Useful Information and Links for Parents

We have gathered together some resources for parents on a number of topics. We hope you find them useful.

Child Development

All children develop and progress at different rates at different times but the Foundation Years website offers a helpful broad guide of what might be expected and when! 

There is also a wealth of information on the NHS Start4Life website for toddlers.

Weaning/Complementary Feeding

When you have made the decision to introduce solids to your baby, please discuss this with your child's Key Person or the Explorers Room Manager so that we can ensure we are working in tandem with you on this. There are different approaches to this and there is again a wealth of information online that parents may find helpful. The NHS Start4Life has a guide to weaning as does the  Institute of Health Visiting

Toilet Training

We work closely with parents on toilet training for their child and support all toileting needs. There is some helpful guidance available on the NHS website along with the Institute of Health Visiting website and ERIC, a children's charity.

Dummies and Soothers

The use of dummies is often hotly debated and is of course a matter for families to decide upon. Long term use of dummies is not however recommended for a variety of reasons. Parents can find out more about the pros and cons of dummies and how best to discontinue their use when the time comes on the BabycentreUK website

Learning through Play

Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn well when leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. Children learn through play because they find it fun and enjoyable and within their play your child will feel safe and secure and will develop skills and understanding. We understand that the learning environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and we are committed to children exploring and learning both inside and outdoors daily. We will help them learn by carefully planning a balance of adult-led activities, whilst ensuring the environment enables children to initiate their own play-based learning throughout the day. Adults play beside the children, prompting and encouraging their explorations, which enables them to have a deep understanding of your child’s level of development.

Supporting your child's development and learning at home

For toddlers and younger children, there are many resources available online for play activities that will support your child's development. The NHS Start4Life section on toddler activities offers some suggestions about physical exercise and sensory play and the BBC Tiny Happy People webpage has lots of activities for babies and toddlers.


There are many ways parents can support their child moving towards readiness to start Reception classes in primary school. We will work on giving the children confidence and encourage children towards greater independence. Parents can begin to help with this too at home and some of the ways include helping:

  • Use a knife and fork
  • Blow/wipe their own nose
  • Cope with the toilet alone
  • Wash and dry their own hands
  • Dress and undress independently
  • Fasten buttons, zips, shoes (velcro is best)
  • Put shoes on the correct feet
  • Handle a book with care
  • Look at and read books together
  • Put toys away tidily
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs

There are many activities that parents probably already do with their children at home that can support learning. Here are some examples:


Children learn to read by reading with others. Most children can recognise and read signs, labels and their favourite cereal packet long before we even realise. Let your child see you read and enjoying your own books. Borrow books from the library and let your child choose their own. Encourage your child to tell a story from the pictures or predict what will happen next before you turn the page. Children of this age love to hear repeated refrains and often choose to read the same familiar story over and over again.

Pre-Writing Activities

Let your child draw and “write” with pencils, felt tips, chalk, paint, water or biros – encourage any mark marking. Encourage use of scissors and “making things” to play with. Building jigsaws and playing with play dough and construction toys helps to develop hand control, and this in turn makes pencil control easier. If you write with your child it is vital that you use lower case letters for example John Smith (not JOHN SMITH) and use the ‘sound’ that the letter makes when you say it rather than the name of the letter. We will share more information about phonics and how we begin to teach your child to write so that you can support your child.


Children learn about number by doing many everyday activities, such as:

  • Counting as you climb stairs
  • Sharing out snacks
  • Counting crockery or cutlery
  • Sing /say number rhymes
  • Play counting games, board games or dominoes
  • Sort objects such as buttons, shells or stones by colour, size or shape

All learning and development activities in Early Years settings are linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage. There is more information about this in our brief guide to the EYFS