Sowing & Growing Wildflowers - A Nature-Based Activity for Kids

This nature-based activity benefits the children taking part, the natural environment, pollinators like bees and butterflies and even humanity as a whole.In today’s guide, we outline a simple but powerful nature-based activity that will be both fun and educational for children and under-fives. This one is all about how to sow wildflower seeds. Once growing, these will bring beauty and wonder to any setting. The activity will also complement our recent Butterfly-Spotting Activity for Kids as it should result in exactly that kind of little visitor to the child’s world — along with bees, insects, hoverflies, damselflies, and possibly even dragonflies and birds. Sowing and growing wildflowers really is very simple and the results will be beneficial in a multitude of ways. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how to approach this excellent children’s activity and learn why it’s so worthwhile.

The Benefits of This Nature-Based Activity

This type of nature-based activity benefits everyone and everything, including the children taking part, the natural environment, little pollinators like bees and butterflies and even humanity as a whole. Let’s take a quick look at some of those benefits:

  • Growing wildflowers is a fun and educational activity for children, including under-fives.Children benefit very much from spending time in nature, as we outlined in our article entitled “Nature & Its Incredible Importance to Children” last year. There is an incredible array of benefits associated with spending time in nature, so click the bold blue link above to learn more if you haven’t already read that enlightening article.
  • The activity will not only be fun for children, but it will also be educational. It’ll teach them about the circle of life, reproduction, care of the environment, care of and empathy for living things and also they will learn new skills and interests. It could even lead to a life-long hobby or career!
  • The wildflowers themselves will, of course, benefit as it gives them a home and somewhere to propagate/reproduce.
  • Pollinators like bees, butterflies and other insects will enjoy feeding on the pollen found in the wildflowers once they bloom. Pollen is absolutely essential to their survival.
  • The pollinators are thus called because they pollinate both the wildflowers and other plants and crops. By pollinating them, it allows them to reproduce new generations. That’s essential to the natural world and all the creatures in it. Crop reproduction is also, of course, essential to our own survival.

Choosing Seeds With Your Child

Children can help with the wildflower selection process and may enjoy doing so. There are several factors that may help children decide which to grow and parents can help steer children if needed. Factors may include:

  • You can choose which wildflowers your child will grow using various factors like colour, style and whether the wildflowers will attract pollinators.Colour(s) — Children can help decide whether to grow wildflowers of just one colour, a limited 2- or 3-colour palette or perhaps multiple colours. If parents have an existing colour theme in their garden or plant area, they may wish to point children in a particular direction, so as to keep that colour theme going.
  • Type and style — Children may also take a shine to a particular type of wildflower. A good example might be poppies, which mostly have the same style of flower but are available in different sizes and colours.
  • Compatibility with wildlife — Choosing wildflowers is a great opportunity to teach children that their choices have real-world effects on nature and the environment. For example, nudging children towards wildflowers that are pollinator-friendly, i.e. attracting creatures like bees and butterflies, is a great lesson to give them. It also adds an extra facet to the entire activity as they will later benefit from being able to see such adorable visitors coming to their wildflowers.
  • Cost and availability — Cost and availability are additional factors as some wildflower seeds may be harder or more expensive to obtain than others. Again, parents/caregivers can explain such factors to children and it will teach them further valuable lessons.

Where to Get Seeds for Your Child

There are several places to obtain wildflower seeds and they need not cost much, if any, money:

  • There are several places to obtain wildflower seeds and they need not cost much, if any, money.Free wildflower seeds can be harvested from existing wildflowers — either from your own wildflowers if you have them, or from those found in the wild along hedgerows and similar (N.B. only do so in moderation and for personal use). Timing will, of course, be critical because seeds will only be available at certain times of the year, i.e. when the wildflowers have “gone to seed” at the end of their flowering period.
  • Seed swap schemes may also be available in your neighbourhood or, if not, perhaps a scheme could be started amongst friends or with other parents at your child’s nursery or school.
  • Free or almost free seeds can sometimes be available from charities, organisations and even commercially if you get the timing right. Try a Google search for “free wildflower seeds UK” and you may be pleasantly surprised by the number of sources that will happily send you free wildflower seeds for your child to grow. Others, like Just Bee Honey, will send you free wildflower seeds if you cover the cost of postage (some simple terms apply).
  • Commercially-sold wildflower seeds are also, of course, readily available to buy from local outlets, supermarkets and online. If searching online, perhaps try a search query like “wildflower seeds for children” or “bee-friendly wildflower seeds for kids” or similar. You will be met with lots of options to choose from, so filtering down to pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds and those that are suitable for children to grow will help to narrow down the huge range of choices.

Safety First

This type of activity should be supervised by a responsible adult, paying particular care regarding hazards (e.g. ponds), potentially poisonous plants/seeds, and hygiene (e.g. contaminated soil, germs, etc.). Adults can also consider teaching children about the identification and mitigation of such dangers during the activity. They will thereby also learn about self-care, personal hygiene, risk assessment and suchlike. Children and adults should wash hands etc. with soap and water following completion of this activity. Learn more safety tips for children here.

The Activity — Instructions

Once you have obtained seeds, the rest is very easy and children will enjoy and learn from taking part in the various activities involved.

Teach the Importance of Timing

Timing is an important factor because you/your child will need to plan and know when the wildflower plants and flowers will actually appear. Apart from over winter, wildflower seeds will typically take between 60 and 80 days to grow and begin blooming. Start sowing no earlier in the year than March. Mid-to-late March is good as spring will arrive around the third week of that month here in the UK and it will therefore be nicer for children outdoors. Your child can sow seeds as late in the year as mid-October or even early November if there is no snow or frost, but they should be aware that planting the seeds that late in the year mean that they will not grow until spring of the following year.

If they want to attract the most butterflies to their flowers, then a good time to sow seeds is mid-May as peak butterfly time is 60 to 80 days later.

Choosing a Location to Sow the Seeds

Wildflower seeds can be sown in flower beds, pots, containers, window boxes or indeed on lawns if a ‘wildflower meadow’ type scene is preferred. The following guidelines for sowing should help but also read any specific instructions on seed packets if these have been purchased.

Simple Option:

Sowing a Wildflower ‘Meadow’

The most simple way to sow and locate seeds is to create a wildflower meadow.Sowing seeds on existing lawns that you/your child want as a wildflower meadow is simply a case of scattering seeds on the lawn, ideally spaced out in such a way that they don’t have to compete with each other once they start growing. Then ensure that the area of lawn is kept moist by either rain or, if there is no rain, regular sprinkling from a watering can fitted with a sprinkling head (a.k.a. ‘rose head’). Children may need to remind adults not to cut the lawn thereafter, of course!

Advanced Option:

Sowing in Soil – Just 6 Easy Steps

For sowing in locations where there is soil rather than grass, a little preparation will be required.

  1. Identify your intended spot, whether that’s an area in an existing garden flower bed, flower pots or containers, window boxes or grow bags on a patio or balcony. A fairly sunny spot is recommended.
  2. Ensure the soil is free of weeds. Children can help with weeding, if necessary, so long as they have guidance from an adult and are mindful of safety and hygiene considerations.
  3. The top inch or two of soil should be loosened, for example, using a rake if it’s a flower bed.
  4. Help your child to sprinkle seeds evenly so they’re not spaced too close to one another, otherwise, they’ll have to compete once they start growing. Sprinkling carefully from a height will help, e.g. by raising an arm, and/or simply sprinkling one pinch at a time with care.
  5. Once scattered, it’s best to ensure the seeds are embedded in the soil otherwise they could be blown away or even eaten by wildlife. Therefore the soil can be patted down so it’s no longer loose. This will help keep seeds in place.
  6. Lastly, your child will need to be reminded to keep the area moist through regular watering, while taking care not to over-water.

Then wait for nature’s magic to happen!

Wait and Watch Out for the Wildflowers

Children will love seeing bees, butterflies, and other insects visiting their home-grown wildflowers.Children will love it once the wildflowers begin to grow and later bloom. They’ll also love seeing bees, butterflies, and other insects visiting and the results of the activity may indeed give them a great sense of accomplishment. The whole process and the results are quite magical when you think about it.

Don’t Forget — the Final Step for Children

Once the wildflowers are past the prime of their flowering stage, remind children to look out for the appearance of seeds and seed pods. You can either teach your child to leave these to self-seed for next year or help them to safely harvest the seeds. These can be stored somewhere safe and dry, ready to repeat the entire process next time.

All in all, this nature-based activity is a perfect way to demonstrate the circle of life to children.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

A High-Quality Childcare Service in Streatham, Southwest London

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderWe hope you have found this nature-based activity useful and of interest to your little one. Little Cedars Nursery represents an outstanding choice for weekday childcare, offering a high-quality early years education for babies and children under five. We are a nursery, as well as a preschool, in Streatham, in Southwest London, so may suit families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. We nurture all children under our care so that, by the time they leave us, they have become the very best versions of themselves and are as ‘school-ready’ as they can possibly be. We also support all Government-funded free childcare schemes.

Why not arrange a guided visit with your child, so you can see the setting in action? Ask us questions, see how your little one fits in and, if you like the nursery/preschool, we’d love you to apply for a place for your child. Please select a button to get started:

While Little Cedars Nursery is based in Streatham, it’s also conveniently close for families in and around Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

The Progress Check at 2 – it's purpose, who & what are involved, etc.

At Little Cedars Nursery, we understand the importance of monitoring growth in children’s learning and development and ensuring they are reaching their full potential. With that in mind, today’s article is a detailed guide to the Progress Check at Two. An essential milestone in children’s early development, the assessment leads to profound benefits for young children. So, today, we will walk you through everything you need to know about the Progress Check at Two, its purpose, what to expect, and how parents* can actively participate.

The Purpose of the Progress Check at 2

The ‘Progress Check at 2’ is a comprehensive evaluation conducted for children who have reached the age of two. This assessment, completed prior to their third birthday, examines their progress across various essential areas of their learning and development journey. Its primary aim is to identify any areas where additional support or intervention1 may be needed. By closely monitoring children’s progress, early years providers can tailor their approach to meet each child’s unique needs and thereby ensure children’s optimum growth and success.

1. In cases where specific educational needs or disabilities are identified, a collaboration between the childcare provider’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) and relevant health professionals or specialists will be built into the support plan that’s tailored to the child’s requirements.

The Significance of the Age of 2

The age of two is a pivotal period in a child’s development. It is during this stage that a child’s progress in learning, speech, language, cognitive abilities, physical growth, and social-emotional development becomes increasingly clear. Ensuring that each area is developing optimally at this early stage will have long-term benefits for the child, so it is important to confirm that everything is on track. A solid foundation for the child’s long-term growth and success can then be built.

Key Areas of Focus

The Progress Check at 2 concentrates on children’s progress primarily in the three ‘prime’ areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. These are:

  1. Communication and Language,
  2. Physical Development, and
  3. Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

However, those involved in conducting the assessment often also evaluate children’s progress in the remaining four ‘specific’ areas of the EYFS curriculum. These are Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World, and lastly Expressive Arts and Design.

Preparing Children for School

Initiating the Progress Check at 2 and providing early support increases the likelihood of children overcoming developmental challenges before starting school. This proactive approach prevents setbacks during this crucial period in children’s lives. Without such intervention, children may face difficulties at the beginning of their educational journey, potentially hindering their overall growth and learning long into the future. Without a doubt, the Progress Check at 2 is vital in facilitating a smooth transition into school and fostering children’s long-term success.

Who is Involved?

The Progress Check at 2 is a collaborative effort between a child’s early years childcare provider, their parents and, if applicable, their health visitor and any external professionals that may be involved in the child’s early years learning and development.

The Role of Parents in the Progress Check at 2

The importance of parental involvement during a child’s early years education cannot be overstated. Such involvement is particularly invaluable to early years educators and childcare providers during the progress check. Ultimately, it is also crucially important to the child being assessed. Parents are therefore encouraged to share any observations or concerns that they may have regarding their child’s development. Their insights, combined with those of the child’s childcare/early years provider and those of any external professionals (if applicable), create a holistic picture of a child’s growth and progress. It thereby enables providers like Little Cedars Nursery to organise tailored support to address children’s specific needs most effectively.

The Report

Following the assessment, parents will receive a written summary of the report. This outlines their child’s achievements, strengths, and any areas for further development. The report serves as a valuable tool that allows all involved parties to track a child’s progress over time and to devise a plan of action to support their individual growth trajectory. It also serves as a basis for ongoing communication and collaboration between the childcare/early years provider and the child’s family.

To Sum Up

The Progress Check at 2 is a significant milestone in every child’s early development journey. At Little Cedars Nursery, we are committed to fostering a supportive and engaging environment that nurtures each child’s unique abilities. By actively participating in the progress check process, parents are ensuring that their child receives the necessary support and resources to absolutely flourish. Together, we can help children reach their full potential and prepare them for a successful educational journey ahead.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars Nursery is a ‘Good Provider’ of Childcare & Early Years Education in Streatham

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Little Cedars is a good nursery — and that’s official, says OfstedOur nursery and preschool are in Streatham, SW16 but are also conveniently close to Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton. We may therefore suit families living or working in those locations.

At Little Cedars Nursery free childcare is available as all Government childcare funding schemes are supported for eligible families (follow the bold links for more information).

Please choose a button below if you’d like to apply for a nursery place for your child, ask a question or arrange a guided tour to see how well your child would fit in. We’ll be delighted to help!

A Clarification:

The ‘Progress Check at 2’  is Different to the ‘2-Year Review’ — but they’re Intertwined

As well as the ‘Progress Check at 2’, there is another, related assessment called the ‘2-Year Review’. Although both occur around the same age, they each serve distinct purposes. In contrast to the Progress Check at 2, the 2-Year Review is more about the child’s health and well-being. It is undertaken by healthcare professionals such as health visitors and assesses overall health. This includes things like immunisation status, physical and mental development, well-being, and parental support. Although separate, the two reviews share overlapping areas and, for that reason, are often conducted simultaneously. The result is thereby a more comprehensive understanding of the child’s development at this key age.

* To avoid repetition in this article and for the sake of brevity, the term ‘parents’ is used as a placeholder for parents, guardians or caregivers.

Free Butterfly-Spotting Activity Poster for Children.

See high resolution detail when you zoom in on the butterfly images in the poster. Following on from our bird-spotting article and poster published in March, we now bring you a matching butterfly-spotting activity. Butterflies are both beautiful and adorable. As such, children will love them and will enjoy spending time around them during this activity. Like before, it comes with another free poster for children to print out, display, learn from and enjoy. Butterfly spotting is another wonderful way to get children outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and benefit from everything that nature has to offer.

This time around, we showcase 36 beautiful butterflies that can be seen in many parts of Britain. Indeed, that was one of the main criteria we used when deciding which butterflies to include. Having said that, some of the butterflies will be more common than others and we really don’t expect every child to spot all 36 butterflies that are featured — although it’s possible if they’re patient and adventurous! It’s a lovely challenge for children, though, and spotting such beautiful creatures may begin to instil in them an appreciation of nature and all the amazing creatures within it. That would be a good thing because nature is more under threat than ever and children of today will eventually become custodians of Britain’s phenomenal natural environment. Nature will also benefit children in many profound ways, including spiritually and even academically.

Free Butterfly Poster

Identify 36 different British Butterflies using our free A3 reference poster — it's educational and fun for children.

Download Instructions

View the poster in the greatest detail onscreen by clicking the big image above or, with some web browsers, you may need to first download it by right-clicking and then saving. Then view it in Acrobat Reader, which is available free. From Acrobat, print out the poster at full size (A3) or choose ‘reduce to fit’ if your printer is only A4. We recommend using high-quality printing paper and the highest settings for the best results, glorious colour, and the finest detail.

Attract butterflies by putting out fruit wedges — they love the sugary taste of ripe oranges, grapefruits, nectarines, bananas, strawberries and apples!

Shown on the poster are some of the more commonly-known butterflies like Large Whites, Peacocks, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells. However, children may also spot some lesser-known butterflies like Purple Emperors, Orange Tips, Green Hairstreaks and Adonis Blues. Butterflies have wonderful names, don’t they? Parents can help younger children with names, as we don’t expect them to be able to read them all if they’re very young. The young will also need supervising outdoors, of course, for their safety.

Look but Don’t Touch the Butterflies

For the poster, we’ve chosen the butterflies most likely to be found widely in the UK. This is a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.We must also add that children should be encouraged to ‘look but don’t touch’ as butterflies are very delicate creatures. Children should not try to touch or catch them — they are best left in peace as every one of them is a little individual that simply wants to go about his or her day. They’re wonderful to watch, though, and our free poster should help children and adults identify many of the different types. Perhaps see how many different species can be spotted over the course of a year. Take photos too, and compare them with friends! Some butterflies visit gardens, floral window boxes and parks while others may only be found in wilder locations in the countryside. This activity is therefore a great excuse for families to get out and explore The Great Outdoors! Recording the date and location of each butterfly spotted will also help families work out where the best butterfly-spotting locations are for next time.

Fun fact: Butterflies have taste buds on their feet!

Butterflies are In Decline

Sadly, many butterflies are in decline, with studies reporting a 40% drop in populations in recent decades. That’s really sad, so it’s imperative that they and their precious habitats are not unduly disturbed. Therefore, please do take care. If anything, habitats need to be restored and greater protections put in place. Raising awareness of the plight of butterflies and other creatures in decline, like bees and birds, is therefore something that’s also important for children to be aware of. After all, as they grow older, they will eventually take over stewardship of the natural world and can help to steer decision-makers to improve things if they’ve developed a deep-seated interest in nature by the time they become adults.

The Big Butterfly Count

The Big Butterfly CountWith that in mind, why not take this activity a step further and get involved in the UK’s annual Big Butterfly Count? For 2023, it takes place between Friday the 14th of July and Sunday the 6th of August, which is when most butterflies are at their adult stage. All it takes is 15 minutes and children will love being little ‘citizen scientists’! The activity can be done in gardens, parks, school grounds or out in the countryside. Taking part will give children a real opportunity to help with butterfly conservation.

Learn more about the Big Butterfly Count here. The page includes links to a free smartphone app that will help you/your children during the butterfly counting activity.

A Fun, Educational & Worthwhile Activity for Children

We hope families and children enjoy their butterfly-spotting activities and use our free poster to learn the names. In this way, they can get to recognise some of the different types of butterflies when they spot them when out and about. It’s a fascinating activity and butterflies are both amazingly beautiful and incredibly endearing. As pollinators, they’re extremely important too and represent a barometer for the health of the natural world. Learning more about butterflies and nature is therefore incredibly important and beneficial for children — and ultimately for the planet. So, we encourage children to dive into this activity at the earliest opportunity. Have fun, be gentle and stay safe.

Little Cedars Nursery & Preschool, Streatham, London SW16

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a high-quality nursery/preschool in Streatham SW16, providing childcare excellence for babies, toddlers and preschoolers under 5 years of age. If you’re looking for a good nursery or preschool for your child, arrange a free tour with us and we’ll show you and your little one around. You’ll be able to get answers to any questions you have and also you’ll see how well your child fits in. Ours is a lovely, welcoming, home-from-home environment where the very best is brought out of every child under our care, so your child will be in good hands. As well as looking after them while parents work or recharge, every child receives an excellent early years education and is prepared for a great start once they leave us to start school. Please choose a button to contact us today, arrange a guided tour or to apply for a place for your child; we’ll be happy to help.

Little Cedars Nursery: high-quality childcare services in Streatham, near Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood

Little Cedars is located in Streatham, just a stone’s throw from Tooting Common and the A214. As well as suiting those families in Streatham and Tooting, we may also be conveniently located for those looking for a nursery or preschool near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood.

Bilingualism in Early Childhood – Why it Matters & How to Support it

Young children are naturally wired to learn languages and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t learn more than one, particularly if they receive appropriate support. Bilingualism refers to the ability to speak two or more languages fluently. In today’s globalised world, being bilingual – or multilingual – has become an increasingly valuable asset. For children, bilingualism can offer numerous benefits, including enhanced cognitive development, improved language skills, and greater cultural awareness. However, raising a bilingual child can also present a few challenges, such as language confusion and potentially a slower rate of vocabulary acquisition in each separate language. In today’s article, we explore the benefits and challenges of bilingualism in children, as well as strategies for supporting their bilingual language development. This may better enable parents and caregivers to support the language development of children under their care.

The Advantages of Bilingualism in Children

Bilingualism can provide numerous benefits for children, including:

Enhanced Cognitive Development

Bilingualism can provide numerous benefits for childrenBilingual children have been shown to have better cognitive flexibility, focus and creativity. Studies have shown that this often leads to better decision-making, prioritisation and planning skills too. With such skills in place, bilingual children may also have a better ability to multitask and switch between separate tasks.

Better Problem-Solving Skills

Bilingual children have been found to be better at solving complex problems. This is likely due to their enhanced cognitive flexibility and ability to approach problems from multiple perspectives.

Improved Language Skills

Bilingual children have been found to have a better understanding of language structure and grammar, as well as a larger vocabulary in both languages combined. Some may also develop better pronunciation and intonation in each language, according to studies.

“Language feeds the brain and links us to our family, our community and our friends. This is vital for a young child’s sense of self.” (National Literacy Trust)

Greater Cultural Awareness and Empathy

Bilingual children have a greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures and perspectives. They are more likely to be open-minded and accepting of others, which can also lead to greater empathy and tolerance.

Clearly, bilingualism offers numerous benefits to children and can positively affect their cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development. It is therefore to be encouraged.

Potential Challenges of Bilingualism in Children

While bilingualism offers many benefits to children, it can also present unique challenges. These may include:

Language Confusion

While bilingualism offers many benefits to children, it can also present unique challengesYoung bilingual children may sometimes mix their languages or use one language inappropriately in certain contexts. This is a normal part of the language acquisition process but can be a little confusing, at times, for both the child and their caregivers.

Slower Rate of Language Acquisition? Actually No!

You may have read that bilingual children may take longer to develop language skills than monolingual children. It was thought that this was because they are learning two languages at the same time, which in theory could be more challenging and time-consuming. However, studies show that this is a myth.

“The idea that two languages cause language delays in children has been a long-standing myth … However, research has dispelled this myth. Children are able to learn two languages at the same pace as other children who are learning only one language.” (Nationwide Children’s Hospital)

Possible Language Loss if Not Maintained

If a bilingual child does not have consistent exposure to both languages, they may lose proficiency in one over time. This can occur if the child is not regularly exposed to one language, or if they are discouraged from using one language in favour of the other. As adults, many of us know this to be true if we learnt a second language at school and have not used it subsequently — it’s easy to quickly forget vocabulary if not regularly used.

It’s important to remember that being bilingual is a valuable skill and that the benefits far outweigh the potential challenges that we’ve highlighted. With consistent exposure to both languages and support from caregivers and educators, bilingual children can overcome the challenges and naturally become proficient in both languages.

Strategies & Tips for Supporting Bilingual Children

Parents, caregivers, and educators can support bilingual children and promote their language development in several ways. Some support strategy ideas follow.

Speak Both Languages Consistently

Parents, caregivers, and educators can support bilingual children and promote their language development in several waysParents play a crucial role in supporting their bilingual children’s language development. To help your child become proficient in two different languages, it’s important to consistently speak both at home. Doing so can help children develop a particularly strong foundation in both languages.

Consistent Exposure to Both Languages

Consistent exposure to both languages can also be aided by children having regular access to reading books (including dual language books) as well as audio and visual media presented in each. Music, movies, and even audiobooks, for example, may help.

Encouraging Language Use

Bilingual children may initially prefer to use one language over the other, but it’s important to encourage them to use both. This can be achieved by speaking to the child in both languages and providing opportunities for them to use both of them in daily life.

Emphasise the Importance of Both Languages

Make sure your child understands the value of being bilingual and the benefits it offers. Encourage them to use both languages and help them understand the importance of maintaining proficiency in both.

Creating a Language-Rich Environment

Bilingual children benefit from exposure to a variety of other language-rich environments, such as bilingual story times, cultural festivals, and family gatherings where more than one language will be spoken. These environments can help children develop their language skills at the same time as increasing their exposure to different cultures.

Be Patient

Bilingual language development is an enormous undertaking, so it’s important to be patient with your child’s progress. Don’t worry if your child mixes languages or takes longer to develop language skills in one language compared to the other. Such a thing is relatively easy to rectify with the appropriate focus being given to the weaker of the two, for example when talking at home.

Seek Out Resources & Support

Look for resources and support for bilingual families, such as bilingual playgroups. These can provide your child with additional exposure to both languages and connect you with other families in similar situations.

Provide Additional Language Support if Needed

Bilingual children may require additional support if they are struggling with language development, although the same can be said for any child learning even only one language. Either way, such support can include enrolling the child in language classes or working with a tutor or speech therapist to address any language delays or difficulties.

As we have seen above, bilingualism offers many advantages to children and can help them develop important cognitive and social skills. However, bilingualism also presents a few, unique challenges that parents, caregivers, and educators may have to navigate. By providing consistent exposure to both languages, creating a language-rich environment, and supporting children’s language development, bilingual children can become proficient in both languages and fully realise all the benefits that bilingualism offers. More tips for parents of bilingual children are available in a variety of languages here.

Little Cedars Nursery & Preschool, Streatham

The Highest Quality Childcare for Babies & Children Under 5 in Streatham

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.As a childcare nursery, we recognise the value of bilingualism in the children we care for. Therefore, we support their language development in a way that fosters overall growth and development whilst also celebrating their cultural heritage.

Why not bring your baby, toddler or preschooler along for a guided tour of the setting, so you can meet the staff, see the facilities and ask any questions? You can also see how well your child fits in. Or, if you are ready to register your child for a place, we’ll be delighted to welcome them to Little Cedars Nursery. Please take the first step using a button below:

Little Cedars Day Nursery is officially a good nursery and preschool and is located in Streatham, SW16. We are also conveniently close to Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton. All Government childcare funding schemes are supported.

Rough Guide to Free Childcare for Children in England (2023 Edition)

Today we provide a rough guide to free childcare schemes available in England. There are many different ways eligible families can obtain at the very least some free childcare, so today we look at the various Government schemes and options available. The good news is that there is even one that’s available to pretty much everyone — and it’s quite generous. We’ll take a look at that childcare funding scheme first.

‘Universal’ Free Childcare Hours for 3- & 4-Year-Olds

(The “15 Hours” Scheme)

Up to 570 Free Childcare Hours Available

  • With Universal Free Childcare, children aged 3 or 4 can receive up to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of the year.With Universal Free Childcare, children aged 3 or 4 can receive up to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of the year.
  • Also known as their Free entitlement, it typically equates to 15 hours of free childcare per week over the course of 38 weeks of the year.
  • Some childcare providers may be able to stretch the hours out in a different pattern if it better suits families.
  • The childcare would be available through a nursery, preschool or childminder that’s properly registered to offer free childcare places, plus some other types of provider.

Eligibility

Universal free childcare is not means tested and all children aged 3 and 4 living in England are eligible to receive the free hours. 3- and 4-year-olds moving to England from abroad are also entitled, even without British citizenship. Eligible children can start their free childcare in the term following their 3rd birthday.

How to Apply

Families should apply through their local childcare provider. If you live/work in Streatham and are interested in your child getting their free entitlement at Little Cedars Nursery, please apply here or get in touch to discuss a nursery place with us. You can also find out more about childcare funding via your local council (you can find yours here).

‘Extended’ Free Childcare Hours for 3- & 4-Year-Olds

(The “30 Hours” Scheme)

Up to 1140 Free Childcare Hours Available

  • With Extended Free Childcare, eligible 3- and 4-year-olds can receive up to 1140 hours of free childcare per year.With Extended Free Childcare, eligible 3- and 4-year-olds can receive up to 1140 hours of free childcare per year instead of only 570.
  • Also known as 30 hours’ free childcare, it typically equates to 30 hours of free childcare each week over 38 weeks.
  • As before, however, some childcare providers may be able to offer a different pattern of hours each week, for example if families prefer to take the free hours over 51 weeks of the year rather than limit them to term time only.
  • As with the Universal scheme, the free childcare would be available through a nursery, preschool or childminder that’s properly registered to offer free childcare places, plus some other types of provider.

Eligibility

In contrast to the Universal scheme above, Extended free childcare for children in England aged 3 and 4 is means tested and there are quite a few additional rules around eligibility. These relate to income, job status, immigration status, and your child’s circumstances. In regard to income, generally speaking, eligibility requires that the parent(s) – or a single parent and their partner – are working and are each earning at least £8,668 per annum (less if aged under 23) but less than £100,000. The lower figure is based on 16 working hours per week on at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage. There are several exceptions to the general guidelines, though, and it is therefore wise to consult the more detailed eligibility information available here.

How to Apply

Applications for the Extended (30 hours) free childcare scheme must be made online via the Government website. Children are eligible to start using their free childcare in the term following their 3rd birthday, but parents can apply for it once they reach the age of 2 years and 36 weeks. Don’t leave your application too late because a code will be required in order for your childcare provider to access the childcare funding and you need to know that code in the month preceding the start of the term your child joins. The code will also need to be reconfirmed once every quarter.

Free Childcare for Disadvantaged 2-Year-Olds

Up to 570 Free Childcare Hours Available

  • Some disadvantaged children aged 2 can receive up to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of the year.Some disadvantaged children aged 2 can also receive up to 570 hours of free childcare over the course of the year.
  • This usually equates to 15 hours of free childcare each week over 38 weeks of the year.
  • As with some the schemes above, some childcare providers may be able to spread the hours out in a different way, e.g. less hours per week over more weeks of the year.
  • The childcare would be available through a nursery, preschool or childminder that’s properly registered to offer free childcare places, plus some other types of provider.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible, children’s parents/carers must be in receipt of one or more qualifying Government benefits. These include JSA, ESA, Income Support and Universal Credit amongst others. Household income and any savings must also fall below certain thresholds.

Children may also be eligible, however, if they are in an ‘additional needs’ category. For example, they receive Disability Living Allowance, have an ECH Plan, are being looked after by the local authority, have left care under certain types of order, or fall into another specific category. Some non-UK citizens may also be eligible. More details are available here.

How to Apply

You can apply via your local childcare provider or council.

Tax-Free Childcare

£2,000 to £4,000 in Free Childcare Potentially Available

  • Up to £2,000 in free childcare (£4,000 if disabled) is available each year to eligible children aged 11 or under through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.For those that are eligible, up to £2,000 in free childcare is available each year to children aged 11 or under* through the Tax-Free Childcare scheme.
  • For disabled children up to the age of 16 inclusive*, up to £4,000 may be available.
  • The funding is paid into a special online Childcare account and equates to a maximum of either £500 or £1,000 per quarter, as appropriate.

* Children are no longer eligible from 1st September in the year that they are 11 years of age, or 16 if disabled.

The free childcare funding is funded by the Government via the online Childcare account, which the parent (or even their relative or friend) pay into. For every £8 they pay in, the Government will top up the account by an additional £2, up to the maximum(s) described above. The funding is paid from the account direct to the registered childcare provider, who must be signed up to the scheme. It can be used for no other purpose.

Eligibility

This particular scheme is quite widely available. Although it is means tested, the bar is set quite high. Each parent (or a parent and their partner if they have one) can be earning up to £100,000 per year yet be eligible. Generally speaking, they should also be earning no less than the equivalent of 16 working hours per week on at least the National Minimum Wage or Living Wage, although there are exceptions to the rule.

Aside from household income and the age of children, which we covered above, there are additional rules around eligibility relating to job status, immigration status, and your child’s circumstances. More information is available here.

How to Apply

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare here.

Childcare Vouchers

(Closed to New Applicants)

A.k.a. Employer-Supported Childcare

  • You can sacrifice up to £55 per week of your earnings, which will be free of National Insurance and Income Tax, to fund Childcare Vouchers.You can sacrifice up to £55 per week of your earnings, which will be free of National Insurance and Income Tax, to fund Childcare Vouchers.
  • Closed to new applicants but see the Eligibility section below for more information.

Eligibility

This scheme is still available, through participating employers, but only to those who joined it before 4 October 2018. However, it is closed to new applicants. Exactly how much of your earnings you can use in this salary sacrifice scheme will depend on the date you joined the scheme and how much you earn.

More information is available here.

Free Childcare Through Universal Credit

  • Childcare funding through Universal Credit is set to be improved with nearly 50% more generous funding becoming available from July 2023.Following the Spring Budget 2023, childcare funding through Universal Credit is to be improved with nearly 50% more generous funding becoming available from July 2023.
  • The proposed changes will also mean that the childcare funding will be pre-paid by the Government from that date, rather than families having to pay for it first and then claim it back (as is the case at time of writing, April 2023).
  • This funding will increase to as much as £951 per month for one child or £1,630 per month for 2, from July 2023. Before that date the maximums are £646.35 and £1,108.04 respectively.
  • The maximum eligible families can claim, however, is 85% of their childcare costs, which for some may be lower than the figures stated above.

Eligibility

You or your partner, if you have one, must usually be working, be on a low income and claiming Universal Credit. The child you are claiming free childcare for must be under 17. How much you earn and the level of any investments and savings you might have will be taken into account when you claim and other criteria and caveats will also affect your eligibility.

Read more about the changes to free childcare through Universal Credit proposed in the Spring Budget here and learn more about free childcare through Universal Credit here.

How to Apply

You can apply for Universal Credit here or call them on 0800 328 5644.

Free Childcare Through Tax Credits

(Closed to New Applicants)

Claim Back up to 70% of Childcare Costs if Eligible

  • Claim back up to 70% of childcare costs through Tax Credits.Those already claiming for childcare costs via Working Tax Credits may be able to obtain up to £122.50 for one or £210.00 for more than one child each week.
  • This is up to a maximum of 70% of eligible childcare costs.
  • Funding is paid, retrospectively, to the parent/carer’s bank/building society account.

Eligibility

As this scheme is closed to new applicants, new claimants will need to apply for free childcare through Universal Credit instead (details are shown above). Existing claimants will need to use an approved childcare provider (properly registered etc.) that provides the childcare in person, not online.

More information is available here.

Free Childcare for Children Aged from 9 Months

(Coming Soon)

The Chancellor of the Exchequer proposed radical improvements to childcare funding in his 2023 Spring Budget in March 2023. These include the following additions for eligible children of working parents:

  • Free childcare will soon be available for eligible children aged from just 9 months.2-year-olds may be eligible for the ’15 Hours’ scheme from April 2024.
  • Children aged from just 9 months may be eligible for the ’15 Hours’ scheme from September 2024.
  • Children aged from 9 months to 3 years may become eligible for the ’30 Hours’ scheme from September 2025.
  • Eligibility for the above will follow the same criteria as currently in place for the existing ’30 hours’ scheme (a.k.a. Extended Free Childcare) for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Learn more about the coming changes to childcare funding for children aged from 9 months here.

Student Childcare Grants

Undergraduate Students Can Receive up to 85% of Childcare Costs

  • Undergraduate students can receive up to 85% of childcare costs, if eligible, through a Student Childcare Grant.Up to 85% of childcare costs incurred by students may be claimed, up to a maximum of £188.90 per week for 1 child or £323.85 for 2 or more (correct for academic year 2023-2024).
  • For the academic year 2022-2023, the figures are £183.75 and £315.03 respectively.
  • The grant is paid into a Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS) account and the childcare provider will request payments from this, usually weekly, as appropriate.

Eligibility

Eligibility rules include the following:

  • You need to be a full-time student studying in higher education and living permanently in England;
  • You need to be eligible for undergraduate student finance based on income, which must be under a certain threshold;
  • You cannot have a postgraduate loan nor be claiming other specific types of childcare funding, including childcare help from the NHS;
  • Your child must be financially dependent on you;
  • Your child should be under 15 (17 if they have special educational needs).
  • Other caveats apply.

More information is available here.

How to Apply

You can apply for the Student Childcare Grant at the same time as applying for your main student finance.

Childcare Funding via the Care to Learn Scheme

Up to £175 per child per week may be available.

  • Funding through the Care to Learn scheme can be used to fund childcare, childcare deposit and registration fees, childcare taster days/sessions and even travel to/from the provider.Up to £160 per child is available each week for those living outside London.
  • For those inside London, that increases to a maximum of £175 per child each week.
  • The payment can be used to fund childcare, childcare deposit and registration fees, childcare taster days or sessions and even travel to/from the provider.

Eligibility

You will need to be under 20 when you begin your course, be your child’s main carer, live in England and be a British citizen (or legally be allowed to live/study in England). Your properly-registered childcare provider and the course you are studying on will need to qualify for the scheme. Courses will need to be publicly-funded ones, provided in specific types of setting including sixth form schools/colleges, schools, colleges and other types of provider. However, they cannot be higher education courses at universities. Attendance of both the course by the student and of childcare sessions by the child will need to be good in order to continue to qualify.

More information is available here.

How to Apply

Apply for the Care to Learn scheme here.

Childcare Funding via the Learner Support Scheme

Suitable for Over-20s Studying in Further Education

  • Childcare funding through the Learner Support Scheme is suitable for over-20s studying in further education.While it’s not designed to fund childcare, it can be used to do so in some circumstances.
  • Your specific circumstances will govern exactly what help and how much funding is available to you.

Eligibility

If used to fund childcare, the Learner Support Scheme is suitable for students studying in further education to Level 3 inclusive. They must be parents and also be facing financial hardship in order to qualify. The childcare provider must be registered with Ofsted.

More information is available here.

How to Apply

Student parents should apply through their learning provider, e.g through the college they are studying at.

It’s worth noting that some of the schemes above can be used in tandem with one another, while others strictly cannot. Check the links for more information about each for more details.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

High Quality Childcare Provision for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers in Streatham

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Little Cedars is officially a good nursery/pre-school and offers high quality childcare in Streatham, London SW16. Subject to eligibility and availability, we support Government childcare funding schemes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and children under five at the setting.

If you haven’t yet visited, why not bring your little one for a guided tour and you’ll soon see how well they fit in. We’re happy to answer any questions and would welcome your application for a childcare place.  Please get started with your application or contact us using an option below and we’ll be delighted to help:

We are located in Streathamclose to Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

Free Bird-Spotting Activity Poster for Children

The high resolution bird images show great detail if you zoom in.Spring arrives in the UK on 20th March, according to the meteorological calendar. As well as plants beginning to shoot, daffodils flowering and trees starting to bud, an increased number of wild birds can now be seen too. While a few overwintered here in England, many will have spent winter abroad, where it’s warmer, and only begin to return to the UK once spring begins. So, come springtime, more and more varieties of birds can be spotted — and that’s what today’s post is all about. To encourage children to appreciate, enjoy and learn from nature, we have put together a bird identifier poster that children and parents can download for free, print out to A3 or A4, or view on screen in beautiful high resolution. It highlights 37 species of bird that are popular in England, which children can try to spot as the days and weeks go by. Children can perhaps tick off each type of bird that they spot. With a little help from parents for the youngest children, this activity is a great way to teach them the different bird names and help them to recognise the different types as time goes by. It’s also a great children’s pastime that will encourage them to really appreciate nature. The A3 poster is free to download and share — simply click the preview image below to save or view it in Acrobat PDF format. Enlarge on screen for extra detail or simply print out as large as you can. Children will love this activity and feel a real sense of achievement as they learn more about these wonderful, feathered visitors.

Free A3 Bird Identifier Poster Download:

British Birds Identifier — Free A3 reference poster of the most popular birds — for Children.

Nature is So Good for Children

One of life’s great pleasures is the natural world and nature is something that’s beneficial to children in many profound ways (click the bold link to learn more). Children, including those under five, should be encouraged to spend time around nature, outdoors in the fresh air, whether that’s in the countryside, a park or in a garden (all under adult supervision, of course). Our bird-spotting poster is a great way to encourage them to get outside and take a close look at their natural surroundings. And, of course, putting out home-made bird feeders somewhere suitable will help. We’ll cover that topic in a future post as it’s also great fun for little ones.

37 Types of Bird are Featured

We’ve selected our favourite birds from hundreds of species that visit the UK. This is a Long-tailed Tit.We’ve selected our favourite birds from the hundreds of species that visit the UK each year. There was no way to fit in all of them, so we’ve picked out the most common visitors to our own gardens and nearby parks. In addition, we also added a few extra birds that would be great for children to keep a lookout for, despite a few being shy. Owls are around, for instance, coming out mostly at night. However, barn owls can be seen before dark if you know where to look (the sound of owls hooting or screeching is a dead giveaway). Buzzards, Red Kites and Sparrowhawks are more likely to be seen in the sky overhead, so we’ve shown images where their distinctive silhouettes can give their species away to the onlooker.

We have not yet included waterfowl, ducks, geese, herons, gulls and suchlike in this first bird collection, but may follow up with a second poster if this one proves popular. Let us know what you think!

More Ways for Children to Identify Birds

With a little bit of help from an adult, there are additional, fun ways for children to identify birds in the UK too, all courtesy of the wonderful R.S.P.B. Take a look at some of their bird identification tools available online:

Looking for Good Nurseries or Preschools in Streatham?

Little Cedars is a wonderful nursery & preschool in Streatham, offering high-quality childcare services near Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury & Colliers Wood

Little Cedars is a nursery & preschool offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderAre you looking for the best nursery or preschool in Streatham? We’d love to show you and your child around Little Cedars Nursery if so. We provide high-quality weekday childcare and a rich early years education for babies and under-fives. Our nursery/preschool is also convenient if your family is near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury or Colliers Wood.

To apply for a nursery place, book a guided tour or ask a question, please get in touch using an option below:

Childcare Funding Reforms from the Chancellor's Spring Budget 2023

Childcare funding is set to be positively revolutionised following the Chancellor's Spring Budget, 2023.March 15th 2023 saw the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Budget announcement, which included news of extra funding to cover costs for childcare. Crucially, the new funding will support childcare for infants as young as 9 months old for the first time, as well as including other positive changes. Although it’ll be introduced in stages, the free funding should be welcome news for those parents who will be eligible. Let’s take a look today at the proposed childcare changes, including which age groups will benefit, what extra funding is promised to support families and when the new help will become available. First, though, we’ll look at the main aims of the new funding.

The Aims of the New Childcare Funding

The proposed changes are aimed at helping families overcome current barriers to being able to work, for example because of childcare timing limitations and/or affordability. They should also help the nation, though. Helping parents — especially women — to return to the workplace more easily will boost both household income and career prospects. This, in turn, will also help fill some of the many vacancies in the workplace. So, it will indirectly help the nation through growth and inflows into the Exchequer as well as helping families directly. The press has, however, highlighted some frustration that the changes won’t happen soon enough for many, and are being introduced in stages. However, childcare providers will need time to adapt to the changes, for example to build extra capacity to cater for the extra demand. They will also need to adapt to some new rules around things like staff-to-child ratios.

“Almost half of non-working mothers said they would prefer to work if they could arrange suitable childcare.” (Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer)

The Childcare Funding Improvements:

Childcare Funding Improvements Announced

To sum up the new childcare funding enhancements, the Chancellor’s plans to help eligible families include the following:

  1. The ‘30 hours’ free childcare scheme for eligible 3- and 4-year-olds will soon be extended to eligible children right from the age of just 9 months.
  2. Childcare provision via Universal Credit childcare support, for those parents who want to move into work, or increase hours, will be made more affordable and viable.
  3. What’s known as ‘Wraparound Care’ in relation to childcare for children of school age will also be improved through a ‘Pathfinder’ scheme.

Let’s have a closer look at these three areas, which will positively benefit the attainability of childcare for almost all under-fives:

1. Childcare Funding for Children from 9 Months

Childcare funding will be available for children from just 9 months of age.The ‘main event’ in the Spring Budget from the perspective of childcare provision is the significant expansion of the ‘free hours’ schemes. Previously, only 3- and 4-year-olds living in England could get up to 30 free childcare hours per week, along with some 2-year-olds being eligible for 15 hours per week. However, the Chancellor has announced that 30 free weekly childcare hours will soon be extended to eligible children aged from just 9 months old. Eligibility criteria for these much younger children will be based on the same eligibility requirements as for 3- and 4-year-olds on the existing ’30 free hours’ scheme.

“Significant reforms to childcare will remove barriers to work for nearly half a million parents with a child under 3 in England [who are] not working due to caring responsibilities … reducing discrimination against women and benefiting the wider economy in the process.”

This new support scheme for infants will be gradually phased in during the period running up to September 2025.

  • First, 2-year-olds of working parents will become eligible for 15 hours of free childcare, for 38 weeks of the year, from April 2024. This will benefit up to 285,000 children.
  • The scheme will then be extended to children aged from 9 months of age from September 2024, which will benefit up to an additional 640,000 children.
  • Finally, from September 2025, the Chancellor says, “all eligible working parents of children aged 9 months up to 3 years will be able to access 30 free hours per week.”
  • This is all in addition to existing schemes for 3- and 4-year-olds.

For those children who are eligible, it will mean that they will receive Government-funded childcare hours right from the age of 9 months, with 2-year-olds becoming eligible from just over a year’s time at time of writing (March 2023). With the 3-and-up funding schemes already in place, eligible little ones will then be supported with childcare right up until they start school around the age of five. That will be a game-changer for parents who want to get back into work immediately following any maternity/paternity leave.

“This will help with the cost of living, support education for the youngest children, and remove one of the biggest barriers to parents working.”

2. Universal Credit Changes for Childcare

Universal Credit childcare support will increase by around 47% and will soon be paid in advance instead of in arrears.Some struggling parents in receipt of Universal Credit childcare support, who would like to move into work or increase existing working hours, will have subsidised childcare costs paid in advance under the new proposals. This is in contrast to the existing approach where all parents had to pay for the childcare upfront and then reclaim the costs retrospectively. Funding the childcare costs in advance will make the subsidised childcare costs much easier for the lowest-income families to afford from a practical, cash-flow point of view. It will also hopefully improve the situation whereby, currently, only 13% of eligible low-income families actually claim the childcare element of Universal Credit.

Only 13% of eligible low-income families currently claim the childcare element of Universal Credit.

Under the existing Universal Credit childcare scheme, eligible families can currently claim back up to 85% of childcare costs, up to a maximum of £646 per month for one child or £1,108 for two in most cases (follow the bold link for more details). However, under the new proposals announced in the Spring Budget in March 2023, eligible parents will soon be able to claim significantly more. Indeed, the increase is approximately 47% more, rising to £950.92 per month in childcare funding for a single child and £1,630.15 per month for two or more.

3. Wraparound Childcare ‘Pathfinder’ Scheme

The new ‘Wraparound Pathfinder Scheme’ is designed to provide childcare earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, so parents can work a full day and still pick them up.Although this website and our childcare service are geared to the early years age groups, it would be remiss of us not to include a brief overview of the enhancements that are being introduced for children of school age. These are coming in via proposed changes to what is known as ‘Wraparound Care’ as we’ll explain.

A major problem for many working parents of school-age children is that school hours are generally shorter than the adult’s working hours. This incompatibility creates a barrier to finding a workable childcare solution that would otherwise allow the parent to work during normal office hours. The new ‘Wraparound Pathfinder Scheme’, proposed in the Chancellor’s Spring 2023 Budget, is designed to provide childcare for the children even during those ‘mismatched’ hours. For example, wraparound childcare will start to cover the period from 3pm, when many children finish their school day, to 6pm when parents may finish their working day. Similarly the new provision will allow children to be dropped off earlier in the day, so that parents can get to work by, for example, 9am after dropping children to their childcare providers in the preceding hour. Under the changes proposed in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, parents of school-age children will be able to drop them off as early as 8am and pick them up as late as 6pm during the working week. The scheme will first be tested, however, and rolled out nationally, if successful, from the academic year starting in 2024.

Benefiting Parents, Children & Society

The changes proposed in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget 2023 should improve the lives and careers of parents of young children, improve access to all-important early years education for those little ones and help to support economic growth for the nation.

“An early start in early years education benefits children and spending more hours in early education between age 2 and 3 has immediate positive impacts, including more prosocial behaviour, fewer emotional symptoms and peer problems.”

The Chancellor also announced additional support measures for childcare providers, to help them adapt and prepare for all the new changes and additional capacity that will be required. Learn more about the Chancellor’s announcements for childcare reforms on the Government’s Education Hub.

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

High Quality Childcare Provision for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers in Streatham

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Little Cedars is a high quality nursery and pre-school located in Streatham, London SW16. Recognised as a good childcare provider by Ofsted, we cater for babies aged from 3 months and children aged up to five years. We support the various Government schemes that allow eligible families to access free childcare.

Get in touch today to register your baby or child for a childcare place at Little Cedars Nursery. We’re happy to answer questions and/or to show you and your little one around the nursery/pre-school too. Why not visit and see how well they fit in! Please choose a button to get started with your enquiry or application:

Little Cedars Nursery is located in Streathamnear Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

Introducing Maths Words, Language & Concepts to Toddlers

Mathematics is an essential part of everyday life and an understanding of basic maths concepts is crucial for success in virtually all walks of life. Many children struggle with maths and have negative attitudes towards the topic, but this can change if they have the opportunity to learn maths words and concepts when they're very young.However, many children struggle with maths and have negative attitudes towards the topic. To prevent this, it is important to introduce maths concepts and vocabulary to children at a young age. Fortunately toddlers are at a period of development where they can learn and understand a range of maths words and concepts when given the opportunity. And, by introducing mathematical concepts and vocabulary to toddlers in a fun and engaging way, adults can help children develop a strong foundation in maths and foster a positive attitude towards the subject.

In today’s article, we will explore why it is important to introduce maths language and concepts to toddlers, how parents/caregivers can help those toddlers learn and understand them, and which specific maths-related words can be successfully introduced at this young age. We will also suggest some activities that parents can use to help their toddlers develop a good maths vocabulary.

What Type of Maths Words can Toddlers Learn?

Toddlers can learn and understand a range of maths words and concepts even at their young age. Here are some examples:

Number words

Toddlers can, of course, learn to recognise and say the names of numbers, such as one, two, three, and so on.

Counting concepts

Toddlers can understand the concept of counting i.e. learn to count objects such as toys etc.

Size words

Toddlers can learn to recognise and say size-related words, such as big, small, tall, and short. These all have their root in maths.

Shape words

Toddlers can also learn to recognise and say the names of shapes, which have their root in mathematics. For example, squares, triangles, circles, and rectangles.

Positional words

Toddlers can learn positional words, which again have a kind of root in maths, such as up, down, in, out, on, and off.

Comparatives

Toddlers can learn comparative words such as more, less, equal, the same, and different.

Measurement words

Toddlers can learn measurement-related words such as long, short, heavy, light, full, and empty.

Time words

Toddlers can also learn time-related words such as now, later, early, and late.

The important thing about learning maths words and vocabulary during day-to-day activities is that children don’t even know that they’re learning maths concepts — it comes naturally when nurtured as part of everyday life.

Why Introducing Maths Words to Toddlers is So Important

Introducing maths-related words and concepts to toddlers helps them develop problem-solving skills right from an early age.Introducing maths words and language to toddlers is all part of the EYFS curriculum at nurseries like Little Cedars and is important for several reasons:

It helps develop strong foundations. Introducing maths language to toddlers helps to develop a strong foundation for mathematical concepts that they can build on more fully later on. For example, when toddlers start hearing words such as “one,” “two,” “count,” “more,” and “less, they begin to develop a basic understanding of numbers, maths concepts and the real world use of counting.

It enhances problem-solving skills. Maths involves problem-solving, and introducing maths-related words and concepts to toddlers helps them develop these problem-solving skills right from an early age. For example, as toddlers learn to count, they also learn to recognise patterns in nature and objects around them. Identifying these patterns is one of the first steps towards developing problem-solving strategies.

Toddlers can learn and understand a range of maths words and concepts even at their young age.

It improves language skills. Introducing maths-related language to toddlers can also help improve their language skills, expanding both vocabulary and their ability to communicate effectively. That is incredibly important.

It prepares under-fives for school. Introducing maths words and language to toddlers will also help to prepare them better for when they start school. Once they start, they will already be familiar with the language around mathematics and numeracy and will therefore have a head start in understanding the more advanced maths concepts that school lessons will introduce.

Early maths skills in preschool, such as counting and recognising numbers, are strong predictors of later maths achievement and can help improve maths skills in the long term.

So, as well as helping to lay the foundation for a strong understanding of mathematics itself, introducing maths words and language to children when they’re toddlers helps them develop important additional skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

How to Help Toddlers Learn Maths Language

Parents can encourage toddlers to count objects such as their own fingers and toes, toys, blocks etc.Parents and caregivers can help toddlers learn maths words and maths-related language in a variety of ways. General examples include:

Counting objects; parents can encourage toddlers to count objects such as their own fingers and toes, toys, blocks, things in nature or even food items. This will help toddlers develop counting skills and help them start to understand the concept of numbers and what they mean in day-to-day life.

Reading books; parents can read toddlers books that will introduce maths concepts and vocabulary to them. There are many, many age-appropriate books available that use fun and engaging stories in order to teach basic maths concepts.

Singing songs; singing songs that involve counting and numbers can be a fun and interactive way for toddlers to learn maths-related words and language. Parents can even perhaps try to make up their own songs or rhymes to reinforce any specific maths concepts that they want to highlight to the child.

Playing games; parents can also play games with toddlers that involve counting, sorting, or perhaps even matching or comparing objects (some activity ideas follow below). These types of games reinforce maths vocabulary and can also help children develop problem-solving skills.

Using real-life situations; parents can use real-life situations such as cooking, tidying up or grocery shopping to introduce maths concepts and vocabulary to toddlers. For example, parents can ask toddlers to count the number of apples they need for a recipe, ask them to help sort items in the grocery basket, or count how many socks (or pairs of socks) are hanging on the washing line.

Incorporating maths words and language into everyday play and activities can really help toddlers learn and understand basic maths concepts in a fun and engaging way, without them perhaps even realising that they’re being taught mathematics per se.

Activity Ideas

Here are some more specific activity ideas that can help toddlers develop an understanding of maths concepts and vocabulary in a fun and engaging way:

Shape Hunts

Parents can go on a shape hunt with their toddlers, looking for shapes in the environment such as circles, squares, and triangles. If more than one child is involved, perhaps it could be developed into a competition with prizes. This activity can help toddlers learn the names of shapes and develop visual-spatial skills.

Toddlers can practise jumping on hopscotch numbers and parents can encourage them to say the numbers out loud.Number Hopscotch

Parents can create a hopscotch game using numbers. Toddlers can practise jumping on the numbers and the adult can encourage them to say the numbers out loud. This will help them develop number recognition and counting skills.

Measurement Activities

Parents can engage toddlers in measurement activities such as pouring water into different size containers or comparing the length of different objects. These activities can help toddlers understand measurement concepts and vocabulary such as volume, height, and length.

Pattern Recognition

Young children can look for shapes derived from maths such as circles, squares, and triangles.Parents can create simple patterns using objects such as blocks, toys, or coloured pencils, and ask toddlers to continue the pattern. This activity can help toddlers develop their pattern recognition skills and understand basic maths concepts such as repetition and sequencing.

Sorting Activities

Parents can provide toddlers with a variety of objects and ask them to sort them based on different attributes such as colour, size, or shape. This activity can help toddlers understand basic maths concepts such as classification and sorting.

Building Activities

Parents can provide toddlers with building blocks or other construction toys and encourage them to build structures using different shapes and sizes. This activity can help toddlers develop spatial reasoning and understanding of geometry.

It is never too early to start introducing maths concepts to children.Introducing maths words and concepts to toddlers is an important step in fostering their overall learning and development as well as in relation to success in mathematics itself. By teaching toddlers maths vocabulary and concepts at a young age, we can help them develop strong foundations in maths, enhance their cognitive development and language skills, and improve their attitudes towards maths. It is never too early to start introducing maths concepts to children, and by doing so, we can help them develop a lifelong appreciation of maths as well as nurturing a strong foundation for future success in many areas of their lives.

Nursery & Pre-School Places in Streatham, London SW16

A Nursery Place for Your Child in Streatham

Little Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good Provider of childcare services.Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham invites parents of babies, toddlers and children under five to apply for a childcare place at the setting. We offer high quality childcare on weekdays, virtually throughout the entire year, and give little ones the very best start a child could ever ask for. As well as being somewhere to look after your child, we also nurture their learning and development, giving them a full early years education. We have a good Ofsted rating.

Come along to see for yourself — we’ll give you and your child a guided tour, answer any questions and you can see for yourself how well your little one will fit in. Please choose an option below to make contact, request a tour or to apply for a nursery/pre-school place and we’ll be delighted to help:

Little Cedars Nursery is located in Streatham, near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Speech Milestones at 30 Months - a Guide

Today we explore what you should expect your 30-month-old to be able to say by this stage and what to do if there are any concerns.Milestones are a crucial thing to monitor when you’re bringing up a baby or young child. Speech is an important one and it’s one that parents would be wise to take stock of at regular times in their child’s early years. Today we look at this milestone at around the age of 30 months. So, what should you expect your 30-month-old to be able to say at this age and, if appropriate, how can you encourage them to speak more? Let’s explore speech milestones at 30 months

So, What is the Average 30-Month-Old Saying?

It’s important to appreciate that children develop skills, including speech, at different rates and times. However, that said, by the age 30 months (2½ years of age), many toddlers can say about 200 or more words. They can also start to put 2- or 3-word sentences together. Conversations between you and your toddler are starting to take shape, with exchanges back and forth. Parents, or anyone looking after your toddler on a regular basis, should understand about 50% of a child’s speech at 2 years of age, increasing to about 75% at 3 years.

30 Month Speech Milestones

By the age of 30 months:

  • Toddlers are starting to successfully use verbs as part of their language, for example, drinking, dressing, and playing.
  • They are starting to use two or even three syllable words, like carrot and banana.
  • They are starting to use three to four words into short sentences, for example, “We go to swings.”
  • They understand that adding an ‘s’ to nouns makes them plural, for example toys.
  • They can say their own name.
  • They are differentiating between big and small.
  • Having learnt to take turns and share with other children, they may use words like share.”
  • The can understand a question like, Where is the ball?”
  • They may still be practising putting the correct sound at the beginning of each word.
  • They may have accomplished the general sound but may still be trying to properly finish words.

Encouraging your Toddler to Talk More

The more ‘chatty’ time you have with your toddler, the more they will naturally get involved.The more ‘chatty’ time you have with your toddler, the more they will naturally get involved — and learn from you. Talking to your toddler facilitates good listening skills and helps them to build up their own vocabulary, particularly when you make physical reference to the things you are talking about. In this way they can associate a word with its physical equivalent (e.g. holding up or pointing to an object that you’re talking about).

Helping them build vocabulary can be as simple as talking to them about what they are having for lunch, or about activities they are taking part in. Maybe talk about friends and family, daily activities such as dressing, meal times and suchlike. Use words that they will relate to and therefore eventually understand. For example, “What jumper would you like to wear today? Would you like to wear the purple one?” or, “It’s cold outside today; shall we put our coats on?”

When talking about objects, try expanding the conversation. For example, say, “The car is going fast,” or, “The big blue ball.” Try and describe things as you speak to your child as it will add to their vocabulary and comprehension.

When talking about objects, try expanding the conversation.Use repetition. This helps your toddler through hearing the same words over and over again. They will copy and get used to which words go with which scenario in this way. You can take this a step further too…

There are many songs and nursery rhymes that toddlers can join in with. Sing along to them, do the actions to the songs and encourage your child to join in. Then, they’ll learn words and sentences through both repetition and song — and it’s all achieved in a fun way!

Talk about feeling words. For example, “The boy is happy, the girl is sad”. You can use the appropriate face to back up the words.

Puzzles and books are a great way to lean new words. Basic puzzles, often of farm animals or vehicles, or incorporating colours, are a great opportunity for your toddler to repeat the words relating to the puzzle pieces as you point them out.

Try and describe things as you speak to your child as it will add to their vocabulary and comprehension.The same applies to books. Get your toddler to point out details in pictures sand repeat the words after you. You can also ask your toddler questions about the book and get a conversation going, for example, whether they know a particular character, a particular object or a colour. Point to details and see if they know the word, or say the word out loud and let them repeat it.

Making up games can encourage your toddler to get involved verbally. Pretending to be animals, spacemen or any character at all can promote their speech, even if it’s copying from a character they have seen on screen time.

Remove distractions like TV and music when speaking with your child. It will help them concentrate more on listening to and speaking with you.

Help them with their sentences. For example, if they say, “This ball”, you could clarify it and say, “Yes, this is a ball.”

What if You’re Concerned About Your Toddler’s Speech?

As we said near the start, it’s important to remember that all toddlers are different and you cannot compare them to their friends or family and expect them to all learn and develop at exactly the same rate. That being said, perhaps ask yourself:

  • Can my toddler say at least 50 up to potentially 200 words (and actually understand up to 500)?
  • Can they say their name?
  • Can they respond well to instructions?
  • Do they respond to questions involving “who” or “what”?
  • Can they say what is going on in a particular scenario? For example, if you asked, “What is the boy playing with?” can they recognise and say the answer, e.g. “A ball”?
  • Can they point and say what pictures are in a book or puzzle?

If you have any concerns, it is worth mentioning it to a health professional just in case, for example your GP or health visitor. In some rare cases, this may identify speech or even hearing issues. In such cases, a child can be referred to an appropriate professional, for example a speech and language therapist (‘SLT’) although parents in the UK are also able to make a referral themselves (more information is available here). If there’s no problem, though, advice from a professional may simply put your mind at ease. At the very least, a closer understanding of your toddler’s progress will be beneficial to all parties, including the child.

More information about helping your little one to learn to speak is available on the NHS website.

Childcare Places at our Wonderful Nursery & Pre-School in Streatham

Babies & Under-Fives Get the Best Start in Life at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good Provider of childcare services.This article was brought to you by the team at Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham. Here, babies and children under five are lovingly looked after, given the best early years education and nurtured for success in a fun, homely environment.  The nursery and pre-school has a good Ofsted rating.

Why not come for a visit, so that you can see the nursery and pre-school in action? Bring your little one and see how well they will fit in. Or, if you’ve already decided you’d like to register for a place for a child — or ask any questions — please get in touch using an appropriate button below:

Little Cedars Nursery is based in Streatham, close to Tooting Common and the A214. It is also convenient for families near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common and Furzedown as well as Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

 

Childcare Funding Schemes for Students

Some Government schemes offer help with childcare costs, potentially saving student parents substantial amounts.Are you a student as well as a parent? If so, there are several Government schemes that offer help with childcare costs, some of which will save student parents substantial amounts of money. By doing so, they also make the prospect of juggling parenthood with being a student much more manageable. Today we examine the key childcare funding options, including how the type of course and the age of the parent affect eligibility.

For Student Parents Studying in Full-Time Higher Education

The Student Childcare Grant

The Student Childcare Grant is essentially free childcare funding and does not have to be repaid.

Struggling with childcare and study? These childcare funding schemes may really help students.The very generous Student Childcare Grant is available for eligible students who who are studying full-time on a higher education course and have dependent children aged 14 or under (16 or under if they have special needs).

Additional eligibility factors regarding the Childcare Grant for Students:

  • You must either receive, or be eligible to receive, undergraduate Student Finance based on your household income.
  • The Student Childcare Grant is available in addition to any standard Student Finance that may be in place for you.
  • The grant does not have to be paid back.
  • It can cover up to 85%* of an eligible student’s childcare fees.
  • However, the most it will pay out for childcare each week is £183.75* if you have one eligible child, or £315.03* for more than one.
  • The child or children mentioned in your application must be financially dependent on you.
  • You, the parent, must be a permanent resident in England.
  • You are not eligible for the Childcare Grant for Students if you are in receipt of a Postgraduate Loan.
  • You are also not eligible for the Student Childcare Grant if you, or your partner if you have one, claim Tax-Free Childcare, Universal Credit or the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.
  • Families who get financial support through the National Health Service are also not eligible.

The Student Childcare Grant is paid into a Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS) account and an eligible childcare provider will be paid directly from this once the course has begun. There are strict rules around eligibility for the childcare provider, including that they must be properly registered as such (e.g. with Ofsted or the General Childcare Register) and cannot be a relative if the childcare is taking place at home.

Find out more about Student Childcare Grants and the application process here.

For Student Parents (20+) Studying in Further Education & Facing Financial Hardship

The ‘Learner Support’ Scheme

The Learner Support scheme helps parents aged 20 or over who are studying in further education and facing financial hardship.If you are aged 20 or over, are a parent studying in further education for a qualification on a Level 3 course or below and are facing financial hardship, you may be eligible for childcare funding under the Learner Support scheme. This funding could help you with childcare and other study-related costs if you fit the right eligibility criteria.

How much childcare funding you are eligible for through the scheme depends upon your exact circumstances and income. The childcare provider, though, must be Ofsted-registered.

Those studying in higher education and in receipt of Student Finance are not eligible, nor are those studying on a Community Learning course. There are also some specific rules for those who are helped via the Advanced Learner Loan Bursary Fund.

Find out more about childcare funding through the Learner Support Scheme, including how to apply for it, here.

For Student Parents Under 20 Studying on a Publicly-Funded Course

The ‘Care to Learn’ Scheme

If you are a student parent under 20 studying in a publicly-funded course, the Care to Learn scheme helps to fund childcare.If you are a parent as well as a student aged under 20 when you begin one of a range of publicly-funded courses in England, you may be eligible for childcare funding through the Care to Learn bursary scheme. If eligible, you could claim as much as £175 in childcare per week, per child if you live in London, reducing to £160 per week, per child, outside London.

Care to Learn funding can be used for the standard childcare costs as well as both a deposit and a registration fee. It can even be used to fund a childcare ‘taster’ period of up to 5 days for your child and to fund your travel costs to/from the childcare setting. What’s more, it can also be used to secure your childcare place during Summer Holidays.

Publicly-funded courses that fit in with the scheme include schools, sixth-form schools/colleges, academies, some colleges and a few other types of setting. However, your course must not be a higher education course at a university, nor can you claim if you are studying as an apprentice and receive payment for it.

Your childcare provider must be either Ofsted-registered, a school, or registered with a childminding agency. However, if so, they can be a nursery, pre-school, playgroup, out-of-school club or simply a childminder. They receive payments direct, but can only claim payments once they have confirmed both your attendance on your course and your child’s attendance at the childcare setting.

Find out more about the Care to Learn Scheme and how to apply here.

Free Childcare for Streatham Students at Little Cedars Nursery

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Little Cedars supports all official childcare funding schemes and offers high quality childcare at it’s nursery and pre-school in Streatham. We may therefore suit parents who are also students studying at one of the many schools, sixth-forms, colleges, universities and training centres nearby, including around Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton. We would be happy to discuss childcare funding options with any parent and can often point people in the right direction, including knowledge on eligibility, applications and actual funding. If you’d like to know more or would like to reserve a childcare place for your child at the nursery, please follow the buttons below.

* Figures are correct at time of writing (October 2022) in relation to the academic year 2022-2023.