News and announcements


What's happening at our Children's Centre

Important Covid Update

As children return to school and mix, it’s inevitable the virus will spread, so it’s important that those of us that aren’t school children, do all we can to prevent the Virus spreading. This means staying at home as much as possible and observing the lockdown.

Although we have seen significant decrease in the infection rate locally, it remains well above average compared to the rest of the country. Pressure on the hospital is decreasing, but we know that as soon as mixing begins again, rates will creep up, so we need to get them as low as possible in the next few weeks.

At the moment the main ways that people in Calderdale are coming into contact with the virus, is through their work, and through this there is onward transmission in households. The local economy in Calderdale and neighbouring areas means that fewer people can do their jobs at home. If fewer people can work from home in Calderdale than elsewhere, it is all the more important that those that can work from home do.

When we go into the workplace, we need to be even more vigilant than ever before. This means staying at least 2 metres away from other people at all times, including during breaks. We should all wear a face covering unless we are medically exempt and should wash hands frequently. It’s also really important that there is good ventilation and fresh air circulating. 

Community Rapid Flow Testing for people without symptoms

Community Rapid Flow testing is available twice weekly to  anyone who needs to leave home to go to work.  These are rapid tests (sometimes called Lateral Flow Tests).

You can book a test at the two testing stations in Todmorden College and St John’s Health Centre, Halifax (which is a drive-through), on the Calderdale Council website. The test are analysed on site and results are returned after about one hour.

Anybody can request a rapid test who lives or works in Calderdale; and has a job that means they come into contact with people they do not live with.

  • The tests are very reliable for people who get a positive result. A positive result means you almost certainly have COVID-19. There is no need to get a follow up lab test (PCR test) as well.

  • The rapid tests are less reliable than the lab tests when it comes to a negative result. A negative result does not mean you do not have the virus. You may still have the virus, but not have enough of it in your body to show up on the test. If you get a negative result from a rapid test, you must still follow all the COVID-19 guidance.

  • Do you work outside your home in a job that means you mix with people you do not live with? If you do, we advise that you take a rapid test twice a week.

  • You do not need to self-isolate while waiting for your test results.

  • Young people (under 18) must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who will be asked to administer the test.

  • These tests are only for people without symptoms of COVID. If you think you could have COVID-19, please arrange for a PCR test (as above).

There is financial support to self isolate available for people who qualify who have a positive test, or who have been identified as a contact of someone who is positive – Test and Trace support payment


In the same way that you might have a plan for what to do in case of floods, or fire, you should have a plan for what to do if you have to self-isolate immediately. Who will walk the dog? How will you get your shopping? Whatever your need we should be able to help you, request support from Calderdale Council, or phone 01422 392890.






This weeks home activity for Thursday’s (11th February 2021) Rhythm & Rhyme AM & PM session is ‘We’re going on a nature walk…what do you see?’
Please see the 'I spy' tick sheet that you could take on your walk, especially for older children to spot these things In their environment, you could also collect some of these natural objects together.
To extend, why not take them home & create a play tray of natural objects, setting a scene, adding your child’s favourite toys to them. i.e. cars, animals, small world people, etc. This encourages them to reflect their own story of the adventure they went on.
For younger children, encourage them to explore their surroundings & get some fresh air, exploring natural objects together & how the different things feel, i.e. leaves, sticks, stones, etc. This is a great sensory activity.
To extend, why not take these natural objects home & add them to a wicker basket, to create a treasure basket for your child to explore- please see attached the leaflet on ‘Treasure baskets’ to support your babies development.



Going for a walk is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy and happy during lockdown.
To help keep your walk interesting, Living Streets have produced activities and resources for you to download for free.

Download activities to try with your children:

We will be running the parenting programme Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities in mid March 2021 along with North Halifax Partnerships.
The programme is a part of a national research project to evaluate the effectiveness and impact on family wellbeing. Parents who join the project are able to earn up to £40 in vouchers through taking part either on the programme or within the control group that will wait for the next available delivery.
Register to now to reserve your place on this course which has received some fantastic feedback from parents who previously taken part!

#4 Make your mark - 50 things to do before you're 5!
What you will need - natural wood clothes peg, wool or yarn in various colours, glue, white paint, paint brush, black marker, scissors, glue, orange pompom.
How to make it - Paint your clothes peg white. You may need to open the clothes peg a few times whilst it dries.
To make the scarf, cut a short piece of wool or yarn, and wrap it around the clothes peg. Add a little drop of glue to hold it in place. With the black marker or felt tip, draw on 2 eyes, a mouth and some buttons. Stick the orange pompom in the middle.
Lots of fun can be had role playing with your snowmen, along with developing lots of skills from counting eyes and buttons, and physical skills using finger and thumb to open the peg.

Friday January 15th - Notice to Nursery Parents - Our nurseries at Siddal, Todmorden and Jubilee will remain closed today due to the weather conditions.


Fantastic online learning resources for all ages on BBC Bitesize:

WorkingdadsUK has some great advice on how to manage your own workload alongside homeschooling

Padlet of links, apps, educational YouTube channels, offline ideas, esafety tips etc for parents

A free pack for young fans of WOW! Said the Owl with loads of ideas for learning, play and creativity


COVID-19 UPDATE 19th November 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our Children’s Centre nurseries remain open for all families. We are implementing a range of protective measures to make them as safe as possible. You can read the Government guidance for parents HERE

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our Children’s Centres are not able to run many of our usual groups and services on a face to face basis, but we have developed a timetable of virtual groups and activities for parents and children to join in with.  Visit our What’s On page or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more information.

50 Things Activities to try at Home! 

#4 Make your mark #20 Mini artists

Have so much fun with this messy outdoor summer activity using water balloon and paint and you will see the amazing results!

  1. Start by filling up some water balloons.
  2. Lay paper down and secure the corner so the wind does not blow the paper away 
  3. Dip the balloons in paint and get busy creating! Children can use different techniques e.g. rolling, spinning, dabbling the balloons to make a beautiful painting.


#20 mini artists


#15 dressing up and #3 treasure time


#10 sharing books -Here are some places for free books if parents are still not accessing libraries. 

  • Amazon
  • Hoopla- a service linked to local libraries. 
  • Oxford owl-award winning used at home and by schools.
  • International Children's Digital Library- has books and available in 50 different languages.

Though these are good sources to use and provide reading at home.


#14 see the stars


#27 Little people, park keeper

Now restrictions have lifted families can go to parks. 

Instead of using park equipment they can do a nature walk, scavenger hunt, learn about the history of the park.  Also, we can promote the good hand washing procedure and keeping 2 metre distance.

Treasure Baskets 

Click above to download helpful information on how to create treasure baskets for your baby as discussed in our Facebook video presented by Liesel.


Weaning - Helpful tips and advice


Happy Yorkshire Day!

 Yorkshire Rose Template

There is a dedicated page: 

The page is regularly updated and has all the latest information about being pregnant during this coronavirus period.


Apps that can encourage learning for children

1 CBeebies

(Android/Apple/Amazon – free)
The entire range of the BBC’s CBeebies apps will be getting heavy usage in the coming weeks, clearly. They’re all good, but this is the one focused on learning games, from phonics and geography to feelings and self-care, all based on the parent channel’s shows and characters.

2 Khan Academy Kids

(Android/Apple/Amazon – free)
Khan Academy is a free collection of education courses for all ages, but it has an app specifically for two to seven-year-old children that focuses on maths, reading and social and emotional skills. It has a large and growing archive of learning videos, digital books and simple but engaging exercises.

3 Montessori Preschool      

(Android/Apple/Amazon – subscription)
For very young children who’ll be missing out on some of the formative teaching at preschool this year, this beautifully crafted app could be a great help. From maths and phonics to music and early coding, its colourful exercises never feel dry or dull. It costs £5.49 a month.

4 Hopster

Android/Apple/Amazon – subscription)
British company Hopster describes its app as “educational kids’ TV”. What that means is a collection of familiar cartoons and shows including the likes of Sesame Street, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam and Pingu, accompanied by fun learning games on topics such as maths and phonics. It will even remind kids not to binge on too many episodes in a row. It costs £4.99 a month.

5 Teach Your monster to Read

(Android/Apple/Amazon – free)
This usually costs £4.99, but has been made free owing to the school disruption. No matter how you feel after a couple of days of home-schooling, the titular monster isn’t your child. Instead, this gets children to create a monster and then teach it to read – a great way of learning themselves.

6 World of Peppa Pig

(Android/Apple/Amazon – subscription)
This is one of a growing number of subscription-based children’s apps – seen as a more trustworthy model than in-app purchases and/or ads. Aimed at preschool children, it’s another collection of learning games, but also has videos, picture-making and songs from the TV show. It costs £4.99 a month

7 You Tube kids

After a rocky start when some non-child-friendly videos made it through the filters, YouTube has worked hard to make its official children’s app something parents can trust. It includes a dedicated learning category collecting great videos about science, nature, space and other topics.

8 Mental maths 5- 6 years

(Apple – £3.99)           
It’s been out for a few years, but this is still one of the best maths apps for children that feels genuinely educational. It’s built around a range of maths exercises and progress tests. Separate versions cover children up to the age of 11, and there’s a spelling series, too.

9 Dr Seuss ABC: AR version

 (Android/Apple – £3.99)
“Big A, little a. What begins with A?” Well, augmented reality does, for a start. Dr Seuss’s inimitable alphabet book has been turned into an AR app, with animated characters appearing in the room around your child. The learning aspects include tracing the letters to learn their shapes for (non-AR) writing.

Below  is a really helpful easy to read article on understanding and helping younger children with emotions: 

 Fact sheet for parents: coronavirus/children/mental health 

At Home Activities:

#3 Treasure time

#22 My secret treasures

Laundry basket rescue mission.

For this activity you need: 

Laundry Basket, String, Stuffed toys 

Fill the laundry basket with different sizes toys. Take the string and tie pieces of it across the basket like a spider web and encourage children to rescue the toys.

#11 Making connections

This activity will help your child to develop their

. Fine motor skills.

. Gain control over one handed tool such as the scissors.

. Focus and attention.

. Showing a preference for dominant hand.

. Understanding the concept of length working out different lengths, longer at the back and shorter at the front. 

. Extending vocabulary talking about people similarities or differences. 

Have some fun while working on this activity. 


Good News!

From 15th June we are re-opening our Monday Family Support ‘drop-in’ at Jubilee Children’s Centre. So, if you are in need of some advice or support on issues such as parenting, benefits and housing for your family then you can book an appointment to talk to one of our team members.

Please call 01422 434971 to make an appointment.

# 27 Little People, Park keeper

Time to get out and explore your local areas.

Get to know your Local Park, dress for the correct weather, wellies if rainy, and sun cream if hot. Maybe you could paint a rock with a message hide it in the park. Look at the surroundings, trees, animals, duck pond, statues, maps, maybe next time design a trail for your family to follow.

Helpful activities for children to practise social distancing and hand washing, click on the activity to download:

Hand Washing Song Activity

Two Metre Activity


Coronavirus (COVID19): Advice for parents - Link


This guidance was published on 11 May 2020. As this is a fast-moving situation, we will be reviewing and updating the guidance as it changes. Please keep checking this page for updates.



Child Safety Week 1st - 7th June 2020


Download the 2020 Parents’ Pack 


How a child or young person reacts to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may depend on their age, past experiences or understanding of what's happening.

Some children and young people, including those with additional needs and disabilities, may find it difficult to deal with things.

For instance, some may worry about their health, their loved ones or have physical symptoms like stomach ache. Others may behave differently, getting more angry, distant or acting up in other ways.

Some children might react right away and some may show signs of difficulty later on. Other children might be coping fine, and some younger children may be enjoying more time with the family.

If you are a parent or carer, it's important you know how to look after the mental health of those you care for during this time. Here are 10 top tips to help you.


To see Calderdale’s Public Health Early Years’ Service and what they can offer, please download: 

Health card AW Web.pdf

Speech & Language (SALT)

Download the PDF's below:

Creating the Need to Communicate.pdf

Importance of Turn Taking.pdf

Ideas to Develop Early Language.pdf

How to Include Simple Language in Daily Activities.pdf

The Early Words Checklist_Explanation.pdf

Creating the Need to Talk.pdf

Creating Opportunities to Talk.pdf

Top 10 SLT tips under 5 years.pdf

At Home Activities:
















6 April, 2020

Our family support services are still operating and can offer advice and support:

20 March 2020

Hi All

Re: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Further to Halifax Opportunities Trust’s (HOT) communications by text messages. We want to update you about providing childcare for children whose parents are key workers and providing childcare for vulnerable children.

The government have now issued guidelines for Schools and nurseries to follow in providing these places and have produced information for parent and carers.

Parents whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response include those who work in:

  • Health and social care,
  • Education and childcare
  • Key Public services
  • Local and national government
  • Food and other necessary goods
  • Public safety and national security
  • Transport
  • Utilities, communication and financial services

If your work is critical to the COVID-19 response, or you work in one of the critical sectors listed above, and you cannot keep your child/ren safe at home.  

Please follow these key principles:

  1. All children should stay at home if possible.
  2. If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
  3. Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
  4. Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
  5. Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

All our HOT nurseries have considered the guidance and nursery staff will be contacting all the parents of vulnerable children as outlined in the guidance today and will be confirming they can still attend nursery.

We will be prioritising the nursery places for Children as follows:

  1. Vulnerable children on Child Protection/Child in Need Plans/ Children looked after/ Children on Educational Health Care Plans
  2. Key worker children – if a single parent is a key worker or both parents are key workers
  3. Key worker children with at least one parent who is identified as in a critical role by the government can continue to attend our nurseries.

As stated in the guidance if you think your role falls within the critical categories outlined, you should confirm with your employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, your specific role is necessary for the continuation of your employer’s essential public service.

Once you have had this confirmation from your employer, please contact nursery directly who will take some details from you about your role and employer and will be able to confirm a place.

For nursery parents who do not fit any of the above criteria, your child will not be able to attend nursery as previously informed. 

For those parents whose children will not be attending until further notice from Monday. We will be contacting you within the next month to discuss refund options for March fees and any fees you may have paid in advance for April. Nursery staff will be aiming to keep in contact with you all weekly and offer any support we can.

Please also look out for activity ideas on our Facebook pages. We will contact you if there are any changes of government information around closures of nurseries. Please keep looking on our website and Facebook pages for any updates.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your nursery directly, we want to offer our families as much support we can in these challenging times.

Kind Regards

Caren Parkinson

Children & Families Lead.

50 things to do before you're 5

#26 Splish, splash, splosh,

Instead of having a bath just before bed why not have a spontaneous bath and add extra silly things like shaving foam.

Let your children make marks in the foam maybe add a drop of food colouring.

When done wash it all away.

50 things to do before you're 5

#7 Making music

Make your own musical instruments

Use objects from your home like , gravy granules tub, Pringles tube, butter tub, use elastic bands , paper, scissors, pencils to decorate.

Fill your washed empty tub with either lentils, pasta, dried peas.

Attach a piece of paper on top and secure with an elastic band and sing away with your musical instrument.

50 things to do before your 5

#3 Treasure Time

Make a treasure basket

You will need :

  • A box or basket
  • Natural materials like wooden spoons, scarfs, metal spoons,  Utensils.
  • You can also add scented things to a basket.

50 things to do before your 5
#6 Rhyme time

Pretend to walk through the jungle using the walking through the jungle book, if you don’t have the book here are key phrases:

“Walking  through the jungle

What can you see

I think I see a tiger looking for his tea.”

COVID-19 UPDATE AS OF 11.23 AM 17.03.2020





Changes to services held at Beech Hill Children's Centre


Changes to services run at sunshine children's centre 



2020 Notice to parents regarding redesign of Children Centre services




Your privacy is important to Halifax Opportunities Trust and we take our responsibility regarding the security of your personal information very seriously.

Halifax Opportunities Trust takes its responsibility as a custodian of all the personal information which we hold and we will act in accordance with the new European Union law which governs data privacy matters. This new law is known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To help us perform our duties under the GDPR, particularly with respect to our obligation to be transparent with you about the handling of your personal information, we have prepared a document called a Privacy Notice


New Groups for 2018

We are pleased to introduce two new regular groups at some of the centres across Calderdale. 

Boothtown and Jubilee Children's Centres will host monthly 'Weaning Groups' which will be run by the health visiting teams with the aim of supporting parents with babies transitioning to solid foods.  See the flyers below for dates and times.


A very warm welcome to Susy Thomas! Susy will be providing one-to-one support and advice for dads/male carers around family issues including family relationships. She will be involved in activities and events and will help Dads/male carers link up with others in their area. Susy will cover the Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, Boothtown, Siddal, Southowram and Sowerby Bridge areas. To find out more, please give Susy a call on 07738 785646 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’.

Children’s event was full of fun and games

Around 600 people attended an event run by The Halifax Opportunities Trust to celebrate International Children’s Day at The Outback Community Garden. Families enjoyed activities like a drumming circle, messy play, fruit kebabs and a dental healthcare puppet show. Other activities taking place included face painting, giant skittles, a treasure hunt, musical statues, a football penalty shootout and arts and crafts.

Alison Haskins, CEO of the Halifax Opportunities Trust said: “International Children’s Day is a celebration of children across the world and we like to mark that at Halifax Opportunities Trust. “We had over 600 people attend our event reflecting the diversity of the local community. What a fantastic way to celebrate children, in the sun and having fun”.

For more information visit the Halifax Courier website by clicking on the following link:

Nurseries are "outstanding"

Four of our day nurseries have now been rated as 'outstanding' by Ofsted. Siddal Children's Centre joins Sowerby New Road, Jubilee and Todmorden in Ofsted's top bracket. In it's report on Siddal, Ofsted said: "staff have high aspirations for all children and have a firm belief that all children are competent learners. "Consequently, all children thrive and excel in their learning. "Children's learning and independence are significantly enhanced because of staff's high quality, fun and motivating teaching and exemplary learning environment. The provider and staff at all levels have an exceptional and admirable passion and dedication to families."

Andrea Briggs, one of our three Children's Centre Delivery Managers said: "we are absolutely delighted that Ofsted have recognised the high standards of teaching, learning and care offered to children by our dedicated staff team." Our CEO Alison Haskin said: "this is testament to our focus on social outcomes and the passion of the team when it comes to supporting families in Calderdale. The Trust is incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of the entire Children's Centres staff, for the wonderful children that attend our nurseries and for the continued support of the parents and carers."

Click on the links to read the full Ofsted reports:

New Road Children's Centre Nursery, Sowerby Bridge click here

Jubilee Children's Centre Nursery - click here

Siddal Children's Centre Nursery - click here

Todmorden Children's Centre Nursery - click here


 'Blue Whale' social media game - WARNING to all parents/carers!

 Posted May 2017

'Blue Whale' is a dangerous new game that is played online and spreading through social media across Europe and into parts of the UK.

 NHS link to an interactive Healthy under 5’s page

Posted November 2016

Healthy Early Years is a newly created website, featuring downloadable content, along with a free mobile app packed with top tips to support parents, carers and frontline staff caring for children aged from 0-5 in Calderdale to be healthy, happy and safe: Launching on Tuesday 15th November, the resources have been developed by NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group and Calderdale Council in partnership with members of the public and local organisations as a major project within the Calderdale Vanguard.  Visit  


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