Welcome Pack

Dear Parent/Carer,

On behalf of all the staff here at Ivy-Bank Pre-School I would like to extend a warm welcome to you and your child.

Starting pre-school is a very exciting and important stage in your child’s life and we hope that your child will enjoy his/her time with us. Please be assured that all the staff here want the very best for your child and we understand that to enable them to reach their full potential, they must feel happy, valued, safe and secure and this is always our aim.

Starting pre-school can be an anxious time for children and their parents/carers. I can remember this only too well when my own children started our local pre-school and I would like to reassure you that this is completely understandable and that we will do our upmost to make this transition as easy as possible for you and your child. The staff here at pre-school are very experienced in helping children settle and will never leave a child who has become distressed. If we feel they are not settling we will contact you and between us work out how best to help them make this adjustment. Working in partnership with parents/carers is very important to us and provides the best outcomes for your child.

Therefore, should you have any queries, concerns or information you feel may be relevant, please do not hesitate to speak to myself or a member of our team.

We are very much looking forward to getting to know you and your child.

Regards,

Linda Warren's signature

Linda Warren - Pre-school manager (on behalf of the Pre-school Team)

Transition from home to school

We recognise that starting pre-school can be a difficult time for the child but also for the whole family. It's important that this process is planned for and discussed with children and parents. Therefore we encourage you to provide as much information about typical family life for you and your child as possible. Your child is allocated a Key Person who, especially in the first few weeks/months of your child joining the setting, will discuss how to settle the child into the new environment.

Curriculum

Children start to learn about the world around them from the moment they are born. The care and education offered by the pre-school helps children to continue to do this by providing all of the children with interesting activities that are right for their age and stage of development. The curriculum, which we follow, is The Early Years Foundation Stage Guidelines (DFES 2012); this is a play-based curriculum for children from birth to age five.

There are 7 areas that are used to plan your child's learning and activities. The professionals teaching and supporting your child will make sure that the 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 in the EYFS learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

Children should mostly develop the 3 prime areas first. These are:

  • Communication and language;
  • Physical development; and
  • 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. These are:

  • Literacy;
  • Mathematics;
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design

Further information about the EYFS can be found in our 'Parent's guide to the EYFS' you can collect a copy from pre-school or email to request an electronic copy. Or via the foundation years website www.foundationyears.org.uk


Special Education Needs Co-ordinator

We have a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) in the setting who works with the children and their families to support them with any additional learning needs which their child may have.

If your child is currently having specialist help, we will work with you and the relevant agencies to ensure that you and your child receive all the support we can offer. We are familiar with the workings of the special needs agencies and we are used to doing work as laid out in individual education plans set out by the Department Of Education.


Key Person

The pre-school operates a Key Person system; this means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom they are particularly responsible. Your child's Key Person will work with you to make sure that what the pre-school provides is right for your child's particular needs and interests. When your child first starts, the Key Person will help you and your child become familiar with the setting and help your child to settle.


Early Years Entitlement Funding and Fees

All children are eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week from the term after their third birthday.

Ivy Bank Pre-School offers families the opportunity to access their free entitlement of 15 hours per week without having to pay for any additional services.

We deliver our Early Years Care and Education flexibly between the hours of 9.05am and 3.05pm for 38 weeks of the year. You can choose to send your child for a 3 hour session (morning or afternoon), or a 6 hour day.

Children can attend for a minimum of 6 hours, and a maximum of 30 hours per week.

Your child's free entitlement of 15 hours can be shared with other settings.

If your child attends Pre-School for more than 15 hours per week, you will need to pay fees for these additional hours. The hourly fees at Ivy Bank Pre-School are presently: £4.00/hour (£12.00/session).

The fees above are also applicable to all children under the age of 3 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a child eligible for a free place?

Children become eligible for the free entitlement at the start of the funding period after their third birthday.

They are eligible for up to 2 years before they reach compulsory school age, which is the school term after their fifth birthday. These dates are set by the Department for Education.

A child born between: is eligible for a free place from:
1 April and 31 August 1 September following their third birthday
1 September and 31 December 1 January following their third birthday
1 January and 31 March 1 April following their third birthday

What dates does the funding cover?

The funding dates are set nationally by the Department for Education.

Summer: 1 April – 31 August

Autumn: 1 September – 31 December

Spring: 1 January – 31 March


Does my child have to be toilet trained before starting pre-school?

No, but we do encourage your child to make regular visits to the toilet, in addition to their usual changing routine. Staff will always assist your child, however, we encourage the children to develop independence in this area when they are feeling more confident and they are able to make their needs known. If your child isn't potty trained please use Pull-ups and send your child in these. Also send your child in clothes that are easy to pull up and down and also by wearing footwear which is easy to get on and off.


What is the difference between a parent & toddler group and a pre-school?

Parent and Toddler groups are not registered and inspected by Ofsted. They are often run by volunteers and require a parent/carer to stay with their child(ren) whilst they attend the session. They are great for the socialisation of both the parent and child. Pre-schools such as ours are run by a volunteer Committee and are registered charities which are subsidised through fundraising.


Does the Pre-school have a uniform?

Yes, green sweatshirts with the Ivy Bank Pre-School logo are available to purchase from Finesse on Mill Street or Trutex on King Edward Road. The uniform also includes dark joggers or grey/black trousers, grey skirt/pinafore and white polo shirt. During the warmer months children may prefer to wear shorts or green and white gingham school dresses. Book bags can also be purchased from Finesse which are useful for taking activities from Pre-School home.

We sometimes have a few spare good quality second hand sweatshirts available to purchase from Pre-School if required.


What about snacks at pre-school?

A snack and drink of milk or water is provided for all children mid-session and we provide a variety of healthy foods (e.g. fruit or toast).

Water is available for the children to drink at any time.


If my child stays for lunch, do I need to provide this?

Yes, children bring their own packed lunch.

The children sit down for lunch at around 12.15 and have a designated adult on their table that will help them if it is needed but we do encourage the children to try to undo things themselves, this prepares them for when they go to primary school.

We encourage you to think about what you put in the lunchbox to provide a balanced diet.

You are advised to include a small ice pack if food is likely to spoil. Children are not allowed to swap or share their food due to specific dietary requirements of some children.

No nuts please-due to the high risk of nut allergies amongst young children.

We do have a leaflet available in pre-school with ideas and suggestions regarding healthy lunches for children. You may find the following websites provide useful information-

www.nutrition.org.uk

www.eatwell.gov.uk

www.foodafactoflife.org.uk

Safety

Safeguarding Children

Creating a welcoming, caring and safe environment for all children using our services is of paramount importance to us at Ivy Bank Pre-School. An important part of this involves safeguarding children. We have a detailed safeguarding children policy, the information below is a summary of the main elements of this policy.

Ivy Bank Pre-School has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual 'significant harm'. Our employment practices ensure children are shielded against the likelihood of abuse 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.

  • We will ensure all staff and volunteers are appropriately checked for their suitability to work with children.
  • We have a designated person responsible for overseeing child protection within the pre-school (This is the manager, Linda Warren).
  • We appropriately supervise staff, volunteers, and visitors to the pre-school
  • We have a whistle blowing, and complaints procedure accessible for staff, parents and carers to use as needed.
  • We ensure there are always two members of staff on site when children are present.

Staff will:

  • Ensure that children are only collected by authorised adults
  • Be alert to changes in the child's behaviour, attitude, and personality, which may be cause for concern.
  • Have regard for different safeguarding concerns including:
    • Neglect
    • Emotional Abuse
    • Physical Abuse
    • Sexual Abuse
  • Report any concerns they have about a child, or conduct of an adult to the setting's designated person for child protection.
  • Record any accidents and injuries a child suffers in or out of the setting

Parents and Carers are asked to:

  • Tell staff when arriving at Pre-school about any injuries their child has had at home and complete an existing injury form.
  • Inform staff in writing if an adult other than those already authorised is going to collect their child.
    • Please note that we are only able to release children into the care of people aged 18 or over unless they are the parent or legal guardian.
  • Inform staff if they have any concerns regarding their child's welfare.

Children will participate in activities regarding personal care and safety appropriate to their age and stage of development. This is encouraged by the every child matters outcome of "staying safe" as well as by the EYFS.

If a concern is raised depending on the nature of the concern and perceived risk to the child, concerns may be discussed with the parent. If the designated person feels this is not appropriate they may access support and guidance from other professionals as required. Confidentiality will be maintained by involving staff members on a need to know basis.

Accident sheets are kept in the pre-school and any accidents are recorded on them and reviewed when the parent collects their child.

Children are supervised at all times; the minimum staffing ratios are as follows:

  • 1:4 children aged 2 years
  • 1:8 children aged 3- 5 years

Some medication (for example, for asthma) can be brought into the pre-school; all details will be recorded in our medication book and signed by the parent and staff member if administered.

Parental Involvement

As a member of the Pre-school Learning Alliance, the pre-school recognises parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of the staff see themselves as co-workers with you in providing care and education for your child. There are many ways in which parents take part in making the pre-school 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.
  • Writing in the home link book.
  • Joining in community activities in which the pre-school takes part, and building friendships with other parents in the pre-school.
  • Assisting and/or attending pre-school fundraising activities.

Pre-School Committee

Ivy Bank Pre-School is a Registered Charity and is managed by a volunteer Parent Committee, all of whom have children in the setting. The Committee work very closely with the staff and are responsible for the overall management of the setting to ensure its smooth running. The Committee is the employer of staff and without it, the pre-school would not legally be allowed to open and take your child. Fundraising is a crucial part of our success (or failure). Therefore, we encourage you to please give as much time, energy and help to the Pre-school and its events as you can spare.

Research shows clear benefits for children when parents become actively involved in their child's learning and developing. Volunteering for the Committee offers an ideal opportunity to be more involved. Parents also find benefits for themselves including meeting other parents, updating skills and learning new ones, as well as putting something back into the local community. The committee meet once a month, these meeting times and dates can be found on the notice board and in the pre-school newsletter.

Arrival/Departure from Pre-School

Children remain the responsibility of their parents/guardians/carers until the Pre-School doors are opened by a member of staff and the session starts: please supervise your child if they wish to play in the outdoor area prior to the start of the session.

Children can hang their coats/bags on their own peg and lunch boxes can be placed on the shelves provided.

Children are encouraged to find their name card and post in the Pre-School letterbox.

Parents/guardians/carers are asked to fill in the sign-in sheet and indicate who will be collecting their child at the end of the session/day. If someone new is collecting your child, please fill in one of the slips provided and hand to a member of staff.

Staff will indicate the start of the session by opening the doors. Please ensure that you have signed your child in.

Staff will indicate the end of the session by opening the doors. For safety reasons, we ask that parents/guardians/carers come in to the room to collect their child. Please ensure that you have signed your child out before leaving.

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