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The free entitlement for the least advantaged two-year-olds is key to unlocking parents' opportunities for learning and employment, as well as supporting children's learning, says James Hempsall

Providing rich outdoor environments is really important for all children and this is especially true for the least advantaged two-year-olds. James Hempsall describes how one rural setting is ensuring its twos get the most out of the natural world.

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

There is plenty to be learned from providers who already have experience in providing funded places for two-year-olds, says James Hempsall

Now is the time to consider if you are in an area where there will be increased demand for two-year-old places and about providing places as two-year-olds grow to become three and four-year-olds, says James Hempsall.

Historically the sector has worked hard to embrace flexibility when it comes to offering early learning.

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.

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

Providers who have already delivered free places for two-year-olds have learned many lessons, and could have a key role in supporting others to do so.

The extension of the free entitlement to around 40 per cent of all two-year-olds from 2014 will need a significant increase in the number of places so that approximately 260,000 children will be able to benefit. James Hempsall urges childcare providers across all sectors to look at the opportunities this will bring

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