happening at home our research theme is working out why the interventions work or don't work for particular families, but a lot of our findings are really starting to come to fruition so really simple things like knowing how important it is for children to have a sleep after they've learned something so we often think about the best time for children to learn when they're wide awake but actually our research shows that they remember things really well just before they go to sleep.
When we find other things that are just really simple that parents can do then we want to pass on that knowledge, to make sure that people understand that we're not coming and telling them that they're doing things wrong, but actually just giving them tips and hints that we know can improve the outcome for their child.
Often our families coming in they're struggling in some way and they're not communicating very efficiently or effectively with their children, rather than telling them what to do we have them come into the lab and we see what they do we see them working together and then we feed them information over a microphone on ways that they could change the behaviour after a period of 10 weeks they no longer really need us so that's our real success when they can walk away as a family who know how to communicate with each other.