ST. NICHOLAS PLAYGROUPíS WEBSITE
WHO ARE WE?
We are a small friendly playgroup, which offers care for children from the age of two years to five. We are situated in St. Nicholas Church in Strood High Street.
St. Nicholas Playgroup started off as a church run group and from January 1997 Diane Chamberlain the current owner has been running it. Playgroup has been running from 1984 and has its silver anniversary next year (2009). As far as I know playgroup has been running for at least forty years.
WHEN DO WE OPEN?
At St. Nicks we are open for 38 weeks of the year. Our sessions are as follows; Monday to Friday 9:15 to 11:45am and Monday to Thursday afternoons 12:30 to 3:00pm. We do offer all day sessions and the children can stay to Lunch Club and parents provide the lunches with £2.00.
We are registered with OFSTED and this means that children who reach a term after their third birthday are entitled to six sessions free of charge. For example children who were born from August 31st to December 31st would receive funding from January.
Children born from January to the 31st of March would receive funding from April and children born from April the 30th to August 31st would receive funding in September.
This also means that we follow the Early Years Foundation Stage profile (EYFS) from the age of two years to five.
St. Nicholas Playgroup admits children from two years of age.
We are able to take twenty children per session and a session is two and half-hours. The children are not separated into different rooms as we feel that all children of different age groups learn so much from each other and also have a lot to give. This is good for their social skills too, encouraging them to share, listen and look after one another.
Children who may still be in nappies are more than welcome to attend playgroup. All we ask is for parents to provide nappies, wet ones and nappy sacks and we will change them when required. Also we will change childrenís clothes if accidents may occur. We have changes of clothes, but if parents wish to provide their own they may do so.
A waiting list is operated and parents may put their childís name down as soon as they may wish. Please call or alternatively please feel free to pop down and we will put their names down while you wait.
A few weeks before your child is due to start we will give you a ring and make a date and time for you to visit us with your child. We will explain all that we do with the children throughout their time with us.
Please do not leave this too late especially if your child may be entitled to free funding, as forms need to be filled out early and sent off to the finance people at the Medway early yearís department.
Please Note: For the security & safeguarding of our children and staff, St. Nicholas Playgroup do not offer unplanned 'drop-in' viewings. Parents are asked to put down their childs name on our waiting list and they will then have the chance to view all Playgroups Policies and Procedures during the Welcome Meeting. This generally takes one and a half hours and gives an in-depth understanding of how playgroup is run.
At St. Nicholas Playgroup there are four members of staff. Three who are qualified to Level 3 and one at Level 6 who is our Early Years Professional (EYP). We are all Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked. We also have a first aider, a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and a Child Protection Officer. We also work with outside agencies and have good links with the local infant schools.
WHAT WE DO
We operate a key worker and a key person system. To explain this a little better, children when they start at St. Nicks are all assigned a key worker. A key worker will collect evidence of each childís development. Learning Journals which will include written observations, photos and any art, will be kept.
We also have the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) profile, which have seven areas of learning; 1) Personal, Social and Emotional, 2) Communication and language. 3)Literacy 4) Understanding the World, 5) Physical 6) expressive arts and design. 7) mathematics
These are the areas of learning and from the age of two, little comments are written down on how each goal has been achieved and are kept in the children's learning journals. This is done without the childís knowledge; just purely on what they are playing or doing at the time.
When your little one leaves playgroup to go to big school the folder will be given to you and is a nice memento of your childís time with us. What we also do is send a transitional report on each childís time with us to the school that they will be attending just giving them some information on each childís development. We ask that you read through the comments and make your own comment on how you think your child has progressed at playgroup and you will also receive a copy for your keeping.
We help the children to develop their phonic knowledge by introducing them to the Jolly Phonics. Children each have their own name cards so that they can start to recognise how their name looks when written down. We also get the children to make their own name tags choosing a picture and writing their name so that they know what to look for when they come in to hang up their coats. Counting, shapes and colours are also talked about throughout the sessions.
WHAT WE OFFER THE CHILDREN (and their families)
At St. Nicholas Playgroup we offer good quality childcare; safe guarding children and to protect them from harm is one of our aims that we as a playgroup take quite seriously.
Children are our precious commodity and we need to look after and nurture them showing them the way to become good and kind little people.
We work closely with parents and carers to ensure that a happy and memorable time is had by all. Children are encouraged to learn and are not hindered in any way.
We keep them safe and secure and provide a loving and caring environment for them to grow and flourish at their own pace. We encourage the children to become independent and make them aware of how we behave while we are in playgroup. We encourage the children to be confident and help to build their self-esteem.
Encouragement is given to the children to be kind to one another, to share, to help tidy away the toys, not to hurt one another and be polite. This is part of our behaviour policy, which we believe stands the children in good steed throughout their lives.
Health, hygiene, food and exercise are also discussed on a regular basis and children have a choice of drinks including milk, orange or blackcurrant. Toast with jam or butter and a rich tea biscuit are given and a fruit plate is also offered to the children. Snack Time is a whole group activity whereby children are encouraged to pour their own drinks and THANK-YOUís are always a pleasure to hear and are reminded if they get forgotten. This is also something that playgroup likes to encourage especially when a child is given something.
We have one to one meetings with parents to discuss their childís progress. This is done twice in a year and with the key worker. You will have the opportunity to look at your childís folder.
We take the children out of playgroup for walks and visits to the library; and of course this is only done with your consent. We also go outside again for walks and leaf collecting to look at the weather and to exercise with our bikes, trikes, scooters and cars. We have visited the Childen's Centre and used their otside play area.
We will often take Dianes dog Willow out for walks around the church grounds and this encourages children to be kind and caring to animals.
We have a Sports Day each year where all children take part and their families are invited to come and cheer them all on..
Coffee Mornings are held and parents are invited to come along to support playgroup and taste our wares! This is also another good time to have a chat with your child's Keyworker.
In July and December Parties are held and an entertainer comes along to bring the children lots of fun. This is also a time to say farewell to the children who will be leaving us to go to big school. father Christmas also makes a special visit to give the children their presents.
Children can also write to father Christmas and post their letters to him in our post box.All children will have a written letter back!
Parents and grandparents are on occasion asked to join us for storytelling, junk week (making lovely creations and getting messy) or just to come and play with us for a morning or afternoon.
Our room is above the day centre and is one large area, which has a kitchen and two toilets. It is a bright and airy room.
We often take the children down into the church as we have access via playgroup. We read stories and have had Easter egg hunts, plays and sing our carols to all parents and carers.
David the vicar visits us to make sure we are ok and is always on hand to read a story if he isnít too busy.
Well I hope that I have given you a little insight to what we provide for the children who come to our playgroup.
If you would like to have more details please donít hesitate to call Diane and I will be pleased to answer all your questions.