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The playgroup
 

Our latest OFSTED report is in the lobby for you to look through at any time. Or you can access it here : reports.ofsted.gov.uk

 

Our key policies are available to read in our Policy Section on the website or paper copies are kept in the Policy folder in setting - available to look at upon request.

 

We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage which carries onto the end of the primary school reception year [age five /six] This initially covers three prime areas: Physical development, Communication and Language and Personal, Social and Emotional development. Leading onto the four specific areas: Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the world, Expressive Arts and Design.   We discuss subjects children can relate to – such as ‘seasons’/ ‘where we live’ and follow their interests, we aim to provide the resources to support children’s play and provide an environment where children feel  happy, safe and secure.

 

The statutory requirements for ratios of children to staff are: 

2 – 3 years of age: 4:1 adult, and 3 – 4 years of age: 8:1

We run term time only: 38 weeks a year.

Admissions
 

New admissions:

We take children from two years of age. Our policy is to accept children for a minimum of two sessions a week – this is just enough to make a regular routine for your child and so we can get to know them too. We register and book sessions for children primarily by date of birth. Please see our admissions policy for further details. We are also registered to take Funded Two, 3 & 4 year olds – please see below for further details or contact us.

We work closely with Parents/carers to ensure your child settles into playgroup as easily as possible. Some children are happy to be left quite quickly; others may need longer before their parent/carer can leave them for a whole session. We treat each child individually and work with you to make your child’s transition into playgroup as easy as we can. We offer a home visit to meet both parent and child, to chat about your child’s stage of development [starting points], registration details etc. We also ask parents to make one or two settling in visits before they start – where you stay with your child at Playgroup for part or all of a session. Also please see the ‘New children’ section in Sessions and Fees.

On your home visit you will be given a booklet "All about me" we ask you to complete with your child before starting with us so we get to know a little more about them when they first start - the children often enjoy sharing it with us, looking together and talking about things they like, dislike or names of family members and pets.

Please note your child does not need to be toilet trained to attend Playgroup.

We are happy to pick up/drop off children to the day nursery also in the Sports field if Parents need this[please consult with nursery first].

Registration:

A completed registration form is needed when you wish to register your child at playgroup.

We also ask for a photocopy of your child’s birth certificate/passport [we can do this] ready for the future grant application-proof of ID. We also ask for a voluntary contribution of £15 [or £20.00 for twins] towards admin costs when your child starts with us.

About twice a year we will ask for the registration form to be re-written/checked/updated, so all details are current [If your contact details etc. have not changed just let us know] Do please keep us informed of any change to your e-mail address/mobile-home telephone numbers or medical/allergy history.

Please note: if a mobile phone number is given as an emergency contact number, please ensure it is contactable at all times while your child is at Playgroup unless you are at home and we can contact you there.

 
Sessions & Fees

The playgroup routine:

We have a regular routine, which helps children develop a sense of time and sequencing. Also children feel more confident when they know what is coming next.

The morning playgroup sessions run from 9.00am to 11.30am. This is for all children [up to a maximum of 36 per session] while the afternoon sessions are smaller groups with children taken in date of birth order[up to 24 per session] these run from 12.30pm to 3.00pm. Lunch club is from 11.30-12.30.

We can offer flexibility within these times also -Please see examples below:

  1. 9am -11.30am: session only – now can also be 9.15-11.45 or 9.30 – 12.00

  2. 9am -12.30am: session & lunch club – now can also be 9.15-12.45 or 9.30 – 1.00pm

Please note: Unless you have booked lunch club we cannot offer any flexibility for children coming 12.30-3pm

You do not need to tell us in advance if you wish your child to arrive earlier/later – just turn up on the day. Please just fill in the times you arrive and wish to leave on the flexi-time list on the board in the lobby.

For children in receipt of the grant - 15 hours per week and for eligible families 30 hours

As well as the times above children can come for blocks of three hours, over two and a half days- for e.g. Mon, Tues 9-3 pm and Wed 9-12. Or, in blocks of five hours [9.30-2.30 x 3 days] please chat with Cindy to discuss this. You are also welcome to have over 15 hours per week. For 30 hours we are open from 9-3 pm Monday to Fridays.

The Early Years Grant:

Currently, the term after a child’s third birthday is when parents can claim the government grant. This entitles parents to claim up to 15 hours per week at one or more establishments – and for eligible families up to 30 hours.  Please ask for more details if required. We will give out forms to all parents of eligible children at the appropriate time. The claim forms will need to be completed each term. Please note we are unable to change a claim made mid-term. The cut off dates are currently: 1st January 1st April. 1st September [i.e. child’s 3rd birthday is 4th January – eligible for grant from 1st April] We are also registered for Funded Two’s.

Funded Twos:

children eligible can access up to fifteen hours per week –  if Parents are in receipt of any of the following:

Income Support

Income-based job seekers allowance

Income-related Employment and support allowance

Child tax credit [provided you are not also entitled to Working tax credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190

The guaranteed element of  State Pension Credit

Working Tax Credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for working tax credit.

Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum act 1999

More information on the childcare choices website here or speak to Cindy or Sharon.

Our Administrator, Sharon, works part-time and is in the office on Tuesdays to deal with the government grant, session requests/changes, fees, budget etc. Please phone/email Sharon [sharon.pgoffice@btinternet.com] if you have any queries on these matters at all.

Payment of Fees:

For 2-3 year olds: Fees are £15.00 for a morning session of two and a half hours. Payment is due each ½ term though please ask if you would prefer to pay weekly.

Lunch Club is £6.00 p/h 

For 3-4 year olds: the government grant currently provides 15 free hours of childcare, or, if eligible up to 30 hours. If you wish to have more than 15 hours and are not eligible to claim for 30 the hourly rate is £6.00.

Please note we require four weeks term time notice or payment in lieu if you wish to reduce existing sessions or withdraw your child permanently from playgroup .

It is also playgroup policy not to refund any fees when a child is off sick or on holiday. However, if there are special circumstances, such as a hospital stay, we will consider the situation individually. 

We also have regular ‘Cooking Weeks’ – when all children have a turn to join in a baking session then take their cooking home with them. We ask Parents for a voluntary contribution of £3 each term towards the cost of ingredients.

Daily Routine
 

9:00 - Free play [inside]

Pre-school children: Red Group [in their year before school] go first into the Red room for self registration.

All other children self register in the Blue room [Blue Group] then they all access the Blue room and Red room independently for free-play.  We have a wide range of activities on offer – books/headphones, computer, musical instruments, maths and science area, home corner [role play] water trough, craft area, painting easel, construction, mark-making, play dough and fine motor, large floor area for construction/imaginative play.

9:30 - Free flow play [in & out time]/ Rolling snack

This is when the main doors to the playground are opened and the children can access outside as well as inside, choosing what they would like do. We have a large playground and veranda, with a fantastic scramble net and log ‘trim trail’ on the safety area along with a large covered sandpit.

We also have a wide selection of bikes and trikes, mud kitchen, small sand trough, water trough, construction shed with tools and large wooden blocks, hoops, bats and balls, ball net and a woodwork bench, outdoor home corner, small world play - dinosaur land, cars. 

At the rear of our building we have two raised vegetable beds where the children help grow raspberries and strawberries then in the spring term we plant and tend to potatoes and tomatoes - harvesting when ready and enjoying them for our snack time.

We have an apple tree too where we can pick the apples for our snack-time fruit.

Throughout the year the children help us tend to assorted bulbs and flowers that we plant and water together.

We have a large extension to our main building completed July 2010. We also had safety flooring installed around the trim trail.

Cooking Weeks usually happen twice per half term – dates in the activities at home sheet, newsletter and in the lobby. All children have a turn to join in the cooking session if they wish, then take their cooking home with them. A voluntary contribution is requested to help cover the cost of ingredients. This is a very popular activity with the children.

10-11am - Rolling snack

The children help to clear the table and set up for snack time, this is where a member of staff sits with groups of children at the table; children soon get used to the routine of washing their hands, finding their names on the self registration board[so we can ensure ALL children have a drink], selecting their own cup before sitting down, they can then help to chop up the fruit, pour out their milk or water and have a biscuit[we sometime offer alternatives to biscuits like toast where they are encouraged to spread their own butter and topping]. This is a social time where children get chance to talk with the adult and their peers-whilst understanding the importance of hand washing before eating, taking turns, sharing, using their manners and clearing away - washing up their own cups when they have finished.

11:30 - Home time for morning children

The session ends at 11.30 [unless using flexi time then 12]. Please wait in the lobby for your child.[ring the doorbell if outer door is closed]

A member of staff will collect your children from their group/play/activity when you arrive to collect them and bring them to you in the lobby.

Children may be arriving now if attending lunch club and the afternoon session.

Collection:

If someone else will be collecting your child, please give us a brief description if possible and also make sure they know your password – we will ask for parents to give us a unique password so their child can be collected by family/friends.

We need to make sure that anyone collecting your child is authorised to do so. If no description/ password is given then we will always ring parents for confirmation before releasing the child to them.

The children’s WORKBOX is put in the lobby ready for parents on the table. Please look through it to find your child’s artwork, newsletters etc (the work is in front of their name).

Please telephone the playgroup if you think you may be late collecting your child, or if someone else will be collecting them [late collections may be charged for and will be recorded under safeguarding so please try to be prompt]

Please be punctual collecting your child at the end of the day.

If you arrange for another playgroup parent to collect your child we still need confirmation from you first before we can let your child leave the building. If this will be a regular arrangement just let us know [in writing/via email] and we will notify the door staff.

11:35- Tidy up time

All children help to tidy up [put things back where they belong] outside and inside.

11:45 - Activity/Story time

Children then divide into Red and Blue groups. Red group discuss the activities they’ve done that session and will participate in a group activities based around  topics, physical activities, music and movement, yoga and mindfulness or following the children's interests. Blue group have an interactive story and songs sessions.

11.30 - 12:30 Lunch club

We operate a ‘lunch club’ for children: this consists of 11.30-12.00 activity/story time, 12-12.30 lunch. The cost is £6.00. When your child is in receipt of the grant this hour can be claimed. Please ask if interested these do prove to be very popular and we have limited spaces available becoming filled quickly.

You can either permanently book a lunch session or book occasionally, depending on availability. Children need to bring a packed lunch, in a cool bag/lunchbox – named please. As for the main sessions, no refund can be given for absence at lunch clubs.

We encourage healthy eating at Playgroup and ask parents not to put sweets or chocolates in the lunchbox – see notice board/leaflet for ideas.

12:30 Home time for those attending morning and lunch

[Unless using flexi time]

Afternoon sessions

We suggest children start with one or two afternoon sessions (depending on their stage of development) as well as their morning sessions and possibly increase this later in the year if wanted. Afternoon tend to consist of children from 3 years of age although this is flexible dependent on need and the individual child. 

While children enjoy free play following their interests we offer adult initiated and adult led activities for the children. With a smaller group of children and narrower age range the sessions offer children the opportunity to build on friendships and further extend and develop skills, while also helping to ease a child’s transition into school. Snack time in the afternoon involves all children sitting at the tables at the same time. They take turns to be the 'table monitor' giving them responsibility to count the children, get the cups needed and also to pass biscuits around-something they really seem to enjoy. 

When finished they are encouraged to help clear away the table - washing up their own cups ready for their end of day story.

All day - Extended Sessions

Children can come all day. This means their day runs from 9.00 – 3.00 pm. This incorporates two sessions with lunch club in-between. These run from Monday – Friday.

The pm sessions run as follows:

  • 12.30: Free play – in the Red room[whilst blue room is tidied/swept after lunch]

  • 1.30: Free Flow in & out play - children can access inside and outside areas

  • 2.30 Tidy up time in & out

  • Group snack – all children sitting together

  • 2.45: Story and song – in the Red room.

  • 3.00: Home time.

All times are approximate and can change according to children's interests/the weather, etc.

To and From Home
 

Nature Table

We have a nature table at Playgroup and would welcome objects to add to this – for e.g. leaves/conkers in autumn, blossom in spring etc. These would also be great to use for show and tell-Topic related items or items of interest to share with all the children at playgroup.

Book bags

All children can have their own book bag and ask them to choose a book from our book corner to take home to read with parents/carers. Please bring this back when ready and then another book can be chosen.

Children take the bags in with them into the red room when they arrive. and place them in the allocated box ready to choose another.

If a book is lost or damaged we do ask that you please replace it. Thank you.

When they have changed their book it will be in the red box in the lobby please check and take home to read.

Our Stickers!

When children have done something of a positive nature such as being kind, helpful, persevering at an activity, helping with the guinea pigs, using their manners, tidying up, doing a number activity [we have lots] etc. children are given a sticker on their top.

The aim of this is to promote positive behaviour, social skills, boost self confidence as well as help to inform parents of their child’s day. Children quickly learn about this and enjoy taking their stickers home. You will be given a card to keep the stickers on at your home visit – children enjoy receiving the stickers and showing them to their family.

We also send out a ‘Note to Home’ for the children. These may say who your child has been playing with, what they have enjoyed doing that day etc. again to help keep parents informed. We also have 'Notes from home' where you can send in a note of something that they want to share with us[available in the lobby, alternatively you can add this to their Tapestry online journal for us to look at in setting.

Illness
 

If your child becomes ill at playgroup we will telephone the contacts listed on the registration form in order, and ask for your child to be collected as soon as possible. [if we think they are running a temperature we will check and inform you]

If your child needs to take medicine such as antibiotics [not calpol] while at playgroup we ask parents/carers to fill in a consent form first and then we will also need parents to sign after the medicine has been administered[This is so parents know the medicine has been given]. Please note they must stay at home for a period of 48 hours after first dose of antibiotics to ensure there is no reaction to medication. If your child suffers regularly from asthma please also ask for a form to complete, which will allow staff to administer the inhaler if necessary. Here again we will need you to sign when collecting your child.

Please note if your child has had sickness and /or diarrhoea we request that you keep them at home for 48 hours from last episode of illness, to lessen the risk of infection spreading.

Also if your child needs calpol they are not well enough to come to playgroup so please keep at home until they are better - this helps prevent the spread of illness with the setting for both children AND STAFF.

If your child has an infectious illness [such as chicken pox, impetigo] or head lice for e.g. please inform us so we can let other parents know there is a case at Playgroup and they can be made aware [This will be anonymous] Please also ask re: period of exclusion from Playgroup needed, if applicable. We follow NHS/HPA guidelines for exclusion periods.

We encourage good personal hygiene at playgroup - supporting the children to be independent in washing their hands after handling the guinea pigs, after using the toilet, after they cough or sneeze into their hands [a good trick is to encourage them to catch their cough/sneeze in their elbow, if a tissue is not nearby-this helps prevent germs getting onto their hands and being spread around so easily] Before they eat snack or lunch. [Tissues are available throughout playgroup and are in the same places so children know where to find them]

Dress
 

Please try to avoid dressing your child in tights, skinny jeans or trousers with belts that your child cannot manage. We help all children, as needed, to use the toilet but we do try to encourage independence at all times. Also we would appreciate children’s shoes to have velcro or buckle fastening rather than shoe laces – again to help promote children’s independence.

We use aprons for painting and gluing but occasionally clothes do get marks on them, so please do not put children in their best clothes. [We always try to use washable paints and glue]

You may like to order a playgroup t-shirt or sweatshirt for your child – details are on the notice board. We go outside every day so please bring a coat and hat for your child or a sun hat in hot weather. Please ensure all sweatshirts, hats, mittens, wellies etc. are named clearly – there are often identical clothes and shoes in the lobby.

Clothing is more likely to be returned to their rightful owner if NAMED clearly. Please also be aware we are unable to spend extended periods of time at collection searching for items of clothing not returned to the lobby as we have to supervise the remaining children or have activities to do-but feel free to ask and come in and look yourselves.

Keyperson
 

Keyperson and Record Keeping:

When your child starts with us, a member of staff [Keyperson] who will see them the most throughout the week will be responsible for keeping a record of their progress. The keyperson will get to know her group of children well and will liaise with parents regularly, in person, by phone or e-mail. We also like to do a short home visit before your child starts with us. Please feel free to contact us whenever you wish.

Staff regularly spend time with their group of children to focus on an area of development – such as modelling with dough – to support and extend each child’s learning. This enables the staff to tailor activities so they are fun, enjoyable and a learning experience.

We keep an on line record folder for every child who attends playgroup with photographs and written observations to monitor and foster their development. We then complete a report each term on each child’s progress and stage of development – information from this will then be passed onto each child’s reception teacher. If a child attends two settings we ask that the setting that has the child for the most hours/week makes a full record.

Parents/guardians are asked to look at their child’s record folder on line regularly and are asked to add their comments as well as any from their child. When children move on from Playgroup Parents can then save their child’s folder.

We also offer parent/key person meetings each term for children when we show you work done so far and chat about your child’s development and progress – ideally these are held  informally in-session or a 10 minute appointment can be made if preferred - please ask/email.

Getting Involved
 

Our relationship with parent\guardians:

Parents and guardians will receive e-mails with the latest newsletter, with details of events, news, fundraising, and other information is posted on the website.  Also the ‘Activities at Home’ sheet – giving information on each terms events at Playgroup.

We also ask parents to fill in a ‘Note from Home’ sheet now and then – if there are any events [such as family visitors/visits out] or attainment your child has made at home that you can tell us so we can discuss with your child at chat time and also add to their development record [These sheets are put in the workbox/ left in the lobby]

The notice board also has items of interest for parents/carers. There is also a parent’s section on the notice board where you can put cards with items for sale on etc.

Any comments you would like to make can be put in the wooden box in the lobby, or by E-mail. We welcome all feedback from parents.

Please feel free to talk to Cindy or any other member of staff if you need information or help or advice regarding your child. All matters are dealt with in the strictest of confidence.

We also enjoy informal chats with parents when they help at playgroup – please feel free to ring for a chat if you are unable to help due to work.

We aim to have a friendly, professional relationship with the parents and carers of the children in our care.

Parent Visitor/Helpers:

As a Playgroup we aim to include Parents/Carers as much as possible. We have an open door policy – asking Parents to put their name and the date they can come in on the clipboard on the table in the lobby – this is the ideal way to see your child with their peers, observe their developing friendships, chat to the staff,  speak to your child’s keyworker etc. Also sometimes we would appreciate help with prep for activities [especially at Christmas for e.g.] Or email us with the date if easier.

While your child is new to playgroup we ask for you to wait until they have settled in before you help [usually the first ½ term] If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

We ask if parents can help/visit at least once a term.  We welcome helpers for both am and pm sessions and especially during cooking weeks [highlighted on the helper rota] Babies and toddlers are most welcome. Please note visiting children under two are the parent’s responsibility at all times.

Fundraising:

This is extremely important for Playgroup.  As a charity the fees pay for the running costs of the building and staff wages. We rely on regular fundraising to help pay for children’s toys and equipment that needs renewing. We also need to add and expand the equipment too whenever possible.

Any ideas or suggestions you may have regarding fundraising will be very welcome, please speak to either a member of staff or a committee member – see the notice board. The staff and children very much appreciate the support given from parents/carers.

The Committee's Role:

The Committee is composed of a Voluntary Management Committee [VMC]. The Committees meet regularly, with the VMC dealing with the general running of playgroup. Names/details are in the lobby. The minutes of the meetings are put on the notice board for parents to read.

Parents/carers are also invited to attend the A.G.M. – held in the Autumn term. It’s an opportunity to find out about the past year, chat with staff, and to either join the committee or offer support in other ways. Please do ask if you would like to support us by joining the committee.

We also have three Holding Trustees who have overall responsibility for the building and its upkeep [names also in the lobby]