What is the CAA? A UK First that Parents Need to Know About
Children’s activities are a valued and much-loved feature in the weekly routine for many families countrywide. When attending a structured activity, class or club, it is only natural for parents to assume that the organiser is regulated. But this is not always the case. In fact, it is shocking to learn that up until 2 years ago; there was no code of practice or even any guidelines in place to monitor standards in the children’s activities sector or to help parents make informed choices regarding the wealth of providers out there.
With so many children engaged in activities throughout the UK each week and the average family investing considerable time and money in clubs and classes, it is truly remarkable that independent guidelines were not in place. However, thanks to the Children’s Activities Association (CAA), this alarming gap has been filled. When choosing activities, parents can now easily get peace of mind on a range of important issues such as insurance, health and safety, criminal record checks, training, qualifications, class content and much more just by asking one question – ‘Are you a CAA member?’
Set-up by leading industry experts in 2015, the CAA is a not-for-profit, industry-led independent association committed to setting and raising standards in all organised children’s activities across the UK. This ground-breaking national initiative has truly revolutionised the industry and how parents can now make choices with their pioneering Code of Practice and an accreditation system (lead by one of the UK’s leading experts in child development, Dr Amanda Gummer PhD) – that parents can trust.
Activity providers joining the CAA commit to the Code of Practice and the comprehensive accreditation programme, thus clearly demonstrating their drive to deliver the very best for children and their passion for excellence. The CAA brand gives recognition to those providers who excel and gives parents a ‘benchmark’ – the reassurance they need when selecting classes for their little ones from the myriad of providers out there. From baby massage to swimming, gymnastics to crafts and football to yoga, ensuring that the provider is a CAA member is now an important part of the decision-making process for moms, dads, and carers.
The brainchild of the organisation is Sam Willoughby, multi-award-winning business owner and mum who says, “I have loved taking my own daughter to many children’s activities since she was a baby, so much so I created online guides and awards back in 2006 to help other parents find activities to enjoy with their kids. Having worked in this thriving business area for over a decade, I realised that the companies working so hard to deliver excellence for children had no way to get any independent accreditation. I was in a unique position to bring together leading providers and experts in the field to make this a reality. We have worked hard to develop a relevant Code of Practice and robust accreditation process, and so now, for the first time, parents can feel confident making informed decisions when making their choices’.
Thanks to the CAA, parents don’t have to ask dozens of questions any more when considering an activity for their kids – simply checking whether the provider is CAA accredited will give them the peace of mind they need – and with more than 200,000 children attending a CAA member class every week, there’s something for everyone.