Let's Go on an Autumn Nature Hunt – a Fun Outdoor Activity for Children!

Our autumn nature hunt is a fun, educational activity for children that also comes with a free reference sheet.As leaves start to blanket the ground and the earthy scents of autumn begin to infuse the air, it’s the perfect time to engage children in a captivating adventure that celebrates the season. In today’s post, we’ll introduce you to an Autumn Nature Hunt, an exciting outdoor activity for children that’s not only entertaining but also educational.

Explore the Beauty of Autumn with a Nature Scavenger Hunt

The autumn season offers a unique opportunity to immerse children in the wonders of nature. The changing colours of leaves, the falling acorns, and the crisp air make it an ideal time for outdoor exploration. This nature-based treasure hunt is designed to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature, where they can enjoy the many benefits that outdoor play and exposure to the natural world provide.

Download Your Free Reference Sheet

To make this autumn-themed nature hunt even more enjoyable, we’ve created a reference sheet that children can use to check off the items they find. This sheet should keep them engaged and help them learn about the beauty of the season. N.B. supervising adults will need to decide whether children should simply spot the items or collect them. Factors including hygiene, safety considerations and the child’s age and abilities should inform their decision.

Download this free reference sheet for the autumn-themed nature hunt. (Click to save/download).

What You’ll Need

Before the commencement of this adventure, ensure your child has the following:

  1. Our free reference sheet. We’ve prepared a free reference sheet that features images of various natural items children can look for during their outdoor excursion. The A4 sheet includes leaves of specific colours, catkins, wild hazelnuts, pine cones, acorns, oak leaves, pine needles, ‘winged’ seeds, horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, pumpkins, cereal crops, sunflowers that are now turning to seed, and even some fruit that may be found at this time of year. It’s available below, for free, in Acrobat PDF format and you can download and print it for your convenience.
  2. Adult supervision in place. Ensure that adult supervision is available, especially for the youngest children. Safety is a priority, so be certain to keep the kids out of harm’s way while they explore.
  3. Safety precautions. Teach the children about safety precautions. For example, emphasise the importance of not running off out of sight, avoiding poisonous items like fungi, not touching berries, keeping all items away from mouths, and being cautious around things like chestnut cases, which have sharp points.
  4. Good hygiene. Encourage the little explorers to exercise good hygiene practices and wash their hands thoroughly after the adventure.

The Autumn Nature Hunt is a fantastic way to connect children with the wonders of nature, encourage outdoor play, and create lasting memories. So, download the reference sheet, gather your young explorers, and set out on a journey through the enchanting autumn landscape. Remember to emphasise safety, ensure adult supervision, and cherish the opportunity to immerse your kids in the beauty of the season. Enjoy your autumn adventure!

Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

We understand the incredible importance of nature and outdoor play to children; they bring enormous benefits to children of all ages. So many, in fact, that we’ll publish separate guides on those benefits in the near future. So, watch this space.

Little Acorns is a high-quality childcare nursery in Padiham, Lancashire, offering the very best childcare and early education to babies, toddlers and preschoolers. As well as giving little ones the very best start in life and ensuring they are as ‘school-ready’ as possible by the time they leave us, we help them to become the very best version of themselves. Part of this is achieved through a learning and development programme that’s tailored to them as individuals. In this way, they achieve personal bests across all areas of their development.

If you would like to explore the possibility of sending your baby, toddler or preschooler to Little Acorns Nursery, please get in touch using one of the following options:

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12), also convenient for families seeking high-quality childcare near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham or Wood End.

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

Bird Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

This nature-based bird spotting activity for kids comes with a free reference poster for families to download.Today’s bird spotting activity for kids continues our series of nature-themed posts that each come with a free reference poster for families to download. Featuring 40 British birds, the activity and the poster represent a great opportunity to get children of all ages outdoors, closer to nature. As many of us know, nature is hugely beneficial to the health and well-being of little ones as well as fostering a greater respect and understanding of the natural world around us. Such an appreciation is also likely to encourage children to do their bit to help protect the environment as they grow older. Nature-based activities are therefore a win-win for children and the environment.

Did you know? UK bird populations have declined by a staggering 38 million birds during the last 5 decades. Even some of our once-common birds are in steep decline.

Children will naturally be fascinated by our feathered friends. When encouraged, even infants and toddlers will soon start to recognise and be able to name the different varieties of wild birds that they see. Robins, blackbirds, blue tits and wrens are always likely to be firm favourites and, with the help of the reference poster, children may soon also be able to identify additional species. We suggest printing the poster out at full size (A3), if possible, using high-quality settings and paper. Reducing to A4 is also possible on desktop printers that only print to that size. Either way, the posters can be displayed permanently on nursery or bedroom walls, or used as handheld reference when children are out and about. Tick boxes have been included alongside each bird, to allow children to mark which birds they have seen. The posters can also, of course, be viewed in glorious high resolution and fine detail on screen, for example on handheld tablets.

The poster is free and no sign-up of any kind is required. Here’s how it looks:

Bird Poster Preview

Preview of the A3 British Birds poster for families to download and print out (click to download or see instructions below).

Download Instructions

Click the preview image, or this link, to download or view the poster, which is in PDF format (grab Acrobat Reader free here if you don’t already have it on your device). Please note that your individual browser settings will govern whether a left-click or a right-click either opens or saves the file. Try either to see which best suits your particular set-up.

Bird-Spotting Recommendations

Once children have their print-outs at the ready and are primed to go bird spotting*, there are a number of things that can help with their success:

  • Birds will naturally gravitate towards sources of food. So, think about where they might find seeds and insects. For example, try looking around flower meadows, woodlands, lush hedgerows and parks or countryside featuring a variety of different natural environments.
  • Failing that, put out some food for them — this is possible even if you don’t have a garden, as bird feeders can be attached to windows or suspended from walls and eaves. Many birds will like commercially available bird seed. Our best successes have been with ‘sunflower hearts’ and ‘peanut cake.’ Seed balls are also popular. Supermarkets, garden outlets and online stores usually sell such things fairly inexpensively. Side note: grated Cheddar cheese is also very popular. However, don’t feed birds too much of that and ensure never to give birds cheese that has mould, as it will be harmful to them.
  • Timing is important too, because different birds are around at different times of the year. So, undertaking the activity periodically throughout the year may help to tick off some of those boxes on your poster!
  • Teach children to be patient, observant and logical. Patience, perseverance, and critical thinking are all important skills for children to master, and this type of activity can help them to improve such skills.
  • Teach children to keep noise levels very low. For thousands of years, humans have been seen by most wild animals as predators, so children need to learn to stay quiet and even tread quietly through woods etc. when on the lookout for any kind of wildlife. This can, however, make the activity even more exciting!
  • Teach children stealth and the use of observation and auditory skills. Doing so will not only help them to see/hear more birds, but will also encourage them to hone motor, balance, coordination and sensory skills.
  • Binoculars and monoculars may be useful tools for children to use to see birds further away or in close-up view. However, ensure they understand that they must never point them in the direction of the sun or towards other bright objects. Hence, we suggest they are only used by children under close supervision.

Have Fun Bird Spotting!

We hope you and your little one(s) have fun with this activity and find the free poster useful. We’ll gradually publish more nature-themed posters as time goes by, so watch this space for more free stuff! Nature-based and outdoor activities are great for children, teaching them so much about the world around them and their place within it. Such activities will help them develop new skills and gain new knowledge, all pretty much free of charge too! This type of activity may also instil in them a love of the outdoors, exploration and the natural world along with the flora and fauna in it. What’s more, children who spend significant time around nature often grow up to have a lifelong love of the Great Outdoors, a greater empathy towards other creatures and high levels of environmental consciousness. With all the problems the human race has made for the planet, that can only be a good thing.

Your High-Quality Nursery & Preschool in Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children love our nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham too, as we know how beneficial nature and outdoor play is to little ones. It’s one of the reasons we’ll be publishing more nature activity ideas for children to take part in over the coming months. So, watch this space and come back to visit our blog area regularly to get more ideas for kids’ activities along with lots of useful facts, information and news relating to early years education, learning, development and childcare.

Do you need a high-quality weekday childcare service for your baby, toddler or preschooler in the Padiham/Lancashire area? If so, do consider Little Acorns in Padiham as we’re simply one of the best nurseries and preschools around and give children a wonderful start in life. We also support Government schemes like free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds — plus many more.

Get in touch to register your child for a nursery or preschool place, request a tour of the setting with your child, or simply ask any questions. We’re here to help! Please choose an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns Nursery is located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12) but is also close to Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. So, we may suit families who require high-quality weekday childcare in any of those towns and villages.

* It goes without saying that children, particularly the very young, should always be supervised appropriately by a responsible adult.

Butterfly Spotting Activity for Kids (with Free Poster!)

With more adult butterflies around than at any other time in the year, late July and early August is a perfect time for children to get outdoors to see them.At the time of writing, it’s peak butterfly-spotting time — more adult butterflies can be seen in late July and early August than at any other time in the year. That makes it the perfect time for children to get out in nature to spot these charming creatures. Doing so is fun, educational and also beneficial in so many ways – we’ll explain more about that later.

Fun Fact: About 60 different types of butterflies can be found in the UK.

Butterflies come in many different forms and sizes, often with incredibly beautiful patterns and colours on their wings. They are also rather endearing as they flit around on seemingly haphazard flight paths. As such, infants, toddlers and young children will naturally be drawn to them when they see them flying around flowers, gardens and hedgerows. With that in mind, we have designed a free butterfly identification poster for families to download. It features 36 different types of butterflies that are commonly seen around large parts of the UK. The poster can be printed out for children to display on bedroom or nursery walls, or for use as a hand-held reference when out and about on butterfly-spotting nature trips. Take a look at the preview below — full instructions for printing it out or viewing it on screen are explained below the preview. The poster is free to download and you do not need to sign up for anything, nor register in any way.

Butterfly Poster Preview

The preview image below shows the 36 wonderful butterflies that are included on the identification poster. However, be sure to download the Acrobat PDF version for greater clarity and detail.

Preview of the Butterfly Spotting Activity Poster for children to download.

Download Instructions

Depending on your specific device and browser settings, the high-resolution Adobe Acrobat version of the poster can be viewed and/or downloaded by left- or right-clicking the preview image above, or alternatively use this link. If you do not already have it on your device, Acrobat Reader can be downloaded for free.

 

Amazing Fact: The Painted Lady butterfly flies all the way from Europe or Africa, travelling thousands of miles, before arriving in the UK for the summer. When travelling, they fly up to 100 miles per day, travelling almost 30 miles per hour. Unlike some other butterflies, Painted Ladies do not hibernate in Britain, instead migrating back to Europe or northern Africa.

Butterfly Spotting Has Many Benefits

The Benefits of Butterfly Spotting to Children

Butterfly spotting is a delightful and almost magical activity for children to take part in. On a simple level, it’ll help children learn the names of different butterflies and open their eyes to some of the UK’s wonderful wildlife. On a deeper level, though, it’s hugely educational by teaching children about nature and the natural world more widely. Through the simple task of butterfly spotting, children will get to understand the important role of butterflies, bees and other insects as pollinators. They’ll learn about concepts like metamorphosis, where food comes from, how plants, trees and creatures reproduce, the circle of life, and even about their own place in the world. These are profound and important concepts.

Spending time in and around nature is also hugely beneficial to children in mind, body, spirit and even academically. That conclusion is supported by study after study, all around the world. Indeed, we have written a separate article about the benefits of nature to children. Take a look by following the bold link.

Some of the Benefits to Butterflies & the Natural World

Nature-based activities like butterfly spotting will also begin to foster a deeper appreciation in children for the natural world and the flora and fauna within it. Children who regularly spend time in and around nature will tend to develop an affinity for it, right into adulthood. As well as enjoying everything that the Great Outdoors has to offer, children who are used to spending time in natural environments are often more environmentally conscious, with a greater sense of empathy for other creatures and a more responsible attitude around the impact that humans are having on the planet. And, as we’re seeing in recent news about global warming, climate change and the effects on recent weather patterns, such attitudes have never been more important. Children are the planet’s future, so encouraging them to look after the natural world is crucial for its very survival. The human race needs to act decisively to reverse both climate change and habitat loss so that wildlife populations can begin to recover. If there were no pollinators, then we’d all be in deep trouble.

The Best Places to Spot Butterflies

There are some obvious, and not-so-obvious, places where children are most likely to see the most butterflies:

  • Around flowers and blossoms, as nectar is their food.
  • Especially around butterfly-loving plants like Buddleia, also known as the ‘Butterfly Plant’.
  • Around calm, sheltered, sunnier spots, especially in the middle of the day — although they’re around any time of day if it’s warm (above 20ºC if it’s cloudy). Butterflies are delicate and do not like the wind.
  • Butterflies love brambles, flower meadows and forest clearings (‘glades’) where wildflowers grow.
  • They’ll also be drawn to forests and glades where a variety of different tree and plant species are growing at different stages of development.
  • Areas with long grass and hedgerows are good spots if they contain wildflowers.

Look But Don’t Touch

Butterflies are very delicate creatures, with wings that are easily damaged. Therefore, teach children not to try to catch or hold them. It’s best if families simply look rather than touch. Also, try to keep fairly still because butterflies can sense movement from multiple directions and are constantly on the lookout for danger.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Children also get to immerse themselves in nature-based activities at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, where we offer high-quality weekday childcare for babies and children under five. The service is much more than that, though, as we give children the very best start in life, nurturing them in their early years to become the very best version of themselves by the time they leave us to start school. Their learning and all areas of personal, social and emotional development come on in leaps and bounds during their time with us. This gives them all the tools they’ll need to thrive going forwards. We also support all the free childcare schemes offered by the Government to eligible families, including free childcare hours for 2-year-olds and up to 30 free hours per week for 3 and 4-year-olds and much more.

For more information, to register for a childcare place, or request a guided tour with your child, please get in touch using an option below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns is a nursery & preschool in Padiham, also being convenient for families nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Free Childcare Through Universal Credit (Rough Guide)

Free Childcare Through Universal Credit (Rough Guide)

In today’s post, the third in our series of guides about Government childcare funding schemes, we look at free childcare funding available through Universal Credit. This is particularly timely because the scheme becomes significantly more generous from the 28th of June 2023, so eligible families will start benefitting just as today’s guide goes live. The changes come into effect following commitments made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Spring Budget back in March. They make childcare funding through Universal Credit more generous and easier to fund. We will explain what we mean by that, as well as outline the facts, figures and eligibility requirements for the scheme, in our guide to Free Childcare Through Universal Credit below.

How Much Free Childcare Can You Get Through Universal Credit?

If you are eligible for free childcare through Universal Credit, here’s what you can claim from 28th June 2023:

  • The maximum families can claim through Universal Credit Childcare Support is 85% of eligible childcare costs, up to the maximums outlined below.
  • You can get up to £951 in free childcare each month for one child.
  • You can receive up to £1,630 in free childcare each month for two or more children.
  • That’s an increase of almost 50% from the previous maximums before late June 2023.
  • The maximums outlined above will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) annually until 2027/28 according to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP).
  • You may also be able to claim for childcare costs during your child’s nursery settling-in period or for childcare while you travel to work if they’re deemed by DWP to be ‘reasonable’ in helping you to get back into work.
  • Another major improvement is that the funding through this scheme may be partly pre-funded by the Government in some circumstances, rather than families having to find the significant sums, and then claim them back retrospectively. We’ll explain more about that later in this guide.

N.B. If you already have some of your childcare fees paid by your employer through childcare vouchers, you can only claim the balance of childcare fees that you are responsible for funding — not the part already covered by the vouchers. Similarly, if you already have some of your childcare fees covered through free childcare hours for 2-year-olds or free childcare hours for 3- and 4-year-olds, you can only claim for any additional hours, if eligible, that you would otherwise have to pay.

Why is the Government Helping in This Way?

“These changes will help thousands of parents progress their career without compromising the quality of the care that their children receive.” — Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions.

The free childcare funding through Universal Credit is aimed at helping low-income families and those wishing to either return to work or significantly extend existing working hours. This will help children, parents/caregivers — especially women — and will also boost the economy as more people move back into work. The Government is also aware that there are huge benefits associated with a good early years education, particularly when it’s started young. Those benefits extend to a huge range of things including the children’s life outcomes, improved careers, increased earning potential and multiple benefits to society in general. Follow the bold link for more details.

“By helping more parents to re-enter and progress in work, we will be able to cut inactivity and help grow the economy.” — Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work & Pensions.

Are You Eligible for Free Childcare through Universal Credit?

As mentioned above, the changes to childcare support through Universal Credit are designed specifically to help low-income families, those wishing to return to work, or people wishing to extend existing hours. With that in mind, the eligibility requirements for childcare funding through Universal Credit are as follows:

  • Firstly families must, of course, be claiming Universal Credit in order to access the childcare element of it. You can learn more about who is eligible for Universal Credit here. Generally speaking, though, Universal Credit is mostly intended for UK people aged over 18 but below State Pension age who are on low incomes, need help with living costs, and have savings/investments of no more than £16k. Your partner’s circumstances, if you live with them, may affect your eligibility for Universal Credit. There are other exceptions and caveats, too, so follow the bold link above for more information about eligibility for Universal Credit itself.
  • With regard to support for childcare funding available through Universal Credit, you and your partner, if you have one, need to be working in a paid job — or have received and accepted a job offer for paid work starting within the next month. That’s with the exception of those unable to work through disability, bad health, or temporary absence from the household e.g. through hospitalisation or going into residential care. Your child may also still be eligible if your partner has to care for a severely disabled person for whom they are eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance.
  • You must live in the UK and the child(ren) for whom you are claiming childcare costs needs to be dependent upon you.
  • You usually need to be over 18, although there are some circumstances where those aged 16 or 17 may be able to claim.
  • You can claim against childcare costs for dependent child(ren) until the August following their 16th birthday.
  • The childcare provider may be a nursery, preschool, childminder, nanny, or even a breakfast, after-school or holiday club — so long as they’re properly registered in the UK. Generally, that means that they need to be registered with Ofsted if the childcare is in England, or their equivalent if it’s in Scotland or Wales. You’ll need to provide their registration number when applying for the childcare funding.
  • If your circumstances change, it could affect your eligibility — potentially for both Universal Credit itself and the Childcare Support element of it. So, confirm straight away if, for example, you, or your partner if you have one, earn more than originally stated, lose your job, or stop work for some other reason.

Can You Get Childcare Costs Paid Upfront?

There are some circumstances where you can get childcare costs paid upfront through the scheme.Usually, you will need to pay for childcare costs first and then reclaim them through your Universal Credit childcare support account. However, there are some circumstances where you may be able to get some of your childcare costs paid upfront through the scheme. This recent change is designed to help families essentially with cash flow so that a major barrier to working is removed. That, in turn, will also help the economy.

Funding for childcare upfront may be possible in the following circumstances:

  • When parents are starting new paid work.
  • In the month preceding the start of the new job.
  • In the month after the end of employment, to help continue childcare when switching between jobs.
  • When parents are significantly increasing their working hours, for example when moving from part-time to full-time employment.

If any of the above scenarios apply, families can speak to their work coach (available through their Universal Credit account) about something called a Flexible Support Fund. If not eligible for that, another potential option is a Budgeting Advance although the latter needs to be repaid.

N.B. Be mindful of keeping the Department for Work and Pensions (‘DWP’) informed in a timely manner in all cases, otherwise you could miss out.

How to Apply for Universal Credit Childcare Support

To apply for Universal Credit payments, create a Universal Credit account here or sign into your account here if you already have one. If you live with a partner, they will also need to have an account and the two must be linked together before you will be able to claim.

N.B. Before applying for the first time, ensure you first read about checks and other useful information you should be aware of here. The telephone number for the Universal Credit Helpline at 0800 328 5644 may also be useful to note.

Once accepted into the scheme, you will need to regularly report and provide evidence of your childcare costs through your account. Remember to claim quickly too otherwise, if you leave claims longer than 2 months, they may not be reimbursed.

More Information

Additional guidance on childcare costs through Universal Credit is available here.

Already Claiming for Childcare Costs through Another Scheme?

You can’t claim through the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme if you are claiming for childcare through Universal Credit. However, you can check which other schemes you may be able to claim in tandem here.

More Improvements to Childcare Funding are Coming Soon

Substantial additional improvements to childcare funding are also in the pipeline following the Spring Budget 2023 announcements. However, we’ll cover those alternative schemes separately here in due course. Just to whet your appetite, though, they include plans to gradually extend free childcare support to eligible children aged from just 9 months from September 2024. So, watch this space!

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. At Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, we support all the Government childcare funding schemes for eligible families. We offer babies, infants, toddlers and preschoolers the very best start in life, the highest quality childcare and an unbeatable early years education. This combination will bring out the best in them and ensure they absolutely thrive from the moment they begin school around the age of five. To get started on applying for a nursery/preschool place, to arrange a free guided tour or simply to get in touch to ask a question, please select a button below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns Nursery and Preschool is located in Padiham, Lancashire. We’re also close to Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham, and Wood End, so may also suit families requiring childcare near those locations.

Get Ready for Pyjamarama 2023

Get ready for Pyjamarama 2023. This year it arrives on Friday 16th of June in nurseries, preschools, schools and homes all around the Nation. That date is not carved in stone, though, as some settings may find an alternative date more convenient for their particular circumstances.

What is Pyjamarama?

Pyjamarama is a one-day fundraising event that's organised through the children's reading charity BookTrust.Pyjamarama is a one-day fundraising event that’s organised through the children’s reading charity BookTrust. It takes place each year across a variety of UK settings including homes, schools, preschools, nurseries and more. As well as being great fun for those organising and taking part, the initiative is beneficial to millions of disadvantaged children. The ultimate aim is to raise money to fund the purchase of books and resources, so that every child in the UK gets the chance for bedtime stories and each family has proper reading opportunities. The initiative is hugely popular, great fun, and transforms lives. Today, we take a look at what to expect, how to get involved, and the many benefits of Pyjamarama.

“Spend a day in your pyjamas to raise money for BookTrust and be part of something amazing.”

How Does Pyjamarama Work?

Settings like Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham first register with the Pyjamarama fundraising scheme, well ahead of the 16th June event date. In return, they receive a free downloadable fundraising pack. This contains information and activity resources that they’ll be able to use with the nursery children on Pyjamarama day as well as things like posters to publicise the event. Access to BookTrust’s Pyjamarama Hub will also be given. This allows access to additional resources and activity ideas for children to take part in.

On the day itself, the idea is for children and staff to come to the nursery/preschool dressed in pyjamas to add an extra element of fun. Having said that, PJs are not obligatory — children can wear something else if they prefer, for example colourful T-shirts. Either way, we ask that each child brings £1 with them. This will be donated to the BookTrust charity to raise money for disadvantaged children, who might otherwise not have access to bedtime stories. The ensuing day will be relaxed and fun, with time spent together reading and sharing stories, watching specially-recorded videos from children’s favourite authors (that’s new for 2023) and taking part in a whole host of other fun, reading- and story-related activities.

At the end of the day, children who took part in Pyjamarama will receive certificates to take home. All money raised by the children and setting will subsequently be sent off to the fundraising team at BookTrust.

Pyjamarama is Fun, Educational & Worthwhile

Pyjamarama raises funds to give disadvantaged children and their families opportunities for reading and bedtime stories.Pyjamarama is always a fun day for both adults and children. The added aspect of pyjamas makes it special, quirky and relaxed. And, at the end of the day, it’s incredibly worthwhile. Not only does it raise money to give disadvantaged children and their families opportunities for reading and bedtime stories, but it also encourages those children taking part in Pyjamarama to read more, for pleasure as much as anything. Additionally, it gives children a different perspective and encourages altruism and empathy for others less fortunate than themselves.

“Raise vital funds to help every child get a bedtime story.”

How Pyjamarama Helps Disadvantaged Children

Every £1 helps. So, children and parents — please get involved. Here’s how fundraising can typically help:

  • £25 is enough to provide 15 under-fives from deprived communities with books and reading resources.
  • £50 is enough to provide an entire class of primary school children with a selection of books to share and read at home.
  • £100 would allow the BookTrust charity to help teenagers in a struggling secondary school reconnect with reading.

How Can You Get Involved?

“Through Pyjamarama we want to help support the children who are at risk of missing out on the joy and confidence that bedtime stories provide.”

If you haven’t already seen them, look out for posters and a letter to parents highlighting the date for Pyjamarama at your child’s setting this year. On the day, please ensure your child goes to nursery/preschool or school with £1 and is ideally dressed in PJs although, as we said before, it’s not obligatory — but is a lot of fun when everyone joins in.

More details and a FAQ about getting involved in Pyjamarama as a setting or individual can be found here.

“Naomi has seen how reading takes her into imaginary worlds and helps her deal with everyday worries and is amazed how it is also helping her to do well in all subjects at school.”

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

High-Quality Weekday Childcare in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Babies and under-fives get the very best start at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham. As well as offering a convenient childcare service in a loving and homely environment, children also receive a comprehensive early years education at Little Acorns. We also support all Government-funded free childcare schemes including free childcare hours for eligible 2-year-olds and free childcare hours for eligible 3 and 4-year-olds. Contact us if you’d like to register your child for a childcare place. Or, if you’re not yet sure, why not arrange a guided tour? We can show you and your little one around to see how well they fit in. We’re also here to answer any questions. Please choose a button to get started:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool in Padiham, (BB12), also being conveniently close by for those in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham, and Wood End.

BookTrust is a Registered Charity, number 313343.

Free Childcare for 2-Year-Olds in England (a Quick Guide for Parents)

Today we explain the Government’s free childcare funding scheme for eligible 2-year-olds. While it’s not as universally available as the childcare funding scheme for 3- and 4-year-olds, there are still a significant number of children who will be able to benefit from this scheme for children aged two. And, by starting their early years education no later than this specific age, children are known to boost personal bests, social skills, cognitive development and even life outcomes — in many profound ways. (More information on the benefits of starting an early years education early is available here). What’s more, this particular funding is aimed at 2-year-olds that are disadvantaged in some way, so it can help to level up the playing field for them.

So, how does the scheme work, which 2-year-olds are eligible for the free funding and how do families access it? In today’s guide to Free Childcare for 2-Year-Olds in England, we explain everything you need to know and answer all such questions.

What Childcare Funding Can Eligible 2-Year-Olds Get?

Eligible 2-year-olds can get a total of 570 free childcare hours during the course of a year.Eligible 2-year-olds can get a total of 570 free childcare hours during the course of a year. The entitlement is usually taken as 15 hours per week over 38 ‘term time’ weeks. However, families may wish to ask childcare providers if they can use the hours in a different way. For example, some may wish to stretch the hours out over 50 or so weeks of the year, in which case it would equate to approximately 11½ free hours per week. The nursery or childcare provider would need to confirm what’s possible. Any extra hours will need to be paid for by the family and the same is usually true for things like nappies, special trips and meals. Even so, 570 free childcare hours should really help families and may allow a stay-at-home parent to get back into the workplace sooner, even if only part-time.

How is the Childcare Funding Accessed?

The funding is paid directly to the childcare setting, which must be an officially-registered provider and one that’s signed up to offer such free places. They must also be recognised by Ofsted as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’. Nurseries, preschools, accredited childminders, Sure Start Children’s Centres and even some playgroups may be able to access the funding if they fit all the appropriate criteria. Contact your childcare provider about free childcare funding for your 2-year-old when you apply for a nursery place. If you are applying to Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, you can apply for a place here. Your child can access the free childcare funding in the term that follows their 2nd birthday. Terms start in September, January and April.

Eligibility for 2-year-old Childcare Funding

There are essentially three routes to eligibility for the free childcare funding:

  1. If the parent/household is receiving one or more specific Government benefits, and/or…
  2. If the child is disadvantaged in one or more specific ways, and/or…
  3. If you are a non-UK citizen in England, cannot claim benefits and have a household income below a certain threshold. We’ll take a more detailed look at the criteria below.

1. Eligibility Criteria for Parents/Households

2-year-olds living in England may be eligible if their parents/household are in receipt of one or more specific Government benefits.Children aged two that live in England may be eligible if their parents/household are in receipt of one or more specific Government benefits. These include:

  • JSA (Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance), which is an unemployment benefit that’s available while looking for work.
  • Income-related ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), which people may be claiming if they have a reduced ability to work e.g. through disability or sickness.
  • Income Support, which is a financial benefit aimed at those on low or non-existent incomes.
  • Universal Credit with a maximum annual household income no greater than £15,400 after tax (excludes benefits). This is a benefit that helps people with living costs if they are on low incomes or out of work.
  • The guaranteed part of Pension Credit, which may be available to help with living costs if you’re above State Pension age and have a low income.
  • Working Tax Credit* and/or Child Tax Credit with an annual, before-tax, household income no greater than £16,190. These also help people on low incomes.

* Includes those claiming for the 4-week run-on payment that occurs when qualifying for Working Tax Credits ceases.

2. Eligibility Criteria for Disadvantaged Children

Disadvantaged or disabled 2-year-olds may be eligible for the free childcare hours.If none of the benefit-related criteria above applies, children aged 2 may still qualify for the childcare funding scheme in the following circumstances:

  • They receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA);
  • They are subject to an EHC (Education, Health & Care) plan;
  • A local authority looks after them;
  • They have left care but are subject to a Child Arrangements Order, Special Guardianship Order, or Adoption Order.

3. Eligibility Criteria for non-UK Citizens Not Claiming Benefits

Some 2-year-olds living in England who are non-UK citizens may be able to claim for free childcare if their households cannot claim benefits and household income is below a certain threshold.The last category of eligible claimants is some 2-year-olds living in England who are non-UK citizens, whose households cannot claim benefits and whose household income is below a certain threshold. Thresholds vary from £26,500 to £38,600 depending on how many children the family has and whether they live inside or outside of London.

  • For those living in London, household income must be no more than £34,500 if you have one child or £38,600 if you have more.
  • For those living outside London, household income must be no more than £26,500 if you have one child or £30,600 if you have more than one.
  • Savings or investments must total no more than £16k in each case.

Your local council can give you more information.

Changes Coming to Childcare Funding for 2-Year-Olds

In March 2023, the Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled plans for childcare funding reforms in his Spring Budget. These include an expansion of the ‘free hours’ to around 285,000 more 2-year-olds from April 2024 and to around 640,000 children aged from just 9 months from September 2024. We’ll write a separate article here about the pending changes in the near future. In the meantime, you can read our sister nursery’s guide to the coming childcare funding reforms here.

Little Acorns Nursery & Preschool, Padiham

The Best Start for Your Baby, Toddler, or Preschooler in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Little Acorns is a nursery and preschool that offers the highest quality weekday childcare for babies and children under five. As well as offering them a home-from-home environment where they are loved and nurtured, we give every child a wonderful early years education. Our childcare professionals, equipment, facilities and curriculum will bring out the best in every child and give them the tools to thrive and be successful. If you would like to register for a childcare place, arrange a visit with your child, or discuss questions you may have, please simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Little Acorns Nursery is located in Padiham, Lancashire (BB12).  As well as being convenient to families in Padiham, we may also suit those looking for a high-quality nursery or preschool in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham, or Wood End.

Information is understood to be correct at the time of writing (April 2023). Please check here for the latest information.

Follow Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, on Social Media

If you’re a parent of a child under five, consider following Little Acorns Nursery on our social media channels and here on our blog. As well as showcasing some of the activities and events at our Padiham nursery, we’ll also publicise useful and informative guides, articles and advice about parenting, early years learning and development, and everything to do with childcare. For example, we may publish guides explaining eligibility rules for the various Government-funded schemes for free childcare, or discuss the findings of important studies into the education of under-fives. We may show images from trips the children have been on, or highlight a fun and educational activity that children under five can take part in at home. These are just a few examples, so do follow us if you’d like to be kept better informed.

Follow Our Journal

Follow our blog for latest news, information and updates about childcare, parenting, and early years learning and development.This is what we call our blog (short for ‘web log’) where we regularly publish guides and useful information for parents of children under five. The main blog page can be found here and parents can take a look at the article list and pick out any that they find interesting. They’re all carefully researched and professionally written. Articles include a series of guides and useful information for parents, covering topics like childcare funding schemes, activity ideas, health and wellbeing of babies and children under five, a Hygge explainer, and much more. We add new articles every month and will also include key happenings at the nursery. So, do bookmark this page in your browser if you’d like to keep up to date.

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Little Acorns Nursery (@NurseryPadiham) on Twitter.We’re @NurseryPadiham on Twitter, so you can follow us at https://twitter.com/NurseryPadiham/

• On Twitter, we’ll tweet images and links to our useful guides for parents and interesting information about early years education, parenting, childcare funding, and much more.
• We’ll include tweets and retweets of other useful information from third parties too. For example, tweets may be about learning and development, books/reading, nature, wildlife, early play, outdoor play, the well-being and health of children, creativity, activities for kids, sport, food, literacy, numeracy, and basically anything to do with childcare or raising a child under five.

Follow Our Facebook Channel

Follow Little Acorns Nursery Padiham (@TotsNursery) on Facebook.We’re @TotsNursery on Facebook (because we took over the Adventure Tots childcare business), so you can follow us at https://www.facebook.com/totsnursery/

Our Facebook profile is jam-packed with updates and includes:

• Information about the nursery — all about us, opening times, etc;
• Facebook ratings — currently we have the highest possible 5-star rating after reviews from tens of people;
• Newsletters from the nursery, as they’re published;
• Photos and videos from the nursery;
• Useful information, guides, and links to the in-depth posts from our main blog;
• Latest updates from what’s been going on at the nursery — events, outings, and initiatives, etc;
• Comments from parents;
• Occasional competitions;
• Posts and re-posts of useful and interesting Facebook posts that we think might interest our parents/families. For example, activity ideas, games, learning and development insights, play ideas, wildlife information for families and children, etc.

Follow Us on Instagram

Follow Little Acorns Nursery Padiham (@LittleAcornsNurseryBB12) on InstagramWe’re @LittleAcornsNurseryBB12 on Instagram, so you can follow us at https://www.instagram.com/littleacornsnurserybb12/

At time of writing, our Instagram profile is pretty new, but we’ll soon be adding pictorial content including:

• Great images showing activities at the nursery/pre-school in Padiham;
• Photos of outings, outdoor play, etc;
• Photos of creative play at the nursery;
• Photos of events involving our under-fives;
• Images with links to highly interesting and useful articles and guides published for parents of under-fives on our main blog.

Follow Our Pinterest Pins

Follow Little Acorns Nursery Padiham (@LittleAcornsNurseryBB12) on Pinterest.We’re also @LittleAcornsNurseryBB12 on Pinterest, so you can follow our pins and boards at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/LittleAcornsNurseryBB12/

We love Pinterest and feel it’s very underrated! Follow us on Pinterest for:

• Interesting photos, images, and videos, particularly for parents of under-fives.
• We also re-pin useful and interesting images and ideas from others who have pinned about early years play, activity ideas, learning and development, etc.
• Our own “title image pins” with links to our highly useful blog posts, articles and guides for parents, information about early years education, parenting, and more.

On our Pinterest channel, pinboards have been created for the following topics: Preschool, Nursery School Activities, Little Acorns Nursery Padiham itself, Early Years, Sensory Activities for Under 5s, Early Years Parenting, and Nature Activities for Under-Fives. We may add more and we’ll be adding more and more ‘pins’ to each category as time goes by.

Find us on Google

Little Acorns Nursery Padiham is also on Google Business.We appreciate that, if you’re reading this, you’ve already found us. However, if you ever need to find us again and aren’t sure where to look, we’re also on Google. Our Google business profile is here. It shows:

• Our reviews (we have a full 5-Star rating at the time of publishing this article);
• Our business details including address, opening/closing times, contact details, etc;
• Photos from the nursery and as uploaded by the public;
• An outside interactive street view;
• Links to the latest blog posts from the nursery;
• A map and directions — particularly useful if you’re visiting or working out distances and travel to/from the nursery.

Review Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Review Little Acorns Nursery Padiham on Google or Facebook.If you’re a parent of a current child at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, why not write us a review? You can review us on Google (here) and review us on Facebook (here). Many thanks if so. Or, if you have any comments, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Little Acorns: a Nursery & Pre-School for Children Under 5 in Padiham

The highest quality childcare in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

At Little Acorns Nursery, we give babies, toddlers, and children under 5 the very best start in life. We are a nursery and pre-school in Padiham that offers weekday childcare and a complete early years education. We’re also conveniently close for those living or working nearby in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham, or Wood End. Government-funded childcare places are all supported for eligible families, so do get in touch if you’d like to register your child for a childcare place, to arrange a guided tour, or ask any questions. We’re here to help.

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822
The Benefits of Nursery & Pre-School to Under-5s

The Benefits of Nursery & Pre-School to Under-5s

A good nursery or pre-school is so much more than just a crèche, playgroup, kindergarten or childminding service.A good nursery or pre-school is so much more than just a crèche, playgroup, kindergarten or childminding service. A nursery like ours encompasses all those things but, in addition, will enrich a child’s life in a myriad of profound and positive ways. In essence, it will give them the opportunity to become the very best version of themselves, with all the tools to absolutely thrive as they move forwards to school and even later into adulthood. Today, we take a look at just a few of the many benefits of sending a child to nursery or pre-school and how it sets optimised foundations for them and their place in the world, even impacting them positively into adulthood.

A Complete Early Years Education

As well as being somewhere that will look after children and keep them safe while parents perhaps work, a good nursery or pre-school will give children a complete early years education.

A Good Early Years Education Through the EYFS

Children's learning is achieved through the application of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.Nurseries like Little Acorns in Padiham provide a dynamic environment where children mostly learn through different types of play and pre-planned, carefully structured activities. Much of their learning is achieved through the application of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. Part of that is a wide curriculum covering all the key areas of importance for children’s learning and development in their early years. As well as giving children under five a diverse knowledge of different topics and an understanding of the world around them, the EYFS curriculum will also help them to use their imaginations, stimulate creativity, boost literacy, master early years mathematics and numeracy — and a whole lot more.

A Tailored Plan for Individual Children

Another reason why our curriculum is good for children under five is that it focuses on the individual needs and interests of each child. We recognise that every child is unique and has their own strengths, abilities, and needs. The resulting approach is therefore for early years practitioners to plan activities and experiences that are tailored to the individual child. It is in this way that each child achieves personal bests in every area of their learning and development. This is why, in our introduction, we referred to children becoming the very best version of themselves at nurseries and pre-schools like Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham.

Enhanced Cognitive Development

A good nursery or pre-school provides children with a wide and well-planned range of activities and experiences that also support their cognitive development. As well as learning comprehensively, this approach helps children to develop important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

A Huge Boost to Children’s Personal Development

A good early years childcare provider like Little Acorns will also nurture every aspect of children's learning and development.A good early years childcare provider like Little Acorns will also nurture every aspect of children’s personal development. Research suggests that starting childcare and a good early years education at a young age can have significant positive effects on children’s development.

Greater Independence

Nurseries and pre-schools help children to become more independent, encouraging them to make decisions, explore their environment, and try new things. Greater independence will serve them well once they’re ready to move on to primary school and beyond. Independence also helps children to develop confidence, a greater sense of self-esteem and a greater propensity to enjoy the activity of learning itself.

Enhanced Social Skills

The social skills learned while at nursery or pre-school will be invaluable when children are older.Spending time at nursery and pre-school provides children with countless opportunities to interact with peers and to learn to socialise with others. Through doing so, they’ll develop their social skills generally, including things like learning good manners, needing to sometimes share or take turns, learning about mutual respect, and following rules.

Boosted Physical Development

Children naturally engage in more physical activities at nursery/pre-school than they might at home; for example running, skipping, hopping, jumping, climbing and fast-paced ball games with friends. Through doing so, they’ll develop their gross motor skills and improve upon balance, coordination, fitness and strength.

Natural Language Development

Early years settings like Little Acorns represent a rich language environment for children. With all the adults and other children all using a range of language and vocabulary around them, children will naturally pick up language skills and improve communication and understanding.

Nurturing of Emotional Development

Nurseries and pre-schools provide a safe and nurturing environment, enabling children to learn to express feelings and emotions more readily. This helps to support children’s emotional development, including a deeper understanding of their own feelings as well as those of others, along with better self-awareness, self-regulation, and resilience.

Support for Children with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities

Good nurseries and pre-schools like Little Acorns support children of all abilities.Good nurseries and pre-schools like Little Acorns welcome and support children of all abilities. As part of this and whenever possible, they will create an inclusive environment for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). They’ll support them in every way they can including, where possible, provision of special equipment, adapting the environment to make it more accessible, and obtaining additional funding for extra resources. They’ll even work with outside professionals, where appropriate, to develop the best ‘joined-up’ plan to support children. The result is a positive and responsive culture where children feel comfortable and valued, irrespective of ability or disability.

Preparedness for School

Nurseries & Pre-schools help children to develop the skills and confidence they need to thrive once they start school.All of the above will really help children to develop the skills and confidence they need to absolutely thrive once they start at primary school. As well as being more able and literate from the moment they start, they’ll more easily be able to follow routines, listen to instructions, and work independently. They’ll absolutely hit the ground running with the existing knowledge, tools and abilities that they learned during their all-important early years. Indeed, those children who receive a high quality early years education have been shown to attain higher grades in their GCSEs and can be the equivalent of a year ahead by the time they reach the age of 15.

Better Overall Outcomes for Children

The high quality childcare that a child receives at nursery and/or pre-school also plays a vital role in determining their life outcomes. For example, studies have found that children who started attending a high-quality childcare nursery/pre-school before the age of 2 had better cognitive, language, social and emotional development than children who began the programme at a later age or did not attend childcare at all. Similarly, other research suggests that starting childcare before age 3 is associated with higher academic achievement and fewer behavioural problems in the long term. Those beginning early are statistically more likely to go on to attend higher education courses and even to earn more during their adult lives. That’s amazing when you think about it.

All in all, attending a high quality nursery and/or pre-school provides a complete, holistic approach children’s learning, development and — incredibly — to their long-term success. It also, of course, provides crucial and practical support for parents, especially those who are returning to work or who need to balance work and parenting responsibilities. There are many additional benefits not mentioned, though, as we’ve barely scratched the surface (we haven’t even mentioned the benefits to society, for example — and there are many). Nevertheless, we hope that this information today has been of interest and gives those who are considering early years childcare some much-needed facts to bear in mind when making a decision for their child.

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School: High Quality Childcare in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Little Acorns Nursery and pre-school is located in Padiham, Lancashire and is also conveniently near to those in Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. All Government childcare funding schemes are supported too, making it affordable to a wide range of families. If you are interested in a place for your child at Little Acorns Nursery, please get in touch, or ask any questions using a button below:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822

Free Childcare Hours for 3- & 4-Year-Olds (a Quick Guide for Parents)

If your child is aged 3 to 4 and lives in England, they are entitled to 15 to 30 hours of free childcare each week.If you live in England and have a child aged 3 or 4, this article is for you. Did you know that your child is entitled to free childcare each week? In fact, virtually all children aged 3 or 4 that live in England can get an impressive 570 hours of free childcare each year. Some can even get twice that amount of funded childcare hours. Today we’ll go through what’s available – totally free of charge – and the rules around eligibility.

For 3- and 4-year-olds, there are two main childcare funding schemes:

The ‘15 Hours Free Childcare’ Scheme

(for children aged 3 and 4)

All 3- and 4-year-olds living in England are eligible to receive 15 hours of free childcare each week for 38 weeks of the year.The ‘15 Hours Free Childcare’ scheme is a Government-funded initiative that provides free early education and childcare for all 3- and 4-year-olds living in England. Under the scheme, eligible children are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare each week, usually spread over 38 weeks, to total 570 hours per year. Optionally, however, some families may choose to have their child attend a childcare setting for less than 15 hours per week but spread the free hour allowance throughout the whole year. Others may prefer to take longer breaks during the holidays and using the hours more intensively during term time. Parents/guardians will need to check what’s possible with their particular childcare provider (we try to be as flexible as possible at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham).

Eligibility

The 15 Hours Free Childcare scheme for 3- and 4-year-olds is not means tested and there are no tricky eligibility hoops to jump through. It is therefore an excellent and widely available childcare funding scheme. So, you do not need to meet any specific income or employment criteria in order to be eligible.

Caveats

The free childcare funding is available to children the term after they turn 3.You must be the child’s parent or legal guardian.

Parents and guardians may need to check any minimum sessions hours with their childcare provider. For example, families may not be able to use the free entitlement for very short periods, such as just an hour or two at a time, although it may vary from childcare provider to childcare provider.

The free entitlement is only available for children aged 3 and 4. It does not cover children under the age of 3 nor those already attending school.

The free entitlement is available to children the term after they turn 3. It can only be taken via an approved provider, for example, a nursery, pre-school, or childminder that’s registered with Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills).

How to Apply for the ‘15 Hours Free Childcare’ Scheme for Your 3- or 4-Year-Old

You can search for registered providers in your area on the Ofsted website or by contacting your local council. Once you have found a childcare provider* that meets your needs, you will need to enrol your child directly with them. You may also need to provide proof of your child’s age and your eligibility for the free entitlement.

* If you live or work in or around Padiham in Lancashire, you may be interested in considering Little Acorns Nursery as your childcare provider. If so, please contact us if you would like to discuss a funded place for your 3- or 4-year-old at Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham, or register your child for a place at Little Acorns Nursery here.

The ‘30 Hours Free Childcare’ Scheme

(for children aged 3 and 4)

Some 3- and 4-year-olds are eligible to receive 30 hours of free childcare each week.The ‘30 Hours Free Childcare’ scheme is a very similar Government-funded initiative that provides eligible families in England with up to 30 hours of free childcare per week. Again, this is for children aged 3 and 4. The scheme is designed to help working families with the cost of childcare and to support parents who want to return to work or increase their hours.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the 30 Hours Free Childcare scheme, families must meet the following main criteria:

  • Both parents, or the lone parent, must be working and earning at least the equivalent of 16 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage (‘NMW’) or National Living Wage (‘NLW’). The NMW and the NLW are different for different age groups, so the monetary figure that this amounts to as a minimum income varies according to your age. (Please note that dividends, interest, pension payments and interest income from property investments do not count towards your minimum).
  • The parent(s) must also have an annual income of less than £100,000 per year, including any bonuses.
  • Usually, the child you are claiming for will need to be living with you.
  • Follow the next bold link below for additional eligibility caveats that affect less common circumstances.

Caveats

If you are already claiming Universal Credit, Tax-Free Childcare, Tax Credits or using Childcare Vouchers, you may still be able to claim for free childcare hours for your 3- or 4-year-old.You are usually still be eligible if you are off work on annual leave or sick leave, or parental leave if it is not being taken for the same child you are claiming childcare funding for.

If you are already claiming Universal Credit, Tax-Free Childcare, Tax Credits or using Childcare Vouchers, you can usually also claim for the 30 hours scheme for 3- and 4-year-olds if you meet the other criteria. Note, however, that claiming 30 Hours Free Childcare may affect how much you then receive in tax credits if you are also claiming those.

Further details about the 30 Hours Free Childcare scheme for 3- and 4-year-olds, including additional eligibility caveats, can be found here.

How to Apply for the ‘30 Hours Free Childcare’ Scheme for Your 3- or 4-Year-Old

Families who meet all the eligibility criteria can apply for the 30 Hours Free Childcare scheme through the government’s childcare service website. You will need to provide proof of your employment, your income, and your child’s age.

If your application is approved, you will receive a code that you can use to claim the 30 hours of free childcare from an approved provider like Little Acorns Nursery in Padiham. (If you’re not in the Padiham/Lancashire area, you can search for approved providers near you via the Ofsted website or by contacting your local council). You will need the code no later than the end of the month preceding the month your child starts on his or her childcare place. You’ll also need to reconfirm your child’s eligibility once every quarter.

Little Acorns Nursery Offers an Outstanding Childcare Service in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Located in Padiham, Lancashire, Little Acorns Nursery and pre-school is also easily accessible to families in the surrounding areas of Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. The nursery/pre-school supports the above funding schemes for 3- and 4-year olds and provides an outstanding weekday childcare service for babies, toddlers, and children aged up to 5. If you are interested in enrolling your child at Little Acorns, please get in touch. We will happily answer any questions you may have and help guide you through the application process. Simply choose an option below to get started:

Apply for a Place Book a Tour Message Us 01282 680 822
Hygge is Coming to Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham.

Hygge is Coming to Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham.

In today's post, we explain what Hygge means and how it will benefit the nursery and children.One of the exciting new initiatives that we have planned for Little Acorns nursery, Padiham, is to make it a Hygge setting. In today’s post, we explain what Hygge means and how it will benefit the setting, especially the children. Once the Hygge initiative has been fully adopted, it will positively transform the whole feel of the nursery and benefit everyone. Introducing Hygge is exciting and the children are going to love it! To be truthful, we can’t wait to get started!

First, though … what is Hygge and how do you even say the word?

What’s Hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word that's pronounced “Hue-Gah”Counter to the instincts of those whose first language is English, Hygge is pronounced “Hue-Gah” rather than “Hig”. It is popular in Denmark and Norway and is a Danish word that refers to a rather beautiful lifestyle; one of cosiness, homeliness, contentment and comfort. Wellbeing, warmth and conviviality are central to the Hygge approach. Friendliness, a welcoming atmosphere and closer links to nature are key parts of the Hygge way of life too. Having a more simple lifestyle and living far more in the moment are also part and parcel of Hygge. With such facets, Hygge naturally fosters happiness and contentment in everyone that it touches. Indeed, that’s one of the many reasons we can’t wait for both children and staff to start embracing it at Little Acorns Nursery.

Hygge is like a hug but without the physical touch.

Hygge at Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham

Hygge looks and feels warmer and gives children little nooks and corners to read, converse and play in.Once we’ve adopted Hygge at the nursery, it’ll look and feel warmer and far more welcoming, with softer, warmer lighting and a more homely atmosphere. Gone will be anything that looks sterile, cold or even harshly lit. Instead, expect to see soft furnishings including cushions, rugs and blankets. Look out for little nooks where children can gather in small groups to read, play or engage with each other or with staff. Hygge nurseries are also synonymous with dens and teepees, allowing children to ‘nest’ in calm, cosy spaces and corners. All these things will also deaden sound, reduce noise levels, and banish echoes, making for a much calmer setting entirely.

‘True’ Hygge is also associated with candlelight although, of course, for safety purposes, this would be the LED version of candles at the nursery. They’ll still make the lighting magical, though, and it’s even possible to get flickering LED tea-lights.

Hygge is associated with nature, natural objects and materials.We mentioned that Hygge brings people closer to nature and that will be evident not only outside but indoors too. We’ll ensure there are natural objects and materials for the children to explore and handle, including things like smooth pebbles, wood surfaces, pine cones and perhaps reed and wicker items. These will be lovely to handle and to be around, stimulating multiple senses, which is so important in the young. The introduction of appropriate plants will also bring children closer to nature and enhance the Hygge atmosphere.

Hygge often goes hand-in-hand with relaxing music and even calming scents, and we’ll see about introducing some of that to the nursery too. for yet more sensory stimulation, although in a very calm way.

Hygge minimises conflict and leads to harmony, calmness and a very pleasurable day-to-day experience.Children will also be encouraged to be convivial, i.e. be friendly, inclusive, pleasant and welcoming to one another and to staff. We always try to foster a culture of mutual respect and equality, but the introduction of Hygge to the nursery will take this even further. Sharing and politeness are to be encouraged. Play will be calmer and more harmonious. With Hygge, growing friendships will naturally blossom. Hygge minimises conflict and leads to harmony, calmness and a very pleasurable day-to-day experience for everyone touched by it.

With Hygge, children will also be encouraged to live at times more in the moment. They will also be asked to quietly reflect on their day and to think about everything they are grateful for. It’s a great new way for children to see and appreciate the world around them including both the bigger picture and the smaller details. Indeed, it will really bring out their sense of wonder.

Hygge is magical. It will feed children’s hearts, minds and spirits — in profound ways.

We will update this site in due course as we progress on our Hygge adventure, eventually culminating in Hygge in Early Years accreditation. The children and staff of Little Acorns Nursery, Padiham, are really going to enjoy the journey and we hope that parents will embrace some of its values too.

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, near Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End.

Little Acorns Nursery & Pre-School is in Padiham, Lancashire, conveniently near to Hapton, Rose Grove, Burnley, Altham, Huncoat, Read, Simonstone, Sabden, Higham and Wood End. We offer an outstanding weekday childcare service for babies, toddlers & children aged up to 5.

If you would like to register your interest in a place for your child at the nursery/pre-school, please get in touch. We’ll be pleased to hear from you and will be in touch, by return, to agree the next steps. We’re happy to discuss your child’s nursery application at any time and to answer any questions. Please choose a button to get started …

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