View Full Version : Are you able to attend Childrens Centres for all sessions available?

03-11-2010, 04:26 PM
We used to be able to and are now not. Can only attend Childminder sessions which I do not go to as tried and didn't like the awful back biting and cliques that were there and also they are all just stay and play sessions with no variation.
What annoys me is that in the sessions I used to be able to go to parents came from all areas not necessarily within our Borough and this is ok but they are now stopping us as a cost cutting measure.
Is this the norm in your area?

03-11-2010, 04:32 PM
we can only attend cm groups as we have the lergie and may infect the precious parents

03-11-2010, 04:36 PM
did i also mention we have to pay to attend our sessions where-as parents dont have to pay for theirs.
if we want our kids to have a drink/snack we have to bring our own (including beakers and plates) where-as all these facilities are laid on for the stay & play groups

03-11-2010, 05:10 PM
I work in a Children's Centre and our stay and play sessions are also open to childminders/carers/grandparents - we are forever encouraging it. There is a small fee (£1 per family) and this is applicable to all those who attend.

Such a shame to hear how lots of Centre's do not work with qualified Childminders.

03-11-2010, 05:22 PM
my CC is too far to walk. Takes me an hour at full puff with double buggy.

Shame really....

mandy xxxx

03-11-2010, 05:25 PM
i mentioned to a staff member today,whilst at a together time session, how lucky we are to be able to attend after hearing on here the raw deal others get.

like she said the child we mind could of attended there with another relative not neccesarily a minder, so wat difference does it make:angry:

03-11-2010, 05:27 PM
we used to be able to attend all but can now only attend cm drop in and also we have to do an observation per child we take plus one overall sheet for the childrens center to keep for their records as they have to prove they are meeting childrens needs. so now we spend half the session doing paperwork for the childrens center

03-11-2010, 05:51 PM
Our Childrens Centre asked for a cm group to be started before the centre opened which we did. Then they made it imposible for us to run, no where to store toys, no where to put buggies in the rain, no car park to speak of but too far to walk with 4 under 5s in tow. The school it is attached to had access to the meeting room and soon after the group started made a small room even smaller by putting a piano in it. The School Head used to wander through randomly!........... After a year we were put in a position that we had to give up.

They do run a Network but it isn't an accredited one and I don't think it ever will be.

Two of us have started going to a lovely group that is being run for Cms and Nannies by a neighbouring Childrens Centre. We are made to feel welcome, the centre manager works from an office in a library so this group is held about 3 miles away, still in her area, in a lovely farm. This lady transports all the toys and resourses each week, sets the room up and provides lovely themed activities. Today was transport. There was junk modelling, a sand tray with diggers and cars in, playdough with car and other transport cutters, jigsaws and books. She also pre-prepares an Observation Sheet complete with risk assessment and linked to EYFS for us to fill in and add pictures of our los. Yes, contrary to another thread on here which said photos had been banned in their Surestart CC.

The only problem is that a lot of local cms don't drive and you can't get to this farm without a car. It seems so unfair that if one cc can offer this why can't they all?

How can one Manager be so pro-active regarding cms and another so negative?

Will these differences be noted in their OFSTED Inspections or are the cleaverly filling in the paperwork and ticking the boxes and getting away with it?

Helen Dempster
03-11-2010, 08:12 PM
I attend stay and play and messy mayhem sessions at my local children's centre. I always tell them that the child is a mindee and I've never had a problem with them/and they've never had a problem with me (hope I've not spoken too soon!!) It's disgraceful if childminders aren't welcomed with open arms at these places. :censored:

Helen Dempster
03-11-2010, 08:13 PM
I work in a Children's Centre and our stay and play sessions are also open to childminders/carers/grandparents - we are forever encouraging it. There is a small fee (£1 per family) and this is applicable to all those who attend.

Such a shame to hear how lots of Centre's do not work with qualified Childminders.

I was thinking about becoming a volunteer at my local CC...how would I go about it??

03-11-2010, 08:16 PM
i can use mine to the full and have even attended a few courses they had on when i was free... tbh they are great but we dont have cm sessions at ours....

03-11-2010, 08:24 PM
i can understand why childminders are asked not to attend stay and play sessions, my centre is quite small and if say 4 minders went with 3 children each it would more or less fill it!
They let us have it it one afternoon a week, which is not ideal but they have told us that as soon as a morning becomes available we can change.

when i started going i went to a normal play session and i was made welcome but was steered towards going to the afternoon minders session which i thought was fair enough.

03-11-2010, 10:03 PM
I've been going to a CC for the past year every Wednesday morning for the childminder drop-in. It's been really good and they organise lots of activities for the kids and there is a big outdoor space and sensory room.

All of a sudden a month or so ago they told us there were too many childminders going and would have to split us into two groups - one group go one week and one the next.

I thought my week was today (I last went the Wednesday before the half term) so went along today. It's a bit of an uphill walk with an 18 month old, two year old in double buggy and a nearly 4 year old walking who usually moans all the way there but is ok once inside.

Buzzed in to be told I couldn't come in - it looked empty so i mentioned this but manager adamant couldn't come in. Luckily it was a nice day and a park nearby so went there rather than walk straight back up another hill!

I'm trying not to take it personally but feel if I went next week would just feel unwelcome and uneasy as all the staff have been friendly and helpful up until now.

03-11-2010, 10:17 PM
it really saddens me that some childrens centres are like this - at the end of the day i understood their 'mission statement' as such was to provide information and sessions for all children under 5 with their parents and carers. sarah32 and i run an independent cm support group from the centre - we have a couple of boxes of bits (we did have more but the centre are more than happy for us to use theirs of which their is more!) but use their facilities and toys. we set up what we want, we theme our own sessions, providing our own art n craft. we have the teacher there do a session once a month, which she discusses with us. we have been nagged for the last 6 months to come to some of the other sessions (!!) but we always felt that we 'shouldnt' and that parents might frown upon it... the staff poo pooed this and basically told us to get our toushees down there! and tbh we're glad we did. cos even tho we both do our own messy plays together and on our own, the kids absolutely love it! we liase with the staff often about what we require on both sides from each other. there is another cc nearby that has a drop-in session for cm and that is a £1 - the only reason we dont go now as it was always me, sarah and 1 other cm!! despite ours and the county cm assoc spreading the word. it is such a shame some cm's arent getting the full service i believe they should be getting from these centres...

04-11-2010, 08:04 AM
Much as I hate to use this word, it seems to me that the centres that do not allow children to attend all the sessions because they are being cared for by a childminder are actually discriminating against that child. Why should a child be excluded from an activity because they have a working parent? I would suggest contacting ofsted or whoever is in charge of the centres because it is discrimination. The centres are there for the children regardless of their race, colour, creed, or carer.

I think originally they were created to help disadvantaged children, but they have been opened to everyone, so everyone should be allowed to attend.

04-11-2010, 09:06 AM
I can see some reasoning behind their policy tbh.
If a group is oversubscribed then the children who will benefit the most from the staff and their knowledge of eyfs , learning , activities , resources etc etc arent usually the ones who have childminders. As cms we can and do offer lots of these things - and the cc role is really to offer these activities in the hope that parents will learn alongside their child and may become more effective eduacators at home themselves.


many of the childrens centres do not view childminders as proffesionals of equal status - and so really they cannot use the above argument!! Add this to the inconsistencies , lack of courtesy or respect etc that many of us experience and overall I feel that we are let down in many ways . How many of us are invited to the 'enjoy and achieve' meetings monthly. It is only recently that i found out they even existed.

Chatterbox Childcare
04-11-2010, 09:14 AM
I used to think why not until I went on the advisory board

According to the Centre Manager at mine their remit it to cater for the whole community, doesn't have to be their closest community, so how will they get parents in when childminders come along with 3 children each and there are limited numbers and space? Understandable I think

The idea of these centres is to help those who would not normally come out and go to toddlers and therefore the children may not get to do anything.

I do to the Childminder Group only and use toddler/drop in sessions elsewhere. Don't you have these in your area too?

Have you talked to your Centre Manager? They be able to explain this better than I have.

The Juggler
04-11-2010, 10:31 AM
we were, although I never attended open sessions only the CM's but we've just had a letter saying open sessions are closed to CM's from now.:( I do understand the reasons but it's hard for those mindees who otherwise would not get to attend.

Although they all get quality experiences in our settings and some children who can go in their place with their mums might not be able to access such experiences at home. That is NOT the case though if the centres are full of yummy mummies:(

04-11-2010, 10:34 AM
I was thinking about becoming a volunteer at my local CC...how would I go about it??

Our Children's Centre welcomes all volunteers and we can't have enough so if you have a good Centre near you, I'm sure the Manager will jump at the chance of having you on board.

Simply speak to the Centre Manager. We run Volunteer lunches so when people express an interest, we invite them in for lunch and the Centre Manager, along with the Family Outreach Worker host the meeting. They should ask what your skills are and how you'd like to apply them at the Centre e.g. you may want to host a group - say Rhyme Time as you could be working towards your Level 3, helping out at the Children's Clinic speaking to the Mum's & registering new families or you may simply want to be in the office doing admin or helping out in a Childminding Session. Up to you as to what you'd like to do and what your Manager would like you to do. Yet another CRB needs to be done and references are taken up. You cannot volunteer though until your CRB has come through.

Do speak to your Centre Manager and good luck.

08-11-2010, 02:13 PM
At the moment my cc allows all to the attend the stay and play groups, we also have one speficially for cm too, they ask for a donation of 50p which i think is great and this includes a snack and drink.
sarah xx

25-11-2010, 02:00 PM
We're only allowed to attend childminder drop-ins now.

What makes a few of us childminders cross is the council say the other sessions are for children and parents and disadvantaged children and disabled children.

How do they know that the children we care for aren't disadvantaged and another childminder and I both care for children with disabilities so those children are losing out twice!!

25-11-2010, 05:51 PM
I must be in the minority... we are welcome as childminders to attend any sessions, allowed to go to their christmas party with our mindees, attend specific sessions that have a limited amount of children allowed (ie specific arts or crafts), have our own childminding drop in which is every week without fail and they keep it for us in school holidays even though we rarely go then but can take our older mindees if we wish. We can also borrow any resources or books we want and the staff at mine have even helped me with my 'working in partnership' for my OU degree and some mindees have had their children do their work experience there as well :thumbsup: