Congresbury Community Preschool
Information on the day-to-day running of
Congresbury Community Preschool
About Congresbury Community
We are a well-established Pre-school in the village of Congresbury, founded over 25 years ago in the old school rooms. We have grown considerably over the years and are lucky to have our own portakabin building with a lovely spacious and green garden within the grounds of St Andrew’s Primary School.
We have excellent links with the school often receiving invites to shows and dress rehearsals for plays. We also access their extensive grounds, utilising their wooded area for play sessions. During term 6, (June/July), we take our pre-schoolers into the school giving them the opportunity to meet the teachers and to familiarise them with the environment, both inside and out. The teachers also pop into our setting to meet the children in their familiar environment, further supporting them with their transition into school.
How we are run
Congresbury Pre-school is a registered charity and a member of the Preschool Learning Alliance. It is run by two committees of volunteers: the management committee and the fundraising committee. The management committee is responsible for employing staff and giving ‘behind the scenes’ support to the Managers to ensure that the Pre-school meets all of its legal, financial and regulatory requirements. This leaves the Managers to concentrate on the day to day running of the setting.
The fundraising committee organise fun events to raise much needed funds for resources and maintenance, ensuring the setting is able to keep running. You can join the fundraising team at any point during the year. They usually meet every six weeks to discuss fundraising ideas and plan events. It’s a great way to meet other parents as well as supporting your child’s Pre-school.
We also rely on volunteers to help with maintenance and the upkeep of the building and garden. This ensures that any fundraising money can be spent on resources for the children, rather than on maintenance contracts. If you are able to help (or if you know of anyone or any business that can) please let the staff know. Some parents in the past have worked for businesses that do ‘match funding’ this is a really good way to boost our fundraising.
All our practitioners have been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) previously CRB checks. They have a wealth of experience in the Early Years, holding relevant childcare qualifications. As part of their continued professional development all staff attend training throughout the year to update their knowledge ensuring their practice is in line with the latest government legislation within the Early Years. These include Safeguarding, First Aid (all staff are fully trained in paediatric First Aid) and Behaviour Management. Specialised training is sourced for any child with specific needs in line with our inclusion policy.
The required staff:child ratios (as stated in the Early Years Foundation stage) are 1 adult for every 8 children but at Congresbury Community Pre-school we aim to have at least 1 adult for every 7 children. (1 adult to every 4 children for 2 year olds.) This enables us to give each child more individual support. If 1:1 support is required for a child we will apply for additional funding to endeavour to put this in place.
At our last Ofsted inspection in February 2015 we were judged to be good in all areas of our practice. Details of the report can be found at the official Ofsted website www.ofsted.gov.uk. Our registration number is 115247. If you would like a copy please ask a member of staff.
Session Times for 3-4 year olds
Mon-Fri morning sessions 08:45-11:45
Mon-Thurs afternoon sessions 12:10-3:10
Session Times for 2 year olds
Monday morning 08:45 - 11:45
Tuesday morning 08.45 - 11.45
Wednesday morning 08:45 - 11:45
Thursday morning 08:45 - 11:45
Friday morning 08.45 - 11.45
Please note new opening hours from September 2017 from 8am - 6pm
Holiday and Term times
Term times are displayed on the Pre-school noticeboard in the entrance and on each newsletter. Please take note of inset day dates as they are not always the same as St Andrews School.
We run a lunch Club from 11.45 – 12.10, open to all children at a cost of £2.50* per session. Payment should be paid in advance or on the day. Children need to bring their own packed lunch with a freeze pack in to keep food cool (we don’t have chilled storage for lunch bags/boxes). At lunchtime children sit at the tables together with the staff to eat their lunch.
We encourage children to eat healthily, so ask that you do not include chocolate or fizzy drinks with lunches, and keep other unhealthy snacks to a minimum. For more information please visit http://www.childrensfoodtrust.org.uk/pre-school
Children have access to drinking water throughout the day.
Children are offered one of the following: sandwich/cracker/ricecake/ toast plus a selection of fruit at snack time. In order to be able to provide this, we rely on donations of fruit from parents. If you are able to, please bring a fruit donation to Pre-school. This very often acts as a prompt for discussion amongst the children and teaches them about sharing.
All children are entitled to government funding for up to 5 x 3-hour sessions a week from the term after their 3rd birthday, up to a maximum of 570 hours a year. This 570 hours works out at 15 hours per week over the 38 weeks we are open. Children may start Pre-school on their 3rd birthday but there will be a charge of £12.00 per session until funding starts (either in the September, January or April after their 3rd birthday).
Please note the same terms apply to 2 year olds.
At present we can only offer 3 x 3-hour sessions for 2 year olds. The fee for 2 year olds is £15.00 a session due to our having to work to higher staff ratios (1 adult : 4 children).
If your child does more than 5 sessions of funded childcare per week either with us or another provider, you will need to pay for some sessions. Our fees are as above. Fees are payable in advance termly. If you have arranged extra sessions and then wish to cancel them, please give us four weeks notice in writing, as staff rotas will have been agreed to cater for your requested sessions.
Your child may attend extra sessions subject to availability. These will need to be paid for on the day. Speak to a member of staff for details.
Funding forms are given out and need to be completed in September, January and April and returned promptly in order to get funding. Staff will advise at the time.
We are registered with several childcare voucher companies. For further information speak to your employer or contact our Treasurer if you wish to pay fees, lunch club or trip money by this method.
If you are going to be late picking your child up at the end of their session please phone to let us know (so we can reassure your child.) Our late fees if we are not notified are £5.00 per 15mins.
What to wear?
As many of our activities involve paint, play-dough, glue, water, sand and many other messy materials we would advise that your child wears older clothes to minimise concern over clothes getting dirty or stained. For the same reason and in case of toileting accidents children must bring at least 1 complete change of labelled clothes/footwear.
We access the outdoors in all weathers and it is therefore necessary to ensure your child has appropriate clothing according to the weather. In cold and wet weather children need to bring wellies and appropriate outdoor coats. In hot weather sun hats and sun cream are needed. Swim wear/towels also prove useful as we do lots of water play! (See below for details of pre-school clothing for sale).
The daily routine acts as a flexible framework, which changes to meet the children’s needs. Our activities each day include play-dough, paints, puzzles, books, home corner, mark making and craft resources. Children have access to a selection of sorting and construction toys. They can also choose from a large selection of ‘small world toys’, role play resources and games from the toy cupboard.
At the start of each session children have ‘free play’ time where they are encouraged to independently choose their activities, deciding what they play with and for how long. This play is essentially child led and can be indoors or outside. Practitioners follow the children’s interests offering resources, support and guidance that is appropriate to the child’s age and stage of development. This development is monitored and shared with the parent.
Practitioners provide small group work opportunities to support children in developing their skills and knowledge, focusing on particular areas of learning .
When play has finished all children are encouraged to help at tidy up time, supporting them to develop problem solving skills when sorting and deciphering where items need to go. This helps encourage them to respect items. We often have group or circle time (can be small or large groups) during which the children choose favourite songs to sing, tell stories or play games.
A 'rolling' snack time is available for the children from 10am in the mornings and 2pm in the afternoons. Children wash their hands when they are ready for their snack and sit at tables with their peers and an adult. All children are encouraged to have a drink of milk or water. children are encouraged to pour their own drinks. This provides opportunity for conversation between the children and makes snack time a valuable social activity.
Outdoor playtime gives the children the opportunity to explore the outside environment. Pre-school has a vast selection of bikes and outdoor toys including a climbing frame, giving the children plenty of opportunity to develop their coordination and balance skills and run off any excess energy!
Each session usually ends with a story time allowing the children some quiet, calm time before they are collected
Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage
At Congresbury Community Pre-school our practice is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). As early years practitioners we must consider the individual needs, interests and stages of development of all children in our care. Within the early years the main focus of development is in the 3 prime areas as children require these skills in order to enhance their learning around the 4 specific areas of learning. Opportunities and activities that enable the children to develop their skills in these areas are provided in line with the child’s individual needs. (Please note: for 2 year olds we focus on the 3 prime areas of development)
The seven areas of learning are:
3 prime areas:
Personal, Social and Emotional.
Communication and Language.
4 specific areas:
Understanding of the world.
Expressive Arts and Design.
When planning activities we consider the different ways in which children learn and reflect on these in our practice.
We provide opportunities for children to experience through:
Playing and exploring - children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
Active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.
Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things.
These opportunities enable us to consider the characteristics of effective learning unique to the individual child.
Please take time to look at the full publication at:
Department for Education - Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS (2014)
The role of the Key person
Each child is assigned a key person when they begin at Pre-school, however all staff make observations and provide care to all the children. The key person’s role is to help ensure “that every child’s care is tailored to meet their individual needs, to help the child become familiar with the setting, offer a settled relationship for the child and build a relationship with their parents.” (EYFS)
This means they get to know your child well and are responsible for documenting their key children’s progress in their learning diaries. These are always available should you wish to add to it or see what your child has been learning through their play. The diary will include both written and photographic evidence as well as examples of the child’s ‘work’.
If a child doesn’t appear to make progress over a period of time the key person will discuss this with the parent/carer and the settings special educational needs/inclusion co-ordinator (SENCO/INNCO). Together an Individual Play Plan (IPP) will be devised to help support the child in their development, with specific targets to support the child’s needs, which are shared with other staff to ensure continuity in care.
Occasionally it is necessary to seek advice from other professionals such as health visitors, speech therapists and early years advisors in order to ensure the most relevant resources and support are in place for individual children. Parental permission is always requested prior to sharing of any such information.
As a parent you know your child better than anyone else and we recognise you as your child’s first educator. Just think of all the things your child has achieved since birth; these skills have been able to develop because of the care and attention you give your child. Sharing information about their interests and achievements at home will enable us to plan activities that will help your child to settle and enjoy their time at Preschool.
We have an “open door policy” in that we openly encourage dialogue and communication about your child which also strengthens our parent partnership goal. Should you have any concerns, questions or wish to share anything with us your child’s key person or manager are available either on the day or at a pre-arranged time. We encourage parents to share information about their child’s interests at home; we can then plan activities around these interests.
Children’s achievements at home are equally important and can be included in your child’s learning diary. Please share these with us.
We aim to schedule informal meetings in between sessions, evenings or on Saturdays during the year. This allows all parents to meet staff and committee members and catch up on what is happening at Pre-school as well as the opportunity to discuss your child’s progress.
Before your child starts at Pre-school you should try to attend at least one stay-and-play settling in session, which are free of charge, to help settle your child in their transition. Parents are of course always welcome to stay and play for whole or part of a session.
Do you (or someone you know) have a job that may be of interest to the children? In the past we have had visits by nurses, a vet, pilot, and a farmer. Some parents have brought in family pets, helped do a craft or cooking activity or just popped in to read a story to a group of children, always popular!
We are constantly replenishing our supplies of “loose part” materials (tyres, milk crates, guttering, wood, watches, clocks, pans, utensils, keys…) which enable the children to develop their creativity and use everyday resources in imaginative ways. If you are able to provide us with any such materials please speak to a member of staff as these would be gratefully received.
Parents can also help run our Pre-school library allowing children to choose a book each week to share at home before returning it the following week to exchange it for another.
Please let staff know if you could offer any help at Pre-school.
Welfare and Safeguarding
We aim to provide a safe secure environment in which all children will learn through their play. All staff have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, previously known as CRB checks. We show regard for the Government’s statutory guidance “Working together to Safeguard Children”. Policies are in place giving procedures for complaints, safeguarding, confidentiality and health and safety for both parents and staff. (Copies are on the notice board in the lobby and on our website).
It is a legal requirement that all staff attend safeguarding training and these are up-dated regularly. We have a legal duty of care to all children to ensure their well-being. In the event of any concerns we have to follow procedures that are in line with government guidelines. Any comments, concerns and incidents are recorded in your child’s “blue book”. All information is confidential. Your permission will be sought if we need to share any information with other professionals.
For more details see our policies and/or go to http://www.northsomersetlscb.org.uk
If possible please advise the setting by 9a.m. if your child will not be attending Pre-school due to illness. Please make us aware of any infectious illnesses such as chicken pox or measles to allow us to pre-warn other parents of the symptoms.
When to keep your child home
Do not bring your child to Pre-school if they are unwell or have a temperature of more than 38º C. Children should be kept home for 48 hours following the last incident of vomiting or diarrhoea. Children should also be kept at home if they have a rash or any viral illness. Following medical consultation, once any rash has cleared they can return to Pre-school. Pre-school staff can administer medication such as antibiotics if prescribed by a doctor but cannot give a child Calpol.
What if my child becomes unwell at Pre-school?
If your child becomes unwell at Pre-school you will be asked to come and collect them. We will try and isolate them to prevent the spread of any possible infection and also keep them in a quiet and comfortable environment. A member of staff will stay with your child until you arrive to collect them.
What if my child gets hurt at Pre-school?
If a child is hurt or has an accident at Pre-school the incident is recorded in the ‘accident book’. A copy is put in your child's bag. This information is confidential. A first Aider will attend to your child and take the appropriate steps. In cases of a more serious nature the manager or named session leader would speak to the parent/carer to decide on the course of action. A member of staff would stay with the child at all times. Other incidences or issues are documented in the child's 'blue book' and parents informed. Confidentiality is respected at all times.
We would prefer your child to be toilet trained before starting at Pre-school, however this is not a necessity. If your child is still in nappies you will be required to supply these along with wipes. Please discuss your child’s requirements with a member of staff.
If your child still requires a sleep during the session please speak with your child’s key person and we can arrange this. Please note however that we do not have a separate room for sleeping in, and naps would be taken on a sofa/mat in a quieter area of the room.
These are sent out each term, both electronically via email and hard copy placed in your child’s wall pocket in the lobby. Look out for other information and invites to fundraising events in pockets and on posters around the setting.
You can also contact us via email if you have any queries at any time.
(All information is deemed confidential, only Preschool Managers have access to this address)
Holidays and appointments
Please advise us in advance if your child will be absent due to a holiday or medical appointments so we can mark the register accordingly.
If in exceptional circumstances we have to close Pre-school, for example extreme weather, we will notify you as soon as we are able. Pre-school will be listed with other school closures on the local radio station and details posted on our website. Where possible a message will be put on the Pre-school phone.
Policies and procedures
Congresbury Pre-school, in line with government legislation and guidance from the Pre-school Learning Alliance, has a number of policies and procedures in place that help to ensure the smooth running of Pre-school and guarantee both staff and children work, learn and play in a safe secure environment. Policies are available for your information and include: Inclusion, health and hygiene, behaviour, special needs, safeguarding and complaints procedures.
Copies of these policies are available via the links on our website, or in the Pre-school lobby. Please ask a member of staff if you would like to know more about them or if you require a copy.
We hope that you and your child will be happy with your experience of our pre-school. However, if you have a complaint about a member of staff or the way Pre-school is run you should contact the Pre-school Manager, Teresa Turner, or the chairperson of the management committee. All contact details are on the noticeboard in the lobby.
How to contact us
Our address is:
Congresbury Community Pre-school
St Andrews School Site
Telephone: 01934 707262
You can download our Registration Form:
A selection of pre-school clothing is available should you wish to purchase any. Please speak to a member of staff to see samples for sizes
• T-shirts sizes 22/24”, 26”, 28” £6.00*
• Sweatshirts 22”, 24”, 26”, 28” £7.00*
• Sun hats (one size) £3.00*
Waterproof 2 piece suits £12.00*
(cost price) Available in red or navy blue
Sizes 3/4 years, 5/6 years, 6/7 years
* Please note that all prices are reviewed annually and may be subject to change.
Updated February 2016