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Early years minister set to open Childcare Expo in London

Article By: Melissa McAlees, News Editor

Early years minister Caroline Dinenage will be heading to London Olympia on 3 and 4 March to welcome visitors to Childcare Expo.

Early years minister Caroline Dinenage  Credit: Conservative Flickr

With changes to early years funding, an increase in the National Living Wage, and new staff GSCE requirements, Childcare Expo is delighted to welcome Ms Dinenage, who will update visitors on the Government’s 30-hour free childcare offer, ahead of the national roll-out in September.

Emma Barrett, Childcare Expo's event director, said: "We are delighted to have Caroline Dinenage in attendance at our popular London event this year to open the show. With the ongoing pressure that the sector is currently facing, we wanted to provide our visitors with a lifeline where they can source key information and support during this difficult time.

"The event aims to distract and focus on the positives across the both days, and Caroline’s keynote speech, is just the start of the many industry leaders you will hear from."

Unmissable opportunities to learn from the best

The two-day exhibition for early years practitioners will include workshops and educational seminars from a range of industry leaders to discuss the latest implications facing the sector. Linda Thornton, David Wright, Dr Sue Allingham and Tamsin Grimmer will be covering essential topics including Reggio Emilia, 'The onion approach', 'Best men for the job?' and 'Tuning into terrific twos'.

Each session will provide its audience with the opportunity to share views and opinions whilst learning from past experiences.

James Hempsall will follow on from the early years minister’s keynote speech, helping visitors make sense of the 30-hour free childcare offer by sharing examples of how settings can achieve quality practice and financial sustainability.

June O’Sullivan, an influential early years voice in the industry, will also highlight the importance of effective leadership. She will hone in on her own experience and address some of the key factors that help professionals better understand how good leadership can be developed within childcare settings.

A world of discovery

Informative seminars

Incorporating the solid foundations of learning with literacy, mathematics and communication, a 'magical place to learn', hosted by Laser Learning and Wellington Day Nursery, will offer two days of enchanting discovery.

Visitors can immerse themselves in fairytale classics and remember the characters they once fell in love with. They can follow the yellow brick road through the fairytale wonderland and discover enlightening areas that children often create.

On Saturday 4 March, visitors will also be welcomed by Beauty and the Beast, along with Mrs Pots and Chip, who will perform a spell binding dance to bring children’s classic fairytales to life.

Inspirational workshops

For a fix of inspiration, drop-in workshops offer individuals an opportunity to develop existing knowledge of the early years or engage in new areas of interest.

The interactive sessions cover a range of topics including: 'signed circle times', 'having fun with phonics' and 'storytelling in the setting'.

Discussing how creepy crawlies can enhance early years’ settings, Faik Aktulga, director of Wild Fangs, will explore children’s fascination with nature and how this early curiosity forms an important part of a child’s overall development.

Jo Baranek, lead early years advisor from the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), will also be discussing how science fits into early years.

Keen to foster children’s explorative nature and create the next generation’s Tim Peake and Stephen Hawking, Ms Baranek will have a variety of hands-on, simple experiments for visitors to engage with.

Shopping village

Interactive workshops

Visitors are welcome to browse the shopping village, where over 80 exhibitors will be displaying a range of innovative products and services.

Nursery chain executives, nursery owners, managers, childminders and early years professionals can discover low or no cost activities that bring together education and play.

The exhibits have been designed to equip individuals with an array of fresh and exciting ideas to take back to their setting and share with young children.

Tickets and information

Childcare Expo continue to adapt and present new features that engage, motivate and bring a sense of achievement to its visitors.

Ms Barrett believes the show offers an opportunity to network with other early years professionals in a refreshing and stimulating environment, whilst taking advantage of special show offers and competitions.

She added: "The continuous attendance to the show after seven years proves how valuable the content is for early years practitioners who come along.

"Despite current pressures around funding and requirements, the childcare sector is stronger than ever and this can be seen by the mass of people who turn up to these events to continue to learn and develop to help inspire the next generation."

The exhibition, workshops and feature areas are all free to attend. Optional seminar sessions cost £15 when booked in advance and £21 when booked at the show. All prices include VAT.

To find out more information about Childcare Expo, including the full seminar and workshop programme and to register for your free tickets to the exhibition, visit


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