Katy and Matthew think it's a 'Good Time to Be 2'
Katy Stoddart and her son Matthew, 2, are a great advert for the benefits of the council’s Good Time to Be 2 initiative. It offers free early learning and childcare places in nurseries, with childminders, family learning centres and playgroups for eligible families.
Playing happily in the sandpit at Paradykes Family Learning Centre, a smiling Matthew is clearly loving his time in nursery.
Come on leaps and bounds
Katy says Matthew, who is in the centre Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am to 1.30pm, has settled in really well and is coming on leaps and bounds.
She says: “He’s a brilliant talker and playing with the other children is giving him more independence. He’s also learning lots of social skills. At lunchtime, for example, all the children wash their hands, get their own plates of food and then sit down together to eat.”
Katy now studying
Katy too is making good use of the extra hours. Thanks in part, she says, to the help, support and encouragement of Susan Affleck, who runs the Paradykes Midlothian Sure Start Centre in Loanhead, Kay is now studying for a National 5 early years and child development qualification. This is with a view to potentially doing an HNC in child care and/or setting up her own childminding business.
Working with staff
She is now also coming along to two groups at the centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One of these PICL (Parents Involved in their Children's Learning), focuses on parents and staff working together to identify patterns of a child’s behaviour and how they learn to improve the child’s development.
Katy says: “Matthew is developing so much since I learned about ‘schema play’. I know that he is fascinated by buses, trains and anything that moves so even singing ‘the Wheels on the Bus’ or playing with hula hoops get his attention and help him learn.”
Thoroughly recommend it
Katy says she would thoroughly recommend other families apply for a Good Time to Be 2 place.
She says: “Yes, definitely apply. Susan even helped me fill in the form as I’m dyslexic.”