Your early years news, features and guides round up: 2nd – 15th June 2018

It has been a busy few weeks in the world of childcare and early years, so grab yourself a cuppa and we will fill you in on everything you need to know…


BBC News

Childcare Offer – the two words that have been the talk of the childcare sector for quite some time now, which provides working parents of three and four-year-olds access to 30 hours free childcare a week under the Welsh Government’s flagship policy.

Since September 2017, it has been piloted in seven areas – Swansea, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey. However, recent figures have shown that the number of parents taking advantage of a free childcare offer has been lower than expected.

Some of the potential reasons for this are that parents were not aware of/did not understand the details of the offer, were unwilling to move children from the care of family and friends or found that they did not want to move children from a childcare setting not delivering the offer.

For the full story, click here.


A primary school teacher in Swansea, always wanted to run her own ballet school.

Seven years later and her eight Tiny Toes preschool ballet franchises have seen her nominated as one of NatWest’s businesswomen of the year.

She believes that ballet should be recognised as a form of play, which can then teach under-fives sensory, motor and social skills at a time when 90% of their brain development is taking place.

To read more, follow link here.


What better place for children to learn and explore than the middle of the forest?!

The Elves and Fairies Woodland Nursery near Wimborne in Dorset has been rated outstanding by Ofsted and are oversubscribed with admissions until 2020.

No classrooms, no buildings to teach in… the nursery just makes use of the outdoor space!

Check out the full video here.


Infant Mental Health Awareness Week

This week (June 10th-16th 2018) is #InfantMentalHealthAwarenessWeek. You may have noticed on our Facebook page that we have been sharing posts from Powys Health Visiting Service of important key principles of parenting to promote positive relationships and to ensure the well being of your baby/child’s mental health.

NHS Choices have also provided some useful advice on their website on how to talk to children about feelings.

If you have a concern about a child, visit the NHS Choices advice page on their website here.







Published quarterly since spring 1986 and mailed free of charge to all Wales PPA members, smalltalk is the must-read title for early years education and childcare providers in Wales.

Your 2018 summer edition will be with you any day now… and we may be very bias in saying this, but we believe it is a particularly good one this edition!

Here is a little taster of what’s included…

We are pleased to welcome back Chris Thomas (page 6), who we met in our Foundation Phase: Talking Point this time last year. Her setting, formally Canal Playgroup, has moved from having to ‘pack away’ in a multi-use hall, to having sole occupancy of a room in a local primary school. We hear how Chris has been able to realise her early years vision.

In 2017, Little Acorns Nursery, Milford Haven were the first early years setting to take part in a programme developed by the National ASD Development Team aimed at increasing recognition, understanding and acceptance of children with autism in their early years. We hear more about the programme on page 8.

In this ever-increasing digital world that is designed to make our lives easier, there is nothing more frustrating than when it doesn’t. We asked uCheck, providers of discounted DBS checks for Wales PPA members, to run through some of the most common mistakes they see on completed applications and how to avoid them.

Conversely, have you ever looked at your bookshelves and filing cabinets and wondered how much space is taken up by the many policies and guidance documents that you are required to have? We put the case forward for a digital bookcase on page 16. This ties in nicely with our review of the 5 best free Welsh apps, that we believe will be invaluable to your setting (page 12).

Have you missed any previous copies of smalltalk? Visit our shop page here where you will find copies that go back to Spring 2017.


Early Years Tennis Training

The Tennis Foundation and Tennis Wales are working in close partnership with the us, Wales PPA, to offer practitioners training, resources and equipment to pre-schools and nurseries in selected areas across Wales.

We currently have spaces available on our Cardiff course on Tuesday 26th June 2018 (6.00pm – 9.00pm)

The 3 hour Early Years Tennis Practitioner Training Course has been designed to give early years’ practitioners the confidence and competence to deliver a tennis based physical development programme to a class of children aged 2-5 of mixed abilities.

For more information, please visit our dedicated webpage here. If you would like to book your place, please complete and return the below booking form:

Early Years Tennis (Cardiff) – Booking Form


Wales PPA Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM)

Following our consultation with our members a review of the memorandum and articles has been completed.

It is now proposed to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 12th July 2018 in our Head Office Cardiff at 10.30 a.m to agree the draft memorandum and articles and formal adoption by the board of trustees.

Wales PPA members are invited to attend this meeting and you should have received details recently by email. If you cannot attend the meeting, we would be grateful if you could fill out the below proxy voting form and return back to us by no later than the 28th June.

Proxy Voting Form 2018

For further information please contact your regional Wales PPA office or Head Office on 029 2045 1242 /


Wales PPA Members Forums

We’d like to thank all of you who attended our Members Forums in the Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly over the last week. It was great to see so many of you coming from so many different counties. We had some very lively discussions about GDPR and the 30 hr offer – you were all very generous in sharing your experiences.

We hope you all enjoyed the evenings as much as we did. Our next Members Forum is on 10th July in Torfaen, please come along and join in the discussions and take the opportunity to meet other members and some of our South Wales team.

For a list of all upcoming events, visit our Events page here.

Job Vacancies

Our members have the following vacancies within their setting…

Dandelion Day Nursery, Cardiff – Nursery Assistant

Three Plus Setting Leader – Maldwyn Nursery & Family Centre, Powys


Just one of the many benefits of being a Wales PPA member, is that we will advertise any vacancy you have in your setting on our website and social media pages.

Please email us at with your vacancy details, and we would be happy to post them for you!


…& finally

Nobody likes being given homework, especially in the summer holidays!

However, this alternative version of the #BestHomeworkEver from Pobble may change your views on the matter.

It includes a variety of 30 different fun tasks children can complete over the summer holidays, which will keep children exploring and learning through play all summer long!

(click image to enlarge)
2018-06-15T11:43:27+01:00June 15th, 2018|