Tag Archive for: England

A Guide to January's Big Garden Birdwatch – Children Get Ready!

The Big Garden Birdwatch takes one hour, is free, and is an extremely worthwhile activity for children and families to take part in.Parents and children, don’t miss this year’s incredibly important birdwatching activity for the RSPB — and the planet — which occurs from Friday 26th to Sunday 28th January. The Big Garden Birdwatch only takes one hour, is free, and is an extremely worthwhile activity for children and families to take part in. It’s a great way to introduce children to the concept of conservation as well as getting them interested in spending time in and around nature. And, as we’ve reported before, nature is extremely good for children! In today’s post, we explain how easy it is to get your little ones involved and why taking part is a win-win-win for families, birds and nature.

What is the Big Garden Birdwatch?

The Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979 and happens annually. It is the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world, each year attracting hundreds of thousands of participants up and down the length of the UK. 9.1 million birds were reported in last year’s count.

In essence, people get involved simply by choosing an outdoor patch, and then counting birds that land there during the course of an hour. They then report their findings to the RSPB. We’ll cover a bit more detail on how to go about that later in this article.

Why Does the Big Garden Birdwatch Matter?

The Big Garden Birdwatch is a great way to introduce children to the concept of conservation as well as getting them interested in spending time closer to nature.Monitoring populations of bird species every year allows the RSPB and other conservation organisations to see how the various types of garden birds are faring. Whether or not they’re doing well will be a barometer of the state of nature itself as well as that of the individual bird populations. If the RSPB and other conservation organisations can see a problem, they can then mobilise to try to do something about it. Likewise, if they see a particular bird species doing well, they can learn from that and better understand what measures are helping that particular bird population to thrive.

Nature is also incredibly good for children, helping them cognitively, academically, spiritually, mentally, socially, creatively and physically. Spending time in nature has also been shown to improve test results, lower stress levels and even improve earning potential. Learn more about the amazing benefits of nature to children here or, better still, get them involved in the Big Garden Birdwatch this January!

What Sort of Discoveries Has the Annual Big Garden Birdwatch Uncovered?

Each year, the Big Garden Birdwatch uncovers intriguing and useful data about how bird species in the UK are faring. For example:

  • Song Thrush populations are 80% lower than they were when the survey began in 1979.In 2023, the bird species spotted the most was the House Sparrow, followed by the Blue Tit in second place, Starling in third, Wood Pigeon in fourth and Blackbird in fifth.
  • Despite that, historical data from the count shows that even House Sparrow numbers have significantly declined — by 57% — since the count began in 1979.
  • Song Thrush populations are 80% lower than they were when the survey began.
  • Indeed, during the last 6 decades, data suggests that bird populations in the UK have dropped by over 38 million, a huge and worrying number.

How Families & Children Can Take Part in the Big Garden Birdwatch

There are 4 simple steps required to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this January:

  1. Register free, via the RSPB website. By registering you'll get a free guide to taking part and visual reference for identifying different birds.By registering you’ll also get a free guide to taking part in the event, which includes visual reference to the birds to look out for, as well as other perks like a discount on bird food and other bird feeding supplies available from the RSPB’s online shop.
  2. Choose a suitable outdoor patch to monitor during the survey event. It could be your garden, patio, local park, or even a view from a balcony will do.
  3. Between Friday 26 and Sunday 28 January 2024, count how many birds of each species, actually land in your patch during the hour’s monitoring.
  4. Once complete, confirm the biggest number of each bird species that has landed at any one time to the RSPB, along with the location of your patch. Please still confirm your findings even if you saw no birds land at all. Make your submissions online here between 26 January and 18 February 2024.

Children can take part individually or as part of a group. They can also undertake more than one birdwatching hour, and submit more than one set of results, so long as they do so from a different location (‘patch’) in each case. The RSPB guide gives more details about each step, so do ensure you visit the RSPB’s Big Garden Watch web area to get familiar with what’s required and to access your free guide.

Keen to Attract More Birds for Your Count?

A great spotted woodpecker visiting a garden bird feeder.If you’re keen to attract as many birds as possible to your Garden Birdwatch count, the RSPB has you covered. As well as providing useful tips on how to attract birds on their website, they also offer those taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch a 15% discount on bird food and easy-to-clean bird feeders from their online shop. Delivery is also free to participants. Follow the bold links for more information.*

* (Details are given in good faith and are understood to be correct at the time of going to press. However, 3rd party offers are beyond our control and, as such, may be subject to change without notice).

Little Cedars Day Nursery in Streatham

High-Quality Childcare in 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 ProviderWe hope your little ones have fun getting involved in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch — they’re sure to enjoy the nature-based activity as they take their first step towards becoming little citizen scientists. It’s hugely worthwhile for the birds and ecology and, as we know at Little Cedars Day Nursery, nature is hugely beneficial to children too.

If you are looking for high-quality childcare services in or near Streatham, do consider Little Cedars Day Nursery. Ofsted rates us as a good provider of early years education and childcare and we represent a wonderful start to children’s early years. We bring out the very best in every child and prepare them well to ensure readiness for school when they leave us around the age of five. We support various childcare funding schemes too, making our childcare service even more affordable for eligible families.

To request a place for your child at Little Cedars Day Nursery in Streatham, or to find out more, please get in touch using one of the following options:

Our Streatham nursery and preschool is close to Tooting Common, Tooting, Streatham Hill, Streatham Park, Streatham Common, Furzedown, Tooting Bec, Tooting Broadway, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood, so may also suit families in those nearby locations.

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.

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

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

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

(The “15 Hours” Scheme)

Up to 570 Free Childcare Hours Available

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

Eligibility

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

How to Apply

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

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

(The “30 Hours” Scheme)

Up to 1140 Free Childcare Hours Available

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

Eligibility

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

How to Apply

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

Free Childcare for Disadvantaged 2-Year-Olds

Up to 570 Free Childcare Hours Available

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

Eligibility

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

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

How to Apply

You can apply via your local childcare provider or council.

Tax-Free Childcare

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

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

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

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

Eligibility

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

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

How to Apply

You can apply for Tax-Free Childcare here.

Childcare Vouchers

(Closed to New Applicants)

A.k.a. Employer-Supported Childcare

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

Eligibility

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

More information is available here.

Free Childcare Through Universal Credit

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

Eligibility

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

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

How to Apply

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

Free Childcare Through Tax Credits

(Closed to New Applicants)

Claim Back up to 70% of Childcare Costs if Eligible

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

Eligibility

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

More information is available here.

Free Childcare for Children Aged from 9 Months

(Coming Soon)

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

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

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

Student Childcare Grants

Undergraduate Students Can Receive up to 85% of Childcare Costs

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

Eligibility

Eligibility rules include the following:

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

More information is available here.

How to Apply

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

Childcare Funding via the Care to Learn Scheme

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

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

Eligibility

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

More information is available here.

How to Apply

Apply for the Care to Learn scheme here.

Childcare Funding via the Learner Support Scheme

Suitable for Over-20s Studying in Further Education

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

Eligibility

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

More information is available here.

How to Apply

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

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

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

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

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

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

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

Free Bird-Spotting Activity Poster for Children

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

Free A3 Bird Identifier Poster Download:

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

Nature is So Good for Children

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

37 Types of Bird are Featured

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

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

More Ways for Children to Identify Birds

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

Looking for Good Nurseries or Preschools in Streatham?

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

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

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

Childcare Funding Reforms from the Chancellor's Spring Budget 2023

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

The Aims of the New Childcare Funding

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

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

The Childcare Funding Improvements:

Childcare Funding Improvements Announced

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

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

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

1. Childcare Funding for Children from 9 Months

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Universal Credit Changes for Childcare

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

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

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

3. Wraparound Childcare ‘Pathfinder’ Scheme

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

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

Benefiting Parents, Children & Society

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

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

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

Little Cedars Nursery, Streatham

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

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

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

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

The Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) — Explained

Disadvantaged children aged 3 or 4 could benefit from extra support through the Early Years Pupil Premium ('EYPP').Improving Education for Disadvantaged 3- & 4-Year-Olds

If your child is aged 3 or 4 and fits the eligibility requirements, they could benefit from up to £342 per year* in extra support through the Early Years Pupil Premium (‘EYPP’). In essence, the scheme is designed to level the playing field in children’s early years education if they are disadvantaged in one or more specific ways.

What is the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)?

The Early Years Pupil Premium is a UK Government scheme that provides additional funding to early years providers to support 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families as well as from some other types of disadvantaged background.

For those that are eligible, the EYPP funding is in addition to the more regular funding schemes available to children of their age.

How is the EYPP Funding Used?

The EYPP funding is intended to help close the gap in development and school readiness between children from low-income families and their more affluent or advantaged peers. Early years providers will use the EYPP funding to provide additional support and resources that enhance the learning and development of those specific, disadvantaged, children under their care. It may be used solely for an individual child or pooled to support a group of eligible children with similar support needs.

Providers can use the funding in a variety of ways to support the children in their care. Examples include:

  • Hiring additional staff to provide one-to-one support;
  • Covering extra hours worked by existing staff working to support eligible children;
  • Providing extra resources (e.g. books, loan libraries, specific equipment etc.) to enhance learning and development;
  • Offering additional activities and even trips to extend children’s experiences where such would be deemed advantageous;
  • Supporting children with additional needs or disabilities;
  • Providing improved training/professional development to staff involved in helping affected children;
  • Providing support to children when approaching the time when they transition to school;
  • Providing home visits in some circumstances (e.g. where a deeper understanding of the child’s home life may help them settle at the childcare setting);
  • Providing information (e.g. leaflets, diagrams, even videos for the parents of the supported child).

Early years providers will need to demonstrate that the extra support has, indeed, been used in an appropriate way for the benefit of the child(ren) whom it was intended to support. This will be checked by Ofsted during their inspections.

How is the EYPP Funding Paid?

The EYPP funding is paid by local authorities direct to early years providers such as nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders. It is paid on behalf of specific, eligible children and can only be paid to effective Ofsted-registered providers. It should be noted that, should the child move to a different early years provider for any reason, the funding would ‘follow’ them to the new provider. N.B. They would need to fit eligibility as a provider.

Eligibility Requirements for EYPP Funding

To be eligible for the EYPP funding, a child must meet certain criteria.To be eligible for the EYPP funding, a child must meet certain criteria:

  • Eligible children should be aged 3 or 4;
  • The provider that receives the funding on behalf of the child must be an Ofsted-registered early years provider;
  • The family should be in receipt of at least one of a list of specific benefits or tax credits, or have a low income or …
  • Alternatively, the child may be under the care of a local authority in England or Wales, or have left that care via an Adoption Order, Special Guardianship Order or Child Arrangements Order.

Eligibility will need to be re-checked each year to ensure that criteria are still being met.

How to Apply for the Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

To apply for EYPP, contact your local authority or an eligible childcare provider.After checking eligibility, interested families or guardians can either contact their local authority or contact an eligible childcare provider. (If you are in Streatham, contact Little Cedars Nursery using one of the coloured buttons below). Either way, ask about the EYPP funding and the process for applying for it. You will then be guided through the application process and will be provided information about any documentation that is required. The approval process can take some time, so parents should be patient while they wait for a decision. Once the application is approved, the provider will start using the EYPP funding to provide additional support and resources to the child.

To Sum Up:

The EYPP can play an important role in providing targeted support to some disadvantaged children, helping to close the gap in learning, development and school readiness.

Little Cedars Nursery — High Quality Childcare 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 Nursery provides high quality nursery and pre-school places for under-fives in Streatham, London SW16. We support all Government schemes for free childcare for eligible children aged from 3 months to five years and would be happy to discuss options with parents/guardians.

Would you like to reserve a childcare place for your child at Little Cedars Nursery? If so, or if you have questions or would like to see the nursery in action, please get started using an appropriate button below.

Based in Streatham, Little Cedars is a nursery and pre-school that’s conveniently close to Streatham Hill, Streatham Common, Streatham Park, Furzedown, Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton.

* Details correct at time of writing (January 2023). E&OE.

Baby Banks - Free Help for Families

All sorts of equipment is available from Baby Banks, including prams, pushchairs and strollers.Today’s post will appeal to families who are finding the current financial climate particularly challenging. With energy costs and inflation so high, the following may represent a welcome piece of good news. Today we highlight the many Baby Banks that are popping up all around the UK and explain how they can help struggling families, all for free.

Baby Banks are a fabulous resource for families. In recent years, they have become very popular with families experiencing harder times, especially since the outbreak of Covid and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis. With such things putting a real squeeze of family finances, Baby Banks are really coming into their own to help families, their babies and children.

What’s a Baby Bank?

Bottles, formula milk and sterilising equipment are often available at baby banks.A Baby bank is a similar concept to a food bank. However, instead of food and drink, it provides second-hand clothing, toys and equipment for babies, under-fives and often even for children up to the age of 16 in some cases. Baby Banks can also be compared to a charity shop, however, with baby banks, everything is free.

What Can Families Get at Baby Banks?

Exactly what families can get depends on the particular Baby Bank itself and, of course, stock levels at any given time. Some things are more in demand than others too and exactly what items are stocked also varies between different Baby Banks. Here are some examples, however, of the typical kinds of things available to families from Baby Banks, all for free:

Clothes for babies, toddlers and children.Toys and other types of play equipment.
Towels, blankets and bedding.Nappies and wet wipes.
Cots, Moses baskets, cribs.Bottles and sterilising equipment.
Baby carriers.Baby foods and formula milk.
Prams, pushchairs and strollers.Toiletries.
High chairs, table-top feeding chairs, floor seats etc.Baby baths, including for newborns and older babies.
Baby bouncing chairs and baby rockers.Even car seats in some cases.

Example

Little Village’s video is well worth watching and really brings home how excellent and crucial Baby Banks are.

How Can Families Access Items from Baby Banks?

Toys and games are also often available at Baby BanksBaby Banks are run by all sorts of different people and organisations and therefore the rules around actually getting ones hands on the free items vary from Baby Bank to Baby Bank. Some accept requests for items directly from families themselves. Others only deal via a referral from some kind of professional. Examples include social workers, family support agencies, teachers, family centres, health visitors, medical professionals, food banks and women’s refuges. So, once you have located your nearest Baby Bank, you will need to check whether they will deal with you directly or only through such a referral. Either way, you will usually need to agree a time and date for collection of your item with the Baby Bank (you can’t usually just turn up, although there are exceptions). Not all Baby Banks are open all week and that’s another reason to check with Baby Banks or their websites first.

Can Families Donate Used Items to Baby Banks?

You can donate items in good condition to baby banks.Absolutely! Baby Banks rely on the generous donations from families that no long require their baby clothes or equipment. Perhaps the child has grown out of them and the items are still in good condition, or perhaps they were an unwanted gift. Donating items is also a great way to declutter and to make space in the home, as well as helping others. However, before donating to a Baby Bank, always check with them to see if all your proposed items are required and, as before, ensure you know whether an appointment is needed or whether you can just turn up with your items. Certain rules may also apply around the condition and type of items (this varies depending upon which Baby Bank you are dealing with). Baby car seats and electronic items may also have special rules due to the extra safety considerations.

Interactive map of UK Baby BanksWhere Can I Find My Nearest Baby Bank?

There’s a great resource that maps the location and information for over 200 Baby Banks throughout the UK. While this may not include absolutely every Baby Bank, it’s a great place to start looking for your nearest one. Access the interactive map by clicking the map image. You can zoom in or out and click individual map ‘pins’ to pop up contact details for each.

Baby Banks Near Streatham

Our nursery is in Streatham, so we thought we’d check what’s available near us. After all, it may help our nursery’s many families. According to the interactive map, the three Baby Banks closest to Streatham are Little Village Baby Bank in Wandsworth, Growbaby Baby Bank in Merton and Sutton Vineyard Lighthouse Baby Bank in Sutton. Their products appear to be free regardless of family income, faith or circumstance. Each provides used but good quality clothing and equipment for babies and children. According to their websites, Little Village is the only one of the three that requires a referral. Here are their details:

Little Village, WandsworthGrowbaby, MertonSutton Vineyard Lighthouse
SW17 7AP | Website | EmailCR4 2HA | Website | EmailSM1 1PR | Website | Email

Free Childcare Options for Streatham Families at Little Cedars Nursery

Ofsted rate Little Cedars Day Nursery as a Good ProviderLittle Cedars is a nursery & pre-school offering high quality childcare in Streatham, near Tooting, Tooting Bec, Tooting Common, Tooting Broadway, Furzedown, Balham, Norbury and Colliers Wood.Little Cedars Nursery supports Government-funded childcare schemes for eligible families and this is another way they can save significant money. We support schemes for 15 hours per week of free childcare for eligible 2-year-olds, 15 hours of free childcare per week for 3 & 4-year-olds living in England and up to 30 hours per week for them if eligible for the top-up. We also support students requiring childcare through Student Childcare Grants & Schemes, families accessing Tax-Free Childcare, Free Childcare through Universal Credit, Childcare Vouchers and so on.

We are a high quality childcare nursery and pre-school in Streatham, also being close and convenient to those in Tooting, Balham, Norbury, Colliers Wood, West Norwood, Wandsworth, Clapham and Brixton. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss childcare funding options or a place for your child at the nursery. We’ll be happy to help. Please choose a button below to get started: