About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Expanding the Playtime with Books programme

We have been supporting the PEDAL team’s digital adaptation of its Playtime with Books programme for parents of younger children (aged 10-24 months) since September 2023. One of the long-term aims of the online adaptation is to engage families from socially disadvantaged backgrounds who may not be able to, or prefer not to, access face-to-face services for different reasons. 

This phase of the project began in July 2023 and will be completed in December 2024. The main objectives of Phase 2 of Playtime with Books are to:

  • continue refining and adapting the programme for delivery in three local authorities with up to 100 parents 
  • test its suitability and readiness for further impact evaluation and delivery at a wider scale
  • identify any further development required before it will be ready for wider implementation.

What stage are we at now?

We are completing the pre-delivery stage, which aims to set up what is needed for testing and refining the adapted intervention. We have:

  • optimised the digital Moodle platform, creating a bespoke hub for parents to complete the book-sharing skills sessions and meet with facilitators
  • conducted design-led workshops with parents in Shropshire and Derby City 
  • conducted parent interviews to map their journey through Playtime with Books and receive feedback on the programme and the early stages of the digital platform
  • convened expert and local authority advisory groups
  • adapted and updated the intervention content according to parent, practitioner, local, and expert feedback.

Next steps

Commencing July, we will begin testing the adapted intervention with a pilot in our three partner local authorities; one urban and two rural. We aim to have up to 100 parents participating in Playtime with Books across the three local authorities. This phase will seek to capture key parent feedback at multiple stages of the pilot, evaluate the digital platform, and assess the feasibility of capturing an early language and communication measurement.

Following the pilot, we will analyse our findings and parent feedback to write up our findings in a report published with PEDAL. At the end of phase two, we will further build our knowledge of how this intervention can be implemented in different contexts and what is required to implement this at a wider scale.


Lauren Liotti

Lauren Liotti

Lauren Liotti

Mission Manager, fairer start mission

Lauren works as a mission manager for a fairer start, helping to narrow the outcome gap for disadvantaged children.

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