Child Development

Children learn best when they are with the people they love and trust, and as a parent or carer you are best placed to support their development. Children develop quickly in the early years and each individual child’s development pathway will vary.

From birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life. And early brain development has a lasting impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. The quality of a child’s experiences in the first few years of life – positive or negative – helps shape how their brain develops.

Child development incorporates, not only physical growth but also includes areas such as language, emotional and social development. This development is influenced by a number of factors, including health, parenting, education, family and education. Sometimes it is useful to get advice and guidance about your child’s development, and children centre staff can help you with this. What to expect, when? can be helpful in showing expected milestones in development.

Why not come to one of the children centre Play and Learn sessions to learn more?

Under One's

A weekly group for local families with children under one, run by the Health Team. Each week focuses on a different topic regarding child development and fun play activities - ask at reception for the activity timetable.

Come Talk with Me

If you are concerned that your child may have a language delay, please speak to the children's centre Communication Champion. Children’s centres across Bournemouth offer fun Come Talk with Me sessions for children aged two and three with a language delay. Elklan trained Early Years Practitioners will work with you and your child to support your child’s language development, offering advice, guidance and home learning opportunities. Contact your children centre if you are concerned about your child’s language development and see if attending Come Talk with Me could help your child. 

The Children's Centres Virtual Offer have made videos to focus on different aspects for you and your child to follow along with at home. 

Ready, Steady, Go

Some children may need a little help with developing their physical or social skills. Children centres can help you and your child with this through their Ready, Steady, Go groups. These groups are run across Bournemouth and offer support and guidance in these areas of learning through activities, games and songs in sessions run in a fun early years environment. Contact your children’s centre if you think your child could benefit from attending Ready, Steady, Go

These videos focus on supporting your child to be school ready through exciting and engaging actvities you can do at home.

Find here our helpful list of Safe, secure and ready to learn tips. 


Portage is a home-visiting educational service for families with young children from birth to five who have special / additional needs. The success and popularity of Portage is based on the principle that it promotes parents as the key figures in the development of their child.

Portage is based in the home and is carefully structured, yet flexible approach which enables parents to support their own child’s development.

Further Information 

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