Early parenting: Parents as first educators and professionals as early interveners

Door Mary L. Nolan

This lecture starts with a discussion of the socially, emotionally and cognitively healthy two-year-old. What are the key issues for parents today in supporting the wellbeing of their very young children? And how can professionals intervene to educate parents and enhance their innate skills? Of particular concern for parents are issues around sleeping, napping, routines, screen time and creating a positive home learning environment. The lecture will address all of these and also look at different kinds of families, especially those headed by fathers and same sex couples.


Mary L. Nolan, Professor of Perinatal Education, University of Worcester, UK

Mary trained as a nurse in the 1980s and then as a birth and early parenting educator. She has worked with mothers and fathers across the UK and has trained early parenting educators in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She was a member of the Expert Reference Group set up by the UK Department of Health to devise a national antenatal education resource entitled, ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’ (PBB), focusing on normal birth, families’ mental health and sensitive parenting. She has published extensively in the academic and professional press; her books include, ‘Antenatal Education: A Dynamic Approach’, ‘Education and Support for Parenting’ and chapters in the last three editions of ‘Myles Textbook for Midwives’. Her next book, ‘Parent Education for the Critical 1000 Days’ will be published in March 2020. Mary’s research into women’s and men’s experience of early labour, what parents want from antenatal education, family visitors’ engagement with new fathers, young parents’ sources of information about early parenting, and pre-school children’s wellbeing in military families has been published in peer-reviewed journals. Seven years ago, she launched the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, an independent, not-for-profits Journal for professionals working with families in the very early years. The Journal now has a readership in the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Norway and Belgium. Mary has three daughters, one grand-daughter and lives in York in the north of England.


Mary Nolan