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The early years

The early years
 
The early years and pre-school period of a child’s life are important opportunities for a child’s learning and development. Playgroups and nurseries are pre-school experiences available to all children. Nurseries are provided by the local authority or by private business. All children aged three years and over should be able to have a nursery place in their local community. Your local authority's children’s services department can provide you with information on playgroups and nurseries in your area.
 
Playgroup and nursery staff are often experienced childcare workers who are trained in child development. They can recognise if a child would benefit from additional support in some aspect of their development. The nursery staff will discuss their thoughts with you and, if appropriate, will contact the local authority educational psychologist for advice and support for your child. As a parent you may think that your child would benefit from additional support in the nursery and you can approach the nursery staff directly or talk to your health visitor or GP.
 
Your local authority education department must provide appropriate additional support for disabled children under three (or under five if not in a public or partnership nursery), where the child has been referred by a health authority and has additional support needs.
 
Different local authority areas have different systems for co-ordinating services provided to children who have disabilities e.g. Professional Advisory Group, or Multidisciplinary Team, or Pre-School Assessment Team (PRE-SCAT), or Early Years Community Assessment Team. It may be called something different in your area. A referral to such a group for your child will generally come from your health visitor, home visiting teacher or psychologist.
 
It is important to get the right input at the beginning. All children have the right to reach their full potential. Professionals are there to support you and your child and help you get the appropriate services that will provide additional support for your child.

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