4 Learning in the family: attending groups together
Even from an early age children experience rapidly expanding social worlds beyond the family as they begin to spend time outside the home. Many young children attend group sessions with their parents, often facilitated by early childhood practitioners, where they will learn together alongside other peers and adults. The name given to such groups (‘Parent and toddler’, ‘Stay and play’ or ‘Play together’, for example) emphasises their difference from other early childhood provision where the child is left with practitioners while the parents pursue other activities elsewhere (Needham and Jackson, 2012). Similarly, the learning experiences for children attending these sessions have their own character as they involve elements of the very familiar (the parent or carer who attends) set within less established relationships and environments.