What we offer
Our Pre-School is a warm, nurturing environment for your child to learn through play. Fun, love and plentiful activities are at the heart of everything we do. We create a safe, secure place for children to learn through play, build their social skills and develop their confidence and independence.
Pre-School runs 39 weeks of the year. We are based in the grounds Sandygate School so we follow their term dates. Our sessions run 9-12 and 12-3. There is the option of an earlier drop off and a later pickup. Pre-School children are not generally admitted to our out of school clubs though.
Naturally we have close links with Sandygate school, however this does not mean your child has to go on to Sandygate for reception. We are seeing ever increasing numbers of children going to other schools.
What we get up to
Pre-School is all about fun and play. We provide a wide range of opportunities and activities that will engage and stretch your child as they develop. Our plans, choice of equipment and activities are chosen to present children with things they will see as play and fun activities. Learning comes from these opportunities, with our staff providing the love and encouragement necessary for your child to keep on trying until they succeed.
We always have a wide range of activities and equipment available indoors, plus specific activities set out each day. Children are able to play outside most of the time if they choose to. We love messy play, high energy and lots of laughter.
Each child is part of a keyworker group, with one or two keyworkers responsible for them. The bond with the keyworker is really important, and you should be able to approach them at any point to discuss concerns or to get an update. They are responsible for supporting, monitoring and recording your child’s progress through Pre-School. Usually, Keyworker groups stay together until they go to school.
Plans and Themes
We follow a theme for approximately half a term, which we weave into our weekly activities. Our weekly plans build on the theme to give a varied program of activities to engage the children.
In addition, your child keyworker will have a plan that gives your child activities and play opportunities that support their development.
Teatimers is a purpose-built building, designed to give children the spaces they need to play and flourish. We have a single large room, divided into areas for different purposes. Periodically we change the entire layout to keep things fresh and to meet the needs of the current cohort of children.
We have ample outside space for the children to explore. A large covered area offers room for free play, as well as a sandpit and mud kitchen. We also have access to the school playground for extra physical activity. The front of our building is used for more imaginative play and group activities.
Pre-Schools and Nurseries in England all follow the same rules. These rules are known as the ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’ (EYFS). The curriculum we follow is known as ‘Development Matters.’
In short, development matters is a series of statements that explain where most children will be at a given age across 7 key areas. We use it to assess each child’s development, in a way we can easily share with you using our online app.
Additional enrichment activities
In addition to our own education we have external teachers who come in to deliver enriching activities on specific days. At present we offer Creative Dance and Playball. These sessions are very popular with children and families. There is an additional charge for these sessions to cover the cost of the teacher so families can choose to opt out of these sessions if they choose
Early Years Funding (EYF) can seem complicated to start with. However, we are responsible for most of the paperwork and the claims process and will guide you through the process.
Currently, we can take all the forms of Early Years funding.
The official, up to date, explanation of how funding works and what you can get is available on the government website childcarechoices.gov.uk.
How to apply for a place
You can put your child on our waiting list at any time. It does not commit you to take a place, and there is no deposit required.
Generally, applications start arriving anywhere between a child’s first and third birthdays. When looking for pre-schools our advice is:
- You need to be comfortable from the outset, so look at more than one setting in order to make your final choice.
- Start early so that you know what your options are. We can only offer you the places and days we have available.
We seem to have gained a reputation for always being full. Do check with us as this is often not the case. So far, there has always been space for everyone in September and a few more in January.
Admissions and transition
This is the process of getting from the waiting list to a settled, happy child. The main steps in the process are:
- An electronic form sent out to everyone on the waiting list. This allows you to confirm if you still want the place, and to provide the basic information we need to progress.
- A phone call / further discussion of any needs or requirements and to arrange a taster session for your child.
- If required, a taster session towards the end of the term before your child starts.
- Firm offer of a place, along with the specific daily sessions.
- Completing Registration, funding forms, healthcare plans etc.
- Staggered starts at the beginning of their first term to make sure we can offer every child the best start.
We do have a process for prioritising which sessions are offered to which families to try and manage our workload and to provide opportunities to younger children. Generally, families wanting more sessions will be fitted in first, along with younger children not yet ready for more sessions.
What is the minimum number of sessions?
Our current minimum is 2 sessions per week, though we strongly recommend more as there is a limit to how many opportunities we can provide in this time.
When can I change the session my child attends?
In general, in taking a place you commit to those sessions for the term and we plan everything based on this attendance. If you wish to drop sessions, this can be done at the end of term. If you wish to switch a session to a different day or add a session we will do so where space and resources allow.
Can I have an ad-hoc preschool session if I need cover?
Yes. When you really need us, we will find an ad hoc space if at all possible. Even if a session is full, holidays and sickness can often create the space you want. Let us know what you need and we will do our best for you.
What about lunch?
Children eat lunch just after 12, as part of the afternoon session. You need to provide a packed lunch. A drink is not necessary as we will provide fresh water.
Snacks and Drinks
Water is always available, children are shown where to get it and helped as necessary.
We have a snack time where children will be offered a healthy snack and water or milk.
Is my child progressing OK?
We continually observe our children and make regular assessments of their progress. These observations and assessments are available to view via our ParentZone app as soon as they are published.
We are usually available for a quick chat at drop of or pick up. If you need a longer chat, let us know and we will arrange it.
We have parents evening twice a year which gives everyone the opportunity to talk about how their child is progressing.
If you have questions or concerns about your child or their progress, then please speak to us straight away.