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For Parents

tips for parents

If you would like further information, have any questions or would like us to include additional resources, please send us an email or speak to your Nursery Manager.

In this section you will find:

Fennies Policies: Links to many of our policies
Early Years Foundation Stage: Standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old
Early Years Pupil Premium: Extra funding available to support your child
Ofsted: A useful guide to Ofsted’s role in regulating childcare and access to our Ofsted reports
Funding: Information about our fees, tex free childcare, childcare vouchers and extra funding options
Fennies’ favourite toys for under 5’s Our favourite five toys that inspire creativity and inventiveness and can be found all around us, in nature and around the home
Settling Your Child in to Nursery: Our tips to help prepare you and your child for nursery life
More Useful Links: Links to more articles we have written or shared that will help
support you through our stages of childcare

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Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

The EYFS sets standards for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5 years old. All schools and Ofsted-registered early years’ providers must follow the EYFS, including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes.

The EYFS supports an integrated approach to early learning and care. It gives all professionals a set of common principles and commitments to deliver quality early education and childcare experiences to all children.

As well as being the core document for all professionals working in the foundation years, the EYFS framework gives mums and dads confidence that regardless of where they choose for their child’s early education, they can be assured that the same statutory commitments and principles will underpin their child’s learning and development experience.

The following link take you to the current EYFS statutory framework documentswww.foundationyears.org.uk

The following link takes you to the EYFS What to expect when parents guide to help you as a parent/carer find out more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the EYFS. Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. This booklet has been written to help you as a parent know what to expect during these vitally important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS.

www.foundationyears.org.uk/what-to-expect-when-a-parents-guide/

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)

If your child goes to a nursery or childminder and is 3 or 4 years old and is receiving Free childcare. Your childcare provider may be able to get extra funding so they can do even more to support your child. This may be through specialist training for their staff or new experiences for the children.

The funding is called Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) and is paid directly to childcare providers. Forms and further information vary by county council.

Useful links to information for Surrey, Croydon and Bromley are below;

www.surreycc.gov.uk/early-years-pupil-premium
Croydon EYPP leaflet for parents
www.bromley.gov.uk


A parent’s guide to the learning and development stages for children under 5

The Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (EYFS) the learning and development stages for children. This is a parent’s guide, supported by The Department of Education and is designed to help you learn more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years. It is the framework that Fennies supports as part of your child’s amazing learning journey and details the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the EYFS.


OFSTED

Information for parents about Ofsted’s role in regulating childcare.
The Offices for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is a non-ministerial government department who regulate and inspect childcare facilities. Ofsted’s role is to ensure that we provide the highest standards of childcare possible for your children. The inspectors examine our nurseries, our facilities, our childcare teams and our administration. We work closely with Ofsted and have a dedicated Early years Quality Manager on our senior management team whose responsibility it is to ensure that children, across all our nurseries, receive excellent quality learning and development opportunities, so that they have the best possible start in life. She provides, support, training and insight to the Nursery Managers and their childcare teams and plays an integral role in the delivery of fabulous childcare.
Ofsted reports for all our nurseries can be downloaded from the Ofsted website. As can a useful report about how Ofsted regulates childcare;

www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-for-parents-about-ofsteds-role-in-regulating-childcare/

https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/RP528142


Funding

Fennies fees

Fees are calculated on a daily basis and vary depending upon the days and the number of sessions that your child attends nursery. Your Nursery Manager will provide you with a detailed fee sheet in advance of registration. The fee sheet will be relevant to the number of days and sessions that you require for your child. We offer a sibling discount applied to the older child.

Childcare fees are paid in advance on the first working day of the month. Direct Debits are collected on the first working day of the month.

Help Paying for Childcare Costs

From April 2017, the government introduced new ways to help parents with childcare costs.

A new Childcare Choices website provides information on the new and existing Government childcare offers: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

The website has been designed for families and is a quick way to understand which scheme is relevant to you.

Tax-Free Childcare was introduced on 28 April 2017 and will gradually rolled out over 2017, with parents of children under two invited to enter the scheme first. 30 hours free childcare per week will be available from September 2017.

From the end of April, parents will be able to apply for both offers in one go through the government’s new digital childcare service. The website also includes the Childcare Calculator www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator which will help you compare the government’s childcare offers and check what works best for you.

You can pre-register for email alerts on the website to let you know when you can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare.

Tax Free Childcare

Tax free childcare is an alternative to the current childcare voucher system in place. If you sign up for childcare vouchers before April 2018 you can remain on the voucher scheme, and will be able to choose which is more cost-effective for you and your family.

The Childcare Choices website provides information on tax free childcare, helping you identify which option is best for you. You can apply for tax free childcare if you meet the following criteria:

  • 16 or over.
  • If you’re a working parent with children under 12 (or under 17 for disabled children), you can open an online account to pay for registered childcare. The government will top-up the money you pay into the account. For every £8 you pay in, the government will add an extra £2. You can receive up to £2,000 per child per annum, or £4,000 per annum if disabled.
  • You, and any partner, are over 21, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 per week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage – different rates apply if you’re under 21 or an apprentice). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you’re unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
  • If either you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 per annum or more, you can’t get Tax-Free Childcare.

You can’t use Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as childcare vouchers, Universal Credit or tax credits or other salary sacrifice schemes. You can use it with the 15 hours and 30 hours schemes.

We have registered each of our nurseries for tax free childcare in order for parents to be able to transfer funds to the correct account.

If you decide that tax free childcare is the best option for you, once you have registered you will be given a unique reference number (URN) which is very important for us to be able to identify which account to allocate your payments to.

Upon signing up to the scheme we ask that all parents communicate this URN to your Nursery Manager, who will then inform the accounts department. This reference will not change every month so is very important to both yourselves and our team that we get this right first time.

 

Upon registration if you are unable to find the correct nursery it is important that you check the nursery details are accurate before transferring any funds, and if you have any queries please contact the accounts team at accounts@fennies.com before transferring any monies.

Parents should also be reminded that each child needs to have a separate account and transfers to the nursery will need to come from the correct account in order be allocated to the each child.

You can check your eligibility and options available on the Childcare Choices website and then await further information from HMRC detailing when you will be able to register and take advantage of the scheme.

Childcare Vouchers

If you are working, your employer can provide you directly, or via a third party with childcare vouchers. Fennies are happy to accept childcare vouchers, whether these are electronic or paper vouchers, from all major providers as payment towards your child’s fees. Childcare vouchers are changing in April 2018 when Tax-Free Childcare will replace childcare vouchers and childcare arranged directly by your employer. As detailed above.

Childcare vouchers will remain open to new joiners until April 2018. Parents already using childcare vouchers can continue to do so after this date, as long as the employer continues to offer them. The tax and National Insurance exemption for workplace nurseries will also continue. For further information please refer to the Childcare Choices website. https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk 

30 Hours Free Entitlement Funding

30 hours childcare support per week will be available from September 2017, for children aged 3 and 4 years old. The Childcare Choices website provides detail on how to check you are eligible to access this support and you will be able to submit an online application ahead of September. Once signed up, parents will receive an eligibility code to take to their childcare provider which will be used by the nursery to check with the local authority who will confirm that 30 hours can be claimed. The criteria for claiming 30 hours is set out below:

  • You must be a working family in England
  • You, and any partner, must each expect to earn (on average) at least £120 a week (equal to 16 hours at the National Minimum or Living Wage). If you, or your partner, are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, or you’re unable to work because you are disabled or have caring responsibilities, you could still be eligible.
  • You can’t get 30 hours free childcare if you, or your partner, expect to earn £100,000 per annum or more.

We are still in the process of finalising how this will be structured in our nurseries but can confirm that it will be offered to eligible children. For now, we encourage all parents to check their eligibility and use the resources available to obtain the necessary confirmations once they are available through the government.

15 hours Free Entitlement Funding

Free Entitlement Funding is also known as Early Years Funding or the Nursery Education Grant. This funding is available to all children from the start of the school term after their third birthday.

Fennies are able to access the free entitlement funding from the Local Authority on behalf of our parents. Each nursery manager will submit a list of the eligible children on a termly basis.

The Government legislation currently allows the maximum entitlement of 15 hours for 38 (term-time) weeks to be accessed in a number of ways, including spreading the funding over 52 weeks. This will change to 30 hours from September 2017, as detailed above. The nursery manager will be able to explain how this applies.


Fennies’ Favourite Toys For Under 5s

Our five favourite toys for under 5’s come from a form of play that we use in everyday life at Fennies Nurseries called ‘Loose Parts Theory.’ It is not a newly invented form of play nor are the ‘must have toys’ anything new but they are all magical and treasured by children and therefore loved by us and by parents. The ‘toys’ don’t have instructions and can be played with on their own or in combination. Better still, they inspire creativity and inventiveness and can be found all around us, in nature and around the home.

1. A Stick

What is it about little boys and sticks, or little girls and sticks for that matter? The stick is our number one and favourite for good reason. Sticks can become anything from swords to pirate flags to wands, pens and bridges. They can be used in high action adventures or to build dens or they can be used for drawing in the dirt or sand or to practice writing and numbers. A stick can become a boat or a raft and raced under bridges or sticks can become bridges themselves. Children play with sticks on their own or combine them with other sticks or toys (or with other children). Sticks can be any shape, size and colour and are also super in a great big pile of sticks. Bigger seems to be better although there are no limits to the size of a stick, other than what can be held, at which point a stick becomes a log. We have an assortment of smaller sticks adorning our nursery hallways and these are regular updated for newer and ‘better’ sticks. As with all loose play items, sticks are cost effective toys and in this case they do actually grow on trees.

2. A Box

A toy nearly as versatile and valuable as a stick. Boxes come in many different sizes, shapes and colours and can be used indoors and outdoors. Boxes transform into ships, cars, trains or any mode of transport. A box can be a chair, a den or a cave. If a large box is squished on one side it becomes a slide. Boxes can be used on their own or combined to become building blocks, treasure chests or beds and they can become houses and resting places for teddies or dolls. It is no surprise that more often than not, new expensive toys are discarded in favour of the box and wrapping they came in. There doesn’t seem to be a size preference with boxes although very large and very small are favoured and boxes with lids stimulate even more imaginative play. You might have to buy something to get a box or you can get boxes free of charge from supermarkets or shops.

3. A Cardboard Tube

Hours of fun once the paper towels, toilet roll and wrapping paper are finally used. A cardboard tube brings no end of delight and wonder to children of all ages but especially those under five. Tubes come in a variety of sizes and children adapt their use according to size. A cardboard tube is most commonly transformed into a telescope or a megaphone however it can be as versatile as a stick if you have a larger size. Cardboard tubes are not as robust as sticks but they are a more practical choice if being used indoors. Tubes can become tunnels, funnels or slides for other toys. Cardboard tubes are not free however you will find that many items you have around the home do have a cardboard tube inside them and once they have been played with over and over and over, a cardboard tube can be recycled.

4. Water

We are not sure if water can be really be classified as a toy as it needs a receptacle however it is marvelous to play with. Ironically, children don’t always love being in water and but they do adore playing with water. Water, requires close supervision but there doesn’t need to be a large amount of water to excite or inspire. Water can be swished, swirled, splashed, bubbled, spilt or poured. It is a wonderful texture and makes great sounds and movements. Water can also be magically transformed into ice or snow which has infinite possibilities for never ending play.

5. Dirt

Finally, a controversial toy or play thing, yet one with endless play opportunities and with probably the highest success rate with children under five. Dirt is fun and children absolutely love to get messy. Dirt can be dug, spread, piled, heaped and used in all manner of ways that only children understand. Dirt can be found in many different places and if you add water, dirt gets even more exciting as it miraculously changes in to mud! Although children love to bring dirt inside, it is really an outside toy especially when combined with other toys or water. Dirt is by its very nature, dirty, but it is easily washed away and it is worth the clean-up for such a wonderful toy.


Fennies tips. 10 ways to make settling easier for parents

  1. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning before drop off whilst you adapt to new routines, especially in the first few weeks, so you can stay calm (!)
  2. As long as you can be contacted, make plans and keep busy while your child is settling in. Where possible, try and have some time on your own before you go back to work.
  3. Do something you enjoy and un-parenty.
  4. Remind yourself that this is another parenting stage and it will be just as rewarding as the previous stages. Your child will be having fun as they play and learn, in an environment where they are safe and cared for.
  5. Bring your child’s favourite teddy or comforter with them if they have one. This can be especially helpful for your child to have during sleep times.
  6. Family photos are also a way of keeping familiar elements in the new environment.
  7. Don’t be afraid to tell the nursery team what your child likes and dislikes and their home routines. Even if it seems trivial, it will help the team better understand your child’s personality.
  8. Keep upbeat and don’t try to sneak out. Chat with the nursery team and leave with a smile and a kiss.
  9. Remember that you are not on your own. We are as keen as you are for your child to settle into nursery.
  10. And don’t forget, it’s only a first for you. Your childcare team will have many years’ experience and expertise. You are in safe hands, it’s what we do!

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