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Three nursery providers tell Meredith Jones Russell how providing free places for two-year-olds is proving to be an exciting journey with many benefits.

Building relationships with parents and children has long been identified as key to the success of early learning for two-year-olds, says James Hempsall

Barnardo's and Action for Children have lost their contracts to run seven children's centres in Leicester in a council bid to save 1.7m a year.

Integrated working is sure to be important to the success of the two-year-old funded programme. Ruth Thomson considers some of the children's centres and local authorities leading the charge.

Creating additional places for two-year-olds in some areas is proving more challenging than in others. James Hempsall describes how one centre has set up a mini-bus service to bring children in from areas where places are full.

Nursery World is running a conference, 'Two-Year-Olds: Policy and Practice' on 19 April to provide expert advice and debate on provision for this age group.

Understanding a child's background and family circumstances is key to providing effective provision, says James Hempsall.

A nursery in Poole has helped all its two-year-olds to settle happily in by working with parents and emphasising key messages to do with their children's learning and well-being. One of these is that young children need their parents' time more than anything else, says James Hempsall.

The early learning goals for literacy and mathematics in the EYFS have been amended, in light of the response from the early years sector to the revised framework.

An interesting debate about group times arose among a group of nursery managers and trainers I was with recently.