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Southend's Children and Families Information PointSHIP Adults

Baby and Toddler Groups welcome any carer including Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Friends and Relatives, Foster Carers, Childminders and Nannies – unless otherwise specified. They offer an environment in which young children can enjoy their first experiences of having fun, making friends and learning away from the familiarity of their home surroundings, yet with the security of a known adult who can share and extend these early learning experiences. They are often the place where a wide variety of the community can get together and interact.

Groups are normally inexpensive; some are free or just ask for a voluntary contribution. Those that charge cost approximately £1.50-£2.00 per session; this may cover refreshments for both you and the children you take along with you.

What are the Benefits of a Baby & Toddler Group?

For adults, the group can offer the opportunity to:

  • Socialise and support each other.
  • Share ideas and new activities.
  • Use existing skills to help others to develop theirs.
  • Take a step towards a new career.
  • Bond with your child away from housework, television etc.

For children, the group can provide:

  • A range of fun activities and new toys.
  • First relationships with adults and children outside the family unit.
  • The important first rung on the ladder, a stepping stone to pre-school.
  • The opportunity to build up confidence and self-esteem.
  • A time to bond with their carer away from distractions and interruptions.

How old should my child be?

Most of these groups cater for the under fives and you can take your child along as soon as you wish although some do operate a waiting list.

Where are the groups run?

The Family Information Service holds a large listing of local Baby and Toddler groups that run across the Borough, these can be found on the SHIP directory. It is not compulsory for groups to list their service with us so you may hear about others through word of mouth or local advertising.

Search Baby Groups (for Under 1s) on SHIP - Click here

Search Toddler Activities on SHIP - Click here

Search Children's Centre Activities on SHIP - Click here

Are they registered?

Baby and Toddler Groups do not have to be registered with Ofsted as children are not left unattended. Parents/carers stay with their child and take responsibility for them at all times. You may be asked for some personal details in the case of an emergency. It is your responsibility to ensure your child’s safety at these settings.

If you have any concerns please contact the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board on 01702 215007.

Things to consider:

  • What sort of equipment and play materials are offered?
  • Is it close to your home or near good public transport?
  • How many children attend?
  • How much involvement is expected from you – the parent/carer?
  • Is there a safe play area?
  • Is the venue accessible for children or parents / carers with disabilities?
  • What is the age range of children at the group? Could you take your older children along in the school holidays?
  • Do you and your child feel relaxed and comfortable in the group?
  • Is there a waiting list?

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 

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All activities strive to be inclusive for those with additional needs and disabilities. However we recommend that if you have any special requirements that you contact providers direct to discuss.

You might be interested in finding out about Southend-on-Sea's SEND Local Offer - Click here