The summer holidays are the classic time to visit the great theme parks, stately homes and other tourist attractions around the country, but if you have pre-school children, you can enjoy much more rewarding visits just outside of school holidays. Many attractions give special entry offers, such as 'Mum's Go Free', or they entice you with offers on food in restaurants etc. School holidays represent peak periods for most attractions who are desperate to attract custom at other times when they are quiet. As most other children are stuck in classrooms, venues are so much less busy meaning that you can enjoy better views, play on more rides and just enjoy a less crowded day out.
The best times to take advantage are midweek days close to the start or end of school holidays as other visitors often overlook these days. Do check that attractions are open first as some may close during quiet times, or offer limited opening times or limited access.
This is a great opportunity to visit any attractions on your doorstep that you might have overlooked in the past. Often we ignore the attractions close to home, go along and visit them as you might find a local treasure that you come back to time and time again.
If your baby or toddler attends a playgroup or nursery, they will be assigned a key worker who takes on the responsibility of liaising between your child and you, the parents. The key worker assumes the role of primary carer for your little one, ensuring that they settle into the nursery setting, integrate with the other children, and generally ensure your baby's welfare whilst they are in their care.
The key worker is also responsible for reporting on the six areas of learning and development within the Early Years Foundation Stage and to this end, they will make regular observations and report back to the parents. They will also raise any concerns about development should they notice anything.
The key worker does not shadow your child the whole time or play solely with their key wards. A key worker will take responsibility for several children simultaneously and may only make observational notes on an occasional basis rather than every day.
You should always be made aware who your child's key worker is, this information is usually displayed on a notice board within the setting, and the preschool may hold 'parent's evenings' where you can interface directly with the key worker to be told of progress and any concerns. Over time your key worker may change, and you should be informed at the time. If you ever have concerns about how your child is setting into their day setting, then do not hesitate to raise them with your key worker.
All children under five will continue to have the chance to get free milk in preschool settings according to the recent announcement from Downing Street. The Government has confirmed that 1/3 pint of milk will be given to all under fives who attend a day care setting.
It had been reported that Anne Milton, UK Health Minster, intended to scrap the scheme on the grounds of cost. It currently costs around £50m (double what it was five years ago). By 2011/12 it is expected to cost around £59m a year. Instead of providing milk, the value of Health Start vouchers were to be increased, which would help the poorest families rather than all under fives no matter what their parent's income level.
Milk is vital to children's development. It contains vitamins and minerals that are important for growth and development as well as calcium which is important for healthy teeth and bones.
However, Downing Street has confirmed that free milk is set to stay!