36 months – 60 months
Staff ratio 1:8
Please note between the hours of 8am and 4pm where an Early Years Teacher (EYT)/ Early Years Professional (EYP) or a Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is working directly with the children, the ratio can be 1:13 as stated in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
The preschool unit has space for up to 42 children and has two base rooms: The Frogs and Natterjacks, both groups are age appropriate. The unit has two rooms which are both divided into the following areas: Literacy area/technology area/art area/book corner/maths area/construction area/role play area/mark making area.
The preschool unit bases its planning and activities around the seven areas of learning found in the Early Years Foundation Stage:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development
- Understanding of the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Activities and twice daily small group times held during term time are focused on a particular area of learning, which focus on children’s interests and individual needs. Free choice activities are available for children to choose from on a daily basis. The children work in small groups with their key person to cover the focused areas of learning. Our weekly plans are displayed on the notice board for parents and this can be found in the Natterjacks room. We encourage parental involvement as much as possible in supporting their child’s learning. Our focus is learning through play and therefore we ask that parents support this. We work with the local authority, meet regularly with local schools and follow national strategies in relation to early phonics. Therefore whilst a child is in the preschool unit they will join in daily phonic sessions which will give them the skills and knowledge to develop early reading and listening skills once they reach school. Children in the preschool unit are not taught to read and write as this will follow on from the skills they gain whilst learning through play once they reach school.
Parent’s evenings are held regularly throughout the year where parents can book to discuss their child’s progress to date with their child’s key person. We would encourage parents to write down significant milestones in their child’s development and share these with the preschool unit staff. These will be added to your child’s learning journey and used to plan activities within the nursery environment for them.
The preschool unit routine is adapted through the school holidays owing to fewer children attending nursery owing to holidays. We therefore loosely plan activities for all children to participate in as a large group, which replace our daily small group times. During the Easter and summer holidays we hold a holiday club for school children, who use the Frogs base room as a base. The Frogs therefore join with the Natterjacks throughout these holiday times. The older children in the Preschool unit have the opportunity to participate in workshops and join in play activities with holiday club children at certain times of the nursery day.
We also take the children on a local nature walk at regular times throughout the years. We adjust our ratio accordingly and all walks are fully risk assessed before setting off. Throughout their time in our preschool unit children also have opportunities to participate in a range of outings which in the past have included outings to the local library; garden centres; Grays farm; Odds Farm; Lego Land; Hexagon in Reading via train to watch the Gruffalo and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to name but a few.
In addition to outings we have also held many workshops run by outside professionals which have included MAD Science SLIME workshop; Zoolab; Puppet workshop; Road Safety talk by Wokingham Borough Council and the fire service.
We also offer all children attending on a Tuesday morning the opportunity to participate in Sports activities. Children are placed in a small group and have 30 minutes of activity with a specialised instructor from outside the nursery, who is supported by a member of the preschool unit staff.
Should a child require a nap then we will cater for this however we ask you communicate your child’s needs in relation to this with the room leader. We will never insist a child sleeps if they wish to play with their peers.
To encourage the children’s social skills and independence, pre-school children and staff eat their meals within the pre-school unit at low level table and chairs. Children will be encouraged to help lay tables, serve their lunch and make their own sandwich at tea and clear away their plates when they have finished eating. Please note that breakfast is only available up to 8:45am to enable us to implement our routine effectively.
The toilet area is separate from the playroom with low level toilets and sinks. Although staff are there to assist children if necessary, we do aim to encourage independence so we ask parents to consider accessibility of clothing when dressing their child in the morning. Some younger children may still be in the early stages of toilet training and their needs will be met. If your child is at this stage we will ask parents to provide plenty of spare clothes.