Do you want the best for your child? Of course you do.

Yet, it seems once you set foot outside the front door, your influence ceases.

But there's a group of individuals and organisations, all with different experiences and knowledge, who want your contribution, your views, your experience as a parent. How does it feel to be in demand? It isn't a starring role on offer, but it is an opportunity for you to roll up your sleeves and help decide policy that will affect the education and development of your child.

So, what are we talking about? East Sussex Early Years Development And Childcare Partnership (EYDCP) is one of 150 EYDCPs set up nationwide to manage the National Childcare Strategy, launched in 1998.

The strategy spelled out a massive expansion programme, backed initially by £390 million nationally and a further £170 million of Lottery money to help new out-of-school clubs set up.

For early education and childcare, the long-time Cinderella of education, this was manna from heaven. But it had to reflect what local people wanted and children needed. And this is where the EYDCP, which is genuinely democratic, comes in. Supported by a team at County Hall, the EYDCP consists of representatives from the local community, who sit on EYDCP community partnerships and manage the expansion.

Naturally, all the expected organisations are there, from nurseries, out-of-school clubs and primary schools to the Health Authority and groups like Newhaven Childcare Initiativeand Hastings And County District Under-Fives Association.

What is missing, though, is input from parents, who, as the child's first teacher, are crucial.

What would your role be? First, to reflect the views of other parents. So, if you are a parent governor or belong to a Parent Teacher Association you would be particularly welcome.

How much you do is down to you, with scope to have a real influence on training, quality and special educational needs. EYDCP development officers are ready with open arms. Interested? Ring KITES.