We welcome new starters from the age of 2 years (24 months) onwards. We usually start children on the waiting list at the beginning of each half-term; however, we are able to start children during a half-term after discussion between yourself and the Manager.
To help your child to settle into pre-school we undertake a home visit as close to your child’s start date as possible. This visit gives the child the opportunity to meet and play with their key person and to meet another member of our staff in familiar surroundings where they feel safe. At this visit you will begin your child’s ‘Learning Journey’. This will enable yourself and your child to get to know two members of our team thereby easing their and your transition into the world of pre-school.
The ‘Learning Journey’ is a portfolio of photographs, observations and your child’s ‘work’ created to demonstrate each child’s development. it is a progressive and dynamic document that changes and develops as your child grows and develops. This “Learning Journey” is constantly under review and can be discussed at any time. It also forms the basis for our parent consultations and parents/carers will be given the opportunity to review the document prior to these termly meetings.
Every child is allocated a key person. Your child’s key person is there to build a relationship between themselves and you, the parent, but most importantly between themselves and your child to enable them to act as the significant person whilst the child is in the setting.
They carry out observations on the child to gather developmental information; this is used to inform the ‘Learning Journey’. The ‘Learning Journey’ is shared with parents and children on a regular basis throughout your time with us, at regular parents’ meetings. The ‘Learning Journey’ will be sent home prior to Parents’ Evening, however, you are also welcome to take this home to share as a family outside of these times.
- We implement a key person system at Little Owls, where the children are assigned to a member of staff who will help the child with settling in at preschool and is responsible for spending time with their key children in small groups or one to one activities throughout the session. Your child’s key person is there to build a relationship between themselves and you, the parent, but most importantly between themselves and your child to enable them to act as the significant person whilst the child is in the setting. The Key Person system gives the child and key person an opportunity to get to know one another, form a secure relationship and engage in meaningful conversation through the activities.
- On-going assessments are a really important part of our responsibilities. We evaluate our activities and plans weekly at regular staff meetings and attending practitioner training work shops.
- We also observe the children during the sessions activities and routines to assess each child‘s interests, learning styles and achievements and monitor how each child is progressing in line with the seven areas of learning of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
- The key person is responsible for observing their designated children both during the main session activities and when working with their children during small group and one to one activities.
- Once a term your child will be a focussed child for a week where all practitioners make observations especially looking at the child’s next steps which have been discussed at the previous week’s staff meeting. These observations of the children are used to help us identify learning priorities and plan relevant learning experiences for each individual child.
- They are also used when completing the children’s Learning Journals to show how the child is progressing. The ‘Learning Journey’ will be sent home prior to Parents’ Evening, however, you are also welcome to take this home to share as a family outside of these times or look at it anytime you are in the setting. The Learning Journal goes with the child into their reception year at school.
- Practitioners that are partaking in training may be required to use observations of the children in their course work, the children will be referred to as child A etc. Should a child’s name or any details need to be included, we will seek parental permission.
- Parents and carers are given the opportunity to meet with their child’s key person at a Parent’s Evening each term to share and discuss progress made at pre-school and at home and agree their next learning steps.
During your child’s home visit your child’s key person will be happy to discuss with you if your child would benefit from a longer settling in period as we want very much for your child to feel happy and secure at Little Owls and we are aware that this takes longer for some children than others.
Reasons why play is important
According to the National Literacy Trust play is crucial for developing children’s communication skills.
- Play lays the foundation for literacy.
- Through play children learn to make and practice new sounds.
- They try out new vocabulary, on their own or with friends.
- They exercise their imagination through storytelling.
- Play is learning.
- Play nurtures development and fulfills a baby’s inborn need to learn.
- Play takes many forms, from shaking a rattle to peek-a-boo to hide-and-seek.
- Play can be done by a child alone, with another child, in a group or with an adult.
- Play encourages adults to communicate with the children in their lives.
- Adults support play by giving children opportunities to play, and by knowing when to intervene, and when not to intervene.
- Play gives children the chance to be spontaneous.
- You may think your child should be rolling the truck on the ground but that doesn’t mean that truck is not equally useful as a stacking toy.
- Play gives children choice.
- Having enough toys or activities to choose from will allow children to express themselves.
- Play gives children space.
- To practice physical movement, balance and to test their own limits.
- Play gives adults the chance to learn how to play again.
- One of the most challenging parts of play is incorporating yourself in it.
- Play allows adults to learn their child’s body language.
- Knowing when you should incorporate yourself in your child’s play is key.
- Play teaches adults patience and understanding.
- If you do choose to join in your child’s play make sure that you do not try to take it over and force incorporation of your ultimate learning objectives into their play.
- Structured adult-led activities have their time and place but remember to allow for time for children to control and decide their own play.
- Play is fun.
- Learning to play well, both by themselves and with others, sets children up to be contented and sociable.
We offer a curriculum, which enables children to make appropriate developmental progress as specified in the Early Years Outcomes in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) a copy of this is available on the Foundation Years website:
You can visit the Foundation Years website for further information about the EYFS specifically for parents www.foundationyears.org.uk.
Take a look at ‘What to expect, when?’
This is specifically written to help you as a parent/carer find out more about how your child is learning and developing during their first five years, in relation to the EYFS.
The 4 guiding principles of the EYFS shapes our practice.
- Unique Child – Every Child is a competent learner from birth who can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured.
- Positive Relationships – Children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving and secure relationships with parents and/or a key person.
- Enabling Environments – The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning.
- Learning and Development – Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates and all areas of Learning and Development are equally important and inter-connected.
Your child’s learning and development is recorded through observations made by all practitioners and gathered by your child’s key person.
“Staff observe children and complete observations of what children know and can do. They share this information with parents and plan for the next steps in children’s learning. Additional funding is used well to support individual needs. All children make good progress from their starting points.” (OFSTED December 2016)
Your child will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understanding through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first.
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
These prime areas are those most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning.
As children grow, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas.
- Understanding the world;
- Expressive arts and design.
These 7 areas are used to plan your child’s learning and activities. Our professional teaching and support staff will make sure that activities are suited to your child’s unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it’s suitable for very young children, and it’s designed to be really flexible so that staff can follow your child’s unique needs and interests.
Children follow the EYFS until the end of the Reception Year at school.
A healthy snack of fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates (such as toast, breadsticks, muffin or pasta) and a drink of milk or water is provided at a group snack time during our morning sessions; please see our Food-and-drink-policy-updated-11.11.2015. We ask for a voluntary contribution of 50p per week or a donation of fruit per week to help cover the cost of snack as the cost of this is not covered by government funding.
We have found from experience that a group snack fosters a relaxed time when children and adults can sit and talk. The children are encouraged to access snacks and drinks independently, although an adult is always present to protect children with allergies or intolerances.
In the afternoon children enjoy a group lunch time. This also offers an opportunity for children and adults to chat and eat together.
Throughout the day fresh drinking water is easily available for children to access independently.
You will be asked to detail any allergies your child may have on registration and have the opportunity to discuss concerns with your child’s key person.
We believe that parents, as the child’s primary carers, know their children’s strengths/culture best. By developing a positive relationship with families it enables the pre-school to understand our children’s backgrounds thus allowing the pre-school to celebrate diversity; provide support where necessary and help children to reach their full potential.
We aim to share knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage and their child’s development to empower parents to know how they can further support their children.
Through this relationship we are able to aid community spirit through:
- Making extended family welcome in pre-school
- Providing information on relevant events
- Providing links to local schools
To enable us to build these relationships we invite parents to speak to their child’s key person on a regular basis, as well as being available at the beginning and end of a session and are always happy for parents to join us for their children’s sessions once their child has settled into the setting. We provide regular formal feedback at termly parents evenings; ask for parents comments via questionnaires and send newsletters.
We also have a Parents Committee dedicated to raising funds for the pre-school. All parents are invited to take part either sitting on this committee or volunteering to help with various fundraising events.
At the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions no MaD’s session can be run but stay tuned as they will be back as soon as we can.
These sessions are held regularly on certain Saturdays and during School Holidays. They are organised and run by the Parents Committee with the help of staff and ex-parents. We run events every term that engage and build bonds within the local community.
These sessions also provide the pre-school with a much needed fundraising opportunity. All the money raised at these sessions goes back into the pre-school to provide education and enrichment activities and resources for the setting.
Things we have bought:
- New shed for storage
- Light tube for the sensory area
- Climbing Frame
- Sand pit
- Kitchen Station Equipment
Our wish list:
- New Trikes
- Play Equipment
- Outdoor Toys
- Educational Resources
If you would like to get involved then please contact us.