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I am in full agreement with the comments by Stephen Burke, director of the Daycare Trust (News, 25 October), about the lack of appropriate childcare for children who have special needs. I run one of seven Opportunity Playgroups in Somerset. The playgroups...

Two new education qualifications for teaching assistants have been tipped to have as big an impact on raising professional standards as the NNEB did on its introduction more than 50 years ago. The Council for Awards in Children's Care and Education (CACHE)...

One of the ten largest nursery chains in the UK has changed hands in a deal worth 22m. Just Learning was bought last week by private equity firm Alchemy. The new owner, which sought unsuccessfully to buy the car manufacturer Rover last year, says it is committed to expanding the chain of 21 nurseries to at least 40 over the next five years and will provide an initial 7.5m for new nurseries.

Choosing toys for the rising threes should take account of their language acquisition and development of imaginative role play. Jenny Benjamin offers some pointers As we have seen from the earlier articles in this series, children of two years old are...

A round-up of courses relevant to the early years curriculum by Simon Vevers Art

Proposals for tightening the regulations governing the disqualification of people from working in childcare services in Wales have been put out for consultation by the Welsh Assembly. The consultation, announced last week by assembly health and social services minister Jane Hutt, will involve a wide range of professional and voluntary organisations working with children.

Every parent wants a visit to the doctor or dentist with their child to be a calm and reassuring experience. Thoughtful preparation will help to bring this about. Try to allow plenty of time so that you are not stressed by needing to rush. Do take some...

I would like to point out to your readers that, contrary to Sue Thorne's comments (Letters, 15 November), there is a great deal of free childcare training available. Following many Government initiatives the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnerships,...

Jasmine is developing fast. Her mobility has increased to take her backwards, sideways and round in circles. She has not, however, mastered how to move forwards. Her legs move towards her hands but her hands do not respond co-operatively, and so up goes her bottom until she eventually topples over. Jasmine constantly reaches out for items that interest her and the pincer grasp (finger and thumb) is developing, enabling her to pick up tiny blades of grass or daisies in the garden.

Using language aloud may be essential to young children in activities or at story time and they should not be hushed, says Penny Tassoni Language is an essential tool in our lives. Without language, we would find it hard to socialise, communicate our...

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