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under5s - Toddler Groups
What is a Toddler group?

A  toddler group is usually a group of adults and children, who get together to provide activities for children under the age of 5. They are usually run by parents, for parents, grandparents and carers to attend together with their children for a small charge, which helps pay for the toys, insurance, a craft activity and refreshments.

How old can my child be, before they can attend?

You can attend a toddler group with a new born baby, a baby who has just learnt to sit, a toddler and a pre-schooler, or a combination of the above. 

The earlier you attend, the more likely you are to establish long term friendships with other parents, you are able to share the expertise of other parents - if you feel you are on your own, struggling with your baby's demands or feel isolated, or just want to make friends who are interested and enthusatic about your baby too - then toddler group is perhaps the place to find them.

What does it offer my child? 

This really depends on what the group actually offers within the sessions, but it is sure to cover a range of the Foundation Stage Goals for pre-school age children, and provide some of the firm foundations that under three's need if you have read the birth to three matters pack. 

Local groups in my area offer:
* Group activities when the children all sit together - great social skills!

* Opportunity for children to run around, use large motor skills and try out a variety of ride on toys.

* Crafts - painting, college, chalk, colouring, sticking and more, sometimes related to themes, so you may actually get a card on Mothers Day!

* Opportunity for messy play - playdough, sand, exploring soil, cereal or even water.

* Opportunity to recreate roles, dressing up or playing in the home corner.

* Stories and singing as a group, or even music and movement sessions

* New experiences with special visitors - the lollipop man, the librarian, the fire service,

* Table top activities - puzzles, simple games, books to share

* A carpeted area for the babies with activity frames, cushions and baby toys.

* Friendship and support to carers, and parents.

* and more....

I would like to see my toddler group do more... how can I make that happen?

Get involved - the people running the group are often parents just like you. If you have a great idea then please share it, if you have a hidden skill, can play an instrument or sing, then I am sure the group would appreciate it. 

Perhaps you could stay and help put the toys away for nest time, or just put the kettle on !

The pre-school learning alliance can help. In some areas there are  Toddler development workers, who will come along to the group, and if asked will happily give suggestions for different activities or equipment - maybe your group could borrow some books or toys from the local library to provide new play opportunities, or invite the local police office or libarian to visit.

Where can I find information about my nearest Toddler Group?

There are various ways of finding out what is happening locally, contact your health visitor, the children's information service, ask at school or pre-school, talk to other parents, or search the internet.

Contact your local Pre- School Play Association.  They have lists of all quality toddler groups under their wing, who operate under their Toddler Code of Practice, and their members are fully insured.

Helen Renouf
NNEB - Accredited Network Childminder

under5s - Toddler Groups
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