15 Baby Facts That May Surprise You

A baby is born, somewhere in the world, every 3 seconds.Today we take a look at some amazing baby facts, many of which may come as a surprise. Human babies are incredible in so many ways, but you may not be aware of just how incredible they really are …

1. One Born Every Minute?

That’s not even close! Did you know that a baby is born, somewhere in the world, every 3 seconds? That equates to 28,800 new babies coming into the world every single day and over 10½ million new babies every year.

2. Babies Favour September

More babies are born in September than in any other month.Studies suggest that more babies are born in September than in any other month. In fact, the top four birth days are all in September with 9th September seeing the most babies born, followed in order by 19th, 12th and 17th September. With September being the first term of the year in the UK, it may come as no surprise that those September babies, being the oldest in the class, tend to be the smartest in their peer groups.

3. Short People Live Longer

Another study suggests that shorter people live longer than taller people, on average. With females being statistically shorter than males, it makes sense, then, that male babies will have lower life expectancies than females.

4. Foetuses have Gills, Fur & a Tail

While they’re foetuses, babies have fur, a tail and gills at certain stages of their development. The gills are slits found in the neck, called pharyngeal arches. These eventually develop into ear and jaw bones before the baby is born. Meanwhile, the tail becomes the child’s coccyx. In regard to having fur, some babies will lose theirs by the time they are born but others may shed it within the first few weeks following birth.

5. A Unique Smile

Baby humans are the only primate babies that smile at their parentsHumans are just one species within a group of 200 primates that includes monkeys, apes and lemurs. Did you know, however, that baby humans are the only primate babies that smile at their parents? That’s unless other primates use some other way of smiling that’s unknown to us, of course — it’s possible!

6. Amazing Brain Growth

Just in the first year, babies’ brains will grow to twice the size, going on to triple from their birth size by the time the child reaches the age of 5. Scientists believe that as many as a million new brain connections are made every single second when you interact with your baby and up to three-quarters of every meal goes towards building the infant’s brain. It does not actually stop developing fully until the age of about 21.

7. Taste Super Powers

When babies are born, they have a staggering 30,000 taste buds.While adults have about 10,000 taste buds on their tongues, new born babies have a staggering 30,000. What’s more, these are spread over their tongues, tonsils, the back of their throat and on the sides and roofs of their mouths. Despite this, it’s not until they’re around 4 months old that they begin to taste salt.

8. Babies Have Nearly 100 More Bones than Adults

While adults have 206 bones, babies are born with an incredible 300. This leads naturally to the question what happens to the missing 94?. Well, they don’t go missing, exactly. Instead, some of them fuse together to form a single bone by the time the individual is an adult. A good example is those that make up the skull, being made up of several separate bones when the child is born, but fusing into a single bone by the time they reach adulthood.

9. Are Babies Born Without Kneecaps?

Babies don't have a bone kneecap when they're born, but they do have one made of cartilage.Well, kind of — they don’t have a bone kneecap when they’re born, but they do have one of sorts, made of cartilage. This hardens to form bony kneecaps by the time the child reaches between 2 and 6 years of age.

Such differences help make the baby more flexible and easier to pass through the birth canal when they’re born.

10. Newborns are Short-Sighted

Babies are born short-sighted, only being able to focus on an area 8 to 14 inches away.When babies are first born, they are short-sighted, only being able to focus on an area eight to fourteen inches away. This is great for seeing their mum, of course, but they have to rely on peripheral vision for more distant visual cues. In time, though, their distance vision will deepen and improve.

11.No Teardrops

Have you ever noticed that new babies don’t produce tears in their first few weeks? They may still ‘cry’ but it’s a tearless version until they’re roughly one month old.

12. Newborns Instinctively Hold Their Breath Underwater

Until 6 months of age, babies automatically hold their breath when under water.For obvious reasons don’t test this but, until they’re about six months old, babies have an automatic ability and instinct to hold their breath when under water. They even automatically adjust their pulse rate and outer blood vessels while they’re submerged.

13. Surprising Gestation Statistics

It’s not clear why, but there are some interesting statistics around the gestation period for different groups. Indian babies apparently stay in the womb for 6 days longer, on average, than white babies. And, in turn, white babies stay 5 days longer, on average, than black babies. That correlates to Indian babies spending an incredible 11 days longer in the womb than black babies. Another interesting statistic is that female babies spend a day longer in the womb than males.

14. The Origins of Memory

What’s your earliest memory? How old were you in that memory? Generally, people don’t recall anything before the age of three. It’s unclear whether this is because their memory syntaxes were not fully formed until then, or because they were not fluent from a language perspective until about that age.

15. The Wonders of Breast Milk

Breast milk adapts itself to perfectly suit the infant drinking it.Did you know that breast milk adapts itself to perfectly suit the infant drinking it? As the baby grows, the milk composition changes automatically, providing the exact calorific content that the infant needs.

What’s more, natural breast milk has all manner of additional benefits over formula milk. Incredibly, it reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by an incredible 50% when taken for a minimum of two months. It also reduces the chances of babies and infants developing a range of diseases and allergies as well as passing on antibodies to the child.

The Highest Quality Childcare in Willesden

Treetops Nursery is a perfect choice if you are looking for outstanding nurseries or pre-schools in Harlesden, Willesden or Kensal Green.

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Treetops is graded by Ofsted as a Good Nursery — in every category. So, your baby, toddler or preschooler will be exceptionally well catered for at the childcare setting. Our nursery and pre-school is located in Willesden, London NW10 but is also conveniently near to Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. So, if you live, work or require weekday childcare in any of those locations, you should consider Treetops for your childcare provision. We really give every child the very best start in life at this crucially important time in their lives. We do everything we can to nurture them so that they’re the very best version of themselves in readiness for school by the time they leave us at the age of five.

Please contact us if you’d like to register your child for a place at the nursery, or if you’ve like to visit the setting. We’re also always happy to answer any questions:

Free Childcare Grants for UK Students

This is for parents who wants to study in higher education, but will struggle to afford childcare.Are you a parent who wants to continue studying in higher education, but may struggle to afford childcare costs? If so, we have some great news for you. Student Finance England offers eligible students, who are also parents, a generous grant for their child’s childcare. This may allow them to continue with higher education in the knowledge that their child is being looked after by childcare professionals while they study. It can make a real difference, allowing parents to concentrate on studying and potentially increase household income once they graduate their courses.

Today, we’ll take you through the rules around eligibility for the childcare grant and explain how much is available.

The childcare grant for students is in addition to other student finance.

Eligibility Rules for Student Parents

There's no need to worry about childcare costs if you are elible for a student grant.To be eligible, the following rules apply:

  • The parent’s child(ren) must be under the age of fifteen, or under seventeen if they have special educational needs.
  • The child(ren) concerned must be financially dependent on the applicant.
  • The student/parent also has to be eligible for undergraduate student finance based on household income (even if they don’t claim it).
  • They can’t already be receiving a postgraduate loan.
  • They must be a permanent UK resident.
  • They must be studying full time.
  • They, or their partner, must not also be claiming Tax-Free Childcare or the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.
  • They or their partner must not be in receipt of childcare funding from the NHS.

A few rules also apply in relation to the childcare provider that receives the funding:

  • The childcare provider cannot be related to the applicant or child(ren) if the childcare provision is at home.
  • They should be officially recognised in the UK as a childcare provider, i.e. be registered with Ofsted or on the General Childcare Register.

The childcare grant does not need to be paid back.

How Much Do You Get?

The Childcare Grant for students is worth up to 85% of the cost of childcare while studying in further education.The Childcare Grant for students is worth up to 85% of the cost of your childcare while you’re studying in further education.

If you have one child, it can amount to up to £183.75 a week or 85% of your childcare costs if lower. If you have two or more children, then it’s worth up to £315.03 a week or, again, 85% of your childcare costs if that’s lower. You will have to cover the remainder. (Figures are correct for the academic year 2022-23; figures for 2021-22 are £179.62 and £307.95 respectively).

You don’t receive the grant directly; it’s effectively paid to the childcare setting itself (after all, it’s a grant specifically for childcare). Part of the mechanism for payments to the childcare provider is the setting up of a Childcare Grant Payment Service (CCGPS) account. You’ll receive instructions explaining how to set one of these up once your application for the childcare grant has been approved. Then later, Student Finance England sends funds to the account. Once the course has commenced, you will need to approve payments to the childcare provider on a weekly basis. It is then paid directly to them. Should any funds remain once the academic year is complete, this will be returned to Student Finance England.

How You Apply

Applications for Student Childcare Grants are most commonly made online. You apply for a Student Childcare Grant as part of your application for the standard undergraduate student finance (start here).

They can also be made using a paper form if the student finance application has already been made by the time you apply, or in the event that you later claim for an additional child. Once filled in, the paper application can be sent to Student Finance England, PO Box 210, Darlington, DL1 9HJ or alternatively send it to them via your Student Finance Account.

Treetops Nursery Provides High Quality Childcare in Willesden, North West London

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.We hope the guide to Childcare Grants for students is useful. If you are a student living or intending to study in North West London, Treetops Nursery can certainly help with your childcare needs while you study. We’re Ofsted registered and are officially a Good Nursery, so your child(ren) will be in good hands. We’re a nursery and pre-school in Willesden, NW10 and are also very near to Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. So, we may be very convenient if you are living in Willesden or in North West London, or are studying for an undergraduate course at a college, university, university-linked hospital or other higher education setting in the region — there are many. Please contact us for more details or to apply for a nursery place for your baby or child under five:

16 Ways Nature Benefits Children

The natural world will enrich children's lives in a myriad of natural ways.At the time of writing, spring is just around the corner and snowdrops and daffodils are already sprouting out of the ground. Soon, it’ll start to feel warmer and we’ll be more likely to venture outdoors again. With that in mind, we thought the time was perfect for a post all about the benefits of nature to children, particularly in their early years. If you’re a parent/carer and your children don’t usually get much exposure to nature, take a look at these benefits and consider encouraging them to get out more. The natural world and everything it offers will enrich their young lives in a myriad of natural ways.

1. Nature is Good for the Mind & Spirit

Nature is good for both mind & spirit.Nature is good for both mind & spirit. Many studies have shown that time spent with nature is very healthy for mental wellbeing and you only have to spend time in the Great Outdoors to know that this is true. There is something instinctively calming about spending time outdoors, surrounded by flora and fauna, and this is very beneficial for mental health, including relieving stress, anxiety and even depression.

2. Imagination Stimulation

Nature stimulates the creative mind in children. The natural world is a place of absolute wonder, when you think about it — particularly for the very young. So, spending time outdoors sets their minds working to create adventures, build, perhaps draw, create dens, collect flowers, invent games and so much more. Nature is an almost limitless source for children’s imaginations!

3. Nature Gives Children Perspective

Nature stimulates the creative mind in children.Spending time in the natural environment, surrounded by nature and everything that it brings, allows children to get a better perspective on life. Once they see the enormity of the ‘bigger picture’, small issues they may be facing will become insignificant and they will learn what’s really important and what’s not.

4. Nature Promotes Profound Thinking

Children also get to think bigger thoughts and ask bigger questions when they spend time out in nature. For example, “Where do I fit into the world?” … “What is this little creature doing?” … “What is he or she thinking?” … “How do those little seeds grow in the wild?” … “What is life?” … “How did we all get here?” … “Where does planet Earth fit into the bigger picture?” … and so on.

5. Nature Gives Children Greater Freedom

Nature allows children to feel much more free than they ever can indoors or in the confines of a playground.The natural world is vast so, with suitable adult supervision, allows children to feel much more free than they ever can indoors or in the confines of a playground. They can run around over larger areas, across different terrains and a myriad of different types of natural environment. It’s no wonder you see children putting their arms out like wings when they’re out in the natural world — they feel so free it makes them feel like they could almost fly!

6. Nature Facilitates Personal & Social Skills

The freedom and opportunities that children get from being out in nature help them to improve and build many skills. Playing and having adventures outdoors with other children will help them to improve language, social skills, self-confidence, teamwork skills, leadership skills, the ability to assess risk, responsibility, cooperation and so much more. What’s more, it also helps children to form closer bonds and friendships.

7. Nature Helps Children Focus

Children with ADHD particularly benefit from time spent out in the natural environment because it helps them to focus. Studies back this up as well as confirming that short-term memory can improve and mental energy increase for any child after a spell out in the natural world. Indeed, research shows that children’s attainment and engagement levels are higher in the classroom if they recently spent time in the natural environment.

8. Nature Improves Fitness

Nature helps children to become stronger and fitter in the most natural of ways.With the space to run around, explore, climb and build, nature helps children to become stronger and fitter in the most natural of ways. Another good thing about it is that it doesn’t even feel like they’re consciously ‘exercising’ when they’re having fun out in nature — it’s totally natural.

9. It Nurtures a Healthy Lifestyle

Time spent in the Great Outdoors as a child can often build a deep appreciation of nature, a natural tendency to keep fit, to eat a healthy diet and generally lead a healthier lifestyle as they grow older.

10. Nature Helps Improve Motor Skills

With the myriad of physical activities on offer in the natural world, children will improve both gross motor skills and fine ones without even trying. From running, jumping, balancing and coordination to finer skills like holding, fashioning, tying and hand-eye coordination, nature gives children an incredible range of opportunities to hone physical skills.

11. Nature is a Sensory Feast

Nature is an absolute feast for the senses.Nature is also an absolute feast for potentially all of the senses, giving children ample opportunity to see, touch, smell, hear and (under suitable supervision) even taste. Vestibular (movement) and proprioception (body position) senses are also amply stimulated in the Great Outdoors. Stimulation of the senses is incredibly important for children, particularly in their early years, helping in the generation of new brain pathways and syntaxes that are part of the essential building foundations of children’s lives.

12. Nature Helps Children Appreciate the Environment

Spending time in the natural world also helps children to appreciate the flora and fauna that it contains. It’s a magical world, when you think about it, and every living thing has its own specific needs. Recognising this helps children to become more environmentally conscious and to build skills like empathy, responsibility, self-control and to understand the importance of caring for others.

13. Nature Helps Children Sleep Soundly

Time spent in nature, with everything it brings, helps infants sleep more soundly at night too — and that can only be a good thing. Studies back this up.

14. Nature Supports the EYFS

Nature supports many of the goals of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage).Nature supports many of the goals of the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage, an important framework that guides the learning and development of under-fives in England). Allowing children access to nature and the natural environment will help them with Understanding the World as they explore and discover, Physical Development as they play and move around in the outdoors, and both Communication & Language and Personal, Social & Emotional Development as they interact naturally with friends and supervising adults. That’s at least four of the 7 key areas of the EYFS.

15. Nature Improves Academic Performance

Numerous studies have concluded that the benefits of time spent in the natural environment help children to perform better academically. Improvements can even be seen in areas like reading, writing and mathematics.

16. Nature Gives Children Perspective

Spending time in the natural environment, surrounded by nature and everything that it brings, allows children to get a better perspective on life. Once they see the enormity of the ‘bigger picture’, they will learn what’s really important and, perhaps, what’s not.

Nature at Treetops Nursery, Willesden

Treetops Nursery has its own plant growing area for the children to use.The many benefits of nature are fully supported at Treetops Nursery in Willesden. Our wonderful outdoor areas even include plant-growing area and other play areas where children can enjoy the fresh air and explore natural materials and textures. The nursery/pre-school is also adjacent to the King Edward VII Park, so it feels very ‘green’ since it is surrounded by trees and natural vegetation. Roundwood Park is also only a stone’s throw away, with its flower garden, wildlife area and aviary. It’s a formal Victorian park, with English Heritage grade two listed status and holder of a Green Flag Award, for the high standard of the park and green spaces within it. Children at Treetops Nursery — and their families — therefore have easy access to nature and natural things all around.

Weekday Childcare Services in Willesden, near Kensal Green & Harlesden, NW10

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Treetops Nursery is officially a ‘good’ nursery, located in Willesden, NW10 and also close by if you are looking for nurseries or pre-schools near Harlesden, Kensal Green or Willesden Green. Please get in touch if you’d like to bring your baby or child along for a visit, apply for a nursery place or simply ask any questions you may have:

EYFS Early Learning Goals for Under-5s

Early Learning Goals are integrated into the EYFS framework and are used in nurseries and pre-schools.Treetops Nursery adheres to the Early Years Foundation Stage (‘EYFS’) framework. This is a structured approach to learning and development for under-fives and is prescribed, by the UK Government, for childcare settings such as ours. It covers 7 key areas of focus for learning and development, which are explained concisely on our Curriculum page. Today, we look at the Early Learning Goals that are integrated into the EYFS framework, including how and why they are used in nurseries and pre-schools.

The Purpose of the Early Learning Goals

The Early Learning Goals (‘ELGs’) are used as a way for early learning practitioners and childcare professionals to continually gauge the progress of each child’s learning and development. Specifically, they’re used as incremental benchmarks to help ensure that children are successfully heading towards ‘school readiness’ by the time they leave early years settings around the age of 5. This is the point when they move to Reception Year at primary school.

“The ELGs should support teachers1 to make a holistic, best-fit judgement about a child’s development, and their readiness for year 1.” (Department for Education, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation)

Children are assessed continually against Early Learning Goals that are appropriate for their age. A ‘Key Person’ assigned to each child is a critical part of this. The assessment allows the Key Person and other childcare professionals to tailor the individual learning and development programme so that it is customised to the strengths, interests and any weaknesses of each child.

Parents/carers are also kept informed at all stages and are indeed encouraged to continue helping their child towards the same goals when at home. This tandem approach has been shown to have enormous benefits for the child, both in the short and long term.

Furthermore, if a special educational need is identified during assessment, families and childcare practitioners can then discuss more specialist, professional support for the child, should it be deemed appropriate. Setting goals, and monitoring performance against them, is a great way to identify such needs.

The Goals

The Early Learning Goals prescribed in the Department for Education’s ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation’ document are too lengthy to reproduce in full within the scope of this article today. However, they can be read in full within their document on pages 11 to 15 inclusive. This can be downloaded by following the green link in this paragraph. We also include an abridged overview of the goals below.

In essence, though, the Early Learning Goals are designed to help children become naturally curious, with an enthusiasm to learn, to help them form healthy relationships with adults and peers, and generally to thrive as individuals. Some examples of the types of goals follow …

• Communication and Language Goals

Goals are set for Communication & Language, a prime area of focus within the EYFS framework.Goals for Communication & Language, a prime area of focus within the EYFS framework, include performance against benchmarks for attentive listening, responding appropriately to what they’ve heard, speaking skills, good use of English and self-expression skills.

• Personal, Social and Emotional Development Goals

Goals around physical development, the 2nd of the prime focus areas within the EYFS, include good self-regulation in terms of behaviour around others, demonstrating patience in respect of needs, wants and any impulses, following instructions appropriately, demonstrating confidence and perseverance when challenged, personal skills like independence, the building of good relationships with others and even understanding healthy food choices.

• Physical Development Goals

Goals for physical development centre around gross and fine motor skills.Goals for physical development, the third of the prime focus areas of the EYFS, centre around gross and fine motor skills. For their gross motor skills, goals are set for skills like negotiation around spaces and obstacles, appropriate movement skills for doing so, suitable balance, strength and coordination skills. With regard to fine motor skills, goals are set around things like the ability to appropriately hold and use writing instruments and tools, and demonstrating accuracy when doing so.

• Literacy Goals

Goals for literacy include several around comprehension, vocabulary, reading and writing, understanding letters and words, phonics and spelling.

• Mathematics Goals

Mathematics also has a set of early learning goals.These include understanding numbers, counting, recognising patterns within numbers and number systems, comparison and comprehension of quantities, recalling number bonds and recognition of odds, evens, etc.

• Goals for Understanding the World

These goals cover quite a bit of ground including comprehension and knowledge about people, roles and society around the children as well as more distant, the past and the present, different cultures, other religions and countries, plus a knowledge of the natural world.

• Goals for Expressive Arts & Design

Goals in this specific category centre around use of creative materials, techniques and tools along with creative expression skills themselves. As well as exploring colour, design, form, function and suchlike, children will be expected to appropriately share their creations, speak about them and perform any stories, songs, rhymes and so on.

“Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development.” (Department for Education, Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation)

Progress Check at 2

A key part of the ongoing assessment against the Early Learning Goals is a progress check at the age of two. Parents/carers will be provided with their child’s assessment at that age and it will include findings in relation to the child’s strengths and any areas that are below expectations. This can then be used “to develop a targeted plan to support the child’s future learning and development involving parents and/or carers and other professionals (for example, the provider’s Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or health professionals) as appropriate.” More details about the progress check can be found on pages 18 and 19 of the EYFS document (a link is provided in the grey box earlier in this article).

A Great Childcare Nursery in Willesden (near Harlesden & Kensal Green)

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.Treetops Nursery is a wonderful nursery in Willesden, London NW10, also suitable for those looking for nurseries or pre-schools near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden Green. Ofsted recognise that we offer “good standards and quality of early years provision”,  “good quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and most importantly “good outcomes for children”. If you’d like your baby, toddler or preschooler to benefit from our high quality childcare service, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to show you around, answer questions and more …

1. For the purpose of this article, the term ‘teacher’ is a placeholder for any type of practitioner working with a child.

Should I Send My Child to Nursery?

Should parents send their baby, toddler or under-five child to nursery/pre-school?Many new parents ask themselves whether they should send their baby, toddler or under-five child to nursery/pre-school. What exactly are the benefits to the child? Well, studies have shown that there are clear benefits for children if they attend a good nursery or pre-school in their early years. That good aspect is crucial, though, and as a good nursery ourselves (that’s official), we strongly agree. The benefits are obvious to us, but you don’t need to take our word for it. Today, we’ll look at the findings of independent research, including a recent study by the Department for Education (‘DfE’), demonstrating the clear benefits of sending children to a good nursery and/or pre-school during their early years.

What is a Good Nursery?

A good nursery/pre-school will nurture children's wellbeing, learning and development.First, though, let’s clarify what makes a good nursery superior to a mediocre one. To give just a few examples, a good nursery will educate children under their care — they don’t simply babysit them because parents are at work. They’ll nurture children’s wellbeing, their learning and their development. They’ll create a learning and development programme that’s tailored to the strengths, weaknesses and interests of each individual child. A good nursery will set personal goals and continually assess the child’s progress, actually in partnership with parents. They’ll help every child to achieve personal bests in every area of a good Early Years curriculum. They’ll also do everything they can to help each child become school-ready by the time they leave, so they can move on seamlessly to Reception Year at primary school. Along the way, a good nursery, like Treetops, will help children in a huge number of ways, becoming more able, more self-confident, more independent, well-mannered, knowledgeable, aware of what’s right and wrong, able to socialise with others in an appropriate way — and so much more.

The Benefits of a Good Nursery or Pre-school

Now we’ve established what a good nursery/pre-school is, what did the 2020 DfE study say about sending under-fives to one? Well, they found that there are both short-term and long-term benefits to children if they attend a good nursery/pre-school during their early years.

Early childhood education benefits the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children in both the short and long term.
(Finding of the DfE study, February 2020).

Early childhood education benefits the educational, cognitive, behavioural and social outcomes of children in both the short and long term.When a child gets a good educational grounding during their early years, their behaviour around others is also seen to improve, with better self-regulation, less problems with peers and fewer emotional issues. A 2002 study (Sammons et al.) found that the benefits could be seen from as young as two.

What’s more, a 2011 study from the OECD found that, by the time they reached the age of 15, children who had received a good early years education were outperforming other students by the equivalent of a year. That’s amazing when you think about it.

Looking further ahead, a 2018 study (Sim) found that a decent early years education, in good nurseries, pre-schools and childcare settings, boosted self-confidence and social skills in such a way as to provide “a better foundation for success at school, and subsequently in the workplace.”

“a better foundation for success at school, and subsequently in the workplace.”

Those are far-reaching outcomes! In effect, they’re saying that children’s lives will be positively impacted right into adulthood, simply because they attended a good early years education setting — just like that available at Treetops Nursery in Willesden.

Special Benefits for Disadvantaged Children

A good childcare setting represents a solid foundation for your child's future.The most far-reaching benefits of a good early years education were found to be for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The 2020 impact study by the DfE found the following:

  • Children in this category benefit most if they attend a good early years education setting for at least 10 hours a week by the time they’re 2.
  • Similarly, 3 and 4-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most if they attend for at least 20 hours per week.
  • The results from this are improved verbal abilities and attaining goals expected of their age once they begin school in Reception year.
  • Indeed, those children from backgrounds with particularly poor home learning environments had a marked increase in verbal ability once they moved on to school.
  • So, a kind of levelling-up is provided by decent early years education.

It’s clear that the carefully structured curriculum and approach to learning and development at good early years settings really does help children to be better prepared and able for school at the age of five. This head-start, in turn, helps them to achieve more at school and later in the workplace, with better job prospects, all leading to better lifelong outcomes overall. There is even a link to reduced involvement in crime. These are incredibly important findings.

Good childcare means less poverty and dependency on welfare too, along with lower crime levels.Benefits for Families & the Nation

As well as benefiting children, there are clear benefits to family households too, of course. Without getting too deeply into that in this particular article, obvious benefits include allowing parents/carers to get back to their careers after pausing for parental leave, allowing income levels to be healthier and upward mobility more likely. Overall, good childcare means less poverty and dependency on welfare too, along with lower crime levels.

A Good Nursery in Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green & Willesden Green

Treetops - an outstanding nursery & pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Kensal Green & Harlesden.If you’d like a really solid foundation for your child’s future, then consider childcare at a good nursery like Treetops Nursery in Willesden, London NW10. We offer the highest quality weekday childcare for babies and children aged up to five. Our Willesden nursery and pre-school is near Willesden Green, Harlesden, Kensal Green and those in the NW2 & NW6 postcodes. We also support Government-funded childcare for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds (where eligible).

To register your interest in a nursery place for your child, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to hear from you and can’t wait to show you around and to tell you more …

Preparing Your Child for Nursery or Pre-School

Parents & guardians can really help toddlers ready themselves for nurseryGoing from living a life at home with the family to suddenly being thrust into a new environment full of strangers would be daunting enough for anyone. It’s especially true, though, for under-fives starting at nursery or pre-school. So, the key is to prepare children for the change and, of course, for the nursery/pre-school to be very welcoming and accommodating. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the things that will help toddlers and preschoolers transition as smoothly as possible.

How to Help The Transition to Nursery/Pre-School

Firstly, and most obviously, it’s a great idea to talk to your little one so they get used to the idea of going to nursery or pre-school. Although they may not initially grasp what to expect, the more you talk to them about it and give regular reminders, the more they will be mentally prepared when the time comes. Describe it to them, focus on the positives like making new friends, taking part in new activities and games, having access to exciting equipment, and so on. Maybe even role-play some of the things they should expect, perhaps as part of a game (make it fun!).

Arrange a Visit

A familiar face will help to make them feel more at home right away.Once you’ve selected the best nursery or pre-school for your child, arrange a visit. At Treetops Nursery we’re always happy to show both parent and child around the setting, so they can see what’s what, meet the staff and children, and ask any questions. Both child and parent can even sit in on activities during an arranged visit to see if they feel at home, before committing. It may even turn out that they know some children already there and that also helps to break the ice and to hit the ground running once they enrol. If not, perhaps encourage interaction with one or more children that’ll be in their cohort during the visit. They’ll naturally then gravitate towards them once they start properly. Another tip during your visit is to make a note of whether any of the books, toys or games at the nursery are the same as you have at home. Anything familiar to the child will always help to make them feel more at home once they’re at the nursery.

Encourage Independence

Helping children become a little more independent will really help with their self-confidence once they start nursery or pre-school.Helping toddlers with toilet training, personal hygiene, speaking, communicating, following rules, tidying up after themselves, hanging up their coat, fastening shoes, packing their backpack and suchlike will also help them with their self-confidence once they start nursery. If they are a little more independent and able when they start, they will naturally also be a little more self-confident and relaxed at the new setting.

Listen & Reassure

Giving your child a voice is also important. Encourage them to ask you questions and take time to properly answer them, so they know what to expect. Find suitable responses to reassure them if they have any concerns and always be sure not to reflect any concerns you have onto them.

Set a Routine

A week or two before their start date, try to get them used to a daytime routine that mimics the timings at the nursery. For example, snack times, meal times, times for a daytime nap and so on. In tandem with this, get them used to a suitable routine for getting up in the morning, getting dressed (as independently as possible) and going to bed. Their body clocks will soon adjust to this in readiness for a similar pattern once they’ve started at the nursery. Sufficient high quality sleep will be essential, of course.

Keep preparations relaxed, soothing and feeling as natural as possible for your child.

On the First Day of Nursery/Pre-SchoolEnsure you and your child are fully prepared, on time, and stay positive on the first day.

When the first day of nursery arrives, ensure you and your child are fully prepared with everything you need, on time too. You don’t want to cause your child stress by being late or disorganised. Also ensure that each of your mindsets is positive. Focus on the positives and reassure your child by reminding them what fun they’re going to have and how exciting it is to now be going to nursery. Your child will only get one chance to get a good first impression of going to nursery! It’s also helpful to hide any negative feelings or anxieties you have about leaving them at the nursery (your child may pick up on these if not), so keep it relaxed, natural, free of fuss — and positive. Also remind them, of course, that you’ll see them later (N.B. be on time!) and can’t wait for them to tell you all about their exciting first day at the nursery. In any case, though, you may find they can’t wait to get through the door and don’t give you so much as a second glance, particularly if they spot a friend or staff member they met at the earlier nursery visit.

Consider putting your child’s favourite teddy bear or comforter into their backpack, so they don’t feel alone.

Consider putting your child's favourite cuddly toy or comforter into their backpack, so they always have a friend with them.Our childcare professionals have many years of childcare experience, so helping children settle in is second nature to us. Rest assured, we will ensure that your child has fun, feels relaxed and is safe at all times. We will ensure that this milestone in their lives goes as smoothly as possible and that their time at the nursery/pre-school is a resounding success.

Nursery Childcare Places in Willesden, Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops is a high quality nursery and pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. It is in very high demand in the Northwest area of London, so please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to enrol your baby, toddler or preschooler, or to arrange a visit. Please choose an option:

The importance of play for babies, toddlers & children under 5

Play is incredibly important — perhaps more so than many people realise — especially during a child’s formative years. That’s why under-fives, in particular, must be given ample time and encouragement to play. Play is incredibly important, especially during a child's formative yearsIn short, allowing a young child the tools, time and guidance to play regularly will help them with many elements of their learning and development — and that’s critical. Indeed, that’s why good nurseries, pre-schools and childcare settings encourage children to learn in large part through play.

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children” (Paediatrics Journal)

The Benefits of Play

Regular play, starting from when children are babies, helps children in a myriad of ways as they grow to become first toddlers, then preschoolers, and beyond. The many benefits of play include:

  • Play is an essential part of a happy childhoodFirstly, it’s fun for them and is an essential part of a happy childhood;
  • Play helps babies, toddlers and children to learn about the world around them, by interacting with all the things in it (under adult supervision, of course);
  • Play helps to educate children about themselves, their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, skills and preferences;
  • It teaches them about all the things they interact with too; from size and weight to texture and a variety of other properties;
  • It improves cognitive function and aids healthy brain development;
  • Play helps children to improve their dexterity through fine motor skills like holding, rotating and moving small objects in precise ways to suit their intended outcome, all at the same time as honing their hand-eye coordination;
  • As they grow older, play also helps children to improve and develop their gross motor skills, enabling them to confidently and precisely control their limbs to lift, throw, extend, pull, push, move and eventually walk, run, jump and so on;
  • Play also helps children to learn from their mistakes just as much as from their achievements. That’s an important lesson that we’ve all gone through even into adulthood;
  • Doing so also helps children to get a more balanced view of the potential risks and rewards associated with carefully-considered actions and the comprehension of cause and effect;
  • Regular physical play helps children to remain active and more fit. After all, lying inactive or sat in front of a TV or other electronic screen has the opposite effect;
  • Playing helps children to improve social skills, make friends and form closer bonds with supervising adultsPlay also keeps children mentally fit as it stimulates their senses, brains and sense of adventure;
  • Regular and varied play also helps children to identify their own talents and interests;
  • Play stimulates children’s imaginations, leading to greater creativity and new ways of thinking;
  • Improved problem-solving and critical thinking is a natural, positive outcome of this;
  • Children also learn to interact with others through play, thereby improving social skills including communication, speech, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, cooperation, role-play and so on;
  • Children develop closer bonds through play, including with other children as well as any supervising adults. Through play, friendships naturally form;
  • With all of these benefits, children naturally become more self-confident individuals, becoming more able to tackle things independently i.e. with less need for adult direction;
  • Their emotional development also benefits;
  • Play is also a great way to relieve any stress, even diverting attention away from pain;
  • Playing with children also helps the supervising adult to immerse themselves into their child’s world, becoming more able to see the world from the child’s perspective.

Playing helps children to be more creative and to think differentlyAll in all, play fosters both physical development and mental development in children. Doing so sets them up with improved physical and cognitive abilities as well as incredibly important life skills. Combined, this also sets under-fives up beautifully for school-readiness when they leave pre-school.

We may follow this post up, at a future date, with some suggested play activities and guidance.

One of the Best Nurseries in Willesden, Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenAt Treetops Nursery in Willesden, our childcare professionals create carefully-planned opportunities for play using a huge array of stimulating equipment, facilities and programmes. That’s all part of the learning and development plan that’s customised for each individual baby or child at the nursery. It’s widely accepted that children, particularly the very young, learn best through play. This approach, together with the individual attention of our exceptional childcare professionals, is why little ones absolutely thrive at Treetops. It’s also why Treetops is so popular and in-demand as a nursery and pre-school in the NW10 area.

If you are looking for one of the very best nurseries in Willesden, Willesden Green or close to Harlesden or Kensal Green, please make contact while we still have some childcare spaces available. Please choose an option:

Call 020 8963 1259 Book a Visit Message/Email Us

Tummy Time for Tots: a guide for parents of babies including benefits, suggested tummy time activities & more.

Learning and development for babies is helped through activities known collectively as Tummy TimeEven newborn babies should be encouraged to be active, in order to learn and develop their abilities through interaction and play. At this age, this is achieved largely through activities known collectively as Tummy Time. This is an incredibly important tool for their early development. Tummy Time pretty much describes the essence of the activities — i.e. time spent awake and active on their tummies during their first year.

There’s a very good reason why high quality nurseries, pre-schools and other early years professionals encourage under-fives to learn largely through play. It’s the most natural way that they will develop physically and socially, learn about the world and develop skills like communication, language and problem-solving along the way. The beauty of learning through play is that it’ll also be great fun for the child, so won’t seem like a chore at all. It’s no different when children are babies and that’s where, for them, Tummy Time also comes in.

The Benefits of Tummy Time

You are your baby’s favourite playmate! Babies, particularly newborns, totally rely on their parents for play as well as for everything else. Tummy Time should be a part of that.

  • Encouraging them to lift their head regularly will strengthen a baby's neckIt helps them to build physical strength, particularly in their upper body, and helps them achieve various developmental milestones.
  • Encouraging them to lift their head regularly will strengthen a baby’s neck. That’s important because their head is rather heavy for them when they’re first born and an otherwise weak neck will be a potential safety risk if not strengthened. They need to learn to control its position.
  • Raising themselves onto their arms whilst lifting their head will take this a step further to increase strength in arm muscles, shoulders, core, back and torso generally.
  • Doing all of this will also begin to nudge them towards becoming more mobile and coordinated as they improve their fine and gross motor skills.
  • As babies get more used to Tummy Time, it will also give them more access to new sensory experiences as they can increasingly explore the world, suitable safe objects and textures around them.

Tummy Time can also happen with the baby facing you, to encourage them to strengthen control of their head and coreAnother important benefit of Tummy Time is that it helps babies avoid conditions like positional plagiocephaly (otherwise known as ‘flat head syndrome’) and positional torticollis (i.e. a twisted neck) because it allows them to change position more often.

Safety note: babies should only be on their tummies when playing and only ever under close supervision. They should sleep on their backs, as it is safer for them and reduces the chance of SIDS. So, it’s important not to let them nod off when playing on their tummies.

Example Activities

Tummy Time can include a variety of activities, each of which will help the baby develop those new skills and physical strength. Initially start with shorter sessions, for example 1-2 minutes and later 2-5 minutes at a time. Increase this gradually as they build up strength. By the time they’re 3 months of age, they should be doing Tummy Time for a minimum of an hour, split up into smaller sessions, over the course of the day.

Up to 3 months of age:

  • Several Tummy Time positions are possible, including supporting their weight lengthwise from underneath.You can lie the baby on their tummy (while awake of course) on a soft blanket or rug on the floor. Get down low so you can interact with them and play games like peek-a-boo at their level.
  • Alternatively he/she could lie across your lap with you supporting his/her stability with a helping hand and laying against you for extra support …
  • … or even position him/her on their belly on top of yours, so you’re face-to-face.
  • In any of these positions, you can ensure that you keep the baby safe while you encourage them to prop themselves up on their hands, elbows or arms and lift their heads, even if only fleetingly initially. A rolled-up blanket can help as support and to give them reassurance.
  • Another great Tummy Time position at this age is threading your hand and lower arm horizontally underneath their length, so you support their weight lengthwise from underneath, rather like you’re carrying them. Their limbs can hang down either side of your supporting arm (so they’re a little like a lion lying along a branch in a tree). You must, however, support their head and neck with your other hand/forearm. This position will give the baby the opportunity to take turns in supporting their own head and limbs, so strengthening muscles and developing motor skills etc.

3 to 6 months:

  • From the age of 3 months, you can try to encourage greater control from the baby by tempting them with toys and rattles. You can even move these around a little to encourage greater motor control like reaching out, following the direction of movement with their head position, as well as giving them the opportunity to practise and improve their visual tracking.

From 6 to 9 months:

  • Encourage the baby to support their own weight on their hand and arms (like a ‘push-up’ position) for short periodsEncourage the baby to support their own weight on their hand and arms (almost like a ‘push-up’ kind of position) for short periods. This can initially be done by helping to support them with a hand, lifting them under their chest or tummy. They’ll soon catch on and help to push themselves up and support their own head more and more.
  • Soon enough you’ll notice that they can pass a toy from one hand to the other.
  • At this stage, they should also start to be able to roll sideways from the tummy position, in either direction, going from tummy to back and reverting to their tummy position again.
  • Toys can be used to encourage them during these activities, so they practise reaching out and swivelling bodily to grab them. It’s like a full upper-body workout!
  • Before long, your baby will be able to sit unaided, using their own arms for support.
  • Soon thereafter they’ll begin to crawl (usually around 7-9 months of age). Once they’re achieving this, there’s no real need to continue with Tummy Time exercises although spending some time on their tummy will continue to benefit them and build strength and motor skills etc. while they’re playing.

Then the real fun begins! Before you know it, they’ll begin to stand on their own two feet, supporting their own weight while holding on for support. Walking will be the next major milestone thereafter, on their amazing journey of life.

Are You Looking for an Outstanding Nursery in Willesden, or near Willesden Green, Harlesden or Kensal Green?

Tummy Time is all part of the excellent childcare services available to our youngest babies at Treetops Nursery in Willesden. As well as being a nursery for babies, we offer the highest quality weekday childcare for children up to the age of 5 and aim to get every one of them ‘school-ready’ by the time they leave us. If you are looking for outstanding nurseries in Willesden, or near Willesden Green, Harlesden or Kensal Green, please get in touch while places are still available — we’d love to hear from you and show you around:

Call 020 8963 1259 Book a Visit Message/Email Us