Early Years Bulletin

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Early years bulletin

15 March 2024


The Early Years Team and Portage have joined together to offer Early Years settings, Year R and Key Stage One practitioners access to the following practical training sessions:

Sensory Needs (Part 1) - Wednesday 17 April, 1.00pm - 3.00pm. 

How do you meet the needs of a child who is fidgety and can't sit still? What about the child who is chewing and biting or is sensitive to loud noises? What should you do about children who are constantly climbing? In this session, delivered by the Early Years and Portage teams, we will consider children who may have sensory processing difficulties and explore practical strategies to support them to make progress.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Be more confident in identifying sensory needs in young children
  • Have a bank of practical strategies to draw on when supporting children with sensory processing difficulties.

Book here

There is a second part to the Sensory Needs course, which you will also need to book and attend to complete the course...

Sensory Needs (Part 2) - Thursday 18 April, 1.00pm - 3.00pm.

Book here

Attention and Interaction Skills - Wednesday 24 April at 1pm-3pm.

How do you meet the needs of a child who does not give any eye contact and avoids adults? What about the child who is flitting from activity to activity and showing little engagement? How do you support children who have very limited skills in communication? In this session, delivered by the Early Years and Portage teams, we will consider children who have communication and interaction difficulties and learn more about specific interventions such as attention autism, bucket time and intensive interaction.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Be more confident in supporting children with communication and interaction difficulties
  • Have a deeper understanding of specific interventions to develop joint attention and positive interaction skills in young children.

Book here

Visual Support Systems - Thursday 25 April, 1.00pm - 3.00pm.

Early Years provision is full of visual prompts and support but how do you use these to support those children who are struggling to understand your routine or have not yet developed the verbal skills to communicates their needs? Come to this session, delivered by the Early Years and Portage teams, and learn more about how to use visuals like timelines, now and next boards, choosing boards and objects of reference effectively to support language development and enable children to feel more secure and confident as they develop their understanding.

By the end of this workshop you will:

  • Be more confident in supporting children with communication and language needs
  • Have a range of visual approaches and strategies to draw on to support individual children.

Book here

Please note these are all face-to-face events and will be held at Civic Offices. The cost per session is £65.00 and bookings are capped at a maximum of 30 delegates per session and 2 per setting, per session.


Take part in Beep Beep! Day on Wednesday 24 April 2024. Brake, the road safety charity is sharing top tips for teaching road safety basics to children aged 2-7 years old and help parents and carers understand how to protect children on the roads. Sign up now for your FREE action pack to teach road safety to young children. Your action pack includes fun activities, certificates and posters featuring characters from Aardman's popular children's tv programme Timmy Time. Please share with your parents and carers.

Find full details here


The Child Accident Prevention Trust urges parents to "please be safe" when giving Cadbury Mini Eggs to their children during the Easter season. The packaging states that the chocolate should not be consumed by children under the age of four.

The organisation warns that the Easter treats may be the "perfect small treat for your little one" but due to their size, they could block a small child’s airway and, their hard shell can make it difficult to dislodge with standard first aid techniques.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust has shared some advice about what to do when enjoying Mini Eggs this Easter.

The experts shared key-steps to follow:

  1. Put the mini eggs into a sealable plastic bag and smash them into small pieces with a rolling pin. Or crush them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Opt for a different treat. Larger, hollow eggs are much safer for little ones.

The NHS shares four tips to help stop choking (as seen below) but you can see further advice, broken down by age group, on its website.

  1. If you can see the object, try to remove it. Don't poke blindly or repeatedly with your fingers. You could make things worse by pushing the object further in and making it harder to remove.
  2. If your child is coughing loudly, encourage them to carry on coughing to bring up what they're choking on and don't leave them.
  3. If your child's coughing isn't effective (it's silent or they can't breathe in properly), shout for help immediately and decide whether they're still conscious.
  4. If your child's still conscious, but they're either not coughing or their coughing isn't effective, use back blows.

Please share this information with your parents and carers and sign up to the Child Accident Prevention Trust - CAPT Charity for free child safety emails, top tips and free downloadable resources.


Household Support Fund Family Vouchers

If you have a child who is not yet school age, check if you are eligible to apply for a supermarket voucher worth £80 per child. Families living in Portsmouth who earned less than £1,500 last month are eligible to apply, but the scheme will close on 21 March.  

Household Support Fund Living Costs Payment

People who missed out on the February 2024 DWP cost of living payment can apply for a £200 payment. It is open to households in Portsmouth who are receiving Pension Credit or Universal Credit but did not qualify for the DWP cost of living payment, or who receive housing benefit and no other means-tested income benefit.

Household Support Fund Exceptional Hardship

Households who are in severe financial hardship and can’t afford essentials can apply to the council for an exceptional hardship payment. The council will need evidence of household income and bank accounts, and information about why help is needed. Households receiving advice or support from the council or another local service, can ask that agency to make an approved application on their behalf.

People can find out more about who is eligible for each scheme and how to apply, and other help available from HSF, at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/household-support. The quickest and easiest way to apply is online, but anyone who can't apply online can apply by ringing the dedicated HSF helpline on 023 9268 8010.


Please let your families know about the free, monthly Open Sight Early Years Family support group for families who have children aged 0 - 5 years with a visual impairment. The next group will take place on 16 March, 10.30am - 12.00pm at the Phoenix Community Centre, Hilsea.

Find out more


NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight have launched a partnership to reduce pressures on existing dental services and will provide much needed dental care for people most in need in Portsmouth.

Dentaid’s mobile dental units will be parking outside specific community centres in Portsmouth -  Cosham Community Centre, Paulsgrove Community Centre and the Somerstown Hub. Eligible patients will be invited to make appointments to see the onboard dentist for check-ups, oral health advice and emergency care including extractions and fillings. All treatment will be free of charge.

The partnership will provide clinics across Hampshire and Isle of Wight over 18 months. The first clinics will take place in Southampton, Havant, Cosham, and Portsmouth followed by the Isle of Wight in March. Those eligible can call Dentaid, The Dental Charity on 023 8001 4450 to make an appointment.

Dental project poster


The Neurodiversity Team have regular clinics at local family hubs. Take a look at the poster below to find our more.

Portsmouth Neurodiversity Team advice clinics


Family Hub Champions support families in the early years with issues such as sleep, behaviours, connection, parent and child wellbeing and more. Find out more at the button below.

Family Hub Champions


Understanding Your Child is a 10 week programme intended for parents and carers who want to know more about sensitive and effective parenting. Find out more at the button below.

Understanding your child parenting group


If the Early Years setting has identified concerns about a child development and would like the Health Visiting service to consider an integrated review, please complete the referral form at the button below and email FAO Duty HV to: PortsmouthHealthVisitingService@solent.nhs.uk.

Early Years setting request for an integrated review


Please be advised that we have had a few cases of measles reported amongst children in Portsmouth. Please find attached information from the Government for professionals and parents/carers about the virus, it's symptoms and immunisations.

Measles FAQs for education and childcare settings 

Any questions about the content of this email? Get in touch