Oxford researchers praise new parenting app

Oxford’s Department of Education has tested a new parenting app, EasyPeasy, and found that the programme has positive effects on children’s concentration levels, determination, and ability to make their own decisions.

EasyPeasy is an app for parents and carers of 2-5 year old children that encourages positive parent-child interaction through play in the home. The app sends parents ideas for games that will aid their child’s development.

Leader of the evaluation from the University of Oxford, Kathy Sylva, said: “Sending game ideas via an app offers a new and innovative way to support parents, reaching them directly in the home. The two evaluations of EasyPeasy provide promising evidence that this mode of delivery can really work.”

The programme was trialled by 302 families from eight children’s centres in Newham, all from lower income backgrounds. A previous trial was also carried out in Bournemouth with families from a completely different social environment and the results were found to be very similar in showing significant positive benefits for children’s cognitive self-regulation and parents’ sense of control.

Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation and of the Sutton Trust, which published the findings of this trial said: ‘We know that the attainment gap between the richest and the poorest pupils begins before they’ve even started school, and is a strong predictor of future outcomes in education and wellbeing.

“Tackling this gap early on is critical to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and improving social mobility.

“It is very encouraging therefore to see the promising findings that EasyPeasy – an inexpensive and easily accessible app for parents and carers – is having a positive impact on both parents and children.”

Parents reported the positive effects the app had on them saying that they felt a lot more in control thanks to the app. Parents felt more able to get their child to behave well and respond to boundaries. They also thanked the app for making it easier for them to remain calm when facing difficulties.

Julian Grenier, a headteacher from a nursery, which used EasyPeasy as part of the trial, said: “EasyPeasy is a 21st century approach that builds on the longstanding traditions of nursery education and community work with families.