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Working with Sure Start Children's Centres

If you work with children under five years old then Sure Start Children's Centres are there to support you and the families you work with.

Children's centres, with the support of their partners, can offer:

Early education and childcare

Children's centres recognise that every child is different and that a good choice of care and education is vital. Most children's centres do not have childcare on site so will signpost parents to local providers. This could be a local childminder, a daycare provider or a setting like yours.

Children's centres will not display vacancy lists to make sure childminders details are kept confidential. But they will help local childminders fill their places by giving out lists to parents.

Play and learn sessions

Play and learn sessions are held at most children's centres. They are not childcare, parents and children go to these sessions together. There is the time and resources to learn to play together whilst being supported by a children's centre coordinator or outreach worker.

If you have children in your care with behaviour or other family problems then signposting the parent to a children's centre can reinforce and extend the advice you have been giving them.

Many children's centres also run play and learn sessions specifically for childminders. These offer a great opportunity for childminders to meet up and share a variety of activities with their children.

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Training opportunities

Children's centres may also offer training opportunities for childminders. Find out more by going into your local children's centre and looking at their dedicated childminding notice board.

Family support

Children's centres support families in many different ways. Jobcentre Plus can give parents details about job and career opportunities to help them back into work. They can also offer parents advice about benefits and training opportunities.

Health services

Children's centres work closely with health services to offer ante and post natal mums and dads a range of services. The local health visitor and midwife are involved in delivering baby clinics, baby massage and breastfeeding clinics.

Children's centre leaflet

You can print out and share this leaflet with parents telling them about children's centres.

It also has a tear off reply slip for parents to add their details and hand into their health visitor or drop off at their local children's centre. Once they've done that, you can send them information about services you offer to local families.

Parents can now fill in the Children's Centre New Parent form online on the Sure Start Children's Centres in Surrey page. The form will then be sent to the relevant children's centre by Surrey Early Years and Childcare Service.

Find out more

Services vary so to find out how you can work with your local children's centre, make contact with the children's centre manager or coordinator. You can find their details on our contacts page. Tell them what services you offer and in turn they will tell you what is going on at the children's centre so you can encourage your families to access the services and activities running there.

If you would like to share your experiences or for more information call our Children's Centre Team on 01372 833833 or email

Files available to download