In the Summer Term, following a fantastic fundraising effort by one of our parents (running The London Marathon in aid of us), we were able to invite Little City to Ashtead. This was made available not only to children who attend the setting, but also to children from the local community. The children had a marvellous time engaging in the immersive imaginative play experience.
We also had a planned visit from Leatherhead Fire Service. The children all had an opportunity to see inside the appliance and to have a go with the fire hose (which went down a treat!). In preparation for the visit, the children were able to explore resources lent to us by the Fire Service, including books and dressing up outfits.
In May, we celebrated the coronation of King Charles II with a variety of activities including a coronation picnic and a grandparent’s Stay & Play. We were fortunate enough to receive a personal response from The King who was touched by the card we sent.
On 12th May, the preschool had its routine Ofsted inspection and was judged as being Outstanding for the second time. The inspector was full of praise regarding the staff, the setting and the provision that we offer the children.
After half term, we had a visit from Browell’s Pet Therapy. The children enjoyed a unique experience of having animals in the setting that they could groom, pet and feed. Amongst the animals we had kittens, ginuea pigs, a pony, a couple of lambs and a pig!
We spent a week celebrating music from around the world, where we invited in parents and members of the community to show the children some of the interesting instruments they play. These included pan piples, violins, digeridoos and a bodhran drum.
We finished off the term with our traditional Leavers Sports session, where we bade farewell to all the children who left to move onto ‘big school’.
In the Spring term, thanks to parent fundraising, we were able to have two specialist activities for the children. The first was mini yoga sessions, which were held weekly in small groups by a professional yoga teacher. The yoga sessions are designed to help increase strength and flexibility as well as self-confidence and self-awareness and also supporting the children’s well-being. The children quickly learnt some basic yoga poses and looked forward to the sessions.
Our second specialist activity of the term was Kiko Football, which took place weekly for the second half of the term. Kiko helped the children learn basic ball skills and develop their hand/eye coordination.
The children went on a number of outings, including raising awareness of the Ashtead Spring Clean by going out and washing local road signs and picking up litter (with litter pickers). In March, following parent feedback, we offered a free workshop to help develop strategies around fussy eating.
As part of our curriculum relating to oral health, we welcomed a dentist to the setting who talked to the children about the importance of healthy eating and brushing their teeth properly. This was supported by activities in the setting designed to lay the foundations for good habits in oral health. The children each received a children’s toothbrush and a 1:1 tooth brushing lesson with a staff member.
We celebrated World Book Day, with both staff and children dressing up as their favourite book/book character for the day. Some of the children from Barnett Wood Infant School joined us and shared their favourite stories with our children. The term ended with a teddy bear’s picnic which included an interactive performance from the Rah-Rah theatre company.
The Autumn Term 2022 was enjoyed by all and our new Caterpillar children settled into pre-school life quickly. To celebrate harvest the preschool did its own collection of goods which we donated to Leatherhead Foodbank to support the local community. Our items were greatfully received. For Halloween, we held a 'Slime-the-Deputy' event (but it is possible that Louise, the manager, got the most enjoyment out of this!). The preschool marked Remembrance Day with the children, and a group visited the War Memorial at St. George’s on 10th November and laid a wreath in remembrance.
Following our successful pilot of the Early Talk Boost programme in Autumn 2021 the setting chose to revisit this programme with a small group from Butterflies class. The programme puts an emphasis on children’s listening and attention and helps them build confidence. The children engaged well with the programme and showed good progress. The preschool hosted its first ‘Dad’s Stay & Play’ session in an attempt to engage dads in their child’s learning. We had a large number of dads attend and it was lovely for the children to have so many male role models under one roof.
During our people who help us week we had visits from a policeman and a district nurse who told the children all about the important jobs they do. The children got to wear some real police hats, have their finger prints taken and practise how to put on a bandage. The children also enjoyed another visit from Booster Cushion Theatre Company, this time with a performance of ‘Golilocks and the Three Bears Plus’.
On the back of the positive feedback we received from our Chatter Matters workshop in the summer term, we offered our parents a Behaviour Management workshop in December. This provided parents with a variety of strategies to help manage unwanted behaviour in a positive way.
We had a number of Christmas celebrations with the children, including a show that the children performed for their parents and a Christmas party complete with party lunch and entertainment.