Two Can Learn Better than One!

Tags: government

Special Educational Needs: Changes for the better?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Child Development , Tags: government, health visitors, sen, special needs, statements

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Health Visitors are to work with parents and carers when it comes to assessing children's special educational needs and development according to new Government plans. The aim is to make sure the children are given the correct and most effective support.

The Green Paper issued just last week offers a great change to current policy and has been welcomed by educational professionals and parents alike.  It will mean that further assessment of toddlers aged about 2 1/2 will take place to provide more information to professionals assessing for Special Educational Needs.  Doctors, midwives, health visitors and community organisations will be on hand to help and provide the support required.

Much of the current system will be more simple.   One key point is that parents will be given control of the budget allocated to their child and they will be allowed to spend it as they see fit. And one key assessment will replace the current statements procedure.

Provision will also be given for those  children who do not have a SEN statement, but who require support.  An 'Achievement For All' will be created to help them.

Naturally, there are some concerns for the future of all children's health and support services provided by the government due to the impact of budget cuts.

Mr Allen, the Government's Plans and ToucanLearn

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Learning Play, Parenting, Kids Activities , Tags: government, mr allen, parenting

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A proposal from MP Graham Allen says that a national campaign should be launched to educate people in the basic principles of parenting. ToucanLearn was once described by one of our members as "a vital resource for parents and carers ... like a handbook for the 0-5’s!".

Mr Allen says this scheme would help parents do a good job and help to explain the importance of the early years of babies and toddlers. Perhaps he should take a look at ToucanLearn! We have hundreds of ideas, and games and activities for children at ToucanLearn.

He has asked the government to help ensure parents have the knowledge to be effective, nurturing and well-informed in the job as parents. He also suggests school years should be numbered from birth and not just from the start of school.

He says late intervention into children’s lives is not good enough and that in the long run money can be saved by investing in schemes for younger children.

So, perhaps everyone reading this should pop along to and sign uo to our FREE service to help guide, and inspire parents, and to entertain and teach children!

EYFS - Is It Here To Stay?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: ToucanLearn, Preschool Children, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Childminders and Childminding , Tags: areas of learning and development, eyfs, government, institute of education, toucanlearn

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The Institute of Education says that there is huge support for the Early Years Foundation Stage among early years practitioners following a study carried out by the Government to assess the popularity of EYFS among the groups of people working within the framework. It seems the majority of people who work with children are very happy with the framework and the guidance that the EYFS provides. Great changes are not required.

The Areas of Learning and Development were seen as largely appropriate although teachers did note that the focus seemed to be on numeracy, literary and communication rather than social, personal and emotional goals.

Assessing children, especially the younger ones, was also seen as difficult and following development of each child was not always deemed appropriate.

We hope that for all childminders, services such as ToucanLearn help!  If you aren't already signed up to our EYFS activity programme, sign up FREE now!

Maternity and Paternity Leave Just Changed!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Parenting, Family , Tags: childcare, fathers, government, legal, paternity leave, paternity pay

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The law is always changing and new legislation comes in often without us noticing, so when something changes that effects time off with your children, it's worth making sure everyone knows about it!  In January the Government made some changes to paternity leave which means that fathers can take up to six months off work as paternity leave.

The new legislation gives Dads the option to stay at home and be the primary child carer while the mother returns to work and it is applicable for babies born after 3 April 2011.  It will mean that Dads can have up to three months, paid paternity leave and that they can in addition take a further three months of unpaid paternity leave.  That is brilliant for all Dads who are keen to share in the workload and care of new babies.  This change will suit families where the Mum wants to go back to work because she might be earning a bigger salary than the father.

This is such a positive move to promote a new and modern approach to family life as new mothers as well as fathers can decide to spend so much more time with their little babies than if they were forced back to work.  Naturally, it's not going to be as financially enticing as maternity leave, the paternity leave wage is only for a short period and is unlikely to be as high as an actual wage, but it still gives mothers and fathers an option.

As election fever grips the UK, the various political parties are suggesting more changes that they will make to maternity and paternity rights - there's no telling where we'll be in a few years from now!

What rights do new Fathers have?

Paternity Leave: available if you are an employee and are taking the time off to support the mother and care for the child.  You must be the biological father, child's adopter, husband or partner of the mother or the child's adopter.  Dads currently get 2 weeks paternity leave - but this will change for babies born from next year when 3 months will be the legal maximum with an option to extend with unpaid leave for a further 3 months.

Paternity Pay: currently £124.88 per week or 90% of your average weekly salary if it's less than this.

Time off for anti-natal appointments: are not allowed unless you have a particularly helpful employer.  It's worth asking!

Time off to help out after the paternity leave period has been used: you'll have to take unpaid leave or holiday but it's worth asking as many employers are flexible and do try to support new families.



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Hi! I'm Tikal the Toucan, the mascot for ToucanLearn. Follow my blog to find out interesting things relating to babies, toddlers and preschool children!

Sign up FREE to ToucanLearn to follow our activity based learning programme for babies, toddlers and children. We offer hundreds of fun learning craft, games and activities - every activity is aimed at the capabilities of your specific children. Download custom activity sheets, and log their progress in each child's unique Daily Diary!

You'll also find sticker and reward charts, certificates, number and letter practice. Every activity links into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) areas of learning and development.

Fill in our Daily Diary to log progress against the EYFS and add photo entries instantly simply by sending them straight from your phone. You can share diaries back with parents or childminders so that everyone can enjoy watching your children develop.

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