0 - 5 year olds - Early years
The first five years of a child’s life, the foundation years, are absolutely critical. For this busy period, we’ve put together a list of useful resources to help you find the services and information you need.
Dedicated teams at the Council are here to help:
- The Family information Service (FIS) team is dedicated to providing free and impartial information for parents, parents to be, carers and professionals. Advice sessions are held frequently in our Children’s Centres.
0 - 2 years
- NHS Richmond has a host of services during and after pregnancy.
- As new parents, you will need to register the birth.
- During the first couple of years, being able to find clear, helpful information is vital. There are a various web sites that can offer this, including the Ask Baby and National Childbirth Trust sites.
- There is plenty for you and your child to do throughout the borough; parent and toddler groups are a great way of socialising, whilst there are lots of leisure activities tailored for young children and their parents or carers. For more details contact the Family Information Service.
Childcare and education
- After the first year, you may start thinking about returning to work, or finding childcare that fits your needs and budget. You can search for childcare online to help you locate a suitable provider.
- If you are considering using a childminder, give yourself plenty of time before you return to work, usually a couple of months, to find the right one for you. It’s normally advisable to give your child and the childminder about two weeks to settle with each other before you start back at work.
- For advice and guidance on how to pay for childcare, contact our Family Information Service.
- There are 3 types of nurseries:
- State maintained nurseries.
- Full day care (8am - 6pm).
- Pre school (sessional e.g. 9 - 12am, usually a private nursery).
If you are thinking of returning to work, check your eligibility for various government schemes such as working tax credits and child tax credits.
3 -5 years
As your child approaches three you maybe considering some form of early education other than a crèche or a childminder.
- There are 3 types of schools available in the borough:
- Primary schools (ages 4 to 11).
- Infant schools (ages 4 to 7).
- Junior schools (ages 7 to 11).
- If your child has special educational needs, there is information and support to help you and your child.
- If your child is attending a nursery both before and after lunch, check whether you are entitled to claim free school meals.
- You will need to check when your child will be eligible to enrol in school depending on their date of birth. There is a handy guide to how the process works on the admissions web pages.
- There are five Children’s Centres serving the Borough which allow children to play and parents to find the resources and support they need. For the children, activities such as Stay and play, dancing and nature walks (to name just a few). For the adults there is the opportunity to meet other parents and access advice and support from experienced professionals.
- Holiday playschemes are planned activities for children during school holidays. The schemes offer a wide variety of activities, with an emphasis on activities and play.
- Before and after school clubs and childcare are available in a number of locations in the borough. The hours each club operates may vary slightly; some are even open during school holidays.
- Libraries host activities and sessions for the under 5’s, register with a library to join them for ‘Tiny Teddies’ sessions and more!