What we offer
Before starting at Barnett Wood Pre-School
We aim to make your child's transition to Pre-School as smooth as possible. Therefore before your child starts Pre-School we offer a "Stay & Play" session, where you and your child are invited to the setting, along with other children who will also be new to the setting. The aim of the Stay & Play session is to give your child time to familiarise themselves with the Pre-School with the security of having parents/carers near by. Some staff members will be on hand to answer any questions or queries you may have.
In addition, we also offer a "Settling Session", which usually takes place a few days before your child's first session. This is an opportunity to meet your child's Key Person on a one-to-one basis, and also to spend some more time in the setting with your child.
Caterpillars (2-3 years old)
Most children who start at Barnett Wood Pre-School do so in the September after their 2nd birthday. They will start in the Caterpillar class which can accommodate up to 20 children per session. In order to help children settle, we ask that they attend for a minimum of two sessions per week.
Staff focus on the "prime" areas of the Early Year s Curriculum (personal, social and emotional development; communication and language; and physical development). This helps to ensure that the children settle quickly into Pre-School and encourages them to build bonds with staff members and other children.
A wide variety of activities are offered throughout the week which take into account the children's needs and interests whilst teaching them valuable skills they will need going forwards. Caterpillar children particularly love our tuff spots where we offer resources to excite their senses. We have an area which is dedicated to and celebrates the properties of natural resources which the children are encouraged to explore.
If your child is in nappies, we ask you to provide spares in their change bag. Nappies are changed periodically throughout the session. Your child's key person will work with you to toilet train your child, when you feel your child is ready for this step. All children have direct access to child-sized toilets and sinks.
During your child's time in Caterpillars their key person will complete an Early Years Review, if this has not already been done by another setting they have attended. The review will help to flag up any areas which need greater focus. You will be invited to discuss your child's Early Years Review and we will support you and your child with any actions which have been highlighted.
Butterflies (3-4 years old)
For the academic year before children are due to start reception, children move to our Butterfly class, which can accommodate up to 24 children. Butterfly children are required to attend for a minimum of three sessions per week. In Butterflies, there is a greater emphasis on preparing the children for school (although in reality, this preparation starts from the moment they join us in Caterpillars).
The children in Butterflies build on the skills that they have developed in Caterpillars and learn how to become increasingly independent, to think for themselves and be considerate to others, with supportive adults around them.
The children quickly develop their natural curiosity as they are surrounded with opportunities to question, predict and learn about the environment in which they play.
The Pre-School uses the Letters & Sounds teaching programme to build on each child's communication and language by offering a well rounded array of activities which support this.
As the academic year progresses, there is a greater emphasis on name recognition and we support children with the first marks they make to form their names for that first day at school.
In the summer term, we liaise with all the local schools to ensure that each child has a smooth transition for the next part of their journey. We have had positive feedback about the good progress that the children then go on to make.
Both rooms have direct access to our playground. This space had a full makeover in 2017 and was designed with young children in mind. The artificial surface means that the children are able to access the space in all weather conditions. The direct access means that the children can partake in free flow and are able to choose whether to play indoors or outdoors for the majority of the session. We have a good variety of outdoor equipment which we use to support the children in their play. From hoops, beanbags and bikes to large construction opportunities. We have a mud kitchen, where children can use their imagination and explore a variety of textures and smells in their creations. There is plenty to keep young minds occupied and physical bodies satisfied!
We are also lucky enough to be able to offer the children a covered outside area, our outdoor classroom. This area is set up with our sand tray and music station and offers an alternative option for children who want to play undercover out of the sun, wind or rain.
A typical day
When children arrive for their session, they will be welcomed by the staff working in their base room and asked to "self register" by putting their registration card on a board.
After a short circle time, where they are reminded of the Pre-School "rules" the children are divided into small groups for "focus time" where they are encouraged to take part in an adult-led activity.
After focus time, the doors that divide the Caterpillar and Butterfly rooms are opened and the children are able to free-flow between the rooms and outside, with staff members interacting and supporting children towards their next developmental step. This helps to foster independence and the children also benefit from interacting with other age groups. During morning sessions, children will be invited to have a snack of fruit or vegetable with a drink of water or milk. Children are encouraged to pour their own drinks to help develop independence.
Approximately 30 minutes before the end of the session children help to put items back where they belong before returning to their base rooms for a story before some children go home and others come in.
Children who stay for the full day, and those who come in for the afternoon session will bring a packed lunch with them. All children are required to wash their hands before finding their lunch box/bag which staff will have put out for them. Each table is supervised by a staff member who is there not only to help with opening packets, but also to promote good manners and encourage conversation between the children. During the afternoon the children will have an opportunity to join in an adult-led activity in their base room. This activity will be different to the one which was offered in the morning session. The doors are then re-opened to allow for free-flow play across all areas of development. In the afternoon, there is time planned for circle time activities, stories, and songs as per the morning session. Shortly before the end of the afternoon session, the children will be offered a small snack and drink before going home to tell their parents/carer all about their day.