Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) has been awarded £10,000 by The National Lottery Community Fund to purchase learning resources and play equipment which will be deployed in four new childcare facilities all based in areas of high deprivation.
Many children living in these areas may have limited access to toys and learning resources and the funding will allow FCSS to provide a wide range of new equipment and experiences for children attending the new services.
According to Susan McGhee, chief executive at FCSS:
“Our ethos is to encourage a holistic approach where children can learn at their own pace. Throughout the organisation we promote sustainability and are considerate of environmental factors when sourcing play equipment and furnishings for our childcare settings. We believe that children should be allowed to play with authentic resources such as real china tea sets and natural wooden toys rather than plastic versions. In doing so children learn how to respect and care for the toys they use, as well as learning how to use these resources properly as they grow older.
“We currently try to repurpose materials that may normally be discarded such as old rubber tyres and cardboard tubing. These ‘loose parts’ can be used to spark the child’s imagination, transforming seemingly worthless objects into boats, race tracks and telescopes. This also educates children to look at objects in a new way, helping them to develop and use their imaginations and it allows us to educate a new generation to think about waste the importance of recycling and repurposing resources.”
Unfortunately, many parents and carers, particularly those on low incomes, struggle to afford childcare ,and as a result children may miss out on those key learning opportunities at a young age.
Thankfully, FCSS’s flexible model allows parents to book childcare by the hour and, thanks to support from their local authorities, parents can now use their funded hours flexibly too. This will enable parents be more efficient with their funded hours, saving them potentially hundreds of pounds each month by allowing them to book their childcare at the times when they need it most.
This flexible model will also help parents and carers to find, or continue in, meaningful employment, training and education; further distancing families from poverty whilst boosting their confidence, their aspirations and their mental and physical health.
“This move will mean families can maximise the benefit of their funded entitlement, reducing the need for them to purchase wrap around hours. It will help families to save money, it will allow parents and carers to continue working which in turn will mean that children are more likely to attend and experience the benefits that high quality early learning and childcare brings.
“Children benefit hugely from peer-to-peer social interaction and our approach to resources is to aid children’s imagination and curiosity through play, developing healthy social outcomes such as confidence, creativity, playfulness, and positive emotions. Improved family finances due to reduced childcare costs, aids improved wellbeing for the whole family.”