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.
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 this together with your child and bring it back with you on their first day or before. This helps us get to know a little more about your child 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.
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 usually over 3 or in their preschool year - we do have younger children attend all day - please speak to us to discuss further. 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:
9am -11.30am: session only – now can also be 9.15-11.45 or 9.30 – 12.00
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
Please just let us know at the door if you are using the flexi time.
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 additional hours charged at our hourly rate. 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.
children eligible can access up to fifteen hours per week – if Parents are in receipt of any of the following:
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
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 [email@example.com] if you have any queries on these matters at all.
Payment of Fees:
Playgroup fees are payable each half term. An invoice will be emailed to you within the first week of the half term. Please ensure your fees are paid by the date shown on the invoice. If you would prefer to pay weekly, please contact Sharon or Cindy to arrange this.
Fee payments are accepted by BACS, Childcare Vouchers, cheque or cash.
The costs are as follows: £7.50 per hour – due to be reviewed in August 2023.
For 2–3-year-olds: £18.75 for a morning session of two and a half hours 9-11.30am
For 3–4-year-olds: the government grant currently provides 15 free hours of childcare. THE TERM AFTER your child’s 3rd Birthday If you wish to have more than 15 hours the cost is £7.50 per hour.
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.
As a registered charity we aim not to charge for any 'extras' like snack, supplies, etc. However, we do ask Parents for a voluntary contribution of £10 each term towards the cost of enrichments to the curriculum like cooking ingredients, visiting external dance sessions, etc.“
9:00 - Free flow play [inside]
Once children have hung up their coats, and sanitised their hands in the lobby, all children are encouraged to 'self register' when they go into the blue room[this involves finding their photo picture and placing it on our registration tree - for those that recognise their name they can place it next to their name label]. The children then choose what they would like to do. There is always a range of activities out to play with consisting of a balance of adult initiated/adult led and free choice. As we have such a large selection of toys, the children can select alternatives if they wish from: books/story cd's, 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 and much more.
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 den, 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[carrots, leeks, sweetcorn - the choices vary] - 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 in our raised flower beds. We grow herbs to use in the mud kitchen and spinach to feed our pet guinea pig.
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 can be found in the activities at home sheet and newsletter[on Tapestry and our closed Facebook page for current parents]. All children have a turn to join in the cooking session if they wish, then take their cooking home with them. 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 and selecting their own cup before sitting down, they can then help to chop up the fruit, pour out their milk or water and select something from our healthy snack options[we occasionally have biscuits or cake to celebrate special occasions like children's birthdays-these are usually provided by the parents who are reminded of our current allergies]. 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 outside and ring the doorbell . A member of staff will collect your children from their group/play/activity when you arrive to collect them and bring them to you.
Children may be arriving now if attending lunch club and the afternoon session.
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. We have recently begun asking parents to provide us with photos of people who will be regularly collecting their children to help us recognise new/unfamiliar faces.
The children’s WORKBOX is put outside ready for parents/carers to look through and find your child’s artwork, newsletters etc.
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.
11.30 - 12:30 Lunch club
We operate a ‘lunch club’ for children this allows extra time to play before sitting down to eat between 12-12.30. The children wash their hands before finding their lunchbox on the trolley and choosing where to sit. There is always a staff member on each table to assist the children with their lunch and again a great opportunity for conversations.
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 with 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 lunchbox leaflet included in brochure for ideas.
12:30 Home time for those attending morning and lunch
[Unless using flexi time]
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 engage in free play following their own interests we also continue with 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.
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 – inside, with the outside being open when the children choose, they can then play in or out
As our children go home at different times they are encouraged to help tidy when they have finished playing with their toys.
2.45 children help to 'put toys where they belong'
3.00 remaining children go home.
All times are approximate and can change according to children's interests/the weather, etc.
Whilst our routine appears flexible depending on many factors - children's engagement in activities, impromptu activities, adult led group activities-song time, yoga, dance, music and movement, musical instrument sessions, and much more, the routine/structure of the day remains the same.
Children arrive - hanging up coats on their peg in the lobby,
Home or lunch
At many points throughout this there are more sequences/routines to an activity for example before snack the children learn the routine of handwashing before, where and how to do this, to find their cup/bottle, to choose a chair, choose and pour their drink, select their snack, where to put their cup when finished and to wash their hands again after. They then know it is then playtime again.
To and From Home
We have a nature area at Playgroup and would welcome objects to add to this – for e.g. leaves/conkers in autumn, blossom in spring etc. These are great for provocations to talk about - for the children to explore and share experiences with all the children at playgroup.
“We have recently introduced our ‘Preschool Lending Library’ – you can find this under our veranda at the entrance to the building. Children can choose a book from the selections, sign it out on the clipboard and take it home to read together. Then just bring it back when ready and swap it for another book.
We just ask that you take care of our books so that they can be enjoyed by everyone else. We do ask that you please replace and lost or damaged books. Thank you.’
Our Stickers and News from home.
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.
Sharing news from home - we used to have paper slips where you could share news with us about what you had been doing at home, new skills, events or trips out to share with us in setting and we would love chatting about this with them. You are still very welcome to send in written notes, however most parents find adding 'observations' including a photo or two onto Tapestry work better for them. So we are happy with either.
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]
Clothing - what to dress your child in.
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.
If possible it is best to have a pair of wellies, woolly hat and mittens or sun hat[depending on the weather] that is NAMED that can stay at playgroup - this ensures they always have the appropriate clothing available [playgroup have some spares but not enough for everyone]
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 and Record Keeping:
When your child starts with us, a member of staff [Keyperson] will introduce themselves to you and your child; they will arrange a home visit before you are due to start in setting. This will help them get to know your family and begin building a relationship so your child feels safe and secure within our setting. It is very important for these links to be made with our families to enable the keyperson to get to know their group of children well, and better support them in their transition into our setting.
During home visits you can discuss starting points for your child[what they can already do/their stage of development] and discuss further what we do in setting, they can answer questions and put your mind at ease; especially if this is your first child to come to us.
Your child's key person will also be responsible for getting to know them, by spending time with them knowing their stage of development, recording observations on Tapestry and updating you regularly, in person, by phone or e-mail or via informal chats when needed. Please feel free to contact us and ask to see/speak to your child's Keyperson.
With the introduction of the revised EYFS in 2021 there is once again more focus on spending time with the children as apposed to completing and collating data on where your child is at. This now allows our Staff to spend quality time with their key children to get to build greater bonds, to know their interests, likes, dislikes and more.
This is done by observing the children at play. Assessing what they are doing and using professional knowledge and judgement of how best to support them, what teaching opportunities are there and what learning can be done, seizing opportunities to extend experiences by offering suggestions, ideas and resources or engage in sustained shared thinking. Whilst following their interest this allows the children to become more involved, where they will gain so much more from their play. Using an In The Moment approach.
We use an on line learning journal 'Tapestry' for every child who attends playgroup with photographs and written observations to share with you what they have been doing in setting.
We then complete a report at the end of the term on each child’s progress over the term this will be shared with parents 'online' and you can then discuss with your child's keyperson after if you wish too.
The Journals are a two way document allowing parents/carers to share photos and observations with us too - perhaps a day out, a new baby or something they just want to show us - we can then look at them together in setting.
For those stating school information from summer term reports will then be passed onto each child’s reception teacher.
For children attending more than one setting we ask that the setting that has the child for the most hours/week makes a full record with information sharing between settings to help create a whole picture of your child.
Parents/guardians are asked to look at their child’s learning journal 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 download and save their child’s journal to keep.
Parent/key person meetings are offered each term for children to discuss your child’s development – please ask/email if you would like to arrange a meeting.
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 also posted on the website. We also have an ‘Activities at Home’ sheet – giving information on each terms activities and suggestions for things to try at home.
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.
As a Playgroup we aim to include Parents/Carers as much as possible. We have an open door policy – asking Parents to let us know if they would like to come in - 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 welcome helpers for both am and pm sessions. Babies and toddlers are most welcome. Please note visiting children under two are the parent’s responsibility at all times.
If you wish to commit to a regular helping slot you will be required to complete a DBS form.
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 and on the website.
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]