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Spring 2010

Capital Grants... ...What a difference they make!

Also Inside: • Your Christmas pics • Aiming high for disabled children • Parent Partnership news

Farewell to Jean

Lord Mayor tunes in!

Liverpool is part of a pilot programme offering free education sessions to eligible two-year-olds, before they take up the usual free sessions the term after their third birthday.

Jean Mayne, Childcare Development Officer, retired at Christmas to take an extended holiday to visit family in New Zealand and to then spend more time with her new grandson at home in Liverpool.

The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Mike Storey, visited Wavertree Children’s Centre to see the Liverpool Phil’s Tuning into Children musicmaking sessions in action.

Recent nationwide guidance has led to a revision of the criteria for eligibility. If you work in an Early Years setting, in Children’s Centres, as a private provider or in a pre-school, and would like to know more about the criteria or to discuss individual referrals, please contact Deirdre Stretton on 0151 225 4973.

Jean worked for Kelton Day Nursery before she joined Liverpool City Council’s Children’s Services team in January 2005 as an Area Development Worker for the Central area of the city.

Two year old pilot

Jean was a popular and committed member of the team and will be missed by her colleagues and providers and is wished a long, happy and healthy retirement.

Children in Need Liverpool’s Childcare and Family Information Service team put their best foot forward for Children in Need. They completed a Healthy Walking lunch break of two miles. Through sponsorship and a collection, they raised a fantastic £436.84 for this great cause. CAFIS is based in Brougham Terrace, and works with the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors providing advice, support and training to ensure that Early Years settings are offering the best quality for children and families across Liverpool.

The sessions, led by musicians of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, are designed for children aged 0-3 years and 3-4 years, and their parents and carers. Using songs, including nursery rhymes, and music-making using a variety of instruments, the sessions play an important part in developing children’s listening, concentration, social and communication skills and self expression. They are also an aid to parent/carer and child bonding and encourage an early interest in and enjoyment of music in the young participants. The sessions at Wavertree Children’s Centre are led by Phil musicians Ian Bracken (cello), Celia Goodwin (violin) and Becky Walter (viola). The sessions include: • Hello song, welcoming each child by name to the group • Nursery rhymes -  with accompanying actions for parents and children to do together

• Song bag – children choose an object from the bag and the group sings a song • Instrument work – appropriate to the age of the child and using child-led improvisation • Chill-out – an opportunity for parent/carer and child to relax together and listen to live music • Goodbye song saying goodbye to every child by name In addition to Wavertree Children’s Centre, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic musicians are currently working regularly in Children’s Centres in Everton, Kirkdale, Norris Green, Halewood and Huyton. The Phil’s programmes in Liverpool centres are delivered in partnership with the Senior School Improvement Officer (Early Years) in Liverpool City Council’s Children’s Services.

The tree might have gone, and the decorations been put away for another year, but the memories live on of all the fabulous activities organised for children at Liverpool’s Children’s Centres. Childminders from Tuebrook and Everton went to see Santa in his grotto at Croxteth Hall; the Dingle Dads group had an amazing 150 people at their Santa session, and both Clubmoor and Anfield held sensational Christmas parties.

Liverpool’s Little Stars

Yum yum yummy!

Sportslinx in partnership with Liverpool’s 24 children centres and their link schools have recorded a CD and Action Song book for 0–5 year olds.

Yum, Yum, Yummy… healthy food all year round has been designed to help childcare practitioners promote a positive food culture in Early Years education.

Workshops have been arranged at Lace Conference Centre for all foundation stage practitioners.

The CD holds 25 tunes, all of which are combinations of new songs, familiar songs and nursery rhymes. Each children centre and link school have recorded one song each for the CD with the finale song involving all centres.

It’s never too early to start eating well, and this resource provides positive ideas and activities to engage both children and adults in making and eating healthy food.

Gill Stead, health promotion worker at Fountains Children’s Centre, said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed the hands on experience of Yum Yum Yummy. They took part in making Fab Fishies & Delicious Dips, Egg Butties & Super Smoothies, Orange Squashing and Yummy Yoghurts. 

Yum, Yum, Yummy is delivered through games, play, song and dance, as well as growing, cooking and eating. Children are invited to explore and delight in the fascinating world of food.

The main aim of the Liverpool Little Stars ‘CD& Action Song Book’ is to encourage and increase activities between the ages of 0-5 years. This involves working with childcare practitioners, parents, children and other agencies to provide play in a stimulating and fun environment.

The aim of the pack is to provide information and tools to make healthy food an active part of early years provision. The activities provide opportunities to develop social, practical, creative, linguistic, numerical and scientific skills. There are practitioner-led sessions, childinitiated activities, ideas for food-focussed trips and ideas to send home for the family. For example:

It will be launched – along with other programmes delivered by SportsLinx and Liverpool schools – at Echo Arena Liverpool on March 19th.

• Try ‘Orange squashing’ – and count how many oranges you need to squish to fill your cup • Sing the apple song and then munch and crunch on your favourite Autumnal snack • Dance yourself from seed to sunflower • Imagine a perfect picnic and pack your hamper!

Families from Children’s Centres, schools and local communities will all be invited along to celebrate the occasion at what promises to be a really fun event.

Children crossing!

The Anfield Childminder Network recently held a Road Safety Event in Breck Road Library. Rose Crossland (Road Safety Officer) had the children captivated with tails of Salman and his visit to the park. Later all the children had a chance to use the Pedestrian crossing with the lights and “beepy noise” to cross the road. It was a fabulous session which the children thoroughly enjoyed, and which will hopefully give them a good head start in learning the basics of road safety.

They also had lots of fun taking part in themed outdoor activities such as the fruit hunt, songs and action rhymes involving fruit creatures of the sea.” The project has been developed by Liverpool City Council, Sportslinx project, Squash Nutrition and Liverpool Early Years Sure Start Children Centres Foundation Stage Team.

Aiming High bit goes here

What a difference a capital grant can make… Early Years childcare provides a fantastic start for young children – and a key factor in providing that start is not only highquality staff, but a high-quality environment.

Early Years Foundation Stage through this capital investment. Grants will have been given to ??? Schools, ???? Nurseries and Play Groups and ??? Childminders.

A warm, welcoming space, with lost of comfort and stimulation for busy little people, can make all the difference – as can outside space.

This investment ranges from small grants to improve basic facilities and resources, to large scale extensions and building works, knocking down walls, making rooms bigger, improving toilet and kitchen facilities, landscaping out door areas etc. Overall, the improvements to the facilities and environments where young children are cared for should have a big impact on the quality of their experiences.

In 2008, every Local Authority was given funding for 3 years to support the development of early years’ provision. In the first year, Liverpool Childrens Services used this funding to encourage providers to become more flexible in how they deliver their free education sessions (for 3 and 4 year olds). For 2009 and 2010, we continued to support providers of the Early Years Foundation Stage, through a bidding process, in applying for capital funding. We also encouraged childminders to bid for this capital funding, as we know that there are about 700 children under 5 going to childminders in Liverpool at present, and their environment for play and care is just as important. We have included a big outdoor learning programme as part of our capital programme, so that most nurseries in the city have an opportunity to develop their outdoor environment, and make this as much of an important part of a child’s experience as possible. By March 2011, Liverpool will have funded just over £5 million pounds in developing and improving the delivery of

We have produced a calendar for 2010 that shows some examples of the improvement the capital grant has made so far. The photographs used in the calendar were taken by a group of young disabled artists who were trained in photography as part of an arts project, supported by DaDa (Disability and Deaf Arts). If you would like to receive a copy of our 2010 calendar, please contact the Childcare and Family Information Service (225 4916)

Press Release - Every Parent Matters Network – Networking conference Tough love is the best approach to bringing up children, city conference told. ‘Tough love’ parenting combining warmth with rules and boundaries were in the spotlight during a major conference in Liverpool organised by Every Parent Matters Network. Key note speaker Jen Lexmond of influential think tank Demos and co-author of new report ‘Building Character’ argued that tough love parenting is the best way to bring up children as it encourages empathy, initiative and self discipline – key to children’s future success and happiness.

Paul Barnard explained that community interest companies are a new type of limited company designed for social enterprises wishing to operate for the benefit of the community. “We have decided to become a CIC to preserve and develop the sustainability of the Network and ensure we go from strength to strength,” he said. During the event national charity Families Need Fathers, which provides information on shared parenting issues arising from family breakdown and gives support to divorced and separated parents, announced the opening of its new Liverpool centre.

During the event Ms Lexmond also called for more support for struggling families where there is plenty of love but not as much discipline and boundaries. The conference, at Liverpool John Moores University’s Arts and Design Academy, attracted representatives from charities, voluntary groups and local authorities including Liverpool City Council, as well as parents. Organiser Paul Barnard, project director of Every Parent Matters Network, says: “We were delighted to have Jen Lexmond as our key note speaker, as her influential new report has just been launched by Demos. It has generated world-wide interest and we thought it would be very fitting to focus on it during our conference.” During the event the Every Parent Matters Network, which exists to support parenting organisations in Merseyside, launched its new status as a community interest company (CIC).

The event was also an opportunity for people working with children and families to network and a festive theme was guaranteed with features including community singing and the ‘Go Penguin’ winter trail. For more information about the network contact Paul Barnard on 0778 8858065 or email paul. or visit

Update The Early Echo magazine will, from this edition onwards, be hosting an exciting regular feature – an update on The Parent Partnership Service. The Service provides essential information and support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs – and in each issue of the Early Echo, you will be able to read all about their activities and plans. There will also be regular reviews of books and publications that you might find helpful. So here goes for Winter 2010… “Hello and welcome to all our parents, carers and colleagues who may be wondering where our usual newsletter has gone! The Parent Partnership Service is now part of the Childcare and Family Information Service. We have, however, retained our ‘arms’ length’ status and our impartiality. We continue to be based at the Fairfield Centre in Sheil Road and can be contacted on the same phone numbers as before. Our remit is to provide support and information to parents and carers of children with special educational needs. We help hundreds of families every year who come to us needing information or guidance relating to their child’s learning, physical or emotional and behavioural difficulties. We have a comprehensive set of information leaflets, which can be provided in paper form or downloaded from our area on Liverpool City Council’s website (details below). Our service is free and confidential. Alongside our work with parents and carers, we also offer training and information sessions to schools and other agencies.

Heading up our team is our newly appointed manager Chris Lee, pictured here, who has returned to our fold having left nearly four years ago to manage a service in a neighbouring authority. We are delighted to have Chris back with us. We are pleased to be included in the Early Echo and to be able to reach a much wider readership than ever before. If you have never heard of Parent Partnership and would like to know more, or if you have a child who you think may have special educational needs and you would like information and/or support, we will be happy to hear from you!

Contact Us 0151 233 2848 or 233 2943 0151 233 8206

You can see more about our work at:

Book review A Spectrum of Light: Inspirational Interviews with Families Affected by Autism The emotional trauma that families go through when they find out their child has an autism spectrum disorder can feel like being plunged into darkness. Francesca Bierens is here to show that there is also a light at the end of the tunnel. Over a period of fourteen years, Francesca Bierens interviewed ten families of children on the autism spectrum. This book records their answers: how they felt, how they coped, and what gave them strength and solace. Each family discusses how they reacted when they found out their child had autism, and their feelings leading up to diagnosis. They share their positive and negative experiences of professionals, and describe the support that they received, often from grandparents, respite care givers, support groups and other parents. Two of the original children, now in their 20s, also talk about the experience of growing up with autism, and describe how their lives are now. Above all, Bierens’ message, and that of the families she interviews, is one of inspiration and hope, showing that there is light, love and laughter along the way. Their stories should be read by anyone who is affected by or working with autism. A Spectrum of Light -Inspirational Interviews with Families Affected by Autism. Francesca Bierens. November 2009, 192 pages, paperback. ISBN: 9781849050135. £12.99

Deeno’s Dream Journeys in the Big Blue Bubble: A Relaxation Programme to Help Children Manage their Emotions Deeno’s Dream Journeys in the Big Blue Bubble is a fun and easy-to-use guide to a special relaxation technique for children. Adapted from the system of Autogenics, the six-week programme uses positive affirmations and guided imagery to help children manage their emotions, let go of anxiety and feel calm and confident. Each week, the child is given a new set of ‘magic words’: a relaxation tool they can draw upon whenever they feel stressed or anxious. An illustrated story based around these words, where the child is asked to imagine they are going on an adventure in a big blue bubble with Deeno the Dinosaur, draws the child into a safe and magical world and guides their minds and bodies into a state of deep, calming relaxation. Suggestions for follow-up practice and creative activities based around that week’s words accompany each session, and encourage children to tap into their own imaginations. Separate introductions for parents, teachers and other professionals provide advice on how best to use the technique, whether at home, at school, or elsewhere. There is also a children’s introduction, which introduces Deeno and explains the technique in accessible terms. Accessible and engaging, Deeno’s Dream Journeys in the Big Blue Bubble is an ideal tool for helping children develop effective relaxation skills in a fun and imaginative way. Deeno’s Dream Journeys in the Big Blue Bubble: A Relaxation Programme to Help Children Manage their Emotions. Julia Langensiepen. Illustrated by Gerry Turley. October 2009, 128 pages, paperback. ISBN: 9781849050395. £14.99

Happy birthday to you! The University of Liverpool Children’s Centre recently celebrated its 10th birthday in style – with the help of their little friends! The Centre offers full day care and holiday play schemes for staff and students of the University of Liverpool and also staff of Local Solutions – who manage the centre. As part of the anniversary, the children looked at what a ‘birthday’ is and how people celebrate it. They made displays about birthdays including photographs ‘through the ages’ of the nursery. The celebratory day finished with a party – guests included past staff and children who currently attend the centre. Over the past 10 years, the centre has cared for children from all over the world supporting them through their first years in Liverpool many speak little English or have English as their second or third language when they arrive. Manager, Jean Graham, comments: “It is wonderful to see them leave us so confident and able to settle into their settings as competent learners.” Staff have achieved local and national awards for their work in Early Years, nominated by parents and senior managers in recognition of their service to children and families. Centre manager, Jean Graham, was presented with a lifetime achievement award in 2007 at the national Nursery Management Today Gala Awards in London for the (then) 40 years she had worked in childcare.

All action at Fountains! It’s been busy at Fountains Children’s Centre in Kirkdale recently – as these lovely photos show. The children went snap happy when a special visitor arrived - a professional photographer who came to teach them all about cameras and how to take the very best pictures. They all learned how to use some semiprofessional camera equipment, and some fabulous photographs being produced! These images have now gone into a book which will be on show within the Children’s Centre. The centre’s Young Mums Group took part in a lovely activity with Treasure Pots – making baby keepsakes.  We all know how quickly babies grow up, and they were able to make lovely mementoes to treasure forever. Their children’s hand and foot prints were painted on to mugs and plates and individually named - and the parents were thrilled with their baby keepsakes. 

CONTACT INFORMATION The work of the Childcare and Family Information Service is delivered across the city’s five Neighbourhood Areas (NA’s) each NA has a dedicated Area Development Worker (ADW) to ensure information, support and guidance is available across the city to new and existing childcare providers. Childcare Development Officers

Early Years Quality Improvement Officers

City & North consists of the following wards: Kirkdale, Central, Riverside, Everton, Kensington & Fairfield, Picton. Your Childcare Development Officer is Sarah Higginson who can be contacted on 0151 225 6259 or 07889 089 589 Alt Valley consists of the following wards: County, Warbreck, Fazakerley, Clubmoor, Norris Green, Croxteth. Your Childcare Development Officer is Stella Arends who can be contacted on 0151 225 6035 or 07715 488 401 Liverpool East consists of the following wards: Anfield, Tuebrook & Stoneycroft, Old Swan, West Derby, Yew Tree, Knotty Ash. Your Childcare Development Officer is Barbara Hazeldine who can be contacted on 0151 225 6050 or 07715 488 402 Central consists of the following wards: Wavertree, Church, Childwall, Princes Park, St Michael’s, Greenbank. Your Childcare Development Officer is Stella Arends who can be contacted on 0151 225 6035 or 07715 488 401 Liverpool South consists of the following wards: Mossley Hill, Cressington, Speke/Garston, Allerton & Hunts Cross, Woolton, Belle Vale. Your Childcare Development Officer is Chris Fletcher who can be contacted on 0151 225 4942 or 07715 488 405

All can be contacted on 0151 233 1372

Childcare and Family Information Service General Public Information 0800 085 2022 Senior Family nformation Officer: Judith Moizer 0151 225 4954 Information Officer: Barbara Maguire 0151 225 4954 Registration and Quality Standards Officer: Nicky Walsh 0151 225 4916 Choice Adviser: Max Taylor 0151 225 6030 Parent Partneship Service

0151 233 2848 Recruitment Helpline (Childcare Workforce)

08000 28 43 28

Parent Partnership and Family Information Service Manager: Christopher Lee 0151 233 8228 Childcare Sufficiency Manager: Ruth Williams 0151 225 4987 Childcare Workforce Development Manager: Maureen Rogers 0151 225 6232 Childcare Workforce Development Officer: Janet Bradley 0151 225 6258 Childminder Network Support Officer: Dot Harrison 0151 225 6287 © Liverpool City Council 2010, all rights reserved. 091178/JJ/KK/01/10/P

Early Echo - magazine for young families and childcare professionals  

The voice of early years education in Liverpool