A children’s centre provides fun and interactive sessions for babies, toddlers, and young children under 5 years, to attend with their parents/ carers. This includes stories, rhymes, music, games, and creative activities.
They also provide valuable advice, support and guidance for parents, prospective parents, and carers.
How does a children’s centre support early childhood development?
A children’s centre aims to give young children the best possible start in life by offering education, health, and wellbeing services. With this, there are tailored sessions for different age groups and to those with special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND).
Children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)
All sessions at the children's centres are inclusive regardless of needs.
Sessions for children with SEND
There are also tailored sessions for children with SEND. The child does not need a diagnosis to attend the group but will have identified additional needs.
Centre for children with SEND
The Stephen Wiltshire Centre (SWC) is a specialist centre for children with SEND and their families, who live in Hammersmith & Fulham. As part of their services, they run play and stay sessions for children aged 0 to 5 with SEND.
The SWC 0 to 5 little explorers is a drop-in group, where families with children under 5 can attend and receive support and information in a play environment, from staff at the SWC.
The structure of the session includes free play, song time and snack time, with all activities differentiated to ensure all children can access them.
Do centres provide free vitamins, fruit, and vegetables?
Yes, but this is based on family circumstances and the child’s age
- Free vitamins are available for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under 4 years.
- Free Rose Vouchers are available for families on low income who have a child(ren) under 4 years to buy fruit and veg at North End Road Market and Shepherd’s Bush Market.
Things to keep in mind
- are free or require a small fee
- are inclusive regardless of need
- may take place online
- require a booking in advance
- timetables vary at each location
If you are accessing a session for the first time, it is likely you will need to register with the centre providing the session.
Where is my nearest children’s centre
In Hammersmith & Fulham, children’s centre services are delivered by the:
- H&F Early Years Service
- H&F Stephen Wilshire Centre - for families of children with SEND
- Urban Partnership Group (UPG) (Masbro)
A variety of sessions and activities take place at children’s centres and some additional sessions take place at other locations such as libraries.
See Find your nearest children's centre. Each service webpage will direct you to their timetable.