Services for children aged two years to starting school

We have a variety of services and activities to support you and your child from the age of 2, until they go to school. They will give you support and ideas to help your child thrive and be school ready.

Here is a list of our services:

Healthy Start

If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in some UK shops. Find out who is eligible and how to apply at the Healthy Start website.

Choosing good quality childcare

Quality Childcare helps children to:

  • become more confident 
  • learn through play and have fun
  • learn new words and extend their vocabulary
  • experience new activities and learn new skills
  • problem solve and test out their ideas
  • learn independence and get ready for school.

Finding a Childcare Provider

You can choose from:

  • Pre-schools and Playgroups (sessional care)
  • Childminders (at home)
  • Day nurseries (part-time and full time care)

Childcare providers are registered with Ofsted who gives them one of four quality grades:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires improvement
  • Inadequate

How do I choose?

Things to consider when choosing quality childcare:

  • Can children be active and play freely?
  • Are activities fun and inviting?
  • Do children look happy and involved in their learning ?
  • Are the adults playing with the children?
  • Do you think your child would be safe, well cared for and happy here?
  • Is the Ofsted report available to view?

What might I need to find out?

You will need to feel happy and confident about your child’s education and care. It is good to ask questions. Here are some ideas:

  • Who will be caring for my child?
  • How do I know my child will be safe?
  • How will they know what my child wants/needs?
  • How do I find out about my child’s day?
  • What happens if my child doesn’t settle or is ill or has an accident?
  • What do I pay for?

Did you know?

Your local children’s centre can help you in finding an early years provision.

Find a childcare provider in Leicestershire

Family Information Directory (FID)

2-year-old free early education entitlement

Your 2-year-old can get free childcare if you live in England and you are eligible for some benefits. See our Funding for 2 years olds page.

3 and 4-year-old funded childcare places

All 3 and 4-year-old children in England are entitled to 570 hours of funded childcare. This is usually taken as a maximum of 15 hours per week over 38 weeks of the year. For more details on when your child can access this and where, please see our Funded childcare places page.

How you can help your child at home

You can help your child to learn through the little things you do with them, for example:

  • everyday conversations
  • make-believe play
  • games with numbers or letters
  • reading together
  • involving them in the things you are doing, such as household chores, and talking with them about it

Find ideas for new things you can try at Hungry Little Minds or Tiny Happy People.

You don't need to set separate time or plan complicated activities dedicated to learning. These activities can be incorporated into everyday life and play.

Keeping a routine

It is important to try and keep a routine, children will feel more comfortable with a predictable routine, so try to make sure they:

  • get up and go to bed at the same time each day
  • have regular meal times
  • turn off any electronic devices, including the TV, at least an hour before bedtime

Keeping active

Young children should be active for at least 3 hours a day in total.

It is also good to get some fresh air every day. If you do not have a garden and are taking children outside to exercise, make sure you follow the rules on social distancing.
While inside, there are plenty of things you can do to keep children active, such as:

  • playing hide-and-seek
  • seeing who can do the most star jumps
  • making an obstacle course
  • playing music and having a dance-off

Developing social skills

Social development is important for learning and will help your child be ready for school. It is all about:

  • making relationships with others
  • understanding ourselves and emotions

Your child learns how to interact with others by watching what you do and listening to what you say.

Healthy together and your child's 2-year check

You'll be contacted by your Public Health Nursing team when your child is between 2 and 2 and a half years old.

This contact will be provided over the telephone following receipt of a letter. If you have not received a letter, or if you wish to speak to a health visitor about this contact, please contact your health visiting team or ChatHealth.  For more information, visit the Healthy Together pages on the NHS website.

School readiness

In Leicestershire we believe that every child deserves to have the best possible start to school life. There are many different agencies, web pages and different sources of support to help with this. For more information, visit our school readiness page.

Further reading

What to expect in the Early Years Foundation stage – a guide for parents