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Children's centres during coronavirus

Are children's centres still open?

All 12 children’s centres remain open all or some days of the week to ensure service delivery for the most vulnerable. Services will be organised at locality level (mini cluster) in order to:

  • Support families in accessing health appointments in a Covid-safe environment;

  • Support families eligible for early learning for two year olds; 

  • Provide face to face support for vulnerable and newly vulnerable parents. 

Families who need services can access them as one to one support either virtually or in person.  We will also continue to deliver services virtually and request attendance by appointment to comply with government guidelines.  Families can still collect their vitamins, Healthy Start food vouchers and Bookstart packs by appointment at the nearest centre.    

Details of all activities and services available are on the individual children centre’s timetables.

If you have an antenatal or health visiting appointment your health professional will be in touch to arrange your appointment.

What sessions are we offering?

We are offering a number of smaller group sessions for families from September.

  • Some of the sessions can be booked onto in advance whilst others will be by invitation

  • Please see our timetables for sessions delivered.

How can I book onto a session?

  • Please call your local children’s centre to book on to a session where the timetable shows ‘call to book’ and we can provide more information

  • In order to ensure government guidance in relation to covid-19 is followed, please note before attending session or appointments parents will be screened. 

Are you still running virtual sessions?

We are continuing to offer a range of virtual sessions and support which can be easily accessed. You can join us via zoom or 121 phone calls. Please check your local centres timetable for the virtual session we are offering or call 020 7364 1553.

Are the children's centres safe? How can we help?

We are carefully following government guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Each centre has conducted all necessary risk assessments and made any changes where needed. Face Coverings are required by all visitors. We are requesting in line with government guidance (unless you have a disability, certain health conditions or are under the age of 11) that you please wear a face covering when entering our buildings.

Thank you for keeping us all safe.

Families should only attend a Children’s centre if they have been invited or have booked to do so.

Please do not attend the children’s centre if you or a household member are unwell. We will ask screening questions on arrival.

Other Support and information available

Please telephone your local children’s centre for more information.


Around Poplar Childrens Centre -21

Family support

Family Support workers will continue to provide support and information to families by telephone and appointments. They work with other agencies and make referrals to specialist services when required. 


We are now able to offer 121 appointments at your local children’s centre. Family Support Workers are trained to provide advice, support and guidance on a range of areas including: 


  • oral health,

  • introduction to solids and

  • general health and wellbeing.

For information on how to access this service please call the children's centre


Healthy Start vitamins and vouchers

Free Healthy Start vitamins

Good nutrition in pregnancy and early childhood leads to better long-term health.  It can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need from your diet alone.

Healthy Start vitamins are available at:

  • antenatal sessions,

  • health visitor appointments,

  • health centres

  • and children’s centres.

Some children’s centres open on specific days for vitamin collection.

If you have already or will soon run out of vitamins, please call to book a time to safely collect them.

If you are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 years old, or you are under 18 and pregnant you could qualify.  Your children’s centre can advise you if you are eligible and can help you apply.


Healthy Start vouchers

With Healthy Start vouchers you get free vouchers to spend on:

  • milk,

  • fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables,

  • and infant formula milk.

If you qualify, your children’s centre can help you apply.

Where can I use the vouchers?

You can use the vouchers at local shops and greengrocers as well as supermarkets.  Find your nearest participating shops or call the Healthy Start helpline

Tel: 0345 607 6823

Bookstart baby packs

You can now collect your free Bookstart baby pack from your nearest open children’s centre. It has 2 free books for you to share with your baby. It’s never too early to enjoy books together and to help your baby to love books right from the start. 

Call to make an appointment to collect your pack from your nearest open children’s centre. 

Free education and childcare for two year olds

Your child could take up their free place from the term after they turn two.

How to apply

  • First check if your family is eligible.

  • Choose a provider

    • Contact the children’s centre to find out about your local early education provider
    • or you can speak to your local early education provider yourself.
  • Complete application form

    • Pick up an application form from your local early education provider or children’s centre
    • or complete the online application
  • Arrange a start date

    • Your early education provider will contact you to agree a start date for your child. 

For more information contact the children’s centre or Email: early.learning@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Parenting and Adult Education

The Parenting and Adult Education team continues with services for the Spring term between January and April 2021. The team will continue to provide support and information to families by telephone and online. The service has adopted to the following changes due to the current government guidelines on Covid-19: 

·         All provisions are delivered online, there is a good selection of courses available 

·         Face to face classes are postponed until further notice 

·         Telephone advice and email support is available for anyone who is interested in joining a course 


The Parenting and Adult Education team are trained to provide advice, support and guidance on a range of areas in relation to parenting, adult education and employment support. For more information on how to access the service, to see what options are available and if you are eligible, please see the Parenting Education Team’s Spring Directory.   To discuss options or for more information, please call the Parenting Adult Education team on: 

 Tel: 020 7364 0421or 020 7364 2240

Activity ideas to explore together at home

Children learn and develop through playing, exploring, being active, creative and being asked questions to help their thinking.

Here are some home learning activities that you can do together as a family.
Remember to give your day a rhythm of learning and rest, of interaction and chill time and be flexible.

  • Read and look at books together

  • Draw and make marks together

  • Practical maths-making playdough, cooking together, setting the table

  • Playing with numbers

  • Playing with letters

  • Building with Lego, bricks -and cardboard boxes

  • Imaginative play-let your child take the lead!

  • Build a den with a sheet and two chairs

  • Music and singing together - you can use ordinary household objects to make sounds

  • Physical exercise

  • Time away from screens every day

Stay at home resources

 We've got a large selection of Stay at Home Resources:

  • fun family activities (education, creativity, stories, cooking)

  • physical and mental health resources (for children and adults who may be feeling stressed or anxious)

  • entertainment and culture resources (live zoo and farm animal webcams, world renowned theatre performances and virtual international museum tours).

Draw together

Child development information

For parents, carers and families

  • The Communication Trust has produced "Universally Speaking" which outlines stages of language development for children aged from birth to 5. It includes practical tips for families on how to support their child’s language development. It also includes chapters for children with English as an additional language (EAL) and children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

  • Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is a non-statutory guidance material supports practitioners in implementing the statutory requirements of the EYFS.

  • What to expect, when?- Foundation Years has produced an online document supporting parents with what to expect when from birth to five years. It also includes some easy tips on how to support and extend your child’s learning.

  • The Department for Education has produced guidance on how to support learning at home for children aged 2 to 4 years old.

For practitioners