Our Prospectus

Introduction

We are a friendly, local Pre-school established for more than twenty years. Our Staff are fully qualified & experienced and have knowledge & experience relating to Special Educational Needs.

We have our own premises situated in a lovely area within Swinderby village school grounds. This affords us good links with the school and added security benefits.

We have our own enclosed, recently re-furbished, garden with a covered area which we can use all year round and, as safety is paramount to us, we have a fully operational CCTV system to control access through the Playgroup security gate.

We offer sessional care for children aged between 2 years of age & 5 years of age. We open daily during term times between 9.05am and 12.05pm. Afternoon sessions are run between 12.05pm and 3.05pm depending on levels of demand.

Playgroup aims to be inclusive and to ensure that all children have the opportunity to experience everything that we have to offer. We will never force a child to do anything and their learning will always move on at a pace which suits the individual, not the group as a whole. All children are different and should be nurtured not pressured.

We work closely with Swinderby C of E Primary School, surrounding village schools which children from our playgroup may go on to attend, and with other settings. We also liaise with relevant professional bodies, for example, speech therapists & physiotherapists, and we continually endeavour to improve these links.

Swinderby Pre-School Playgroup is a member of the Pre School Learning Alliance (PLA). We are registered with and inspected by OFSTED on a three yearly basis. Our most recent inspection in December 2015 was highly successful and we received a very good report relating to all aspects of Playgroup, we were rated as ‘good’ overall.

Swinderby Pre-School Playgroup aims to:

  • Help develop independence through play.
  • Provide high quality care & education for children below statutory school age in a safe & stimulating environment.
  • Provide the opportunity for every child to develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually.
  • Treat each child as an individual.
  • Encourage the development of personal/social skills, language & literacy, numeracy, physical, & creative skills through play.
  • Increase each child’s knowledge & understanding of their world.
  • Encourage the child’s imagination through role play.
  • Ensure close links between Playgroup & parents/carers & School are maintained.
  • Work in partnership with parents to help children to learn and develop
  • Offer children and their parents a service that promotes equality and values diversity
  • Add to the life of and well being of the community

Parents

Parents are regarded as members of our setting who have full participatory rights. These include a right to be:

  • valued and respected;
  • kept informed;
  • consulted;
  • involved; and
  • included at all levels.

We are a registered charity, managed by a voluntary committee. We also depend on the good will of parents and their involvement to keep going and we value their support and commitment.

Children’s Development and Learning

We aim to ensure that each child:

  • is in a safe and stimulating environment;
  • is given generous care and attention, because of our ratio of qualified staff to children, as well as volunteer committee helpers;
  • has the chance to join with other children and adults to live, play, work and learn together;
  • is helped to take forward her/his learning and development by being helped to build on what she/he already knows and can do;
  • has a personal key person who makes sure each child makes satisfying progress;
  • is in a setting that sees parents as partners in helping each child to learn and develop; and
  • is in a setting in which parents help to shape the service it offers.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The provision for children’s development and learning is guided by The Early Years Foundation Stage (DFE 2012). Our provision reflects the four overarching principles of the Statutory Framework of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

A Unique Child

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.

Positive Relationships

Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.

Enabling Environments

Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnerships between practitioners, parents and carers.

Learning and Development

Children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision including children with special educational needs and disabilities.

How we provide for development and learning

Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by our setting helps children to continue to do this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are appropriate for their age and stage of development.

The areas of development and learning comprise:

Prime areas

  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development
  • Physical Development
  • Communication and Language

Specific Areas

  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the World
  • Expressive Arts and Design

For each area, the level of progress that children are expected to have attained by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage is defined by the Early Learning Goals. These goals state what it is expected that children will know and be able to do by the end of the reception year of their education.

The Development Matters guidance sets out the likely stages of progress a child makes along their learning journey towards the early learning goals. Our setting has regard to these matters when we assess children and plan for their learning. Our programme supports children to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they need for:

Personal, social and emotional development

  • Making relationships;
  • Self confidence and self awareness; and
  • Managing feelings and behaviour.

Physical development

  • Moving and handling; and
  • Health and self-care.

Communication and language

  • Listening and attention;
  • Understanding; and
  • Speaking.

Literacy

  • Reading; and
  • Writing.

Mathematics

  • Numbers; and
  • Space, shape and measure.

Understanding of the world

  • People and communities,
  • The world; and
  • Technology.

Expressive arts and design

  • Exploring and using media and materials; and
  • Being imaginative.

Our approach to learning and development and assessment

Learning through play

Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think.

Our setting uses the Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage to plan and provide a range of play activities, which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development.

In some of these activities children decide how they will use the activity and, in others, an adult takes the lead in helping the children to take part in the activity.

In all activities information from Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage has been used to decide what equipment to provide and how to provide it.

Characteristics of Effective Learning

We understand that all children engage with other people and their environment through the characteristics of effective learning that are described in the Development Matters the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance as:

  • Playing and exploring – engagement;
  • Active learning – motivation; and
  • Creating and thinking critically – thinking.

We aim to provide for the characteristics of effective learning by observing how a child is learning and being clear about what we can do and provide in order to support each child to remain and effective and motivated learner.

Assessment

We assess how young children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or videos of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them. We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they as parents are supporting development.

We give each child a special book. We find these books are beneficial in helping to settle children into playgroup life and also give your child the opportunity to share some of their experiences and special ‘wow’ moments throughout their time here.

This helps to promote a positive relationship between our setting and home.

Each child has their own “Learning Journey” development file. This contains work that they have done, achievements, observations made by the child and by staff members and other information relevant to the child.

We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on these ongoing development records. These form part of children’s records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as times of transition, such as when a child moves into a different group or when they go on to school.

All observations and records made are kept in the strictest confidence and will only be shared with the child’s parent/carer. Permission will be sought for us to share this information with any other body, ie, the child’s future school teacher. Further details of when information may be shared is available in our information sharing policy.

The progress check at two

The Early Years Foundation Stage requires that we supply parents and carers with a short written summary of their child’s development in the three prime areas of learning and development: personal, social and emotional development; physical development; and communication and language; when a child is aged between 24 – 36 months. The key person is responsible for completing the check using information from ongoing observational assessments carried out as part of our everyday practice, taking account of the views and contributions of parents and other professionals.

Records of achievement

The setting keeps a record of achievement for each child. Staff and parents working together on their children’s records of achievement is one of the ways in which the key person and parents work in partnership.

Your child’s record of achievement helps us to celebrate together her/his achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for her/his well-being and to make progress.

Your child’s key person will work with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child’s needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child’s stage of progress.

Your child’s key person will meet with you to discuss your child’s progress and decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage.

Working together for your children

At Swinderby Pre-School Playgroup we maintain the ratio of adults to children in the setting that is set through the Welfare Requirements. We also have volunteer committee helpers where possible to complement these ratios. This helps us to:

  • give time and attention to each child;
  • talk with the children about their interests and activities;
  • help children to experience and benefit from the activities we provide; and
  • allow the children to explore and be adventurous in safety.

The staff who work at our setting are:

  • Caroline O’Connell (Play Leader)
  • Sharon Marshall (Deputy Leader)
  • Helen Smith (Assistant)
  • Caroline Harrison (Administrator)
  • Zoe Steadman (Funding Officer)
  • Lisa Jones (Helper)

How parents take part in the setting

We at Swinderby Pre-School Playgroup recognise parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of the staff see themselves as partners with parents in providing care and education for their child. There are many ways in which parents take part in making the setting a welcoming and stimulating place for children and parents, such as:

  • exchanging knowledge about their children’s needs, activities, interests and progress with the staff;
  • sharing their own special interests with the children;
  • helping to provide, make and look after the equipment and materials used in the children’s play activities;
  • being part of the management of the setting;
  • taking part in events and informal discussions about the activities and curriculum provided by the setting;
  • joining in community activities in which the setting takes part; and
  • building friendships with other parents in the setting.

Joining in

Parents can offer to take part in a session by sharing their own interests and skills with the children. We welcome parents to drop into the setting to see it at work or to speak with the staff.

Key persons and your child

Our setting uses a key person approach. This means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom she/he is particularly responsible. Your child’s key person will be the person who works with you to make sure that what we provide is right for your child’s particular needs and interests. When your child first starts at the setting, she/he will help your child to settle and throughout your child’s time at the setting, she/he will help your child to benefit from the setting’s activities.

Learning opportunities for adults

As well as gaining qualifications in early years care and education, the setting staff take part in further training to help them to keep up-to-date with thinking about early years care and education.

The setting also keeps itself up-to-date with best practice in early years care and education, through training with the Lincolnshire Birth to Five Service, as a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, through the Under 5 magazine and publications produced by the Alliance. The current copy of Under Five is available for you to read.

The setting’s timetable and routines

Our setting believes that care and education are equally important in the experience which we offer children. The routines and activities that make up the day in the setting are provided in ways that:

  • help each child to feel that she/he is a valued member of the setting;
  • ensure the safety of each child;
  • help children to gain from the social experience of being part of a group; and
  • provide children with opportunities to learn and help them to value learning.

Daily Timetable (Flexible)

9.05am – Parents & children arrive. Parents sign in their child and encourage them to find their name card and place it on the white board. Children can then access free play at the activity of their choice.
9.20am – Register and news time. Look at the visual timetable to see what will be happening that day.
9.30am – Free choice activities, child initiated play, adult led activities/staff. Observations, key group time.
10.00am – Snack time & free play
10.30am – Tidy up time.
10.35am – Free Flow outdoor/indoor play/staff observations, daily physical exercise.
11.30am – Circle time-large group discussions, story time, nursery rhyme sack; music and movement.
11.50am – Show and tell (interest box time) – encourage your child to bring in one small theme related item, favourite story or special/comfort toy
12.00pm – Getting shoes and coats on
12.05pm – Home time

Afternoon sessions are run in the same order as morning sessions. However, activities are changed in the afternoon to ensure variety for children attending both sessions. Children are encouraged to join in everything but will never be forced to do so.

The session

We organise our sessions so that the children can choose from, and work at, a range of activities and, in doing so, build up their ability to select and work through a task to its completion. The children are also helped and encouraged to take part in adult-led small and large group activities which introduce them to new experiences and help them to gain new skills, as well as helping them to learn to work with others.

Outdoor activities contribute to children’s health, their physical development and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity, and are encouraged, to take part in outdoor child-initiated and adult-led activities, as well as those provided in the indoor playroom.

Snacks and meals

The setting makes snack time a social time at which children and adults eat together. We plan the menus for snacks so that they provide the children with healthy and nutritious food. Do tell us about your child’s dietary needs and we will make sure that these are met.

Policies

We have a full range of policies relating to playgroup activities available in our corridor for all parents/carers to read. Please feel free to do so. (The policy folder must not be removed from the premises).

The setting’s policies help us to make sure that the service provided by the setting is a high quality one and that being a member of the setting is an enjoyable and beneficial experience for each child and her/his parents.

The staff and Committee of the setting work together to adopt the policies and they all have the opportunity to take part in the annual review of the policies. This review helps us to make sure that the policies are enabling the setting to provide a quality service for its members and the local community.

Safeguarding children

Our setting has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual ‘significant harm’.

Our employment practices ensure children against the likelihood of abuse in our settings and we have a procedure for managing complaints or allegations against a member of staff.

Our way of working with children and their parents ensures we are aware of any problems that may emerge and can offer support, including referral to appropriate agencies when necessary, to help families in difficulty.

Special needs

As part of the setting’s policy to make sure that its provision meets the needs of each individual child, we take account of any special needs a child may have. The setting works to the requirements of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001). Our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators are Caroline O’Connell and Sharon Marshall.

The management of our setting

A voluntary committee (with at least 60% being parents of children currently at Swinderby Pre-school playgroup) manages the setting. New committee members are welcome to put themselves forward at any time. The election of new members takes place at our Annual General Meeting. The committee is responsible for:

  • managing the setting’s finances;
  • employing and managing the staff;
  • making sure that the setting has, and works to, policies that help it to provide a high quality service; and
  • making sure that the setting works in partnership with the children’s parents.

The Annual General Meeting is open to the parents of all of the children who attend the setting. It is our shared forum for looking back over the previous year’s activities and shaping the coming year’s plan.

Fees

The fees are £4.00 per hour payable at the beginning of each half-term. Fees must still be paid if children are absent without notice for a short period of time. If your child has to be absent over a long period of time, talk to Rachel Gagg who is the committee chairperson or Caroline O’Connell who is the manager. We also charge a one off fee of £8.00 to cover administrative costs for new children.

For your child to keep her/his place at the setting, you must pay the fees. We are in receipt of nursery education funding for three and four year olds; where funding is not received, then fees apply.

Starting at our setting

Visitor Programme

When your child reaches the age of two years, you may arrange with us to bring your child to playgroup to discover what happens in a playgroup session. You may attend more than once for short periods of time, roughly one hour, and we advise that the times of these visits are varied so that you & your child get a fuller picture of what Playgroup is like. There is no charge for this but the parent/carer must remain with the child for the time they are in the playroom.

We find that this programme helps the new children to settle into playgroup and a happy child will learn well. We can also offer home visits by the Playleader and a member of staff together. If you feel this would be beneficial, please ask.

The first days

We want your child to feel happy and safe with us. To make sure that this is the case, the staff will work with you to decide on how to help your child to settle into the setting. The setting has a policy about helping children to settle into the setting: a copy is available from the playroom.

Clothing

We provide protective clothing/aprons for the children when they play with messy activities. We encourage children to gain the skills that help them to be independent and look after themselves. These include taking themselves to the toilet and taking off, and putting on, outdoor clothes. Clothing that is easy for them to manage will help them to do this. We also advise that children wear clothes that they feel comfortable in but we must point out that when we have “messy play” it is just as it sounds and there is always a possibility that, despite our precautions, clothes may be spoilt and therefore we feel that best clothes should be avoided.

We always have playgroup t-shirts & sweatshirts available for parents to buy if they wish to do so.

We hope that you and your child enjoy being members of our setting and that you both find taking part in our activities interesting and stimulating. The staff are always ready and willing to talk with you about your ideas, views or questions.