Babbling Babies nursery rhyme and action song book launched in Central Library, Letterkenny

A fantastic booklet developed by Lifestart Services, with the support of Donegal Library Service and HSE Health Promotion & Improvement Service, was launched in the Central Library, Letterkenny on Wednesday the 18th of April to an enthusiastic audience of adults and young children.

Studies show that if babies and children are read to early, they will enjoy reading and learning more, and do better in school. The aim of the booklet is to encourage language and reading development, and to promote the importance of reading to children.  Rhymes and songs in English, Irish, Polish, Romanian, Hindi and Kiswahili (Kenya) are included.

 Dr. Mary Roche, author of ‘Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picture books: a guide for primary and early years’ students and teachers’ launched the booklet. Mary is passionate about encouraging parents to read with babies and children and while launching the booklet she highlighted its benefits:

“Saying and singing rhymes along with your child is great fun and also develops essential pre-reading skills. By reading aloud and discussing books with children you are:

  • Stimulating their imaginations
  • Developing their understanding of how language works
  • Reinforcing the value of reading
  • Helping them to discover the joys of reading
  • Strengthening the relationship with your child, and-
  • Giving them a great start to their education”

Speaking at the launch, the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle said “I would like to congratulate and thank all involved for their hard work on bringing this lovely booklet to completion. I hope it will be enjoyed by families throughout Donegal in the weeks and months to come. If you are not familiar with Donegal County Library Service yet, I encourage you to join. It is a wonderful resource, freely accessible to everyone and has much more than books to offer. Check out the library website to see what your little library card can do for you and your family”.

Babbling Babies Nursery Rhyme and Action Song Book is an initiative of the Education & Learning Sub Committee of Donegal CYPSC (Children and Young People’s Services Committee) – which includes Lifestart Services, the Library Service and HSE Health Promotion & Improvement Service. The booklet was funded by The Parenting Support Initiative (PSI), administered through a collaborative partnership between the Katharine Howard Foundation and the Community Fund for Ireland.

The booklet will be distributed to families throughout the county, through Lifestart Services, the library network and other partner organisations, for all to enjoy.

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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