Our setting recognizes 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. We value parents’ knowledge and ideas about their children’s needs, activities, interests and progress. We welcome parents to come and play, share their interests and take part in our events and celebrations. We are a registered charity, and have a fundraising committee that organizes events throughout the year. If you would like to join our committee of parents and build some new friendships, please see a member of staff for details.
The Playgroup is registered to take 24 children per session. Children are admitted as soon as possible after their 3rd birthday and we also have limited places for under threes. We operate a waiting list in accordance with our Admissions Policy. We recommend that children visit with their parents for a few sessions before they start, to help them to acclimatise.
Fees and Sessions
We are open school term time, Monday to Friday 8.45am till 11.45am. Lunch Club is available on Tuesdays and Fridays till 12.45pm where the children bring in a packed lunch from home. We run three afternoon sessions on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday that starts with lunch at 11.45 and finishes at 2.45 (this can be combined with a morning session to make a full day 8.45 – 2.45). Friday afternoons are offered during spring and summer term. Limited sessions are now available for 2 ½ year olds (see our Admission Policy for full details). Most children qualify for funding under the West Sussex Free Entitlement scheme (West Sussex site) in the term following their third birthday (see staff for details).
We offer a varied and exciting curriculum, with play and fun learning activities based around children’s interests. Children have a choice to play inside or out, and we have clear routines to help children to understand and follow simple rules.
We deliver the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), as set out by the Government, and we adhere to the standards and framework of EYFS. Young children learn best through play and Early Years Practitioners will be able to provide your child with appropriate play and learning experiences for their stage of development and help them develop new skills. The activities that are provided will enable children to learn and develop well and keep healthy and safe. They promote learning to ensure school readiness and give children the broad range of knowledge and skills that provide the right foundation for good future progress through school and life, in accordance with the EYFS Framework.
If your child has a Special Educational Need and/or disability additional information is embedded in the EYFS to enable practitioners to target activities specifically and help children to progress. Practitioners will identify resources and learning opportunities for individual children dependant on their development needs.
Young children learn best through play and Early Years Practitioners will be able to provide your child with appropriate play and learning experiences for their stage of development and help them develop new skills. The activities that are provided for young children will underpin the skills they need to work towards their Early learning Goals at the end of their reception year at school.
PRIME Areas of Learning (these come first in younger children)
For more information go to http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/eyfs-statutory-framework
We are registered with Ofsted. Our inspection report is available on the parent’s noticeboard or online at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofsted
We maintain a ratio of at least 1 adult to 8 children for over 3’s and 1 adult to 4 children for under 3’s. Each child is allocated a key worker, who will be responsible for maintaining the child’s Learning Journal (an individual record of the child’s learning and development). All staff will interact with all children, but the key worker will build up a closer relationship with the child and family.
Injuries and Illness
Policies are in place for accidents, injuries and illness during playgroup sessions. Please ask if you would like to see them. Our staff are trained in first aid and will deal with any minor accidents (eg bumps, grazes) which your child may have. In the event of a serious accident, emergency treatment will be sought (provided you have given consent for this).
Staff will administer medicines that are required for acute conditions (eg inhalers for asthma) providing parents/carers have completed and signed a medical consent form with instructions and details of the dosage. See a member of staff for details. Medicines must be clearly labeled with the dose and the child’s name.
Dropping off and Collecting Children
Parents are welcome into the setting in the morning from 8.40 am to settle their child. Please do not leave until 8.45 am when a member of staff will be on the door. If your child is upset or clingy, then a member of staff will be available to reassure them (and you!).
At the end of the session please wait outside until your child is called. If your child is to be collected by another person (this must be someone over the age of 16), please fill in the collection form on the notice board in the hallway in the morning. If you are delayed and will be late collecting your child please telephone the Playgroup as soon as possible to let us know any alternative arrangements. We have a policy in place for the non-collection of children, which parents and carers may see at any time.
All children are different and some need longer to settle in than others. Visiting with your child before they start often helps children to feel relaxed and confident. Your keyworker will discuss individual needs and arrangements that help your child settle in quickly and enjoy their first days at Playgroup.
At Heather Playgroup the children have a choice to play inside or outside all year round. Please ensure they can get the best from our exciting learning environment by dressing them appropriately for messy, active and outdoor play. Old clothes are best, as despite the use of protective aprons, things can get messy. We have physical play equipment, like bikes, climbing frame and slide, so please no mules, crocs, flip-flops or other unsecure shoes. Children can leave a pair of (named) wellies in their welly box under their peg so they are always prepared for wet weather. Please make sure all items of clothing are named!
Please ensure that during sunny weather, you protect your child with sun cream before coming to Playgroup. We use the outdoor area daily and provide shade where possible. If your child brings a sunhat, staff will encourage them to use it.
At Heather Playgroup, water is available for your child to access independently. We also provide your child with a drink and healthy snack mid-morning to keep them going. We find this encourages even reluctant fruit-eaters to try something new, and is a lovely social time
Children come to playgroup at many different stages of development. Please let a member of staff know if your child is able to use the toilet independently or not. We would like to support you in helping your child gain independence. So it helps if we know what strategies you are using at home and we can maintain consistency. Please do not worry if your child has accidents, this is all part of learning. We have a limited supply of spare clothes, but if you prefer to bring some from home, they can be left in a named bag on your child’s peg.
We hope that the above answers all of your questions, however if you have any further queries or concerns please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff who will be happy to talk to you.