If you are living in England and are bringing up one or more children there, you are usually eligible to receive Child Benefit. This is a payment made by the Government to help with the costs associated with bringing up children. It’s made to those responsible for bringing up children up to 16 or, if they’re still in approved education or training, 20 years of age. This guide will go through the key facts around what you’re entitled to and eligibility.
How Much Do You Get?
If eligible, the Government will pay £21.05 per week for the eldest child and £13.95 per week for each additional child. (Latest information suggests this will increase to £21.15 and £14.00 respectively for 2021/22, from April). It’s usually paid on Mondays or Tuesdays every four weeks, although single parents with certain other benefits may apply for weekly payments instead. Payments need to be paid into a single bank account and only one person can receive them.
There isn’t a limit on the number of children that you can claim for. However ….
Beware the ‘Benefit Cap’
Receiving Child Benefit will not directly reduce the amount of any other benefits that you receive from the Government. It’s important to bear in mind, though, that the total amount of Government benefits, including Child Benefit, are limited by what’s known as the Benefit Cap. Broadly speaking, this limits the amount of total benefits received to an absolute maximum of …
Back in December, we published what turned out to be a very popular checklist for choosing a nursery. Our interactive file was a downloaded multiple times and continues to be shared amongst those looking for a good nursery for their children, right across the UK.
How Does Treetops Nursery Measure Up?
Here we’ll explore how Treetops Nursery measures up when using the Nursery Checklist. As you’ll see, Treetops performs extremely well. Take a look …
The nursery would be extremely hard to beat if you’re looking for high quality childcare from a nursery or pre-school in the Willesden, Willesden Green, Harlesden or Kensal Green areas in north west London and the NW10 postal zone.
The setting is open 51 weeks of the year from Monday to Friday, only closing for a week over Christmas/New Year and during public or bank holidays. It’s open early from 8am right through to 6pm.
The nursery caters for babies from 6 months of age to children up to five years old, so is a perfect setting where children can prepare for the move to school at age five, while allowing parents and carers to …
One of the first things people should look at before settling on a nursery for their children is the latest Ofsted Report for the setting. After all, it’s wise to check the professional and independent feedback that such reports contain. On this note, parents and carers considering Treetops Nursery for their baby or child will be pleased to know that we passed with flying colours in its most recent Ofsted Report. Although it’s been a while since that report, we thought we’d share the outcome so that parents can see for themselves just how good a nursery Treetops is. In fact, we were rated as a good nursery in every single category and we’ll cover that in more detail below.
Treetops Nursery passed with flying colours
First, though, we’ll explain a little about Ofsted and what they checked for during the most recent inspection.
Ofsted is the UK’s official “Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills”. As such, they inspect services providing education and skills and regulate services that care for children and young people. This includes childcare settings, nurseries and pre-schools throughout the UK. Ofsted inspections and the resulting reports are part of this governance.
What they checked
- The Ofsted Inspector observed the quality of the teaching during various activities, both inside and outdoors. They then appraised the impact of this on the children’s learning.
- During the inspection, the Inspector talked with both staff and children, at appropriate moments throughout her visit, to further her insight.
- Joint observations were also undertaken by the Ofsted Inspector, in tandem with the nursery manager and room leaders.
- Meetings were also held with the nursery manager and area manager.
- Documentation was checked by the Inspector. This included ensuring that nursery staff were checked in terms of suitability, training and qualifications for the jobs they were undertaking. These checks would also, of course, ensure that all staff had been checked and deemed suitable for working with children.
- The Inspector also spoke with parents during her visit as well as reading through written feedback supplied by them. All such comments and feedback were taken into consideration when putting together the final Ofsted Report.
The Ofsted Inspector’s Conclusion
In her final Ofsted Report, the Inspector said …
In today’s busy world, fast food and ready meals are a quick, easy and convenient choice. It’s common knowledge, however, that home-cooked food using fresh, high quality ingredients is always a better choice for adults and children alike. Freshly prepared food avoids many of the nastier things like additives, colourings, too much sugar, salt and processed ingredients. However it’s tricky, as we don’t always have time to start meals from scratch when we’re juggling the many demands of today’s frenetic world. Eating healthily is important, though, and even more so for very young children. We’ll explore this in today’s article …
Healthy, Balanced Meals for Children
Eating more healthily requires a balance of factors. These include:
- ideally using fresh, healthy, quality ingredients whenever possible;
- meals that, over the course of each day, represent a balanced diet for children;
- care to ensure children are eating the right portion sizes.
Getting the balance of these right benefits growing children enormously. These include obvious benefits, like maintaining a healthy weight, along with some surprising benefits like the avoidance of certain diseases later in life. We’ll take a closer look …
The Benefits of Healthy Eating for Children
Eating a healthy, balanced diet from an early age:
- helps children to get into the habit of healthy eating as they grow older;
- gives children the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that, critically, their growing bodies need for full and optimum development;
- helps children maintain energy levels needed for their activities each day;
- helps to maintain cognitive function, mood and good mental health;
- helps children avoid obesity and the health risks associated with it;
- helps children to have a better self-image and thereby to be more confident with better self-esteem and mental wellbeing;
- means that children are less likely to be bullied for being overweight;
- helps children to avoid diseases later on including heart and blood pressure issues, diabetes and even …
- Step 1: Download our Nursery Checklist here (Excel format, or PDF also available*).
- Step 2: Fill in the answers to the questions.
- Step 3: Then use the completed checklist to compare the nurseries in an easy, at-a-glance format.
The nursery checklist is a 1-page, A4 document. It prompts you to find the answers to all the right questions. You fill in the relevant section for each nursery that you’re comparing and, optionally, you can score each answer for its quality. At the bottom of the checklist, the total will be automatically computed assuming you are using the Excel version*. The overall winner should be pretty clear to see, top/right of any of the ‘sheets’ (switch using the tabs at the bottom). There you’ll see all the totals compared, one directly above the other. Simple!
Most, if not all, of the information should be readily available from the nursery websites. Failing that, call the nurseries to find answers you don’t know. We’ve included Treetops Nursery as an example, using real information, so you can easily
A good night’s sleep is essential for all of us. Without it, we struggle in the following days and are sure to perform less than optimally.
The Adverse Effects of Too Little Sleep
The adverse effects of a poor night’s sleep are even more pronounced for under-fives and babies. As well as simply being tired, they can become emotional, grumpy, uncooperative and stressed. They might even be inclined to throw tantrums and to become a real danger to themselves. The distress they are feeling through lack of sleep is clear to see, even if they themselves don’t understand why they are feeling the way they do.
What’s also obvious is that they won’t be able to learn as effectively as they might otherwise have done. Attention spans, cognitive function, memory skills and levels of alertness are all known to suffer after a poor night’s sleep.
If poor sleep becomes a regular occurrence, there are also longer-term health risks that could become real concerns. Blood pressure, diabetes, weight, mental health and the release of natural growth and repair hormones can all suffer if children have regular sleep deficiency. So, sleep is incredibly important.
How Much Sleep do Children Need?
Babies and young children need far more sleep than adults. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, they require the following:
In recent years, Treetops Nursery in Willesden has had literally hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it to vastly improve both the setting and its facilities. Starting as far back as 2007-2008, architects were commissioned to design, build and improve upon the existing childcare facilities that existed prior to that date. The work then included internal remodelling, the addition of extra space for babies and young children and generally an improvement all around. A new block was added to house a community area and crèche together with several break-out spaces. An enormous canopy, that has been of huge benefit to the nursery, was also added. With that addition, children can now play outside and keep dry even when it’s raining. Similarly, the bicycle and buggy area and the route from the adjacent King Edward’s Park to the nursery were also each given coverings, so that children and staff could be given some shelter in all weather conditions outside. At the same time, the front entrance was totally redesigned and the reception area enhanced and remodelled. This now represents a wonderful checkpoint where staff can monitor and manage the comings and goings of everyone entering or exiting the building, to keep children safe.
Some of the activities, facilities, toys & equipment
Even in recent months, significant investment has been made to outdoor areas including equipment, toys, finishes, boundaries, resources for the children and lots of interactive activities. Some of the outdoor equipment includes
There is one class of edible plant that can be grown all year round and is perfect for kids to grow indoors, for example on a windowsill. Some types of this food will sprout in as little as a week. What’s more, it’s tasty and highly nutritious. Growing it is super-easy and a perfect way to keep kids entertained, educated about nature and eating healthily. It’ll also be a welcome addition to mealtimes for the whole household.
We’re talking about Microgreens (also referred to as micro leaves). These are the early, edible, sprouting leaves of very young herbs, leafy greens and some root vegetables that might usually be thought of in a larger, more mature form. The tender new leaves are cut just days after they first sprout and can be made into wonderful salads, garnishes or meal accompaniments. They also bring some very tasty flavours to mealtimes. The young micro leaves are full of vitamins and minerals, look fantastic on the plate and will grow back time and time again after snipping. The secret is simply to harvest the immature micro leaves and to stop them from growing to full size. Just harvest … re-harvest … and re-harvest.
“Micro leaves are usually eaten fresh and raw, and the fresher the leaves are, the more vitamins and minerals they contain. Each little leaf is a gold mine of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as iron, folic acid and potassium.” (Gardeners World)
Here are just a few examples of plants that make suitable microgreens and can easily be grown by children indoors:
- Basil — their tasty baby leaves are full of flavour and can be harvested just ten days after seed planting. They’re wonderful on salads, pizzas and can even be made into pesto sauce.
- Coriander — their tiny, delicate leaves pack a unique and punchy flavour that’s perfect with salads, stir-fries, chopped onions and curries. They can be harvested a couple of weeks after sowing the seeds.
- Rocket — ready to harvest just a week after first sowing, rocket microgreens are another flavoursome and slightly peppery leaf to add to salads and put onto pizzas. Very tasty!
- Mustard leaves — these may not be to every child’s taste, but many adults will enjoy the slight heat they’ll bring to salads, stir fries and Eastern dishes. Ready to first harvest in 1 to 2 weeks.
- Fennel — just 10 days after first sprouting, leaves from young fennel seedlings will give a pleasant aniseed tang to dishes like pasta salads, risottos, soups and even stuffing.
- Beetroot leaves — the sprouting microgreen leaves from the beetroot take just ten days to appear after sowing. With their rich green leaves and red stems, they look wonderful in salads and lend their mild, earthy flavour to garnishes for some fish dishes.
- Radish leaves — in just a week, the young, fiery leaves from the radish seedlings will be ready to snip and add to salads, stir fries and sandwiches. For some, their microgreen leaves are even tastier than the traditional root.
- Spinach — tender leaves from young spinach plants can be harvested in ten days or so. They’re really good for you too. With their mild flavour, they’re a perfect addition to leafy salads, risottos, pastas and noodles.
- Broccoli leaves — these will be ready to first harvest in just a week and have quite a different flavour than their fully-grown counterpart. With their slightly spicy taste, they’re also great in salads, risottos and omelettes.
- Red Cabbage micro leaves have one of the highest Vitamin C concentrations of any microgreen. They also contain Vitamin K, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium and antioxidants. As with many of the microgreens, many top chefs use them as an attractive and tasty garnish. They can be sprinkled over soups, salads, grilled vegetables, stews and cooked meats. After sowing, they take only days to appear.
How children can grow microgreens at home
Your children will need very little to get started. You’ll need …