Yes we are a preschool!

Whilst we do not bear the name ‘Pre-School’ we are very much a Pre-School and we work hard to ensure our children are ready for school, and did you know that your child can stay with us right up until they start school. We are registered and approved as early years providers in exactly the same way as pre-schools are. We are registered with and inspected by Ofsted and receive the funding in exactly the same way. Every 3 and 4 year old is entitled to receive 11 hours of free childcare every week and working parents may be able to receive 22 hours of free childcare every week, we open all year round so there is no need to find alternative childcare during the school holidays.

We do take our commitment to education seriously. We employ a curriculum manager to support and oversee the planning and assessment system within the nurseries. Our staff are highly qualified, with all of our nurseries having nursery practitioners trained to degree level.

How do we prepare our pre-school children for their journey into school?

All of our children follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which they will continue to follow until the end of their reception year at school. Your child will have a regular Individual Learning Plan sent home with some next steps set by their key person. Staff will use these next steps to feed directly into our weekly planning, where exciting Invitation to Play activities are set up to enhance your child’s learning and help them achieve their next steps without them evening knowing…. this is known as learning through play! There will be numerous opportunities to problem solve, use their imagination and develop their own play ideas. There will be opportunities for mark making and early writing and staff will use their expertise to challenge, engage and reflect on the impact of the learning happening, in order to prepare for next week’s planning.

There is a huge focus on children developing their language skills in order to give them the best start on their school journey. One way of skilfully introducing children to language is through the use of sharing books. We have story time during the day, but there are opportunities throughout each and every day for your child to share a book with an adult or with their friends. Staff will skilfully talk about the different words and what they mean. They will look at story structures and how we read and write from left to right, and use their new vocabulary throughout the day during continuous provision time. We also have a ‘Little Ones Library’ box where you can borrow a story from our special box, share it at home together and bring it back once you have finished.

Every day your child will take part in adult led group activities where staff will skilfully deliver a Letters and Sounds activity. The letters and Sounds programme is widely adopted in Early Years Settings and just like pre-schools we follow and deliver it too. The idea is to give your child the early skills needed, ready for reading and writing at a later stage. The following statement has been taken directly from the Letters and Sounds Website.

“Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven. There are six overlapping phases. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website”

As well as delivering our Letters and Sounds programme, the pre-school child have a focus time each day. This is with an adult and the children take part in exciting activities which will help them prepare them for their journey into school. Some examples of activities at this time includes, turn taking games, show and tell activities, re-telling and acting out stories, treasure hunts encouraging the children to give instructions and using prepositions, using fine and gross motor skills, encouraging mark making, encouraging independence with dressing and using the toilet. In the 2 terms before they start school our school leavers focus on Aspect 7 Letters and Sounds which is about them beginning to start blending and segmenting words, ready for them to start phase 2 Letters and Sounds when they start school.

We feel very privileged to feed into several different schools each year. Over the years we have built some very strong links with our feeder schools which have enabled us to gather a wealth of information on what different schools like the children to know before starting school. This is then incorporated within our planning and we can prepare your child in the best way possible. Once your child has been allocated a school, we will ask you to give us the name of that school and the behind the scenes work commences. We will invite your child’s new teacher into our nursery where they will be able to see your child in an environment that they feel comfortable in. They will spend some time getting to know your child and talking to their key person, after all some of our children started when they were tiny babies so the key person knows them exceptionally well! During June your child’s key person will write a transition document using the Devon Leaning Journey which will then be sent to your child’s new teacher for them to read before they start school.

So when considering whether or not you need to move your child to a preschool, please remember, its ultimately your choice, but you don’t need to move them we are a pre-school too.