Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Frequently Asked Questions
Over the past few weeks a number of questions have come into the Foundations Years Newsletter about the reformed EYFS. The foundation years team have pulled all these together and made them available for download so that you can easily find the answer to your questions. If your question isn’t covered in the FAQ’s then please get in touch with us at [email protected].
4Children Housing and Early Years Project
As part of a new research project 4Children want to hear from new parents about the cost of housing. There is a short form for parents to tell us about the challenges that the cost of housing poses. You can access the form here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/4Children_housing_research
Infant & Toddler Forum Relaunches Website
The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) – a group of leading experts in nutrition and development in the under threes – has launched its new, improved website for health and childcare professionals and families.
The relaunch of www.infantandtoddlerforum.orggives easier access to the Forum’s free expert advice, and is part of ongoing efforts to enhance the availability and quality of information about toddler feeding.
Research, such asthe ToyBox-study undertaken by Harokopio University, continues to highlight the lack of clear guidelines on healthy eating and active play. An ITF survey of 1,000 parents of toddlers aged one to three also showed that over a third of parents are confused about or unaware of how toddlers’ nutritional needs differ from those of adults.
Dr Atul Singhal, Professor of Paediatric Nutrition at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Chair of the ITF, says: “If we’re going to make a difference to children’s health and wellbeing, professionals and families need easy access to credible, simple advice on good toddler nutrition and eating behaviour.Our aim is to provide anyone who has responsibility for feeding toddlers with better practical support, to encourage positive feeding habits from an early age. The new website makes our online resources more available to those looking for information on what and how to feed the under threes.”
The ITF’s website is the online destination for 9,000 health and childcare professionals, parents and carers, and the new user-friendly format makes it far easier to keep coming back to the very practical, expert advice.
The site is designed to be easy-to-use with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, so even those looking for information on the go will have it at their fingertips.
Content is grouped to be more intuitive and colour-coded sections allow easier browsing and navigation. Advice is categorised into four main areas:
- Healthy Eating
- Difficulties in Feeding
- Growth and Development
- Common Nutritional and Eating Problems.
A dedicated area for Health and Childcare Professionals provides the ITF’s highly respected Factsheets, reports, advice from the Forum members, and information on Study Days and training.
The website’s area devoted to families – Little People’s Plates – is the one-stop-shop for parents and carers looking for easy-to-follow advice. At the click of a button you can find simple tips and useful resources to help you make healthier choices, such as portions sizes, the Ten Steps for Healthy Toddlers (a guide on what food to offer, what behaviour to encourage, and how best to manage mealtimes), and bespoke guidance from the interactive Tot It Up food and activity calculator.
Children’s Improvement Board
The Children’s Improvement Board is seeking expressions of interest from either individual local authorities or wider integrated partnership organisations or collaborating authorities to act as Development Demonstrators from October 2012. This is a new initiative within the broad range of existing practice in sector led improvement. It will create a national learning network and observatory of developing practice, not on the basis of established excellence but on a willingness to champion a journey in progress and share learning from its barriers and pitfalls as much as its successes. There will be nine Development Demonstrators capturing the learning around the new context of early and foundation years provision with an action learning focus on closing the gap in outcomes for children in poverty by the age of five. Letters were sent on Friday to all Directors of Children’s Services outlining the specification for the Demonstrator sites and inviting responses by 18th July.
NCMA Local’s peer support networks are now up and running in more than 30 local areas – enabling childminders and nannies to connect with their peers for help, support and advice. If you’re an NCMA member who wants to get involved find us at: www.ncmalocal.com. If there isn’t a network in your area yet and you’d like to be a part of this exciting DfE-backed project then apply to become a Facilitator – we’ll provide full ongoing training, support and expenses for you to set up and run a network in your area. It offers valuable professional development experience and a chance to enable your local childcare community. You can find more information here: http://ncmalocal.com/p/facilitators.aspx. NCMA local also produce briefings which you can download here: http://www.ncma.org.uk/partnerships/ncma_local.aspx
Persistent poverty experienced by families with disabled children
New research from Contact a Family Counting the Costs 2012 reveals that families with disabled children are going without essentials and spiralling into debt to pay for the basics like food, heating and specialist equipment for their children’s development and safety. This is before the full impact of planned benefit cuts is felt.
As a result of this, Contact a Family have launched acampaign to raise awareness of the financial hardship for families with disabled children. Take action now!
The Family life project
Contact a Family has completed year 1 of a DfE funded project under the Families and Relationships theme. Family Life draws attention to the factors that can lead to emotional strain for families with disabled children.
Workshops for parents of disabled children and the wider family aim to:
- help them recognise the combination of emotional and practical pressures that impact on their family life and the effect on their relationships; and
- raise awareness of the range of strategies and support available to strengthen all family relationships.
Training for staff at children’s centres aims to:
- raise awareness of the additional specific difficulties families with disabled children experience and how these impact on family life and relationships; and
- help staff feel more confident in raising the issue of relationships, understand why it is important for parents to seek support and provide information on what help and resources are available to support and strengthen family relationships.
At the end of year professionals recognised the lack of training available to help them support families with disabled children. After attending our workshops they reported feeling more confident and better informed on where to signpost families to.
Parent’s workshops feedback said that they experienced high levels of stress in their lives and by attending the workshop valued meeting other families and sharing practical tips that work for them. They also reported having a greater awareness of the resources and support available to them
Call the Family Life Team today to book one of the above workshops. Telephone: 020 7608 8726 or Email: [email protected] or http://www.cafamily.org.uk/professionals/familylife.html
Contact a Family’s SEND Information Project, DfE funded under the SEN & disability theme has supported 1500 SENCOs through a programme of workshops and disseminating materials. The project has had a real impact in terms of raising SENCOs awareness of the wider issues that families face beyond school; the impact these have on families and the reality of the number of agencies parents often have to deal with. SENCOs have felt reassured that there is information and support available both for them and for parents that they can signpost parents to. The project also provide help, information and advice to Parent Support Groups. For further information please contact [email protected] or http://www.cafamily.org.uk/professionals/SEND.html
Progress and next steps on the SEN Green Paper – Support and aspiration: A new approach to special educational needs and disability.
Different parts of the SEN Green Paper proposals are currently being tested with a small number of families in 31 pathfinder local authorities. Although the majority of families with disabled children or additional needs will not currently be affected, Contact a Family has produced a short guide of top tips for parents in pathfinder areas.
Families wanting to know how the new proposals may affect their children now or in the future should telephone the Contact a Family helpline for advice 0808 808 3555.
Addaction’s First Steps training programme
Addaction’s First Steps training programme, developed with funding from the Department for Education, seeks to improve the knowledge, skills and working practices of a range of professionals working with families who may be affected by substance misuse. Working with Warwick University the development and design of the training was a direct response to identified practitioner needs. First Steps has been independently evaluated and the first cohort of 2400 children centre participants completing First Steps, have demonstrated significant levels of increased confidence, knowledge and skills base working with substance misusing families. The First Steps evaluation report can be downloaded here www.addaction.org.uk/core/core_picker/download.asp?id=545.
This one day training programme will support children centres to increase their ability to engage, retain and improve the outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable families affected by substance misuse. It will also enhance and improve integrated working across local authority areas for families affected by substance misuse and therefore contribute to the achievement of the ‘Troubled Families’ agenda.
The flyer information provides further information and we look forward to hearing from you and uptake of the First Steps training.