Oxford Early Years




 "How can we work together to address priority needs for children aged 0-5 in Oxford?"


Studio 4 of the Oxford Early Years Rapid Action Lab brought the lab team back together to kick of the inter-cycle period of the lab. The day was spent going over what the different action teams have been up to since the last studio (6th of September - 9th of October), and support each action team to develop the next iteration of their prototype to be tested in the field during Action Cycle 5 (October 8th - November 13th). 

Below you will find documentation from Studio 4 - Inter-cycle, including: Flow of the Day; Outputs: Action Teams & Prototypes.




09:00 - Arrival & Registration: Meet the Lab Team.

09:30 - Welcome & introductions

The day began with an overview of the agenda and the purpose of the studio and introduction to the Kaspilot group - Alexandra, Anna, Ellen, Morten, Tessa Tora and Villi. The Kaospilot’s will be supporting the Action teams and facilitating the lab process. Afterwards Sara Fernandez went over the purpose of the Intercycle period.

09:50 - Team building and lab dreaming

The grouped got to know each other a little better through a team building exercise where they shared with each other the answers to the following questions:

  • What is your favourite travel experience?

  • How is your morning routine?

After that the group was invited to close their eyes and think about where the lab is heading and imagine what they have been part of creating a year from now.

10:05 - Prototyping Team Coaches introduced

To support each prototyping team in their work and collaboration, each team has now been assigned the coach:

  • Ellen will support the Oxplorers

  • Tora will support Joining the Tots

  • Morten will support In the Loop

  • Anna will support LOLAH

  • and Alexandra will support OxNEST

The goal of the coach is to offer support and facilitation to their team. The coach furthermore creates a container and coaches the lab participants with the aim of developing the capacity among them to work well together on their prototypes.

After being introduced to their prototyping team, the coaches and their team got a change to check-in through the following questions:

  • What is your name?

  • Why are you here?

  • What is a question you’re sitting with for this intercycle?

10:25 - Action Cycle: Action Learning Board & IDEO Framework

The teams used the IDEO Framework to assess their ideas and assumptions they may have, and to come up with a list of actions that will enable them to test their assumptions and develop their prototype.

They followed these steps:

  1. Reflection: What? What actions have your team taken in the last month? Which assumptions about your idea did these actions test?

  2. Idea: What are the core elements of your idea?

  3. Hypothesis: What will happen if your idea is successful? What priority needs will your idea address? How will it address them?

  4. User groups: Who are the core groups of people
    your idea involves? Who are your beneficiaries?

  5. Assumptions & big questions: What assumptions need to be true for your idea to work? What big questions do you have about your idea?

  6. Actions: What actions can you do this next cycle [between studio 4 and studio 5] in order to test some of your key assumptions, or answer your questions? Make the actions into concrete tasks. For each action write down who is doing the task, when it is needed to be done by and what assumption is it testing or what question is it trying to answer?

12:00 - Team presentations

The teams prepared a short presentation for each other, sharing with each other the core elements of their ideas, what their next steps will be, what learning they will keep in mind moving forward.

12:20 - Online community: Hylo

Hylo is an online community platform that the lab started using to make the communication between the facilitation team, different prototyping teams and the lab participant as smooth and effective as possible. Big part of the purpose of the lab is to increase positive and constructive communication in the early years system and the online community platform is part of that.

12:30 - Evaluation

The participants filled out an evaluation of the studio and the lab work. Purpose of it is to make sure that the participants are getting the most out of their experience and that the work is benefitting the early years system in Oxford.

12:40 - Check-out

To close down the space, the participants shared what feeling they were leaving the studio with.

13:00 - End

Open IDEO Prototyping Framework


Support video for the oxford early years hylo community






Oxford Natural Education Support (OXNEST)

Focus: Improving health and wellbeing for young children and carers in Florence Park, Cowley and Rose Hill.

Hypothesis: Supporting formal and informal carers of young children  will impact positively on children's health and wellbeing.

Description: OXNEST aims to develop capacity and remove barriers for those who care for children 0 - 5 through training, support and events.


  • Annie Davy

  • Laura White

  • Fiona Henderson

  • Doireann Lalor

  • Shilpa Bhatt

Action Team 2


Joining the tots

Focus: Map out services of a local area, encourage community interaction and accessibility.  

Hypothesis: Families in need of services will benefit from simple information access tools, such as a physical service map. Making services accessible will decrease the isolation that families can experience and make a supportive community.

Description: An initiative will create a set of simple information access tools, such as a map, and a network of ‘Community Navigators’, to support the priority needs of ‘invisible’ 0-5 years Children and their families in the Florence Park area.


  • Dave Tullett

  • Cheryl Huntbach

  • Clare Crossley

Action Team 3



Focus: Volunteer training. 

Hypothesis: Increasing the number and quality of volunteers in the sector will help children with priority needs.

Description: To provide good experiences for families that enable parents to gain confidence and children to take part in activities that might not otherwise have been available to them.


  • Ginnie Herbert

  • Ellie Clarke-Jacques

  • Suffia Hussain

  • Nuha Abdo

  • Alice Weaver

  • Tina Gordon

  • Shaz Ajmal

Action Team 4


Little Ones Learning at Home (LOLAH)

Focus: Language development, home learning environment and developing a framework for parents and children to learn together at local libraries.

Hypothesis: Providing families with a “doorway” to literary experiences will help language development and impact the home learning environment.

Description: A library-based initiative encouraging parents / carers & children to use the home learning environment to support social, emotional and language development.


  • Siobhan salter

  • Valerie Knight

  • Becca Matthews

  • Daisy Brown

  • Lindsey Hart

Action Team 5



Focus: Connecting Existing Early Years Space and make them accessible.

Hypothesis: Enabling access to multiple types of existing early years spaces will help children with priority needs such as nutrition, language and emotional development.

Description: This initiative focus on developing better use of spaces to deliver early years services and generate income with the sector.  Using food, arts & crafts, storytelling, etc. to build stronger communities and better opportunities for the young and their families.


  • Anna Thorne

  • Lisa Fern

  • Beth Knighton

  • Carol Lister