Preparing for Pre-School
WELCOME TO AVETON GIFFORD PRE-SCHOOL AT THE HIVE
Aveton Gifford Pre-school was established in 1990 by a group of local parents and for 21 years operated in the shared, rented village hall. The pre-school and Toddler Group is a non- profit making organisation, run by a voluntary management committee mainly consisting of parents using the groups. It currently employs 5 staff and provides foundation stage care and education to children aged 21/2- 5 yrs for three and a half days a week during term time. One morning a week it holds a toddler playgroup for parents and carers and their children aged 0-5 years.
Additional out-of school clubs such as a Breakfast Club and a Holiday Club have been held but are subject to demand.
The premises, The Hive, is built for purpose and was designed by a local architect in conjunction with the committee and staff to meet the specific needs within this village. The building and land is owned by the pre-school and is the result of a ten year project led by a dedicated sub committee wishing to secure the future of this valued village amenity. Funding was secured through Aveton Gifford Parish Council, Devon First (Devon County Council) Better Buildings, local fundraising and by donations from local businesses. It was built by local builders opting for eco-friendly materials where possible and power is supplied by photo voltaic tiles positioned on the south facing roof. It opened in February 2011 and is adjacent to the primary school, enabling a close liaison between the two facilities. The entrance to The Hive is accessed from a specified footpath through the primary school grounds. The Hive provides an attractive, adaptable play space enabling a variety of suitable play and learning areas, enhanced by natural light from floor to ceiling windows and doors. There is open access to a safe outdoor learning environment with spaces for physical play, exploration and gardening.
The Pre-school and Toddler Group is a charity, registered with the Charity Commission and is a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance. It is registered with Ofsted and was last inspected in July 2011 and was awarded “Good” overall and the report contains aspects of “Outstanding”.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Our aim is to provide a calm and stimulating environment for children to develop within our Foundation Stage setting and to provide support for all families within the community.
The pre-school has a unique ethos which has historically continued to be flexible, supportive and understanding towards the situations of families within the community, in an attempt to enable every family to be able to attend. All children and their families are welcomed, valued and encouraged to contribute. Differences are celebrated and individuals are invited to share special interests to be promoted in an inclusive environment. Each child’s abilities are nurtured and every endeavor is made to meet individual needs.
STARTING PRE-SCHOOL AT ‘THE HIVE’
Aveton Gifford Pre-School welcomes any children aged 21/2 -5 years. Places for children under 3 years are currently limited at each session in accordance with the higher staff ratio required. In the case of a waiting list, priority will be given to those who live in the Primary School Catchment area. See our Admissions Policy for further details.
Please note that Aveton Gifford Pre-school is independent and not under the umbrella of the Primary School . Children who attend the Pre-school are not automatically entitled to a place at the Primary School.
The Pre-School is accessed from the Primary School entrance in Fore Street following the footpath and steps to ‘The Hive’. There is plenty of parking in the village close to the village shop, opposite. If you need to avoid the steps, then it is possible to walk along the footpath up Church Lane and into Pulley’s Close.
In special circumstances, such as if you have a disability, staff can make arrangements for you to access The Hive car park. Please do not otherwise use this rear entrance as it is a strict regulation in our planning consent.
The Pre-School day begins at 9.00 am and finishes at 3.30 pm. Please arrive on time and wait outside (under the covered entrance) until a member of staff greets you at the door at the beginning and end of sessions. Parents/ carers are welcome to come into pre-school and may stay with their child if he/she is not yet settled when they first start Pre-School.
Remember to sign your child in to each session on the daily registration sheet. If someone other than the parents named on the registration sheet will be collecting your child, the Senior Practitioner must be informed at the beginning of the session. In the case of unexpected delay in fetching you child, please telephone the Pre-School.
Please inform the Senior Practitioner of any changes in circumstances, such as change of telephone number or address, but particularly if a change affects who should or should not collect your child.
PREPARING FOR PRE-SCHOOL
Please ensure that your child arrives in easy to wear clothes with long hair tied back, and that a little bit of paint or glue won’t matter. We hope your child will be proud to wear an Aveton Gifford sweat shirt or polo shirt, although this is optional – an order form is available.
A coat should be provided for outdoor play and a sun hat in the summer. When wet, wellies are advised – these can either be brought to the session or kept at pre-school. Indoor shoes or slippers are also useful. Please make sure all items of shoes and clothing are named.
Children still in nappies must be provided with spare nappies, wipes, disposable bags and a spare set of clothes. Nappies must be taken home for disposal as we have no special collection service.
It is a requirement of the EYFS that children have free access to drinking water at all times during the session. We do this by providing a water jug and cups where children are able to help themselves. We have noticed that this is sometimes proving difficult for the younger children and to help them we are asking if you could please bring a named suitable drinking container from home that your child is familiar with. This can either be brought in at each session or kept in our pre-school kitchen.
Do not bring any sweets to Pre-School. It is helpful if all of the child’s own toys are left at home in case they get lost or broken. They can also cause a great many arguments. If, however, your child has a particular ‘comforter’, it may be brought to Pre-School where it can be placed in a special ‘treasure chest’. This serves the dual aim of encouraging independence whilst simultaneously having their emotional support close at hand if needed.
Our policy states that you must not bring your child if they have an infectious illness or have been sick or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours. This also applies to a child with untreated headlice. We appreciate being informed of any contagious illness your child has so that we can advise other parents as necessary. If in any doubt please contact the Senior Practitioner or the Chairperson who can advise you.
If your child is absent for any other reason you must inform the Pre-school the reason why. The Pre-school staff have an obligation to make sure all the children are safe under our Safeguarding duty. (see Safeguarding Policy).
Your child will be allocated a key worker, who will help to settle your child in and keep an eye out for their needs throughout their time here. The key worker will also keep a record of development and help to plan their ‘Next Steps’. Your key worker will also be your first point of reference for your child and is available to talk to you about any concerns you have, although as we are a small Pre-School, all staff will have equal contact and know all the children very well. You will get a chance to discuss your child’s progress at Parent’s evenings, as well as having the opportunity to attend open weeks and parent information sessions.
You will recieve an e mail from Tapestry to the address you gave us on your pre-school application form.
“Tapestry” is the name of the on- line Learning Journal system to which we subscribe.
This will provide you with a link to log in to your account and how to set your own password. The e mail is only active for 24 hours, so please try to activate it within this time. If you miss the time frame, let us know and we can resend it.
Once you have done this you will be able to access your child’s development and progress records when ever you like. These will include observations of your child during pre-school sessions, sometimes with accompanied photographs and links to the Early years Foundation Stage. You will be able to see at which level your child is working at and ideas for “next steps”. There is also a box for your response which we welcome and hope that with your input we can work in partnership to provide continuous learning at home and at school.
Our key structure of education is ‘Learning Through Play’. You will receive a plan of our activities each half term. Please read this through carefully as there will be weeks when the children are asked to bring items in or outings where they might need suitable clothing. If you have any special items at home which could be of interest to our theme, please bring them in or talk to the staff? You might like to continue themes at home with extra activities or visits.
If you or your child has any particular interests please talk to your key worker as we like to incorporate the children’s interests in our curriculum planning.
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage: “Each area of learning and development must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults. Practitioners must respond to each child’s emerging needs and interests, guiding their development through warm, positive interaction.”
Children staying for lunch must be provided with a packed lunch. The lunch should be a healthy selection of items for young children, preferably low in salt and sugar. Sweets and chocolate are not permitted at pre-school, however one biscuit or cake with a small covering of chocolate to eat at the end of lunch is acceptable. All lunch boxes and drinks must be clearly labeled with the child’s name. We recommend that lunch boxes contain an ice pack to keep meat and dairy items cold, as they will not be stored in a refrigerator.
Children must be registered for the days they will be attending, at the beginning of term.
Once sessions have been allocated to your child these will be protected for you throughout your time at pre-school.
If parents would like to make any changes in the next term – either to the days they attend or by increasing sessions, then parents must make a request on the form sent out 2 weeks before the end of the previous half term. This will be sent by e mail and a hard copy form will be made available.
Session places will then be allocated by priority. See Pre-school Sessions and Fees Policy
You will be informed of the decision a week later of your request being made.
You will be charged for the hours and sessions you have registered for. If your child is unable to attend you will not be able to substitute another session. If you wish to attend an extra session on a particular week, you will need to make a request before the end of the previous week. This will be accommodated if staffing levels are adequate and the activities planned are flexible.
THE PRE-SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Our Pre-school is registered with OFSTED to promote education as well as care to our Foundation Stage children. The Government Funding we claim for each child attending requires a suitable curriculum to provide opportunities for the attending children to develop towards the EARLY LEARNING GOALS (ELGs) set by SCAA (School Curriculum and Assessment Authority).
The areas of Leaning and Development are:-
Personal and Social and Emotional Development
Communication and Language
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The curriculum is planned each half term by the Senior Practitioner and staff. A suggested two year rolling plan of themes has been selected though these are very flexible and can be altered to reflect the interests and ages of the children attending. Each theme is highlighted with relevant activities.
The Learning Intention codes appear on the curriculum plan each half term and are taken from the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). A summary of each of the Learning Areas is displayed in Pre-school – please ask if you would like to know more.
The practitioners use on-going observations to assess the learning and development and interests of each child attending and from these can plan individual ‘Next Steps’. These observations inform the curriculum plan with specific activities linked to Learning Intentions for the next medium term plan.
The learning opportunities are evaluated throughout the term, with strengths and weaknesses noted for a continual improvement to meet the current needs.
Each child is given the opportunity to build on his or her knowledge and capabilities, with progress recorded on each child’s on-line Learning Journal “Tapestry”.
The curriculum is planned carefully to ensure all learning objectives for Foundation Stage children are adequately covered across all the sessions.
Where children attend another setting we will try to share information about their strengths and preferences to help with transitions and to provide continuity. This will be in the form of our personal news sheet to be passed between providers by the parent/carer. Please help by letting us know if he/she attends another setting. We can also set up a home/school notebook to share information if someone other than yourself regularly drops off or picks up your child. Please let us know if you think this would be helpful.
RECORDING CHILDRENS PROGRESS
All children registered at Aveton Gifford Pre-school will be registered on an on-line progress record program called Tapestry. The record is divided into the seven areas of learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum
Under each heading is a list of developmental stepping stones which show progression towards Key Stage 1.These are flexible to include all abilities. (The Foundation Stage is from birth until the beginning of year 1 at Primary School, e.g. September before their 6th birthday).
Observations at Pre-school are entered onto each child’s Tapestry account by the child’s Pre-school key Person. Parents can leave comments when viewing the journal by entering their unique password. Parents can also download a Tapestry app which will enable you to put on your own special events from home with photographs.
For your Key Person to monitor your child’s progress, he/she will make regular observations which will be recorded as written observations and as photographs. These will be included in their Key Children’s on-line Tapestry learning journal.
Using the record as a comprehensive guide to the child’s strengths and weaknesses, the key worker is able to assess the next steps identified for each child and suggest appropriate activities at home and at Pre-school to help further development throughout the duration of their time at Pre-school.
The records belong to the parent/carer and are respected as confidential by the key worker. The parent/carer may wish to show the records to other interested child workers such as the Health Visitor or Reception Teacher. To do this your Key Person can download the records to a PDF file at any time. Please ask.
For children soon to be attending Primary School, the key worker will complete a Transition Document, which gives an overview in each of the learning areas. Information will be taken from the Tapestry Journal. There is a section for the parent to complete with the opportunity to express any concerns or just to describe the child’s character or interests. These will be a helpful link between Pre-school and school, providing a picture of the child’s developing capabilities and personality, smoothing the transition between the two provisions.
Children between the age of two and three will receive a Progress Check which is a short written summary of their development in the prime areas.
For any children with Additional Needs, staff will respect the need for confidentiality regarding children’s development within the setting. The Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator (SENCO) will communicate with the parent regarding their wishes on sharing information about the child’s needs to the group.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
The Pre-School is managed by a voluntary committee which is made up primarily of parents of children attending the Pre-School and Toddler Group. The committee is responsible for managing matters such as staffing, finance, fundraising and outings. New members are always welcome, please speak to the Chairperson or any of the committee members if you would like to join us. Meetings are usually held about 6 times a year at a mutually convenient time and place. If you are unable to join you can help in many other ways, volunteers for fundraising events are always greatly appreciated!
We have an information folder which is kept at the Pre-School. This will also be emailed to you when your child starts attending the pre-school. Please take it home to read through when your child starts with us, and return it when you have read it. It includes our constitution and policies on special needs, equal opportunities, discipline, complaints, admissions, safety, health and staffing. There is a book to sign to say you have read and understood it. It also includes the most recent Ofsted inspection report. Copies of policies are also available on request at any time.
PARENT/ CARER VOLUNTARY HELP AT SESSIONS
We pride ourselves on our close partnership with parents who are welcome to help out at the sessions. This gives you the opportunity to see what goes on during sessions and to have a chat to your keyworker about your child’s progress. Younger siblings are welcome to come along.
Please speak to Mandy if you are interested.
A member of staff will run through the volunteer induction sheet at your first session.
Please respect the need for confidentiality of anything you may learn about individual children during the session. If you have any concerns, please report them to a member of staff and leave the matter in their capable hands. Do not approach the parents yourself as this can cause a lot of upset (there may be other circumstances you are not aware of). Please see the procedure “Incase of a concern about a child’s behaviour or appearance”– The procedures are displayed near the kitchen hatchway.
Under our Safeguarding Children Policy parents and carers volunteering must not take children to the toilet. It is also forbidden to take any photographs whilst visiting sessions, on your own photographic equipment.
FEEDBACK FROM PARENTS/CARERS
We endeavor to foster a two-way flow of communication between staff and parents or carers of the children. This is partly helped by the fact that the management committee is made up of volunteer parents.
As an organisation we encourage both positive and negative feedback. We monitor the quality of our provision by regularly evaluating our practice and procedures. Often, following training, we look at areas which could be improved and draw up an action plan.
In addition a parent satisfaction questionnaire is sent out yearly which gives parents and carers the opportunity to express their views anonymously. From this we can assess whether the pre-school is meeting your needs and how we can help to improve the service.
If you have any suggestions or a complaint please either speak to the Chairperson or a member of staff or you may put your points in writing. Whilst we would prefer to try to rectify any shortcomings ourselves and to be aware of anything you are unhappy with, you may complain directly to OFSTED if you wish by telephoning 0300 123 1231
When a complaint is made, however large or small, it is taken seriously and used to help us with ways to improve. In accordance with OFSTED regulations all complaints we receive will be entered into our complaints file anonymously, by recording the nature of the complaint, how it will be addressed, when and by whom. The response will be fed back to the source within 28 days. Please also see our Complaints Policy in the Policy and Procedures file which is available for parents and carers to read or borrow.
We want all children to have a happy time while at Pre-school. If you have any concerns big or small, then speak to Mandy or your child’s key worker at the beginning of a session. If the worry is something you wish to speak about in private then this can be arranged – if not straight away, then as soon as possible. We are here to help. If you have any concern about another child please speak to Mandy or the Chairperson without speaking to anyone else.