Follow my footsteps initiative

A unique opportunity to observe child development from pre-birth to early years

The Follow My Footsteps course was devised by Professor Mitch Blair and Professor Robert Boyle to give Imperial College medical students from Year 2 to Year 5 a unique opportunity to observe a pregnant mother and her family before she gives birth up until the time her baby is two years old. Working in pairs the students make at least two visits per year to their assigned family, supported by a tutorial before each visit to prepare them. Students give a presentation each year during the course to tell their colleagues and the tutor about their family and what they have learnt while making their visits.  

It was genuinely very interesting to learn about pregnancy and child development from a real-life example and it was a privilege to get to know the family and the child."

Feedback from one of our students

To support their learning students have an iBook available via Blackboard which provides them with the content for each tutorial along with links to related websites and resources. There is also space for personal reflection within each section of the iBook. The Follow My Footsteps page on Blackboard offers further learning materials to support the course. The tutors are all experienced clinical and healthcare professionals who offer their personal insight into all the aspects of child development covered by the course.

Follow My Footsteps is a voluntary, non-assessed course using longitudinal learning that enables students to develop their empathy, patient-centredness and professionalism skills. Each tutorial, accompanied by a visit to the family, deals with a different aspect of child development giving the student a comprehensive overview of the issues involved. Additional resources are provided during the course to enable students to monitor the physical development of their child and record their growth. To introduce Year 1 students to Follow My Footsteps an introductory event is held each May to give them an overview of the course and what they can expect. Those who apply and are accepted are invited to link up with a partner and attend an induction event in November before they are introduced to their families.   

Follow My Footsteps offers students the opportunity to develop a relationship with their family as they watch the child grow. While monitoring all aspects of the child's development they are encouraged to consider the factors which affect that development. For further information please see how to apply as a student.