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Treetops Nursery's Wonderful Outside Spaces & Play Areas

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 spaOur sandpit is always very popular with the childrence 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:

  • More of the excellent outdoor facilitiesa bike park with bicycles and buggies,
  • a water activity area,
  • a ‘music wall’ where children can explore sound and percussion,
  • a book reading zone,
  • a plant growing zone,
  • outdoor blackboards where children can write and draw in chalk,
  • sand pits, which are a huge hit with the children,
  • Children have access to natural materials to explore and learn fromball pits, which are always fun for kids,
  • rocking horses/animals,
  • colour and counting activities plus an ‘alphabet fence’,
  • slides and a timber ‘tree house’,
  • natural materials and textures to explore,
  • portable activity easels,
  • messy play activities (always popular with children!),
  • … and much more!

All these outdoor improvements have been an absolute godsend during the pandemic; the outside spaces have been used far more by the staff and children because they keep everyone naturally more socially distanced and the open air is more effective in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. All this is possible due to the wonderful set-up of the nursery, with outdoor areas available to enjoy, in comfort, in virtually all weathers — at any time of year.

Treetops Nursery in Willesden

Are you looking for high quality nurseries near to Willesden Green, Harlesden or Kensal Green? We’d love you to consider Treetops Nursery, in Willesden NW10, if so. Please get in touch for further details:

FREE childcare funding for 3 & 4-year-olds: A complete guide

In our last post, we published a complete guide to free childcare for 2-year-olds in England. Now it’s time to look at the free childcare funding available for 3 and 4-year-old children. With up to 30 hours of free childcare available in this age group, this represents a great opportunity for parents or guardians to continue with their careers and boost household income, particularly following maternity or paternity leave. It’s also wonderful for the children, who will naturally benefit from early years education and be better prepared for school when the time comes at age 5.

So, how does the 30 hours of free childcare funding work, and who is eligible?

How 15-30 hours of free childcare funding works

Guide to how the free funding available for three and four year olds works

This is funding that comes from the Government, via local councils, to pay for childcare at nurseries, pre-schools and similar approved childcare providers. The funding goes direct to the childcare settings or providers, not to the parents or guardians of the children. There are two possible halves — 15 hours of free childcare and an additional 15 hours on top of that, potentially taking the total available up to 30 hours of free childcare for each child.

The first 15 hours of free childcare

The first 15 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds in England is very straight forward. In essence, all 3- and 4-year-olds in England are entitled to the 15 hours of funding for childcare each week. Well, to be more precise, the scheme allows for 15 hours per week spread out over 38 weeks in any one year. That’s a total maximum of 570 hours a year. However, so long as the total hours in any given year does not exceed 570, some childcare settings will allow parents or carers to spread the free childcare out over a different number of weeks, simply by adjusting the number of hours used during each of those weeks appropriately.

Eligibility for 15 hours of childcare funding:

  • All 3- and 4-year-olds living in England are eligible (and there are also similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • The free childcare funding can only be used in conjunction with approved childcare settings and providers. Treetops Nursery in Willesden is one such approved nursery.
  • The children are eligible from the term* following their 3rd birthday, until they reach compulsory school age or start Reception Year at school.
    * (Terms usually start in early January, April or September).
  • The 15 hours of funding is not means-tested, nor is it related to whether or not the parent or guardian is working or unemployed etc.
  • The Government funding does not include food and consumables (nappies, sun cream etc.), so you will need to check this with your individual childcare provider.

30 hours of free childcare

Up to 1140 hours of free childcare per year are potentially available

30 hours of free childcare funding is also available for eligible families. However, it includes the first 15 hours explained above, plus a possible additional 15 hours per week, when eligible. This takes the total amount of free childcare available to a possible maximum of 1140 hours per year, or 30 hours per week spread out over 38 weeks. As with the first ‘15 hours’ scenario, some childcare providers allow it to be spread out over more of the year, so long as the number of hours per week is reduced accordingly. And, as before, the free childcare funding can only be used with approved childcare providers like Treetops Nursery, Willesden.

Eligibility for 30 hours of childcare funding:

You and your partner, if you have one:

  • must be working¹;
  • must be earning¹ the equivalent of 16 hours per week, on average over the next 3 months, at the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage²;
  • must not be earning £100,000¹ or more of net income in the current tax year, including any bonuses;
  • may usually still claim when on sick leave, annual leave or parental leave.

¹ Has your work or earning level been affected by the coronavirus pandemic? If so, there are some temporary and very welcome exceptions to the rules, which you can find out about here.

² Note that, if you’re self-employed, you can base your 3 month average on what you expect to earn during the current tax year if your earnings over the last 3 months are not sufficient.

You may be still be able to claim for 30 hours funding at the same time as:

  • Eligibility explainedclaiming Universal Credit, tax credits³ or Tax-Free Childcare;
  • receiving childcare vouchers;
  • claiming Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, Carer’s Allowance or contribution-based Employment & Support Allowance — if you are not working but your partner is;
  • starting or re-starting work within 31 days of the application date.

³ Please note that, if you are receiving tax credits, getting 30 hours free childcare funding could affect how much tax credits you receive. Check here.

Reasons you may not be able to claim 30 hours childcare funding

You are unlikely to be eligible if:

  • your child doesn’t live with you;
  • you foster the child in question;
  • you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and you and your partner, if you have one, do not have access to public funds (according to your UK residence card);
  • someone else already claims Tax-Free Childcare for your child.

How to apply for 30 hours free childcare funding

Firstly, have your National Insurance number and, if you’re self-employed, your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) ready. You’ll be applying via the ‘Government Gateway’ so if you have not accessed this before, you’ll also need to set up access to it for the first time. As part of that you’ll need to have your mobile phone or landline number ready, along with your UK passport and possibly details of any tax credits, your P60 or recent payslip.

If you are separated, only one of you can apply so, ideally, you’ll first need to agree which of you will be applying (if you can’t agree, apply separately and HMRC will decide who ends up with the ‘childcare account’).

If you have a partner living with you, you will need to include them in the application. However, eligibility will not be affected by their income or employment if they are in prison or are absent from the household for more than six months of the year.

Set aside about 20 minutes or so for the application (5 minutes longer if you have not accessed the Government Gateway before) and then you can start the application process here. You usually find out whether your application is successful within a week, sometimes straight away. If successful, you will receive a code that you can give to your childcare provider so that they can access the funding.

Free childcare funding at Treetops Nursery in Willesden, London NW10

30 hours free childcare is available at Treetops Nursery, Willesden

Treetops Nursery accepts both 15 hours and 30 hours of childcare funding for eligible families, spaces permitting. We’re a nursery and pre-school in Willesden in London NW10 so are also convenient for parents and guardians looking for high quality childcare at a nursery or pre-school near Willesden Green, Harlesden, Brent, Kensal Green, Brondesbury Park, Kilburn, Mapesbury, Dollis Hill, Church End, Roundwood, College Park and Park Royal.

For further details about Treetops Nursery:

Social Distancing and Anti-Virus Measures at the Nursery

At our Willesden nursery and pre-school, and other nurseries within our group, we looked after children of key workers during the lock-down. This all went very well indeed and we’re very happy to report that there was not a single case of COVID-19 within any of the nurseries, their staff, children, babies or immediate families. This is a testament to the safeguarding measures put in place and also to everyone following the advice of the nurseries, NHS and Government. Thanks to everyone for taking such good care — it worked!

The nursery has re-opened!

We’re very pleased to announce that Treetops Nursery has now re-opened. We’re welcoming existing families back at the same time as inviting new children who need a safe childcare place in Willesden and NW10.

How are we protecting children from COVID-19?

Now that we’re emerging from the lock-down, it’s more important than ever to exercise social distancing, cleanliness and best practise measures to keep everyone safe and well going forwards. With more people now mixing again, this is more important than ever. With that in mind, we have introduced leading-edge measures to safeguard everyone attending the nursery and preschool. With our owners having medical backgrounds, we are uniquely positioned to ensure that these are the best safeguarding measures possible. They also go far beyond Government and NHS guidelines. So, the message is:

We have incredibly strong measures to keep babies & children safe from C-19

So what are the new health and safety measures? While the following is not an exhaustive list, it’ll give you an insight into the kind of protocols we’re putting in place at the setting …

What are our anti-virus safety measures at the nursery?

It’s an absolute given that we’re practising social distancing at the nursery. We’ve taken this several steps further, though, to absolutely minimise any risks:

  • Parents are staggering collection and drop-off times, so they will encounter other families less often.
  • Parents and guardians are also asked to remain outside at all times — they will not be allowed inside the nursery until further notice. While waiting outside, they will be required to maintain a minimum social distance of 2 metres from others.
  • Within the nursery, most of the curriculum has been moved to outside areas. We’re very lucky at Treetops Nursery because our outside spaces are incredibly large and spacious. That means that our children have absolutely loads of room to play and learn in, outdoors, where they too can keep a good social distance from one another. This is far safer than being enclosed within indoor spaces, where air would otherwise circulate and dissipate to the atmosphere less freely. Of course, we have ensured that there are plenty of sheltered, undercover areas outside for children and staff. They will be able to play, learn and work comfortably – come rain or shine.
  • We are confining babies and children to their own small bubble groups. The size of these groups will depend upon the age of the children within them, being either 3, 4 or a maximum of 6 individuals per group. Children will remain in their particular bubble group until the risk is over. This measure will help to keep children isolated from any contagion.
  • We are also ensuring that the nursery is not filled to capacity. Limiting numbers in this way will also help to maximise social distancing and to keep other safeguarding measures under close control.
  • We are encouraging children to proactively keep their hands well-sanitised too. They regularly wash their hands extremely thoroughly under our supervision, taking care to wash every inch of their hands and fingers. We are also stressing – and re-stressing – the importance of social distancing to them as well as ensuring they understand the need to use the inside of their elbows (or tissues which they then safely discard) if they need to cough or sneeze.
  • We will be regularly taking temperatures using the type of electronic thermometers that you may have seen on TV. These can take the child’s temperature from a distance and alert us should anyone start to exhibit symptoms.
  • Children will be required to take a COVID-19 test should they experience symptoms of the virus, and be asked to isolate away from the nursery. If deemed to be at risk of potentially having the virus, other members of their bubble group will also be asked to isolate away from the nursery and to take a test, just to be safe.
  • As part of the above, we will follow the NHS’s ‘Track & Trace’ programme so that the virus can be tracked should anyone test positive. As mentioned above, though, there have been zero cases to date at any of our nurseries. The measures and care taken by all parties are clearly working.
  • Staff will also personally be taking some excellent additional precautions. These include: changing into a clean uniform when they arrive at the nursery; washing all clothes and uniforms at 60 degrees (to kill all bacteria and viruses); wearing medical-grade ‘FFP3’ masks whenever appropriate; wearing face visors and a double set of gloves when changing nappies; using alcohol-based antimicrobial wipes liberally around the nursery to keep toys, equipment, surfaces, hands etc. free of bacteria and viruses.
  • Our in-house chefs and cooks are also taking additional safety measures. Along with the obvious hygiene-related measures that one would ordinarily expect around food preparation, our chefs and cooks are wearing FFP3 masks plus face visors when preparing food.

More information about coronavirus in children can be found here.

Does your baby or toddler need childcare in Willesden or NW10?

If you need childcare for your baby or under-five child during the working week, please get in touch. Treetops Nursery and pre-school offers half-day and full-day childcare for little ones from Monday to Friday, 51 weeks of the year (Bank Holidays excepted). We open at 8am and close at 6pm. Our nursery/pre-school is in Doyle Gardens, Willesden, London NW10 3SQ.

Call 020 8963 1259 or email us here for further details and we’ll be very happy to help. Alternatively, click any of the bold links for further information.