• Home
  • -
  • FAQs
  • How do I apply for a childcare space in a Sleepy Hollow branch?

    Click here for the enquiry form, and we will respond within three working days.

    If your child already attends school, then you may be offered a space immediately if we have availability; if not, you will be notified of what category you fall under on our waiting list and your position in that category.

    If your child isn’t due to start school until the next academic year, we will keep your details on file, and we open enrolment on the Monday each January for children starting school in that academic year.

  • What age can children start Sleepy Hollow wraparound units — can we take nursery children?

    We cannot take children of nursery school age in ANY of our school-aged wraparound facilities. The earliest children can start with us is the July before starting Primary One.

    We do offer separate wraparound pre school sites in St MacNissi’s and Braniel Primary School.

  • Can my child attend Sleepy Hollow Out of School Camps without attending term time?

    Of course! We open bookings slightly earlier for our existing clients, but you are free to apply for a space for your child to attend out-of-school camps only.

  • What age can children start in the day nursery or as we refer to them in Sleepy Hollow, Early Childhood Centre?

    We are registered for children as young as six weeks but if you want the honest answer on that… it’s too young for a child to be placed in group care. We suggest anywhere from six months upwards. We can accommodate all parents needs in terms of feeding, weaning, settling in and allergies. We work closely with parents to have a unique care plan in place for our child even though its group care.

  • How can I arrange a viewing of any Sleepy Hollow branch?

    The answer is you don’t need to book to come round and view any of our sites… BUT

    We would ask in our Day Nursery that you call round between 9.30am and 11.30am and then any time after 3.30pm. This is to allow for children sleeping, meal times and to ensure we keep disruption of our children’s routines to a minimum.

    In our wraparounds we suggest calling at breakfast club or again after 3pm to allow the staff to concentrate on pick ups at the busy times of 2pm and 3pm.

  • Why choose Sleepy Hollow over another setting?

    We would love to say that it’s because we are the best — and whilst we truly believe we are — there are many many other excellent childcare facilities in Northern Ireland who are each offering their own unique services. We would suggest that you make enquiries with several settings before settling on one — childcare is such a big decision and an expense so it’s important that you make the right choice.

    If we don’t have any current availability in our Early Childhood Centre we can recommend our neighbouring setting Oaktree Day Nursery or in neighbouring Glenavy we can recommend Little Cricketts.

    In our school age childcare branches there are many neighbouring childminders, day nurseries and out of school clubs and you can do a dedicated search for all registered childcare provision using this link.

    Again if we can’t offer spaces out immediately we can retain your name on a waiting list and will keep you updated as spaces become available.

  • Financial Assistance with childcare costs — available for most parents

    We would highly recommend that parents contact Employers for Childcare in regard to financial assistance with childcare costs. Employers for Childcare can help ease some of the burden on parents by offering a Freephone helpline 028 9267 8200 and personalised advice and guidance to ensure you and your family is getting the financial support you are entitled to.

    Employers for childcare work is two-fold, they administer a free telephone helpline and an outreach service alongside carrying out research and lobbying work on parents and childcare providers behalf. Last year they helped over 13,000 people and carried out almost 4,000 personalised benefits checks — parents who received one of these checks identified average savings of £2,800.

  • What is tax-free childcare?

    Currently you can get up to £500 every 3 months (up to £2,000 a year) for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. This goes up to £1,000 every 3 months if a child is disabled (up to £4,000 a year).

    Parents are to apply so long as their earnings are less than £100,000 — so in a two parent household this could be up to £200,000.

    Link to HMRC website for tax-free childcare application: https://www.gov.uk/tax-free-childcare

  • SWOT analysis for School Principals, Leadership Teams or Boards of Governors considering opening a Wraparound Childcare setting in their Primary School

    There are lots of reasons for providing wraparound childcare on primary school sites in Northern Ireland and beyond. We have two decades of experience in providing registered wraparound care so have prepared a SWOT analysis which you may find beneficial for school leadership teams in deciding what the benefits are. Of course we will always advocate that schools strongly consider outsourcing or working in partnership with a provider which of course frees school staff up to concentrate on educating children, allowing the playwork and childcare professionals take care of all of the wraparound provision. A full briefing of our SWOT analysis in on our YouTube channel (link below)

  • Sleepy Hollow are Curiosity Approach accredited — what is the Curiosity Approach?

    The Curiosity Approach is an early years approach that puts the child’s interests at the centre of their educational experience. The Curiosity Approach encourages creativity, problem-solving, and deep learning by listening to the child and creating environments and interactions around their interests. The approach is based on the belief that children are naturally curious, creative and capable of great things.

    For more information from a parents perspective on the Curiosity Approach click on this link https://www.thecuriosityapproach.com/parents

    Sleepy Hollow has also featured in the Curiosity Approach Book — From ordinary to extraordinary

    Front cover of the book: The Curiosity Approach — From Ordinary to Extraordinary

  • Why do Sleepy Hollow Group believe parents should consider school based wraparound childcare over other registered childcare options?

    The main benefit of school-based wraparound childcare is that it offers extended hours for children and parents, allowing for more flexibility and convenience when it comes to childcare.

    This type of childcare allows parents to work longer hours or attend other activities without worrying about childcare. As well as this, children may benefit from having more significant social opportunities and socialisation during playtime outside of regular nursery school hours and increased opportunities for educational activities. Wraparound care is a valuable option for parents needing more flexibility and convenience when managing childcare needs.

    Parents can also benefit from doing the school run each day, even if it isn’t at the ‘regular’ school start and finishing times, and we know these things matter to parents. Children can also attend any school-based extracurricular activities as Sleepy Hollow are on-site and can pick up at any time.

    Sleepy Hollow pays a small rent back to school, which mostly covers operational costs but can contribute to other school funds. Sleepy Hollow has also fundraiser for PTA and, on occasion, sponsor PTA events. This ensures a strong school and community ethos.

    Sleepy Hollow is a registered childcare provider meaning that parents should all be able to avail of childcare savings.

  • Sleepy Hollow refers to playwork in their school age childcare settings. What is playwork?

    Playwork is a profession concerned with creating and providing play opportunities for children and young people in a variety of settings, including nurseries, schools, residential facilities, parks and playgrounds. Playworkers create a safe, stimulating play environment and use their skills to facilitate play experiences that help children and young people to explore, create and make sense of the world around them while also challenging themselves and having fun.

    Playworkers at Sleepy Hollow aim to facilitate many different playtypes. Playtypes were developed by the late great Bob Hughes for adults who study and facilitate play. The main playtypes are as follows:

    Communication Play – play using words, nuances or gestures, for example: mime, jokes, play acting, mickey taking, singing, debate, and poetry. Communication play uses the whole body – from facial expressions, hand gestures, body demonstrating and vocal.

    Creative Play – play which allows a new response, the transformation of information, awareness of new connections, with an element of surprise.

    This play type is one of the most visual by allowing a child to access loose parts, arts and craft materials.

    Deep Play – play which allows the child to encounter risky or even potentially life threatening experiences, develop survival skills and conquer fear.

    This type of play is defined by play behaviour that can also be classed as risky or adventurous. This has significant benefits for a child’s development.

    Dramatic Play – play which dramatises events in which the child is not a direct participator.

    Children may also wish to use make-up and costumes in this type of play.

    Exploratory Play – play to access factual information consisting of manipulative behaviours such as handling, throwing, banging or mouthing objects.

    Fantasy Play – play which rearranges the world in the child’s way, a way which is unlikely to occur, for example, being a superhero or sitting on a cloud.

    Imaginative Play – play where the conventional rules, which govern the physical world, do not apply, for example pretending to be an animal, or having a make-believe friend to being an object, i.e. a tree.

    Locomotor Play – movement in any or every direction for its own sake, for example, playing chase, jumping, skipping and climbing trees.

    Mastery Play – control of the physical and affective ingredients of the environments, for example, making a dam in a stream, building a bonfire and digging holes in the earth or sand.

    Object Play – play uses infinite and exciting sequences of hand-eye manipulations and movements, i.e. examining an item, and looking into how and why something works.

    Recapitulative Play – a play that allows the child to explore ancestry, history, rituals, stories, rhymes, fire and darkness. Enables children to access play of earlier human evolutionary stages.

    Role Play – play exploring ways of being, although not generally of an intense personal, social, domestic or interpersonal nature. This could be a child pretending to be driving a car, ironing, or piloting a plane.

    Rough and Tumble Play – close encounter play which is less to do with fighting and more to do with touching, tickling, gauging relative strength. Discovering physical flexibility and the exhilaration of display. This will not involve any deliberate hurting but children should be laughing and having fun.

    Social Play – play during which the rules and criteria for social engagement and interaction can be revealed, explored and amended. This could be playing a game together, building an item together, or creating something together.

    Socio-dramatic Play – the enactment of real and potential experiences of an intense personal, social, domestic or interpersonal nature. This could be playing at mums and dads, or playing house.

    Symbolic Play – play which allows control, gradual exploration and increased understanding without the risk of being out of one’s depth. Example a stick becomes a sword or light saber a flower becomes a wand.

  • What are the benefits of a playwork approach in your school age childcare sites?

    In our opinion Playwork is the most suitable ‘curriculum’ for school age childcare. We see the wonderful work that our teachers in NI do in term of educating our children and young people. We also facilitate homework time in our wraparound so we believe that the educational needs of children are more than well catered for in our schools and with parents at home. Therefore we focus our time on ensuring that childcare are given the time and freedom to play so we follow a playwork approach.

    We believe this benefits children in many ways. It…

    1. Facilitates Social Skills: Playwork can help children to interact effectively with others, develop communication skills, practice problem-solving, learn how to share, and increase their feelings of self-esteem.
    2. Develops Creativity: Playwork encourages creative thinking in children by providing them with ample opportunities to explore and express their ideas. It also teaches them about cooperation, compromise and problem-solving.
    3. Offers Physical Benefits: Playwork keeps children active and encourages the development of gross motor skills. It also helps to improve their physical stamina, strength and coordination.
    4. Stimulates Cognitive Development: Through playwork, children can learn basic math and science concepts, as well as develop their language, reading and writing skills.
    5. Enhances Emotional Development: Playwork helps children explore their emotions, build resilience, and strengthen their relationships.
    6. Promotes Positive Mental Well-Being: by providing physical and emotional outlets, giving children a sense of achievement, providing an opportunity for relaxation, helping young people to build social connections, improving self-esteem, and reducing stress. It can give children a sense of purpose and help them stay mentally engaged in meaningful activities. It can also help to reduce boredom and promote creativity, problem-solving and planning skills. Play can also provide an enjoyable and safe space to express emotions, providing an opportunity for self-reflection and personal growth. Lastly, it encourages healthy communication, helping to foster strong personal friendships with children of all ages in primary school.
  • Does Sleepy Hollow operate a pre-school or nursery school?

    Sleepy Hollow partners with three settings to operate nursery school provisions for children in their pre-school year — that is, the year before enrolling children into primary school. Parents need to enrol for these pre-schools via the Education Authority on this link (click here).

    Pre-school with fully registered wraparound childcare facilities — with afternoon care bolt-on to 3pm or 6pm and a no-charge breakfast club option in Lisburn, Aldergrove and Holywood. 

    Lisburn: (click here)

    Aldergrove: (click here)

    Holywood: (click here)

    Enrolling in our preschool partner settings is an excellent way to give your child the early learning opportunity they need to excel in the future. The early years preschool program is designed to develop your child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills while they have fun. We focus on individualised learning, creating meaningful, hands-on experiences tailored to each child’s strengths and interests. Our qualified and experienced early years specialists, educators and assistants all strive to ensure your child’s success, providing them with the best foundation possible to build upon in the future.

    Apply here for preschool space.

    Apply for wrap-around provision for preschool will open once you have applied for a preschool space — you MUST apply for the preschool space first.

Awards & Recognition