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Aveton Gifford Pre-school Lead Practitioners Report AGM Nov 1st 2017

Its been a fun year starting with …… children last Sept and ending with …. in July with 8 children ready to start primary school at the beginning of this year.

Reports are that they have settled in well and the Step Up session preparation activities and visits to the early years class at school have paid off, enabling a smooth transition experience for them. Now they excitedly wave to us as we pass through the school on our walks out.

Usually Sept starts quite quietly after we have lost our older group. Not so this year though, as we still had ….. children return after the summer holiday and …… new children started. We were a bit worried about how we would cope with so many at once to settle in to a new environment. However they all slotted in surprisingly calmly. This may in part be attributed to the children already being accustomed to coming to the Parent and Toddler Group and already being familiar with Katie who works across the two groups. The Parent and Toddler group has proved to be extremely popular in the last 6 months and so when we had decided to open an additional Preschool day this Autumn, increasing to 5 days , how to share the space became an issue. After a light bulb moment providing an Outdoor Session for the preschool, plans materialised with 2 members of staff leading . With cooperation with the Car Show volunteer organisers and some time from staff and parents , match funding from Santander , we managed to raise enough to purchase a summer house acting as a base… now named The Honey Pot. This doubles up as extra space for quiet small group work during the week. In time we plan to insulate it and wire in electrics for lighting and heating in the winter. These sessions are going well and were popular from the start and at capacity. Unlike the after school sessions which we attempted to run last Sept for children at pre-school and Primary school. We had received feedback that extra childcare was needed in our community. Having spent a lot of time and effort launching it and prepping two willing members of staff, no one who had expressed an interest took us up on it and after loosing out financially 2 weeks later, had to cancel the sessions. We tried again after the autumn half term , re advertising and again sending letters out via the primary school but again there was no response and so it was finally abandoned.

Staff wise…. Kaylee handed her notice in in Jan for pasture new? Fortunately Katie and Laura who were working with us part time filled in the hours resulting in all 3 of us working together across the week. Although we were all sad to see Kaylee go , the change has been for the better as it has been more consistent for the children and the development of the staff has been noticeable working well together as a dedicated and committed team . Wendy has continued to provide extra cover to release staff attending multi professional meetings or staff supporting children needing Early Help. She is also assisting at the Outdoor Sessions with Laura. Tim warned us last term that he would need to hand over the Financial Administrator position this Autumn as he is undertaking a PGCE Teacher Training this year. Kay Burnett has been appointed. She has been involved with the pre-school for many years in the past. She starts this week and we welcome her back. We will miss Tim and his support and practical ideas as well as the children who liked to visit him in the office. He also worked directly with the children when needed and was the only person who could settle one little girl when Daddy left! We will miss you Tim but please keep coming to our Murder Mysteries because we cant wait for the Scottish accent again!

Other members of our working party are Sarah and Alec providing cleaning and maintenance. We are so lucky to have such support always willing to put in 101 percent above the call of duty. Sarah also fills in at sessions at short notice where she can and for that I’m very grateful. She is also our official spider catcher although Kay has offered to be deputy and we have some children in training! Sybil continues to help us voluntarily on Wed and Thurs and recently Laura’s Mum, Viv, has volunteered some time on Thursday mornings as we are particularly busy. Stephen Harding kindly continues to support us with fortnightly yoga sessions for the children.

We aim to keep a good relationship with parents and work as partners in children’s learning. We have held 2 official parent appointment weeks this year and have held some events for parents to join in, these are our Nativity Play, Sports Day, Summer Performance, AG Film Festival , Summer Awards a beach day and a social barbeque. We have also been on some trips inviting parents to join us such as Andrews wood and Forest and Beach School.

One of the values of being an independent voluntary charity pre-school is that we are able to focus on providing a high quality environment where the children’s well being, confidence and development is of paramount importance to us,rather than making a profiting business. I believe we do this, working well together with parents and the pre-school has welcoming family feel where we all support and respect each others individual circumstances and needs. I hope this will continue and if any parents have any skills or interests that can enhance the children’s experiences please don’t hesitate to get involved.

Lets look forward to another successful year with a pre-school we can be proud of.

Mandy

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