We want children to feel safe and happy in the absence of their parents. Children cannot play or learn successfully if they are anxious. Our settling in process aims to help parents and their children to feel comfortable in the pre-school environment and to ensure that children can benefit fully from what the pre-school has to offer. We also want parents to feel welcome and involved from the beginning.
In order to accomplish this, we aim to create a partnership with parents in the following ways:
- We allocate a key person to each child and his/her family before she/he starts to attend; the key person welcomes and looks after the child and his/her parents at the child’s first session and during the settling in process.
- By creating opportunities for the exchange of information, using among other resources a copy of the pre-school’s prospectus and a shared approach to the registration form.
- By ensuring plentiful opportunities for parents to inform the pre-school about their children’s current achievements and interests
- By encouraging parents to visit the pre-school with their children before an admission is planned. This session is free.
- By introducing flexible admission procedures, if appropriate, to meet the needs of individual families and children.
- By ensuring parents have plenty of opportunities to talk to the Manager during this early stage
- If parents would like a home visit prior to child’s start date this can be arranged.
- By encouraging parents, where appropriate, to separate from their children for brief periods at first, gradually building up to longer absences.
- When parents leave, we ask them to say good bye to their child and explain that they will be coming back and when.
- We recognise that some children will settle more readily than others but that some children are not ready to be left. We expect that the parent will stay for at least the first week, or possibly longer, until their child can stay happily without them.
- We are happy for children to bring in a special toy to aid the settling in process.
- Within the first six weeks of starting we discuss and work with the child’s parents to start to create their child’s record of achievement.
Within the pre-school, all children are supported in developing their potential at their own pace. Mepal and Witcham Pre-school uses a “key-worker” system, which enables us to plan a curriculum tailored to the needs of each individual child.
By using developmentally appropriate play activities and a high level of individual adult input, we can offer a curriculum, which enables children to progress towards the Early Learning Goals throughout the Foundation Stage, and prepares them for the National Curriculum, which begins at Year 1 in Primary school. The Foundation Stage begins at the age of 3 years and continues through to end of their Reception year. There are seven Early Learning Goals defined within this stage.
Communication and Language Development
Personal, social and emotional development
Understanding the World
Expressive Arts and Design
The activities that children undertake probably won’t feel like learning – most children see it as just fun and play, but as they get to grips with speaking and listening, singing and dance, stories and imagination, counting and the early stages of writing, they will be gaining all of the basic skills that will get them off to a flying start. Parents are able to view their child’s details and developmental assessment folder at any time, and they should feel free to discuss their child’s progress with both the Manager and their key worker.
At the end of a child’s time with Mepal and Witcham Pre-school, a transition learning development record document which summarises the child’s progress is sent to their next setting – whether that is another Pre-school/ Nursery or Reception class at school.
A TYPICAL SESSION
9.00am: Free Play
The doors are opened and a member of staff welcomes children and parents. As children enter, they are marked in the register. They then walk to the table where they collect their name and put it on the board. This is followed by free flow play. There are a variety of activities on offer for the children to choose from, which will include large and small physical activities, craft, messy play, etc. Staff play with the children and encourage them by talking with them and praising them. At each session there is at least one adult led activity. Staff will be observe all children each week and our aware of individual targets.
9.10: Register and News Times
Children sit on the mat in the book corner where there is a member of staff who greets them. The staff sit in the book corner with the children and registration takes place.
9.30: Free flow Play indoors / outdoors
10.30: Activities. When the school hall is free this is used for PE and games
10:55: Tidy Up
11:00: Story Time
11:10: Free flow inside/Outside Play
12:00: End of session for some children
12:00: Free flow for lunch club
13:00: End of Session
If a child finds it hard to settle in a large group situation, even when with adult support, then we have smaller story sessions during the morning at a time when the child is ready.
Snack is available from 10:00 as a rolling snack. This is a time when children are encouraged to taste a variety of healthy snacks and drinks whilst talking to children and staff. Children’s independence to pour own drink and select food is encouraged and practicing good manners.
At the end of the session children’s pictures and information letters are handed out. A member of staff opens the door to the school playground, greets the parents/carers where the children are waiting for their parent/ carer. The member of staff marks them out of the register as they leave.
During this special time your child will with their peer group bake cakes which they will eat during snack time, ingredients will be provided by pre-school.
Clothing and Personal Possessions
In order to feel free to explore and experiment with all kinds of materials, including messy ones, it is best to send children dressed in clothes which are easily washed or not too new. Children should wear shoes or trainers suitable for outdoor play and for use on the climbing frame and other similar equipment. Your child will not be allowed to use certain equipment if they do not wear suitable footwear as stated in our Health and Safety Policy. Children with pierced ears are not allowed to share each other’s earrings and whilst at pre-school a child will only be able to wear studded earrings. It is understood that children sometimes wish to bring their own personal possessions in pre-school. Please ensure that where possible all clothing and personal possessions are labelled with the child’s name (all coats and bags must be labelled). No valuable items should be bought in as we cannot be held liable if they are lost or damaged (although we do remind the child to look after their belongings safely and perhaps put them away/aside in an area for items not belonging to the pre-school).
Special Educational Needs
Our pre-school has regard to the DfES Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001) and also to the guidelines supplied to voluntary providers of pre-school education. In recognition of this we will provide appropriate learning opportunities, for all children, regardless of any disability or medical condition that they have. In line with this, we have staff who have undertaken specialist training which equips them to assess and work with children with special educational needs. If the pre-school feels that we do not have the appropriate resources to meet a child’s needs, we will seek funding/training to assist. The named SENCO is Michelle Willson.
For further information please see our Parent Information and Policies pages.