Our programmes are underpinned by the following principles
Innovation Early intervention Success in education and beyond
Proven Approach Youth-led Sustainable
Innovation – Teens and Toddlers is unique because it targets two sets of vulnerable children simultaneously, raising the aspirations of young people (age 13-16) from disadvantaged areas by pairing them as a mentor and role model to a child in a nursery who is in need of extra support. This transformative work experience, combined with classroom training, teaches young people interpersonal skills and builds their sense of responsibility so they make positive decisions about their education, their health and their future. The mentoring provided by the teens also helps the toddlers (who may be autistic, elective mutes, refugees etc.) to improve their personal, social and communication skills.
Early intervention – Our 18-week programme gives young people the skills to address underlying issues that can lead to becoming disengaged, such as low self-esteem, low educational attainment and lack of positive role models. This is critical to prevent young people from becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and having children at an early age. Only 5% of our young people become NEET, compared to their teachers’ prediction that 45% will drop out, and only 1.6% report a pregnancy.
Success in education and beyond – Graduates of our programme earn an accredited NCFE Level 1 Award in Interpersonal Skills, which helps them to re-engage with school and go on to further education. During the programme, young people spend classroom time outside of the nursery discussing topics including choice and consequence, risky behaviour, emotional intelligence and sexual health. This helps them to develop the vital skills they need for life and work.
Proven approach – Our programme is underpinned by positive psychological approaches, which focus on bringing out the unique potential of young people, rather than seeing them as a ‘problem’. We empower them with life skills, work experience and a deeper understanding of who they are. Click here to read more about our approach to positive psychology.
Evidence-based and value for money – We know we are achieving our mission to inspire young people to succeed at school, in work and in the community through over 10 years of robust evaluation. For every £1 spent on our programme, £6 is saved (as validated by the Centre 4 Excellence and Outcomes).
Youth-led - Our young people are at the heart of everything we do. Through our Youth-Led Consultancy Board (YLCB) they advise us how to improve Teens and Toddlers and how to meet their future needs. The YLCB have asked us to train them in the positive psychological approaches that underpin our programmes, so that they can continue to grow and can support other young people like themselves, who often have chaotic lives. We are the only charity to develop our young people in this way. They will use the skills they learn to take the lead in helping other teens, through a range of new initiatives, including buddying, work placements, skills training and community projects.
Feedback from our young people has also helped us develop other follow-on programmes to provide a pathway into employment. These include the Community Enterprise Skills Award - a Level Two qualification where young people work together to create and deliver a community project - and our corporate mentoring programme.
Sustainable – We train staff in schools and local authorities to be facilitators so they can run our programme themselves, then quality-assure them going forward to ensure they are run to the highest standards.