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Childcare minister Sam Gyimah to open this year's Childcare Expo

Article By: Ellie Spanswick, News Editor

Following the success of the 2014 Childcare Expo in London, the event is set to return to the Olympia conference centre on 6-7 March.

Sam Gyimah, childcare minister

Attracting nearly 2,000 visitors, a mix of early years practitioners and childcare experts, the free event provides a chance to meet with other practitioners and discover new ideas to use within their practice. There are more than 80 exhibitors booked to attend the event so far.

Childcare minister, Sam Gyimah, will give an opening speech where childcare practitioners will be able hear his plans for the early years sector.

Director of the event, Emma Barrett said: “We are delighted to welcome the Minister to the show, his speech, will take place shortly after the event opens at 10am, available to all visitors to Childcare Expo.”

She continued: “The reputation of the show is growing year upon year; the show this March is drawing back visitors from last year’s launch event as well as attracting many new visitors within the early years, childcare and nursery sector, who are discovering the show for the first time.”

Exclusive competitions and discounts

The free event will host a number of workshops and ticketed seminars, whilst visitors will have the opportunity to enter exclusive competitions and make the most of special show discounts for resources and equipment for their nurseries and pre-schools.

Exhibitors at the show offer a full range of different products including educational toys, furniture, food services, teaching supports, cost management systems and some of the latest technology.

Ms Barrett spoke of how previous visitors have made the Childcare Expo part of their yearly education and research regime to meet with others in the industry and hear about some of the latest events and resources.

She said: “One of our main focuses as event organisers is to listen to our exhibitors and visitors and develop the show in line with their feedback, it is due to this that we have been able to offer visitors more of what they have enjoyed each year and plans for our next show will reflect this.”

Informative seminars

Seminars will be held throughout the day for visitors to attend, covering a range of subjects, including; ‘Developing Young Children’s Creativity’ and ‘Government Policies and Qualifications’ ensuring that several areas of early years education and recruitment are covered.

Early years practitioners play a key role in developing relationships children have with food and this is another valuable topic that is being explored at the Childcare Expo.

One of the risky areas that childcare practitioners and parents both face is food too often becoming weapons or rewards.

Dr Emma Haycraft, senior lecturer at Loughborough University and Jill Wheatcroft from Riverside Cares have looked at this risky area. They will be presenting their findings during a free hour long workshop along with providing some evidence–based tips to help children develop and maintain healthy eating behaviours.

Penny Johns, director of studies at Montessori Centre International and Dr Marion Nash, chartered educational psychologist and author will also be giving their insights into childcare at the event.

Free workshops to see creative ideas and techniques in practices

The event will also include a number of free workshops where visitors can see creative ideas and educational techniques in practice, including: 'Magic with Fruit and Veg', 'Having Fun with Phonics in the Early Years!' and 'Magical Mark Making'.

London based social enterprise; ‘I know why it’s yum, mum!’ will be attending the show to promote the benefits of healthy eating in an entertaining, musical and educational way.

Natasha Gavin, founder of ‘I know why it’s yum, mum!’ is known as the Rainbow Fairy and has made it her mission to get children to love eating a rainbow of different fruit and vegetables.

‘I know why it’s yum, mum!’ hosts a show titled ‘Dr Freg and the fruit and vegetable mysteries’ and performs to 20,000 children in South East of England and surrounding areas.

The shows are performed in nurseries, reception classes and children’s centres. Speaking about the workshops and performances, she said: “We do about 100 rainbow workshops each month and also do several other workshops and a show for nursery and reception children. Some schools and nurseries have also invited parents to watch me during workshops to pick up tips and early years teachers always tell me what I do is particularly effective as it is so tailored to the age group.

“Each rainbow workshop is about 55 minutes long and many schools and nurseries we go to regularly, like once each half term and 80 per cent of our bookings are returning customers.”

’Such a diverse seminar and workshop programme’

The show has been praised by teachers and children who have commended its education storylines and the limited edition Top Trump card that have been produced for children to use after the show. The cards have been designed using photos of fruit, vegetables, cereals and seeds and show their nutritional values per portion as well as interesting facts for children to learn and enjoy.

She added: “Younger children enjoy reading them over dinner with parents and carers, before bed, using them to sort fruit, veg, cereals and seeds and to identify fresh produce in their fridge, or shop.”

Ms Barrett added: “We are pleased to be able to offer such a diverse seminar and workshop programme for this event as well as a range of other features including TTS’s Learning Location that focuses on ideas to help deliver quality learning opportunities for children. But, of course, it is our exhibitors who help make Childcare Expo the treasure trove of products, services and resources it has become known to be. We are looking forward to welcoming back many of last year’s suppliers and meeting some new faces on the exhibition floor.”

The Childcare Expo has received sponsorship from Morton Michel Insurance for the sixth consecutive year and will give early years professionals the opportunity to meet in an engaging environment and hear about the latest teaching methods, resources and play equipment and technology.

Seminar sessions cost £12 when booked in advance and £15 when booked at the show. All prices include VAT. Workshops are free for all visitors to attend. For more information about Childcare Expo and to register for your free tickets please visit


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