Tag Archive for: babies

Eye Colour in Infancy: The Magic of Changing Hues

Eye colour can completely change during early childhood.Have you ever noticed that some babies are born with blue or grey eyes that later change to brown, green or hazel? It’s a magical metamorphosis that sometimes occurs in growing infants and it can be quite intriguing. Parents may indeed wonder whether their newborn child’s eyes are going to change or remain the same as they were at birth. The answer comes down to a combination of time, location, genetics and something called Melanin and today’s article explores this captivating phenomenon.

Eye Colour, the Iris, & Scattering of Light

Blue or grey eyes are common during infancy in Northern Europe.When we talk about eye colour we are, of course, talking primarily about the colour of the irises of a human’s eyes. The iris is the circular muscle around the centre pupil and it is this muscle that governs how much light can pass into the eye by making the pupil larger or smaller. When there is lots of light around, the iris constricts the size of the pupil and, in contrast, makes it big when light levels are low.

It is on the surface of the iris muscle that you find the colour pigmentation that most affects eye colour. However, in some cases, the exact hue that an onlooker perceives is also affected by the way light wavelengths are scattered from the surface of the iris and out through the lens. Effects including the ‘Tyndall’ effect and ‘Rayleigh Scattering’ are potentially a part of this and each may be responsible for altering the colour we see when we look at a person’s eyes. In a similar way, the white light coming from the sun is scattered in such a way that makes the sky look blue. However, when it comes to the eyes, this scattering of light wavelengths only really shows when there is very little Melanin in the eyes.

Melanin

The more melanin pigment the eyes contain, the darker the eye colour will be.Melanin is a protein that’s secreted by special skin cells called melanocyte cells, which form colouration pigmentation in our bodies, including in the eyes, hair and skin. When it comes to the eyes, a lot of melanin pigment means the eye colour is more likely to be dark, for example brown. In contrast, those without much melanin eye pigmentation will have lighter eyes, for example, grey or blue. It is also those lighter colours that are most affected by the Rayleigh Scattering and Tyndall effects that we discussed in the last section.

Eye Colour & Location

Worldwide, brown eyes are the most common colour in infancy.Melanin is a protective protein and, by having more melanin pigmentation, an eye has greater protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) sun rays. That’s one of the reasons that populations from hot, sunnier countries are more likely to have brown or darker eyes — because those are better protected from the sun’s UV rays. Indeed, brown eyes are the most common eye colour in infancy, despite some common misconceptions. It is true, however, that blue or grey eyes are common in infancy in Northern Europe, where the sunlight is less strong.

Changing Eye Colour in Infancy

Interestingly, many babies born with grey or blue eyes end up with eyes of a different colour. This is because the protective melanin pigmentation can take time to build up in the irises and it’s this that accounts for many babies starting off with grey or blue eyes and ending up with green, hazel or brown eyes. The metamorphosis may take between 6 and 9 months to begin showing dramatically, with the changes mostly complete by the age of 3 years. That said, subtle eye colour changes can continue right into early adulthood in some cases.

Eye Colour & Genetics

Genetics also play a part in the colour of eyes.Genetics also play a part in the colour of the eyes and can be helpful when attempting to predict a newborn’s eye colouring. However, correctly predicting the colour of a baby’s eyes based solely on that of parents is not guaranteed. That’s because any inherited colouration may skip one or more generations. And, with a mix of different chromosomes and genes being passed down from parents, grandparents and beyond, skipping generations can sometimes result in completely unexpected eye colouring in infants. Genes will also control how much melanin will initially be present in a newborn’s eyes as well as affecting further production as the child ages and the eyes adjust to conditions.

What About Heterochromia?

Those affected by heterochromia may have two different coloured eyes or two colours present in an eye.Heterochromia is a condition that affects less than 1% of the world’s population. Those affected may have two different coloured eyes or perhaps two colours present in one eye. The causes of heterochromia include physical injury, disease, genetics or sometimes the use of specific medications.

The singer David Bowie famously had eyes that appeared to be two different colours. This was the result of a condition called anisocoria, allegedly caused through a scuffle during an argument over a girl. In Bowie’s case, the injury caused one iris to become paralysed and remain permanently larger than the other. It is this difference that makes one eye appear to be darker.

Baby eye colour is a fascinating topic and, as we have seen above, predicting the colour of your newborn baby’s eyes may not be as simple as it may seem. Witnessing a baby’s eyes gradually turn from grey or blue to green, hazel or brown is also quite a magical milestone and we hope today’s guide has gone some way to explaining why such an incredible metamorphosis can sometimes occur.

Your Childcare Nursery in Streatham

Little Cedars provides high-quality childcare for babies, toddlers & preschoolers in Streatham, SW16

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.

Do you have a baby, toddler or preschooler who requires reliable weekday childcare and a high-quality early years education? If you’re living in or around Streatham, Little Cedars Day Nursery may be just what you’re looking for. Our warm, welcoming, home-from-home environment and well-trained staff offer loving care from Monday to Friday and bring out the very best in every child. We are officially a good childcare provider too, and equip little ones with everything they need to thrive. To explore the possibility of a childcare place for your child at Little Cedars Day Nursery in Streatham, please choose an option below and we’ll be delighted to help.

It may help nearby families to know that our Streatham childcare nursery is also close to Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

 

15 ways children learn best through play, how it benefits them & why it's important in early childhood.

Play teaches children about each other, themselves, other living things, cause and effect, and the world around them.Watch any infant, toddler or preschooler for just a few minutes and you’ll see that one thing comes naturally to them; play. Indeed, it’s as if they’ve been programmed that way, with the need to play coming instinctively to youngsters, whatever their species. Aside from it simply being great fun, there are a multitude of very good reasons for that — play teaches them an enormous amount about each other, themselves, other living things, cause and effect, and the world around them. It also allows them to learn and fine-tune a whole swathe of new skills as they grow older, play new games, and become more experienced. Add in some careful steering and nurturing during that play from Mum or Dad and they have a real recipe for success. With that in mind, we look today at the key ways in which learning through play profoundly benefits children.

1. Play & Creativity Go Hand-in-Hand

Role-play activities teach children how to use their imaginations and think creatively.Play and creativity go hand-in-hand. Whether making up a new game, role-playing, constructing, or playing in a den, children will naturally create both scenarios and physical items as part of their play. Such activities teach them how to use their imaginations and to be creative — in a myriad of ways.

2. Play Boosts Problem-Solving & Critical Thinking Skills

During play, children will inevitably reach points where a problem needs to be solved or a challenge overcome. Such things will help to stretch children’s minds and stimulate thinking skills to help them invent new ways to do things, solve problems, accomplish tasks, or do something more efficiently. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills will benefit hugely in this way and these are crucial skills for children to learn as they grow older.

3. Play Hones Motor Skills

Children will naturally hone both fine and gross motor skills during play.Different play activities require different types of movement and physical interaction from children. Indeed, this is a fundamental aspect of play. Whether jumping and running with large movements or carefully constructing with small items like building blocks, children will naturally hone both fine and gross motor skills during play. Such physical skills are essential to their ability to navigate and interact with the world around them and, in the most natural of ways, play is at the heart of enhancing those abilities.

4. Play Makes Children Fitter

All that running around, chasing, jumping, hopping and playing games is sure to raise a child’s heart rate and, in time, get them a little out of breath. That’s great exercise, right there, but play makes it fun rather than a chore. And, as we know, exercise is good for us, helping to keep us more fit and healthy. In fact, along with a healthy, balanced, diet, it can even help children to reduce or avoid the prospect of childhood obesity.

5. Play is Good for Children’s Emotional Well-Being

Did you know that the hormone cortisol, which the body releases when under stress, reduces when children play? It just goes to prove that playing makes children happy — after all, it’s great fun — and that’s great for their overall emotional well-being.

6. Play Enhances Cognitive Skills

Playing not only improves physical fitness, motor skills and coordination, but it also improves brain function. After all, play takes a myriad of different forms, each type requiring a different mixture of concentration and cognitive skills to succeed. Play is, indeed, like a good workout for the mind, with every passing minute of play enabling the brain to form countless new connections that will stand a child in good stead through improved skills and knowledge going forward.

7. Play Improves Social Skills

Social skills are also improved through play.Social skills are also improved through play. Children naturally play with other children and, by so doing, will soon pick up social skills as they begin to better understand social protocols that allow them to succeed both as individuals and in groups. Decent manners, saying please and thank you, cooperation, teamwork and closer bonding are all examples of social skills that can benefit through group play. Other examples include conflict resolution, better sharing, negotiation and communication, which we’ll come to next.

8. Play Helps Children Learn to Communicate Better

Play is a great facilitator of communication amongst children.Through all this play, children will be communicating with each other and with any adults that are supervising. As such, play is a great facilitator of communication. Indeed, good communication is essential to most games and, through it, children can cooperate and achieve in ways that will help them in both the short term and into adulthood. Improving communication skills is also a fundamental way to improve success when you think about it.

9. Play Enhances Emotional Intelligence

Play also allows children to see things from one another’s perspectives. Role-play games are a great example and, through such endeavours, children can better understand how their actions might affect others. Through such play opportunities, they’ll learn to have improved empathy, patience, and perception of others. Those are important tools for any individual to master, both as children and as adults.

10. Play Stimulates Children’s Senses

One of the key ways babies and infants learn is through the senses and it’s through play that they often do this. Whether reaching out to touch a soft toy during tummy time, playing with coloured shapes, or progressing to creative play with play dough and suchlike when they’re older, they can learn a lot about the world through the senses during early play. Learn more about The Benefits of Sensory Play for Under-Fives here.

11. Play Makes Sense of Mathematics

Playing can also teach children about mathematics.Mathematics is often embedded into games and pastimes. Children can learn, for example, about adding, subtracting, multiplication and division through games. Even dividing group play into teams requires some fundamental maths to ensure teams are equal in size. Building towers out of blocks is another great example where children can count how many blocks they can stack into a tower before it falls over. They can try to beat their own maximum, or even compete against one another to see who can use the most blocks.

12. Play Teaches Children Real-World Science

Play also teaches children about science and how it applies to the real world around them. Properties of materials are a good example, with children learning to understand the properties of liquids, solids, play dough, gravity, heat and cold, cause and effect, and so on — often through the simple act of playing.

13. Play Teaches Children to Assess Risk

Another great skill that children can learn through play is that of risk assessment. Should they climb further up this tree or is it too dangerous? Should they add another block to their tower construction, or will it tip over? Can they leap across this puddle without getting wet? All such things are great examples of how simple play activities can teach children how to assess risk — and learn from it.

14. Play Educates Children About the World Around Them

By immersing children into widely differing environments, play teaches children about the world around them, and everything within it.Play comes in a vast array of different forms, shapes, and sizes. Through so doing, it introduces children to countless scenarios, situations, and challenges. By immersing children into such widely differing environments, they learn huge amounts about the world around them, and everything within it. Whether it’s newfound knowledge about a new object, material, place, culture, activity, or something else, play is an amazing conduit to new knowledge and the need to learn new skills. Play is the ultimate educator and the incredible thing is that children may be unaware that they’re learning — they’re having too much fun!

15. Play Makes Learning Fun & Natural

All in all, play teaches children a vast amount about the world around them, about themselves, and about others. It also teaches them a myriad of new skills. Incredibly, it makes such learning fun and totally natural. As such, play is an immensely powerful teacher that’s key to the success of every child’s early learning and development.

Children Learn Through Play at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

The childcare professionals at Little Cedars Nursery understand very well the superpowers of play. That’s why babies, toddlers and preschoolers learn mostly through play and child-led activities at the nursery in Streatham. Through play and a learning and development programme that’s custom-designed for each child, little ones absolutely thrive at Little Cedars, achieving personal bests in every area of the curriculum and personal development. In this way, we ensure they are as school-ready as possible by the time they leave us as they approach the age of five.

Nursery & Preschool Places at a Good Nursery/Preschool in Streatham

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 ProviderWould you like to explore the possibility of your baby or under-five child attending Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham? We’re officially a ‘good provider’ of childcare and early years education and offer a warm, cosy, home-from-home environment where every child thrives and feels valued. We’re also conveniently located if you live or work near Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Tooting Common, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood. Get in touch today to get started on your application, to visit, or to find out more:

Little Cedars Nursery Streatham – 5-Star Rated by Families

Example: 5-star ratings of Little Cedars Nursery via a review posted on daynurseries.co.uk in February 2023.When you’re searching for the best nursery for your baby or toddler, or the perfect preschool for your 3-or-4-year-old, the choice can often be overwhelming. A Good Ofsted rating will help, of course. However, genuine customer feedback is crucial as a tool to gauge the suitability of local childcare providers. And recommendations and 5-star ratings can be priceless. So, if you’re a family looking for childcare in the Streatham or Tooting area, it may help to read what the parents of some of our children have to say about us — and that’s exactly what today’s post is designed to showcase.

The good news is that our reviews on Google and elsewhere are awash with 5-star reviews and glowing testimonials about the quality of our childcare services and the loving, nurturing qualities found at the setting. Take a look below to read just some of the wonderful feedback that Little Cedars Nursery receives, from families past and present.

Sara Z recommends Little Cedars Day Nursery

5-star rating

“My daughter has been at Little Cedars for some time now. Lovely little nursery and great staff.”

(Sara Z. via Facebook, June 2022.)

5-star rating

“Maggie the centre manager was helpful and super efficient with everything! Thank you”

(Charlotte M. via Google, 2 months ago).

5-star rating

“What an amazing nursery. I had my little ones here for years … they really loved [it] and the management & teachers are so lovely. I just want to say thank you for taking care of my kids so brilliantly. Always so helpful! I will miss you and my kids too xxx”

(Rita T. via Google, 2 months ago).

5-star rating

“Lovely setting away from the hustle and bustle of Streatham. Nice big garden and friendly staff who always make our baby boy feel welcome. The baby room is clean and full of kind staff – whenever we drop off or collect our child he is in the lap of a team member and given a lot of attention. He loves the rabbits in the garden and gets plenty of outside play. The chef cooks a variety of healthy meals and snacks and is also so friendly with the babies. Prices are affordable for the area without any compromise on quality – we highly recommend LC!”

(Roxanne H. via Google, 2 months ago).

5-star rating

“My son has been attending this day care for almost 2 years now. As a first time mom I didn’t have enough confidence in myself when it came to choosing a nursery however as soon as I stepped into this facility and met Maggie I knew this was a journey my son and I would enjoy.

Needless to say 2 years in I’m completely happy that I chose Little cedars day care as my son’s educational starting point.

From the little baby room to the toddler room he has grown [in] leaps and bounds, his social skills are amazing, his vocabulary improves with each week and I love the close-knit relationships he enjoys with both the staff and his peers.

The staff are friendly, very attentive and strive for excellence. There are many activities that are planned for the kids throughout the school terms and parents are invited to some which is great and they also have a big outdoor area which is awesome for the little ones to enjoy in all climates.

I love the fact that there are chickens and rabbits in the garden meaning the learning continues beyond the classroom. The toddler room also has a lizard named Lizzy who the kids help look after too, thus again helping develop their nurturing side.

There’s a good ratio of staff to pupils and your child will not be part of the furniture, it’s an overall wonderful experience.

It’s such a lovely atmosphere from drop off to pick up you just know you’ve left your child in an environment where they can learn and explore and be well taken care of all at the same time.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to all the staff at the day care … Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

(Nomvula B. via Google, 11 months ago).

5-star rating

“Nice place; my daughter is excited to go there”

(‘Local Guide’ Hamza Y. via Google, a year ago).

5-star rating

“My daughter attends this nursery for over a year now. I just love the friendly vibes, the lovely facilities (including resources, grand garden and animals!) Maggie, the manager, has been just wonderful and you can see her deep commitment as she often supports her team in the rooms! [A] hands-on manager that will always give you time to talk about your child is a recipe for success! Highly recommended!”

(‘SmallFrog’, via Google, a year ago).

5-star rating

“Amazing nursery! Our daughter loved it here and all the staff are fantastic!”

(‘Local Guide’ Johann H. via Google).

Your Streatham Nursery & Preschool

A home-from-home that nurtures babies and children under five, in Streatham, near Tooting

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 ProviderIt’s clear from the feedback highlighted today that Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham is not just a childcare provider. Indeed, it’s more like an extended family that’s as invested in nurturing the growth and development of little ones as parents are. At Little Cedars, curiosity is sparked, friendships are forged, and the foundation for a love of learning is laid.

If you’re local to Streatham or Tooting and like what you’ve learned in this post today, we look forward to the opportunity to be a part of your child’s early years, shaping moments that matter and creating a haven where your little one can truly thrive.

To enquire about a nursery or preschool place for your child, please get in touch:

Little Cedars is a high-quality childcare nursery in Streatham, close to Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting, Tooting Common, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.

Why Not Write a Review?

We’d love your feedback! Are you happy with Little Cedars Day Nursery? If so, why not post a review to our Google profile (here)? And, of course, if there’s something you’re not happy with or if you have a suggestion, please let us know and we’ll urgently work to address it. Feedback from parents is incredibly important to us as part of our continuous mission to improve the breadth and quality of the childcare services we provide. Thank you.

Child Benefit: a Complete Guide for Parents/Guardians (2023/24 Edition)

Today’s guide aims to explain everything you ever wanted to know about Child Benefit in the UK. This benefit could be a lifesaver with the current economy and interest rates being what they are. Learn the rules around eligibility, discover how much you can get, and see how many children you can claim for. We’ll also explain what impact your earnings may have, how long you can continue claiming for, and much more. So, if you’re responsible for bringing up a child, take a look!

What Is Child Benefit?

Child Benefit is a financial support scheme designed to help parents and guardians with the costs of raising children.Child Benefit is a financial support scheme, provided by the UK Government, that’s there to assist parents and guardians in covering the costs of raising children. It is an essential part of the social safety net in the United Kingdom and aims to help families with the financial responsibilities that come with bringing up children. Eligible families are free to spend Child Benefit however they like, whether that’s on children’s clothes, food, or something else.

Who is Eligible to Claim Child Benefit?

In the UK, Child Benefit is available to those primarily responsible for raising a child under the age of 16, or under 20 if they’re in approved education or training (N.B. that’s unless they get paid for working 24 or more hours per week instead, begin an apprenticeship, or claim certain benefits themselves).

Child Benefit is usually paid to the person who is primarily “responsible for the child’s care”.

To be eligible, you must be living in the UK, the child you’re claiming for must reside with you, and you must be spending at least the equivalent of the benefit you’ll receive on caring for your child (e.g. through food, clothes, etc.). Up to a certain level, income doesn’t affect eligibility (we’ll explain rules around income later in this guide*) and you do not need to be working. Note also that savings do not affect eligibility. Interestingly, you do not necessarily have to be the child’s parent in order to claim, although only one person can claim for a particular child.

More details about eligibility for Child Benefit can be found here, including some caveats, exceptions and special circumstances.

How Many Children Can You Claim For?

There are no restrictions on the number of children you can claim for, so each child in your care can be covered if you're eligible.You can claim Child Benefit for all of your children who meet the eligibility criteria. It may surprise some to learn that there are no restrictions on the number of children you can claim for (unlike with some other types of Government child support), so each eligible child in your care can be covered under this benefit.

How Much Do You Get?

For the 2023/24 tax year, the rates for Child Benefit have increased to the following levels:

• For the eldest or only child: £24.00 per week;
• For additional children: £15.90 per week for each additional child.

Example:

If you are responsible for looking after 3 eligible children, you will get 1 x £24 per week plus 2 x £15.90 each week. That amounts to £55.80 per week or £2901.60 per annum.

These rates can be a valuable contribution to your family’s finances and provide some relief from the costs associated with raising children. They are usually paid to you monthly, however, you may be able to arrange weekly payments in some circumstances. The money is paid directly to you and can be paid into most types of bank or building society accounts, with the exception of Post Office card accounts and Nationwide Cash Builder accounts with sort code 07 00 30 that are registered in someone else’s name.

* How Do Your Earnings Affect It?

Child Benefit can be affected by your or your partner’s individual income if either of you earns over £50,000 annually.Child Benefit can be affected by your or your partner’s individual income if either of you earns over £50,000 annually. In such cases, you may have to pay a ‘High Income Child Benefit Tax Charge’. This charge gradually reduces your Child Benefit entitlement if your income is between £50,000 and £60,000. Indeed, if your income exceeds £60,000, you’ll likely have to repay the entire amount through this tax charge. We’ll cover more of the detail in the next section below…

Is Child Benefit Subject to Income Tax?

Whether Child Benefit is subject to Income Tax depends on the level of you/your partner’s income:

  • If you or your partner earn less than £50,000 per year, Child Benefit is not subject to Income Tax, i.e. it is tax-free.
  • If you or your partner earn over £50,000 and no more than £60,000 per annum, you will need to repay 1% of your Child Benefit income for every £100 earned over the £50,000 threshold. This is done through a special kind of income tax called the ‘High Income Child Benefit Charge’.
  • Because that equates to 10% for every £1000 of Childcare Benefit received, 100% of Childcare Benefit has to be repaid through the special income tax charge if you or your partner’s income reaches the upper (£60,000) threshold.

Is Child Benefit Affected by Universal Credit?

No, child benefit is not affected by anything you receive through Universal Credit. As separate schemes in their own right, each is paid independently of the other.

Can Child Benefit Contribute Towards Your State Pension?

Child Benefit will count towards your state pension National Insurance (NI) contributions if the child you are claiming for is under 12 and you are either not in work or do not have sufficient earnings for NI contributions. However, should you not need the NI State Pension credits yourself, you may be able to ask for them to be transferred to your partner/spouse in some circumstances.

How Do You Claim Child Benefit?

Child Benefit can be claimed online or via downloadable paper forms.Claiming Child Benefit is a straightforward process:

  • You can apply online through the official Government website. Fill out the necessary details and submit the form, and you should start receiving your payments within a few weeks. Learn more about how to claim online and what information you’ll need by watching this video.
  • Alternatively, you can use a physical claim form. Two versions of the form exist: a CH2 form to use if you are claiming for up to two children and a CH2 (CS) form for any children in addition to those. Use the bold links to download and print out the forms if you decide to go with the ‘paper’ option.

Tip!

Payments can only be backdated by 3 months. It’s therefore wise to make any claim before your child reaches the age of 3 months.

How Long Can You Claim For?

You can usually claim this benefit until your child reaches the age of 16. However, if your child continues in approved education or training, you can still receive this benefit until they turn 20. As we said before, that’s unless they are paid for working 24 hours or more per week instead of their education or training.

Child Benefit is a crucial source of financial support, helping to ease the financial burden of raising children for eligible families. Be mindful of the income thresholds that may affect your entitlement, and ensure you claim it promptly to access the full value of this funding. Also, keep in mind that Government policies and rates may change over time, so it’s advisable to check the official Government website links above for the most up-to-date information on Child Benefit.

A Nursery Place for Your Child at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars is a Nursery & Preschool in Streatham, London SW16

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.

At Little Cedars Nursery in Streatham, SW16, we are mindful of the significant costs associated with bringing up a child. We therefore support all Government-funded childcare schemes for eligible families. Parents/guardians can also rest assured that we’ll give babies, toddlers and preschoolers the very best start in life, in a warm, nurturing environment. And, as Ofsted agree, we are a good nursery and early years provider.

If you’d like to register your child for a nursery place, ask us a question or arrange a tour of the nursery/preschool with your little one, please get in touch — we’ll be delighted to help.

Our childcare service is based in Streatham near Tooting Common and the A214. As such, it is also conveniently located for families in Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

Support for Children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (‘SEND’) in Early Years Settings

Today, we’re looking at what help is available for children under five with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (‘SEND’, also sometimes referred to as ‘SEN and disabilities’). Good support for such children, particularly in their formative years, is of critical importance to their longer-term progress, well-being and success. Appropriate support, provided in a timely and tailored manner, can have a real, positive impact on outcomes for children’s lives.

An Environment of Inclusivity

It is important to foster an inclusive environment for children with SEND, including at childcare/early years settings like Little Cedars Nursery. Whatever their differences, we know it’s crucial for all children to feel safe, comfortable, valued, and loved, as well as being free to express themselves. It’s also important that all children, irrespective of ability/disability, are able to make friends and socialise freely. This is therefore nurtured at childcare settings like Little Cedars.

Changes can also be made to childcare environments like ours, where appropriate, to improve accessibility for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Identifying SEND

Identification of a special educational need or disability is the first step to properly support affected children.Identification of a special educational need or disability is, of course, the first step in being able to properly support a child with SEND. For this reason, good early years providers like Little Cedars Nursery will, as a matter of course, watch out for signs of things that might be challenging for children. As prescribed by the EYFS approach to early years learning and development, such assessment will occur as part of the day-to-day activities at such nurseries, preschools and early years settings, as well as during more formal assessments like the Progress Check at 2. Childcare practitioners, the Key Person allocated to each individual child, and the setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) will usually all be involved in all assessment stages.

Parents will be alerted to any suspicions and indeed should alert childcare settings if they have a SEND-related concern regarding their child. After all, parents may well have more insight, as they know their child best.

External professionals including health visitors, paediatricians and professional specialists and therapists can also be brought in to help with assessments if deemed appropriate. Only once a possible special need or disability has been identified and evaluated is it possible to look at appropriate support options for a child.

Developing a Tailored Support Plan

External specialists/professionals may be involved in the support plan for children with SEND.Support plans for suspected or confirmed special needs or disabilities are then discussed and custom-designed for the child. Such plans will be agreed between the child’s parents/caregivers, staff at the early years setting itself and any external specialists or professionals involved in the child’s care. Such programmes will be customised to suit the individual child’s specific needs and may include tailored activities, strategies, resources and so on. Formalisation of the support programme will allow all parties to pull in the same direction, working cooperatively for the benefit of the child.

“Assess, Plan, Do and Review.”

Progress and the effectiveness of support plans will be evaluated continuously. Should the support plan require fine-tuning along the way, then adjustments will be made to suit the ongoing needs of the child. There is also possible recourse to request an Education, Health & Care (EHC) assessment of the child’s needs from the local authority if deemed appropriate and sanctioned by parents. Should one occur, then a new support plan may be devised.

Similarly, if the help of external experts is required, for example help from a speech and language therapist, this can be arranged as part of the support package for the child.

With the right support, “the great majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities … can find work, be supported to live independently, and participate in their community.” (DfE)

Special Funding & the Area SENCo

Special funding might be available to fund things like additional one-to-one support, special resources, or activities.In parallel to the SENCo at the child’s early years setting, local authorities also have their own Special Educational Needs Coordinator, known as the Area SENCo. They will also be integral to a child’s SEND support plan, helping with coordination between the local authority, the various parties involved in supporting the child, and in relation to any special funding requirements. If approved, special funding might be required, for example, for an additional member of staff tasked with giving one-to-one support to the child, or to fund extra learning resources and activities for them.

Area SENCos also continue to coordinate support for children with SEND through the transition from early years settings to school.

The ‘Local Offer’ Information Portal

Every local authority publishes information that informs families about the support available in their area for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities. This is encapsulated in what’s known as The Local Offer. A Local Offer example for Streatham may help to illustrate the kind of help and resources available. Little Cedars Nursery is in the part of Streatham that falls within the London Borough of Wandsworth, and their Local Offer for SEND can be found here.

Funded Childcare for Under-5s with SEND

Parents may be wondering whether any free childcare is available for children with SEND. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the options:

  • There are several childcare funding options for children with SEND.All 3- and 4-year-olds living in England are eligible for a minimum of 570 hours of free childcare per annum, irrespective of whether or not they have SEND. This is known as Universal Free Childcare or their Free entitlement and is typically taken as 15 hours of childcare each week over 38 weeks of the year, but how it is taken can differ. Learn more here.
  • In some circumstances, the above entitlement for 3- and 4-year-olds may be extended to 1140 hours per annum, equivalent to 30 hours of free childcare over 38 weeks of the year. This is known as Extended Free Childcare or the 30 hours scheme but, unlike with Universal Free Childcare, is means-tested. Many more eligibility criteria also apply (learn more here).
  • 2-year-olds with SEND may also be eligible for free childcare hours if they fall within one or more specific categories (learn more here). These include:
    – Receiving Disability Living Allowance (‘DLA’);
    – Being subject to an Education, Health & Care Plan (‘EHC’);
    – Having received a referral via their local authority’s Portage Service.
  • Parents of disabled children may be able to claim for free childcare support valued up to £4,000 per year through the Government’s Tax-Free Childcare Scheme. Learn more here.

More information about various Government-funded childcare schemes is available in our rough guide to childcare funding here.

Nursery Places at Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

Little Cedars is a Nursery & Preschool in Streatham, London SW16

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.

We support all Government-funded childcare schemes for eligible families at Little Cedars. We also endorse all the above support measures aimed at helping children with special educational needs and disabilities. We are officially a good nursery, as benchmarked by Ofsted.  Our nursery and preschool are located in Streatham, London SW16 although we are also conveniently close by for families in Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

If you would like to apply for a nursery place for your child, ask any questions or book a tour with your child, please select an option below:

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.

The Blossom Parent App (Rough Guide)

Staying on top of children’s activities, nappy changes, meals, and developmental milestones can be a challenge for parents when they happen away from home at the child’s childcare nursery. At Little Cedars, however, we use the Blossom app to take care of all of this. The mobile phone app is designed to help make things easier for parents by providing real-time updates on children’s activities and progress, as well as providing a convenient platform for communication between parent and childcare provider. In today’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Blossom app, its benefits, and how it can be used to bolster the partnership between childcare providers and parents.

“A window into your child’s time at nursery. Accessible from anywhere. Anytime.”

The Blossom Parent App - example screens.

Features & Benefits of the Blossom App

The Blossom app is fully-featured and provides a wide range of benefits for parents and ultimately their children. Let’s take a look at some of the features and benefits you can expect:

Blossom Allows you to Stay Connected with your Child’s Activities

Blossom allows you to see and celebrate your child's achievements, developmental progress and milestones.With the Blossom app, you can get real-time updates on your child’s activities at nursery/pre-school, including nappy changes, meals, naps, and developmental moments. You can also view photos and videos of your child’s day, helping you feel connected to your child even when you’re not there.

It Helps you Celebrate your Child’s Achievements & Share Developmental Milestones

Blossom allows you to see and celebrate your child’s achievements, developmental progress and milestones, including new skills they’ve learned, special projects they’ve completed, and social interactions they’ve had with their peers. The app also allows you to take photos and feed back to the nursery about progress achieved at home. This is a great way to keep them up-to-date too, while your child is away from their care.

“View your child’s golden moments and formative reports to see how they are blossoming.”

Seamless & Instant Communication with your Childcare Provider

The app provides a convenient platform for 2-way communication with your childcare provider, enabling you to ask questions, provide updates, and receive feedback in real-time. This is particularly useful, for example, if you are going to be late dropping your children off, late picking them up, or if they are unwell.

A Strong Childcare Provider/Parent Partnership

Building a strong partnership between parents and childcare providers is a crucial part of building strong early years foundations for any child. The Blossom parent app makes this natural and easy. It even includes suggestions for activities that can be undertaken with children at home, all explained step by step.

“Through Blossom we track and understand your child’s learning more effectively and build strong, trusting parent partnerships.”

Blossom Provides Flexibility

With the Blossom app, you can rest assured that you're always up-to-date on your child's activities.The Blossom app also provides a useful mechanism for booking non-standard childcare sessions that fall outside of your child’s usual days and hours. With the app, you simply request a particular session and the childcare provider will see your request and let you know whether it’s approved.

It Gives Parents Peace of Mind

With the Blossom app, you can rest assured that you’re always up-to-date on your child’s activities, and can quickly and easily get in touch with your childcare provider if needed. This provides unrivalled peace of mind for parents, particularly if they feel anxious about leaving their child in someone else’s care.

Important Information About Your Child

The app provides for a profile for each child, where you can view and update their personal information, such as their name, date of birth, likes, dislikes and any allergies. The latter is particularly crucial reference for the childcare provider when it’s time to provide food or snacks.

Useful Information About Parents

The app also provides a profile for parents, where you can view and update your personal information, including your contact details and emergency contacts. Should your child become ill, these will be invaluable to childcare staff and will ultimately aid the well-being of your child.

The app also allows you to view and pay invoices from your childcare provider from within the app, and keep track of your payment receipts.Convenient Payment & Invoicing

The app also allows you to view and pay invoices from your childcare provider from within the app, and keep track of your payment receipts. This makes it easy to manage your childcare payments and keep track of your finances.

Getting Started With the Blossom App

Getting started with the Blossom app is easy and it is available for download for both iOS and Android devices*. Simply go to the App Store or Google Play Store as appropriate for your device, search for “Blossom Parent App”, and download the app to your device. Be sure that it’s the one shown in our preview image.

The Blossom Parent App (shown for IOS). Download links are available for IOS and Android later in this article.

*Blossom also allows for updates via email for those without smartphones.

Connect With Your Childcare Provider

You’ll need to enter your email address and connect with your childcare provider through the app. If you cannot, check with your nursery/childcare provider that they have registered you for an account and ensure you are entering the email address associated with that account. Once you’ve set up your account and connected with your childcare provider, you can start using the app.

Set Up Your Profiles

When you first join the app, you’ll need to set up a profile for your child. This will include information such as their name, date of birth, and any allergies or medical conditions. Make sure this information is accurate and up-to-date so that your childcare provider has all the necessary information to care optimally for your child.

Also, ensure that you fill in the information relating to you, the parent(s), so that the childcare provider knows your contact information. Make sure you also include contact information for any emergency contacts.

Set Your Preferred Permissions

The app provides permissions settings that allow you to control who can access your child’s profile, information, photos and videos. Rest assured that security has been built into the Blossom parent app, including password encryption and compliance with both OFSTED and the Data Protection Act.

Use Daily & Check Often

Once set up, you can use the Blossom parent app to check for daily updates about your child’s activities, progress and developmental milestones. You’ll be able to use it to communicate with your childcare provider in real-time and feed back to one another. You’ll be able to ask questions, stay connected, receive updates as they happen, pay invoices and so much more. You’ll soon wonder how you ever managed without it!

Whether you’re a new parent just starting out with a childcare provider, or a seasoned parent looking for a more convenient and effective way to stay connected, the Blossom app is an excellent tool. By making the most of its features, you can ensure that you’re always up-to-date on your child’s activities and progress, and can communicate with your childcare provider easily and efficiently.

“By creating higher quality observations and linking them to the EYFS framework we track and monitor children’s progress enabling a greater understanding of your child’s learning and development.”

Download the App

Download the Blossom app today and start enjoying the benefits of this powerful tool for parents. (Download on IOS here or download on Android here).

Information Leaflet

If you’re interested in learning more about the Blossom app, its features, and how it can benefit you and your child, download the Blossom Parent Guide (Acrobat PDF) here. You can also ask your childcare provider to register you for an account, linked to them.

Connect With Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

A ‘Good Provider’ of High-Quality Childcare in Streatham, SW16

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. Get in touch with Little Cedars Nursery if we look after your child and have not yet connected with you via the Blossom parent app. It really is a game-changer and will benefit you, your child, and us as your childcare provider — it’s a win-win-win!

If you are living or working in the Streatham area and require high-quality childcare for your baby, toddler, or under-five child, why not bring them along for a guided tour? You can meet our childcare professionals, ask us any questions and see the wonderful setting and facilities. Alternatively, simply register your child for a nursery/preschool place and we’ll be delighted to welcome you and your little one. Please choose a button below to get in contact or to register.

Little Cedars is officially a good nursery, which is located in Streatham, SW16. We’re also near Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton, so may suit you if you live or work nearby. We support free childcare for eligible families through the various Government childcare funding schemes for under-fives.

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.