Tag Archive for: Atherton

Parents: How to Boost Your Child's Success

Did you know that children are significantly more successful if their parents* are actively involved in their education? It’s proven too; study after study concludes that parental involvement in a child’s education boosts their achievements and outcomes enormously. Studies show that children are significantly more successful if their parents are actively involved in their education.What’s more, the boost in the child’s success is clear to see at all stages — in the short term, medium term and long term — right into adulthood. When parents are actively involved in a child’s education, that child will do better at nursery and pre-school, achieve better grades at school and go on to have more success in higher education and, ultimately, in their careers. It’s incredible, therefore, just how powerful proactive parental involvement in a child’s education can be. Let’s take a closer look at the findings.

What Did the Studies Say About Parental Involvement in Education?

There have been many studies into the role of parents in children’s education and they reach the same kinds of conclusions. We highlight some of the key findings to illustrate the point:

“Students with parents operating in supportive roles are 52% more likely to enjoy school and get straight A’s than students whose parents are disengaged with what’s going on at school. This is especially the case during the earliest years of schooling, in Kindergarten through the 5th grade, when students with active parents are almost twice as likely to succeed.” (Pinantoan 2013)

“During the earliest years of schooling […] students with active parents are almost twice as likely to succeed.”

“The most effective forms of parent involvement are those which engage parents in working directly with their children on learning activities at home.”

“Family involvement in education helps children to grow up to be productive, responsible members of the society.”

“Parents’ involvement in their child’s learning process offers many opportunities for success [including] improvements on child’s morale, attitude, … academic achievement across all subject areas … it also promotes better behaviour and social adjustment”

“The importance of [the] support system that a student gets from home is equally important as his brain power, work ethics and genetics, which all work in the accomplishment of his goal in life.”

“We found that schools would need to increase per-pupil spending by more than $1,000 in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement.”

So, How Can Parents Get Involved in a Child’s Education?

Creating a home environment that encourages learning will benefit children.The studies conclude that parents can help children — and boost their potential for success — in several impactful ways. We have picked out a few of the most powerful and easy-to-accomplish ways below.

“The most accurate predictor of a student’s achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent to which that student’s family is able to: (1) Create a home environment that encourages learning; (2) Express high (but not unrealistic) expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and (3) Become involved in their children’s education” (Henderson and Berla, 1994)

Parents can help children thrive by assisting with their learning at home. This may take the shape of reading with them, helping them with homework, encouraging learning through everyday activities (e.g. counting, using phonics and letters, problem-solving etc.) and so on. This activity is, on its own, extremely powerful.

According to studies, reading with your under-five child can boost their language skills by a staggering 20%.

Reading with children regularly can boost their language skills by a staggering 20%.To illustrate that point, just reading with them regularly can boost their language skills by a staggering 20% (we’ll write a separate post about the benefits of reading with children in due course).

“It has been proven time and time again that parents who invest time and place value on their children’s education will have children who are more successful” (Meador, 2010)

Parents can really help to enhance children’s educations through two-way communication with the child’s nursery, pre-school, school or other education setting. Through collaboration and regular communication, parents and education professionals, including childcare practitioners, can all ensure they are supporting the child in the best possible way. For example, through appropriate focus on any areas of strength or weakness that have been identified. In this ‘joined-up’ way, children can achieve personal bests in every topic.

The fostering of closer links between parents and education settings will generally improve the success of children still further. Parents get more involved with the child’s education setting (nursery, school etc.) even more closely if they regularly visit and chat with staff, or even volunteer from time to time. If they go a step further and become trustees or sit on the board or equivalent, they can then get actively involved in the actual decision-making process. This could positively impact what and how their own child studies.

“When parents come to school regularly, it reinforces the view in the child’s mind that school and home are connected and that school is an integral part of the whole family’s life.” (Mapp K. and Henderson A. 2002)

The EYFS Agrees & So Do We

The EYFS actively encourages parental involvement, two-way communication and cooperation between childcare settings and parents.This is all backed up by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework that Ofsted-registered childcare services like Little Acorns adhere to. The EYFS actively encourages parental involvement, two-way communication and cooperation between childcare settings and parents. That’s simply because it works. Children will do better and achieve more throughout their lives using this parallel, cooperative approach, starting in their early years. That’s one of the reasons we also keep a progress journal for every child, which both parents and childcare practitioners have access to.

We’re keen to work with our parents for the overall good and success of their children. By working together, we can identify both stronger and weaker areas in their children’s learning and development. This will allow us, jointly, to use joined-up strategies that will support their child both at the nursery/pre-school and while at home. In this way, the child’s strengths are further enhanced and any weaker areas are strengthened so that, ultimately, they’re no longer weaknesses. With this holistic approach, children will absolutely thrive, achieve personal bests in every area and be school-ready by the time they leave us to begin school. With such positive foundations, they will hit the ground running and be set for success.

Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green, near Wigan

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & Manchester

Little Acorns is a wonderful nursery & pre-school in Hindley Green and, with other National award-winning nurseries under the same management, we aim for it to be the very best in the area. We are located near to Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester, so may appeal to anyone nearby if they want the very best start for their child. If you’re interested in a possible nursery/pre-school place here, we’d love to show you and your little one around and to answer any questions that you may have. We can also help to clarify the many childcare funding options that we support at the nursery, so please do get in touch. You can register your child for a place, book a guided visit or simply get in touch using the buttons below.

* We use the term ‘parents’ for the sake of brevity. In the context of this article, it is also a placeholder for carers or guardians of children.

A Guide to Childcare Funding Schemes

A Guide to Childcare Funding Schemes

There are lots of free or assisted funding schemes for childcare in England and the UK.There are lots of free or assisted funding schemes for childcare and these are especially useful to parents looking to keep childcare costs down. With increased inflation and the cost of living crisis in Britain, such schemes have probably never been more welcome. Today we’ll take a condensed look at the main childcare funding options available to parents, particularly those of children under five, although many schemes also help children substantially older.

The Key Childcare Funding Schemes Available to Parents

Following are the key schemes that effectively result in free or at least partly-funded childcare for children in England — some also across the entire UK. Let’s take a look …

Childcare Vouchers

Childcare vouchers are still available to those who enrolled into the scheme before 4 October 2018.Although the Childcare Vouchers Scheme closed to new applicants on 4th October 2018, childcare vouchers are still available to those who enrolled before the deadline, so long as they continue to meet eligibility requirements. For those that do, childcare vouchers help to cut the cost of childcare for children aged up to 15, or 16 if they are disabled.

The scheme is also known as ‘Employer-Supported Childcare’ because, as the name suggests, it is supported by a person’s employer. Childcare vouchers are National Insurance and tax efficient to a degree as they can be administered via a flexible salary sacrifice approach. However, if you’re using the scheme, you should use the Government’s calculator to check whether you’d be better off switching to the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, which we cover next. Note that you cannot continue to claim childcare vouchers once you have switched to the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme, so be sure to use that calculator tool before applying.

Learn more about Childcare Vouchers here.

The Tax-free Childcare Scheme

Tax-Free Childcare is a UK-wide childcare funding scheme that many working families are eligible for.Tax-Free Childcare is a great, UK-wide, scheme that many working families will be eligible for, even including relatively high earners. What’s more, it could save them as much as £2,000 in childcare fees each year, per child, rising to £4,000 if their child has a disability.

Roughly speaking, how it works is that, for those that are eligible, the family pays 80% of the childcare fees into a special Childcare Account and the Government chips in the remaining 20%. The registered childcare provider simply draws down the requisite funding from the Childcare Account as and when appropriate. The scheme is rather like a tax rebate but one that’s earmarked specifically for childcare. The resulting saving for UK families could equate to as much as £500 per child every 3 months, or up to twice that every quarter if the child is disabled.

Various rules around eligibility apply, of course. In essence, though, Tax-Free Childcare Funding is available for children up to the age of 11, or 16 if they’re disabled. The child’s parent and their partner, if they have one, can even be earning up to £100k each per annum and still be eligible. Even grandparents or other family members can chip into the Childcare Accounts in order to reduce the burden on parents. So, don’t be one of the million or more families who have not claimed, despite being eligible.

Learn more about the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme here.

15 Hours of Free Childcare for 2-Year-Olds

15 hours of free childcare are available each week for eligible 2-year-olds.Certain children aged 2 in England* are eligible for 570 hours of totally free childcare per year. This is a great opportunity for them to begin their early years education relatively young and indeed the age of 2 is a crucial age to do so, according to studies. The substantial free funding is usually taken as 15 hours of free childcare over 38 weeks of the year, although some childcare settings allow it to be spread out in a different way. Not all 2-year-olds are eligible, however, and basically it comes down to the fact that the parent(s) must be in receipt of Government benefits of some kind. Other 2-year-olds are eligible for additional reasons, for example because they are looked after by the local authority or are subject to an Education, Health and Care (ECH) Plan. Even some non-UK citizens who do not claim benefits have eligible 2-year-olds although, as with all these scenarios, various rules around eligibility apply.

Learn more about 15 hours of free childcare for 2-tear-olds here.

15 Hours of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

15 hours of free childcare are available each week to virtually all 3 & 4-year-olds living in England.In contrast to the above, 15 hours of free funding is available for all families in England* with a child aged 3 to 4 requiring childcare. As with the above, the children can get 570 hours of free childcare per year except this time only while they’re 3 or 4. This is again usually spread out as 15 hours per week over the course of 38 weeks, however some childcare providers will allow a different pattern. It really is a no-brainer and is a great way to get children into early years education and perhaps parents back into the workplace. Children are eligible to start from the term following their 3rd birthday until they start in Reception Year at school, or reach ‘compulsory school age’ if that’s later.

Learn more about 15 hours of free childcare for 3 to 4-year-olds here.

30 Hours of Free Childcare for 3 & 4-Year-Olds

30 hours of free childcare are available to some 3 & 4-year-olds each week.The “30 Hours” childcare scheme for 3 and 4-year-olds is a little harder to obtain because families are not eligible where one partner earns £100k or more. Additionally, the parent and their partner, if they have one, must usually expect to earn at least £152 per week, on average, in order to qualify, although the figures are lower for parents younger than 23. You may still qualify for the free childcare funding if you are on maternity leave, paternity leave, shared leave, adoption leave, or are a carer. Rules apply. As with the Tax-Free Childcare scheme, you have to ensure your details are kept up-to-date every quarter in order to check that you’re still eligible. Your child must usually live with you too, in order to qualify. However, as with all these things, there are some exceptions to the core rules.

For those that are eligible, you can claim 30 hours per week of free childcare for your 3/4-year-old for as many as 38 weeks of the year. Some providers, however, allow you to spread out the free hours in a different way, for example less than 30 hours per week spread over more weeks of the year, so long as it doesn’t total more than 1140 hours for the year.

As with the “15 Hours” scheme, this scheme is only for families living in England, although a similar scheme is available in Wales and different schemes are in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Interestingly, if you qualify for the “30 Hours” funding scheme, you can usually claim it at the same time as claiming Tax-Free Childcare (or childcare vouchers) or Universal Credit — if eligible. It really is a great childcare funding scheme for those who fit the required criteria.

Learn more about 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds here.

Childcare Support for Students

Student parents may be eligible for some childcare support through a variety of funding schemes.If you are a student as well as being a parent, you may be eligible for some childcare support through a variety of funding schemes.

  • If you are a student studying full-time in higher education, you may be eligible for a Student Childcare Grant if your child is under 15 (under 17 if they have special needs). The grant does not need to be repaid and is in addition to standard student finance. At time of writing for the academic year 2022-23, you can get up to 85% of your childcare costs covered by the grant, up to a maximum of £183.75 per week for one child or £315.03 for two or more. Learn more about Childcare Grants for students here.
  • Over-20s who are parents, studying on a further education course (Level 3 or below) and facing financial hardship may be eligible for funding called ‘Learner Support’. Whilst this support is not specifically aimed at those with children, it can be used to fund childcare provision. How much you get and how it’s paid very much depend upon your circumstances, but it’s worth checking to see if you are eligible. Learn more about Learner Support for students here.
  • Although students under 20 do not qualify for Learner Support funding, they may qualify for the ‘Care to Learn’ scheme. This can cover childcare costs while they study, although they must be under 20 when they first start the course. They should be the main carer for the child and live in England. For those who qualify, the childcare funding could be worth as much as £160 per child per week for those living outside London, or £175 per child per week for those living in London. Eligibility relies on strict attendance of both the course by the parent and the childcare setting by the child. The course must also be a publicly-funded one at set types of education establishment like schools, sixth forms and various types of college, but not a higher education course at a university. Learn more about the Care to Learn scheme here.

Childcare Funding via Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit, are working and have a child under 17, you may be able to claim back 85% of your childcare costs.If you and your partner, if you have one, claim Universal Credit, are working and have a child under the age of 17, you may be able to claim back as much as 85% of your childcare costs if eligible. In order to claim, various rules apply and there are even some exceptions to the above. For example, those not working through ill health or disability may still be eligible in some circumstances. You must not, however, be claiming Tax-Free Childcare nor Tax Credits in order to receive childcare funding through Universal Credit.

The good news is that you can claim back as much as £646.35 per month in childcare costs for one child, or £1108.04 if it’s for more than one (correct at time of writing, October 2022). Exactly how much you get can be affected by how much you earn and how much savings/investments you have, however. Either way, it is a case of claiming it back, though; first you pay for the childcare fees, then apply to have them reimbursed by the Government scheme. It’s important to keep on top of your claims, however, because they can only go back 3 months in time.

Learn more about claiming childcare costs through Universal Credit here.

Tax Credits for Childcare

Childcare funding through Universal Credit replaced Tax Credits, which closed to new applicants in 2019.Childcare funding through Universal Credit has replaced the Tax Credits system, which closed to new applicants in February 2019. If you are not an existing Tax Credits customer, you will therefore need to claim under the Universal Credit scheme instead. However, for existing families who can still claim Tax Credits, they are able to claim as much as 70% of eligible childcare costs for a child under 16 (17 if disabled) up to a maximum of £122.50 per week for one child or £210 per week for more than one.

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School: an Outstanding Childcare Service in Hindley Green

Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green, WiganLittle Acorns nursery & pre-school is in Hindley Green and offers babies and children under five a wonderful start in life as well as a great early years education. This includes funded places using the schemes above, subject to eligibility, of course. Our childcare setting is also very near Wigan, Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton and Greater Manchester, so may be convenient if you live or work in any of those nearby locations. Come for a guided tour with your little one, take a good look at our outstanding facilities and ask any questions that you may have. We’re here to help and would also be more than happy to talk you through the many childcare funding schemes that the nursery/pre-school supports.

* Similar schemes are available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Hygge at Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green

Today we explain why Hygge is a very good thing for both children and staff at early years childcare settings.At Little Acorns Nursery in Hindley Green, we’re embracing Hygge (pronounced “Hue-gah”), which is becoming very popular around the globe. But what is Hygge and why are we embracing it? This article explains everything and you’ll soon see why Hygge is a very good thing for everyone at the nursery, including both children and staff. Take a look …

What is Hygge?

The word Hygge is a Danish word, although is also used in the Norwegian language to refer to the same thing. It describes a feeling, mood and lifestyle of cosiness, wellbeing and contentment. It’s also about a lifestyle that’s more simple, where you live more in the moment and are closer to nature. Hygge has been described as “the pursuit of everyday happiness … basically like a hug, just without the physical touch.”Hygge has been described as resulting in “comfortable conviviality” i.e. friendliness and warmth that makes everyone feel welcome and happy. It’s also been described as “the pursuit of everyday happiness … basically like a hug, just without the physical touch.”

What Does a Hygge Lifestyle Look Like?

To understand Hygge more, it may help to know what it looks like. So, with a Hygge lifestyle, you would expect to see a particularly warm and cosy kind of environment. Rooms that embrace Hygge have a lovely homely feel about them with blankets, cushions, rugs and soft furnishings that make the atmosphere warm and reduce noise and echoes. There will be cosy corners, dens and even teepees where people can ‘nest’ while they read, play or converse.There will be twinkly ‘mood’ lighting instead of harsh fluorescent lighting. Rooms will have real plants that bring nature indoors, natural materials and objects like wood, wicker, pine cones and pebbles. There will be calming music and perhaps even scent in the air. There will be cosy corners, dens and even teepees where children can ‘nest’ while they read, play or converse. Hygge gives a room a lovely atmosphere, often with flickering candles (or, at the nursery, the warm-coloured LED equivalents, for safety purposes).

What Does Hygge Feel Like?

The Hygge lifestyle is a very pleasant, comfy and pleasurable one. It’s as much about warmth, cosiness and friendliness as it is about harmony, togetherness, sharing, equality and mutual respect. As such, it minimises conflict and leads to calmness and harmonious play. It’s also about living in the moment (‘presence’) with aspects of mindfulness. Hygge also encourages individuals to reflect on things they can be grateful for. All in all it’s a very pleasurable atmosphere and approach to daily life.

Why Embrace Hygge at Our Early Years Childcare Setting?

Embracing Hygge will make children feel really at home, safe, relaxed, cosy and content.Embracing all these aspects of Hygge will make children feel really at home, safe, relaxed, cosy and content. Their day will feel fulfilling and enriched. It will be calm and peaceful whilst also embracing nature both outside and indoors. Friendships will deepen as small groups of children play, converse, read or simply ‘be’ in the many cosy nooks and dens available to them. They are also free to have some solo time where they can explore a particular interest, relax with a book or engage in an activity in a calm and comfortable corner. Whatever they’re doing, children will enjoy and benefit from the mood lighting, calming surroundings, relaxing music and suchlike.

Hygge instinctively appeals to a child’s very heart and soul.

All in all, Hygge is a far cry from the traditional bright and often sterile surroundings that so many youngsters have to tolerate in early years settings. In contrast to those, Natural materials, atmospheric lighting and nature are all part of the Hygge lifestyle.Hygge is like a warm cloak that softly embraces every child, allowing him or her to quietly blossom, learn and develop in the most homely and relaxed of atmospheres. With Hygge, they can embrace and naturally absorb everything that’s so good about the Hygge lifestyle, including it’s almost magical effects that will bring out the wonder in every child. Hygge instinctively appeals to a child’s very heart and soul, allowing their learning and development to blossom and thrive in the most natural of ways.

Hygge Accreditation at Little Acorns Nursery

Little Acorns is thoroughly embracing the Hygge lifestyle and approach to early years learning and development. As part of this, we will work towards official Hygge in Early Years accreditation over the course of 2022. We believe it will empower and enrich the lives of every child in deep-seated, profound ways.

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School in Hindley Green, near Wigan, Bolton & Manchester

Little Acorns Nursery, Hindley Green, WiganLittle Acorns nursery & pre-school in Hindley Green Hygge is a little magical and brings out the wonder in every child.gives babies, toddlers and preschoolers the very best start in life and in their early years education. If you are looking for the best childcare service in Hindley Green, Wigan or near Bickershaw, Leigh, Atherton, Westhoughton, Ince-in-Makerfield, Platt Bridge, Tyldesley, Bolton or Greater Manchester, please get in touch. We can arrange a guided visit for you and your little one, without obligation. Alternatively, simply fill in and submit an application for a nursery/pre-school place for your child — click the relevant button below to get started.  We’re also happy to answer any questions that you may have and to clarify any free childcare options that may be available to eligible families via Government-funded childcare schemes.