Where do I start?
- Source an appropriate venue or location that can facilitate a suitable number of children and adults at any one time
- When will you be able to have access to the building? What days and for how long?
- Is the building wheelchair and buggy accessible?
- Does the venue have adequate parking?
- Is the building safe and secure for children?
- Is the building well-ventilated?
- Is there a suitable place/kitchenette for food and drink preparation?
- Is there sufficient storage for equipment and materials?
- Is there enough space for children to freely play?
- Are there toilet facilities /baby changing facilities?
- Contact your local Childcare Committee for support;
At Cork City Childcare we endeavour to assist with the many aspects associated with the general running, management and maintenance of your group.
- Giving Information on the steps to consider when setting up a P&T group
- Information support on financial expenditure
- Information on resources & equipment, best practices, health & safety
- Developing policies & procedures
- Support with advertising your group effectively
- Support creating Facebook account to promote your group
- Support with the maintenance & sustainability of your group
- Information on programme planning, activities, ideas & the general managing and organising of the group
- Best practices in keeping children safe, secure and stimulated within the environment
- Tips on how to make your group more inclusive and diverse
- Updates and support with the application for P&T grants which will be announced shortly.
- Co-facilitation or tips on facilitation
- It is important that you undertake a little background research;
- Knowledge of the groups that currently exist close by
- have you a niche?
- will you be able to offer anything unique to other groups in the area?
- Will you have enough demand?
- Have you spoken to parents/guardians in your area about setting it up?
- Have you identified other parents/guardians that are willing to help you?
- Think about a name for your group
- Be sure that it ties in with your target audience
- Link it to the group’s values if possible
- What days and times do you plan to run your group?
- Consider what may suit the target group best i.e. could you run alternate days to that of other local parent and toddler groups
- Will your group be clashing with any other community activities or groups?
- Think about what times are best; consider parents who might need to drop or collect older children from school or preschool
- Will you run your group all year round, will it break up for summer months, will it run through Easter and Christmas and mid-term breaks, will it run on Bank Holidays?
- Who will be responsible for running your group?
- Facilitator-led (run by organisation with a support person) vs
Parent or Volunteer-Led?
- Will there be one or multiple organisers?
- Will you have a committee?
- What role(s) will each person play if you have multiple organisers e.g. venue operations (opening & locking up of building, booking building, finance; dealing with weekly income, expenditure, purchasing of equipment and toys, running costs and bills associated with the group, health & safety; keeping check of health & safety incidents (log any incidents in a book), monitoring of child protection concerns or potential safety hazazrds, planning, organising and booking of activities, set up and clean-up of all equipment and resources, advertising and promoting the group; running social media page, creating and distributing leaflets.
- What are the main objectives of your group?
- Think about how you want to portray groups purpose, values & ethos
- Who do you want to support & how do you hope to achieve it?
- Consider the weekly attendance cost?
- What will weekly charge go towards e.g. weekly light refreshments, rental costs/bills, equipment, ensure to make it affordable for attendees?
Parent and Toddler Group Maintenance & Sustainability
- Good communication and organisational skills
- Open a bank account specific to the group
- Public Liability Insurance
- Health and Safety Assessment of the building
- Equipment and Resources;
- Ensure that are materials are non-toxic, CE approved and age appropriate
- Weekly Sign in/attendance book (Parent/Guardian name sign in/out and tick if paid weekly fee)
- Incident Report book (to record any incidents as they occur and store safely, ensure to log how incident was dealt with)
- Completion of Child Protection e-learning
- Keeping record of finances and log of expenditure
- Basic First Aid Box
- Schedule fire drills
- Set up an email solely for the group
- If the group changes hands ensure that you pass on the details of the email and passwords, this is important to provide consistency and continuity for future organisers and attendees
- A qualified first aider (one of the organisers) to be at each session
Policies and Procedures to consider:
- Finance Policy (how and who manages the finances, what is expenditure spent on)
- Health and Safety Policy (Fire safety, building safety, supervision by parents/guardians)
- Accident/Injury & Infection Control Policy (how incidents are logged, where they are logged, how they are dealt with, what is suggested if infection becomes issue)
- Child Safeguarding Statement
- Child Protection Statement
- Inclusion Policy (Promotion of equality, inclusion and diversity within the group, welcoming people of all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, races etc.)
- Photo release/consent forms (activities, where photos may be displayed)
- GDPR policy (confidentiality/ data storage)
- Social Media Policy (how you manage your social media accounts, what is prohibited and permitted, photo consent, who has access to the managing of social media accounts)
- An Outings Policy (who is responsible for the child(ren) on outings, insurance, information on who pays for outing)
It is important that parents/guardians in the community are aware that the group is in existence.
Advertising Ideas: Distributing leaflets and posters, talking at events to promote the group, creating and maintaining social media account(s), setting up a text group for members and a separate one for organisers to ensure that there is effective communication is important for the consistency and smooth running of the group.
Where do I advertise? Local Shops/Shopping Centres, GP Surgeries, local schools and childcare facilities, post offices, community halls, local newspapers/newsletters, banks, hair salons, play centres, social media.
Other Desirable Requirements:
- Welcome Statement/Mission, Ethos and values of the group
- Welcome Letters for new attendees
- Experience with group facilitation
- Weekly Activity/Play Planner
- Weekly check-in and introduction of new members
- Registration forms for each child attendee
- Liaise with the designated Development Worker in your local Childcare Committee (for extra supports/information on certain resources/training, activity ideas/advertising etc. your designated Development Worker can help you)
Funding and Finance
Parent & Toddler Group Grants:
Childcare Committees have designated funding annually which Parent and Toddler groups can avail of. Please contact your local Childcare Committee for details.
Other ways to raise funds:
- Applying a weekly charge for attendees
- Fundraising activities e.g. cake sale in local community hall/schools, quiz, raffles, local walk/running races
- Funds from local businesses
What do you need to open a bank account?
Visit the following page for more information on opening a bank account
Making your group Inclusive:
Be sure that you offer a welcoming and inclusive environment for all attendees.
Inclusive environments can be easily created in a variety of ways i.e.:
- Being accepting and welcoming of any parents/toddlers who attend that are from different cultures or minority groups
- Modelling respect and the importance of a non-judgmental attitudes
- Displaying posters with different cultural traditions around the venue
- Celebrating or acknowledging various cultural traditions
- Ensuring that there is equipment available that is reflective of different races e.g., dolls of various ethnicities, paint/crayon colours that can provide different skin tones
Advantages of Attending or Facilitating Parent Toddler Groups:
There are many benefits for both parent/carer and child when attending a Parent and Toddler group. These groups are essential parts of each community and, at times, they may be the only source of social interaction for the parent/carer and child throughout their entire week and thereby their influence should not be underestimated.
- Eliminates isolation for parents/guardians, carers, childminders/nannies, grandparents and infants/children in their care
- Promotes socialisation for both the adults and children who attend
- Stimulates children’s holistic development; Social, Emotional, Physical, Linguistic, Creative and Cognitive development
- Fosters positive play practices
- Promotes early literacy via books, rhymes, songs, rhythm, and dance
- Creates a sense of community and allows attendees to build relationships with others in their community
- Promotes a sense of belonging for both child and adult
- Gives attendees opportunities to discuss any arising issues that they are having regarding parenting, child health, nutrition, life in general
- May be the only emotional outlet for the adult to de-stress
- It is an informal early intervention support for families
- Gives parents/carers something to look forward to, helps them establish a routine
- Helps to prepare toddlers for preschool entry
If you intend on setting up your Parent & Toddler Group in the Cork city region, please contact Cork City Childcare on 021-4310500 and ask for the Development Worker allocated to supporting the Parent & Toddler groups.