Coronavirus, early years and childcare

Early education and childcare during coronavirus

For child safety, early education and childcare providers follow the guidance issued by the Department for Education. Early education and childcare settings are now open to everyone. 

Children's centres remain open

All 12 Children’s Centres in Tower Hamlets will remain open with the easing of lockdown. Health and safety remains our top priority - for staff, families and the community. We have adapted our services to be ‘Covid-secure’ and we continue to offer:

- Health appointments

- Early learning for two-year-olds

- Face-to-face support for vulnerable, and newly vulnerable, parents 

- Collection of vitamins

Some small group sessions will be operating, please check our timetable for details.

We follow the latest government guidelines, which means our timetables and services are subject to change.

Please phone your local children's centre before you visit to make an appointment and find out the latest information.

Training sessions 

We continue to provide blended learning for our first aid and safeguarding courses and adult education courses.

Thank you

We would like to express our gratitude to all early education and childcare settings and childminders who have continued throughout COVID to offer Tower Hamlets children a wonderful, safe, caring and stimulating time. Thank you!

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Support and Services from your Children's Centre

Why should I go to my local children centre?

Children's Centres aim to help give your child the best start in life. If you are an expectant parent or a parent/carer with a child under 11, we can provide a number of services to help ease your experience during what can be a troublesome time. We offer family support, early education training, child and family health services, childcare advice, employment advice, volunteering options and training support.

What help and support can I access?

Families can get advice and support in accessing a range of childcare options including the ‘Early Learning for two year olds’ which will provide 15 hours of early education after the child’s second birthday and the ‘30 hours extended free childcare’ which provides up to 30 hours of free childcare for working families. 

What sessions and advice are on offer?

If you need general advice and help or want more information on the activities at your local children’s centre please call us on 020 7364 1553.

What sessions do we provide?

Children's centre sessions

 Name of groupDescription
 Little Talkers

To support parents and carers to implement good adult-child interaction strategies which aims to support the language development of children by improving the communication environment.

 Invitation to Play

Targeted play sessions offering a nurturing play environment for children with special needs or awaiting diagnosis. 

DOVES (Development Opportunities, Visual Experiences and Support)

Play session with focused activities for children who are visually impaired. Parents and Carers are supported to guide their child’s early learning through play and promotion of visual/tactile skills develop socialisation and independence.

 Ready Steady Go

Session is run using a ‘Total Communication Approach’ where a range of communication methods are used to encourage deaf and partially hearing children to understand and communicate effectively with others.

Family Support

Our family support team provides the following; Outreach and signposting to community resources, developing positive parenting skills, building self-esteem and empowering parents. We work closely with a range of partners and local organisations.

Play in the Home

The play and learning team can provide a tailored play experience, role modelling play which is suited to individual children's developmental needs.

Early Learning for Two Year Olds

Learning through activities and play enables children to grow and develop, as well as improve their communication and social skills.  Support and advice is available to complete application forms and check eligibility. For more information please contact your local children’s centre.

School Readiness

Children’s Centres can support families with early education development opportunities to enable children to be school ready. 

Video interaction guidance (VIG)

Video interaction guidance (VIG) can help improve relationships and communication between parents/carers and their children by taking video footage of interactions and looking for the times when things are working well and then thinking about what is making it so successful.

Universal play and learning

The universal stay and play sessions are delivered from our children’s centre and local outreach venues, designed to encourage children to learn through play which stimulates their cognitive, physical and social development.

Inclusion and SEND

 If you are concerned about your child’s development contact your local Children’s Centre for advice. If your child attends a childcare setting talk to the Inclusion Coordinator in the setting. You can also get advice from the Inclusion Team on 020 7364 4925

Healthy Families

Children’s Centres work in partnership with services to provide advice and support on baby feeding, emotional wellbeing, speech, language, child development and distribution of Healthy Start vitamins.

WorkPath and volunteering

WorkPath is a unique employment service for all Tower Hamlets residents, providing

  • one-to-one appointments and volunteering opportunities

  • access/support into training and employment

  • CV writing/job searches/interviewing techniques/carer advice.

The volunteering Project can support you to build your skills for future employment. If you have a child under the age of eleven, please call Anna Shishkina on 020 7364 4625 to book an appointment.

 Educational Psychology Support

Supporting families who find it difficult to set boundaries in managing child behaviour, toilet training, parenting strategies and to support parents understanding of a child’s disability diagnoses.

 Adult learning and parenting 

All programmes and courses are delivered in partnership with our stakeholders and partner organisations and are free to attend providing you meet the eligibility criteria.

The parenting programmes and adult learning courses support parents and carers to access the right learning and training opportunities to gain new skills and qualifications.