Using 'In The Picture' Research Project

The knee on a pair of trousers which one young child found particularly fascinating during a play session

The project team give an update on the recent ‘In the Picture’ research with Portage services.

You may recall from a previous news item that a group of Portage services have been working with Jonty Rix and John Parry from the Open University (OU) and trying out the ‘In the Picture’ approach as part of their practice. ‘In the Picture’ is an innovative way of supporting communication between adults and children developed at the OU. It involves taking photographs of the child’s focus during play alongside the making of first-person narrative observations of their activities and using these to inform discussions between parents and practitioners about children’s learning and interests.

The project began in February 2017 with 10 services receiving training from John and Jonty in using ‘In the Picture’. Following these introductory sessions 2 Portage home visitors from each of the services volunteered to use the approach within their practice for a period of 3 months. The volunteers were interviewed about their experiences at the mid-point of this period and then the whole group met for a final group discussion in London on 21st June.

A report on the project will be available in the Autumn but the general response to using ‘In the Picture’ coming from the Home Visitors has been very positive. People have used the approach during home visits and when carrying out observations in settings. They have made adaptions according to their different working styles, welcoming both the simplicity and flexibility that ‘In the Picture’ encourages. The project participants also highlighted that ‘In the Picture’ could be particularly useful in early visits, when getting to know children and families, and in supporting transitions to pre-school settings. A key theme within the views expressed by the volunteers was that using the approach prompted them to be more reflective and step back to take stock of situations whilst reminding them of the importance of
keeping the child at the centre of everyone’s thinking.

The project team are hoping to share more of the findings at future NPA events but in the meantime if you want to find
out more about ‘In the Picture’ then do contact:

John Parry: john.parry@open.ac.uk

Jonty Rix: jonathan.rix@open.ac.uk

To find out more about the 'In The Picture' approach, you might also be interested in hearing John and Jonty's seminar from the NPA Conference 2015.