Dear Parent, We are writing to welcome you and your child to the Lionel Walden School. Please would you complete the enclosed Pre-School Admission Form and return it to the school office with your child‟s birth certificate as soon as possible. INFORMATION 1. Times of Sessions Mornings 8.50 a.m. - 11.50 a.m. Afternoons 12.05 p.m. - 3.05 p.m. Please note that it is important that children are not brought more than five minutes earlier than these stated times. 2. Parents should wait in the playground when coming to collect children. We will not let children out until we can see someone is there ready to receive them, therefore it is important that you inform us if anyone other than the usual person is collecting your child. 3. The school takes part in the National Fruit & Vegetable Scheme and all Playgroup children are provided with a piece of fruit or vegetable on a daily basis. Milk or water is also provided. 4. Please ensure that children are sensibly dressed, in clothes that they can manage (or nearly manage) to remove by themselves for P.E. and going to the toilet. Aprons are worn for messy activities, but accidents do happen, so it is wise for your child to avoid wearing his/her best clothes. 5. Each half term, the children will bring home a Link-Up sheet, which will keep you informed of the programme for that term, and will list any special events and important dates. 6. The Playgroup has a qualified teacher and Level 3 qualified members of staff as well as parental help, which is vital to the running of the Playgroup. If you are able to help on a regular basis, please see us. All parent helpers are police checked according to county procedures. 7. If your child requires any medication, such as an asthma inhaler or has any allergy, please see a member of staff as soon as possible so that proper arrangements can be made. 8. There is a Playgroup notice board in the Entrance Hall. Please ensure that you look at it each week. If you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to come in and discuss them. Claire Covill Pre-School Leader “Early childhood is a crucial stage of life in terms of children’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development and well being. Growth is rapid and differential. It is a time when children need particularly high quality care and learning experiences”. Early Learning Goals, 1999 AIMS OF OUR PLAYGROUP Our aim is to provide a safe, caring environment, which allows children to explore the world around them at their own pace. Our curriculum aims to:- cover all aspects of development (e.g. physical, intellectual, emotional, social and language; ensure high quality relationships among children and adults and built on partnerships with families; support each child for a smooth transition from home to Playgroup and as they move onto school; build on each child‟s prior experience and knowledge, taking account of how they learn and grow; provide opportunities for children to learn in a variety of ways; play is the prime medium through which young children learn; it will be supported and developed by enthusiastic and sensitive adults; nurture and develop each child‟s self esteem; develop positive attitudes towards learning within a broad and practical curriculum; develop creativity and exploration; provide a broad range of opportunities to investigate, to observe and be curious, ask questions, to make choices about what they do and to talk about what happens; provide learning which is rooted in activity and first hand experiences offering the chance to explain and discuss these with peers and adults who will listen, accept, challenge, extend and teach. PARENTS’ EVENING During the Spring Term prior to your child entering the Reception Class, you will have an opportunity to discuss his/her progress with the Playgroup Leader. Further details will be sent out nearer the time. OPEN AFTERNOON An Open Afternoon will be held during the Summer Term. Any child who will be attending Playgroup during the following school year is invited to come along, with their parents, to have a look around and enjoy some of the activities that we offer. EDUCATIONAL VISIT An outing will be organised for the Summer Term. Places will be offered initially to those children who will be starting school the following September. Then, depending on numbers, places may be offered to younger children. GETTING READY FOR STARTING SCHOOL At the Spring Term Parents‟ Evening, you will be given a booklet called „Starting School‟. This should be completed during the Summer Term and returned before the end of term. During the Summer Term, children will have visits to the Reception class to meet the school staff. In July we have a special session called „Gyration‟. This is when all children find out which classes they will be in the following year and who their teacher will be. This session begins at 9.00 a.m. and lasts until 11.00 a.m., and for this period the Playgroup children become part of the main school. NEW RECEPTION INTAKE EVENING During the Summer Term you will be invited to attend a meeting where further information about starting school will be given. CHILD COLLECTION POLICY Collection by a different person – If your child is being collection by a different person, your consent must be given in advance. There is a form displayed inside Playgroup for you to sign, detailing the nominated person and date. If you are unable to come into Playgroup, then written consent may be given by a dated letter. In the case of unforeseen circumstances parents must contact the school advising the staff who will be collecting their child. Late collected children – If a child is not collected at the end of the Playgroup session, they will be taken to the school office and their parents contacted. A member of staff will wait with the child until an authorised person arrives to collect them. In the unlikely event of nobody being contactable, the Police and Social Services will be contacted. ILLNESS During a Playgroup session, should your child become unwell, you will be contacted, via the school office, to make arrangements for your child to be collected. If your child has had sickness and diarrhoea, they must be excluded from Playgroup for at least 24 hours from the last time they were ill. ABSENCES If your child is ill, please inform the school office by ringing 01354 740405. MEDICINES We are not normally able to give medicines or pills to Playgroup children. If your child needs an inhaler or medicine on a regular basis, please inform staff, giving your consent in writing, in order that the proper arrangements can be made. BEHAVIOUR The school‟s behaviour policy applies to those children in Playgroup. We encourage children to behave in a positive way towards each other and discourage unacceptable behaviour. Whilst recognising that positive guidance is the norm, there may be times when unacceptable behaviour has to be punished. Parents are kept fully informed about any such behaviour. ADMISSIONS AND ADMINISTRATION Admission to Playgroup occurs at the start of the term following the child‟s 3rd birthday. The Playgroup receives funds from county and children are entitled to five sessions a week. The Playgroup is managed by the Headteacher, the Foundation Stage Co-ordinator and Governors in the same way as the rest of the school. All administration procedures and allocations of sessions are dealt with by the school office. The curriculum in Playgroup relates directly to that in school. We see this continuity as crucial to an excellent start for your child at Lionel Walden. You will receive many written pieces of advice and information. Please take time to read them and do not hesitate to contact the Playgroup Leader or school office if you have any queries. ORGANISATION The children are grouped in sessions to take account of parental preferences. In addition we aim to group children to take account of fairness with morning and afternoon sessions and to promote curriculum continuity by taking account of the different ages of children. As well as the equipment and resources in the Playgroup, the children have supervised access to the main school, in particular the hall and ICT suite. A programme of visits to Reception is carried out in the Summer Term for children entering school in September of that year. The Playgroup Leader and Assistant Playgroup Leaders are all permanent members of staff and attend all Playgroup sessions. Support assistants are deployed as appropriate, for example, to support children with special educational needs. Parent volunteers are always welcome to help out during sessions. From time to time the Playgroup supports students on placements studying childcare qualifications at local colleges or on work experience (Trident). These students are not counted in our staffing ratios and are always supervised by the Foundation Stage Teacher/Playgroup Leader. Parents are welcome to have copies of all school policies, e.g. Special Educational Needs or Child Protection and are entitled to see all their children‟s records. CHILDREN ACT 1989 It may be helpful to parents/carers to know that the law (Children Act 1989) requires all Playgroup staff to pass on information which raises concern that a child may be at risk from non-accidental injury, neglect, emotional or sexual abuse. This procedure is intended to protect children and schools are encouraged to take the attitude that where there are grounds for concern it is better to be over-cautious than to risk a child‟s safety. They therefore have an unavoidable duty to contact Social Services. Occasionally, this duty on Headteachers means that they must risk upsetting some parents by reporting a concern, which, on investigation, proves to be unfounded. In these circumstances, it is hoped that parents/carers will appreciate how difficult it is for schools to carry out this delicate responsibility, and accept that the Headteacher was acting in good faith and had to take these steps in the best interests of the child. SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS/INCLUSION At Lionel Walden Playgroup we are determined to meet the educational needs of all our pupils. The Playgroup caters for the needs of all pupils with special educational needs with and without statements. All staff plan and set targets, which are appropriate and relevant to the individual needs of pupils. The Playgroup has adapted the five-staged model of special educational needs assessment and provision recommended by Cambridgeshire LEA in the light of the recent Special Needs and Discrimination Act. The Special Educational Needs co-ordinator is responsible for overseeing assessment and provision. Pupils with special educational needs are encouraged to become increasingly independent and take responsibility within the setting. We aim to include all pupils in the full range of Playgroup activities on offer. Later this year we will be devising an Accessibility Plan in line with the aforementioned Act. A copy of the Special Educational Needs policy is available on request. COMPLAINTS If you have a complaint about any aspect of the Playgroup provision for your child, or about special educational needs in particular, please speak to the Headteacher, or to a parent governor. If you speak to a governor, he/she will, in the first instance, refer the matter to the Headteacher. The Headteacher will investigate and then contact you within five school days. If he/she has not resolved the matter to your satisfaction, it will be referred to the special needs governor, who will consider the complaint at their next meeting and contact you within five school days from the date of the meeting. Further action can be taken through OFSTED, Early Years, Field House, Station Approach, Harlow, CM20 2FS. (Tel: 0845 601 4771) PLAYGROUP OFSTED INSPECTION In March, 2009, OFSTED inspected both the school and pre-school Playgroup. The effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage (Pre-School and Reception) was graded as outstanding. The detail of the report was as follows:- „The well-organised pre-school Playgroup helps children to make exceedingly good progress, especially in their social and communication skills. This enables them to make an excellent start in achieving the early learning goals for their age. The strong partnership between the Playgroup and the Reception class provides children, and their parents and carers, with an excellent induction programme.' A full copy of the report can be found on the school‟s website at www.lionelwalden.cambs.sch.uk. PARENTS GUIDE TO HOME READING “If a child is to learn to love reading, it needs to be presented as a natural pleasure, not as a duty” (Quote by Jane Shilling – an extract from „Creating an Appetite for Adventure‟. Children will bring books home from Playgroup. Books can be changed as often as parents wish, and parents are encouraged to come into the Playgroup at the beginning of a session to help their child choose. Parents should try to encourage their child to read a variety of books, both fiction and non- fiction, over a period of time. More words do not mean a „better‟ book. Many useful skills are practised whilst talking about picture books. An important part of learning about books is learning how to treat them with care. Books borrowed from school should be kept in a safe place. Children should be taught not to touch books if their hands are dirty or wet, and should be shown that books are precious and must be treated accordingly. Sharing books with your child Sharing books with your child can help them to read, and it can lead to a broader educational experience that you can both enjoy. Sharing books does not just mean reading together. Sharing books should mean: a cosy cuddle talking and listening learning to choose gaining confidence laughing together and learning to read A cosy cuddle It is important that you are both relaxed and in the mood to share a book together. A little time in the right mood is worth much more than trying to cover a lot when you are tired or thinking about all the other things you should be doing. Sharing books should be something to look forward to, it should not be a task you feel you have to do. Talking and Listening Sitting quietly with a book is a marvellous opportunity to talk together. Talking about the cover of the book, and about what kind of book it might be, can lead to a discussion that you both enjoy. Guessing what will happen helps to develop reading skills, and talking about the story and pictures helps to introduce vocabulary and develop language. Lots of chat and conversation are vital. Finding out what they have been doing at playgroup, what they like and don‟t like. Telling them what you are doing and why you are doing it. Asking open-ended questions that can‟t be answered with just a yes or no. Encouraging them to ask questions and listen to others. They are more likely to listen to others if they are listened to. Resist the urge to interrupt or rush them. Learning to choose Why choose a particular book? One of the last considerations at this stage should be how easy or difficult it is – think more about what makes a book special and appealing to your child. Perhaps the cover looks interesting but the story is not so good after all. Talk with your child about how you might avoid this disappointment in the future. Gaining Confidence Everyone needs confidence. Children need to try things out for themselves, but need your support in order to succeed. Praise and encourage all the successes and do not worry about the mistakes. Do not worry if your child only chooses what you consider to be easy books. Try to introduce a more difficult book occasionally by reading it aloud. Listening to and following a story are very important in learning to read. Laughing together Fun things are much easier to learn than those that are dull and uninteresting. Jolly rhymes and funny stories may stay in the mind longer than ordinary everyday events. If you find it difficult to settle down with your child and a „childish‟ book, try to find funny stories to read together. Perhaps sharing books with your child might help you to enjoy books and reading more. Laughing together can help to overcome difficulties and mistakes, as long as you do not laugh at your child. A relaxed and trusting atmosphere will help confidence to grow. Learning to read You can help us by encouraging your child to enjoy books and by giving him or her time to practise and gain confidence to try new words. Do not worry if words are missed out. You can follow the story with your finger as you read and fill in the missing words yourself if it will not stop or spoil the story. Remember to praise success, as confidence is vital if learning to read is to be a pleasure. Reading is a basic skill that we all need in our everyday lives, but learning to read can bring much more than that basic skill. Learning to read means: enjoying books using books for reference learning other skills through books understanding our world discovering new ways of looking at life The pictures are just as important as the words Pictures give clues to the words by showing what is going on. Talking about the pictures provides the confidence to try out new words and you can point to the appropriate picture when a word seems difficult. When children are learning to read, the words in the book have to be simple and limited. The whole story is more than the words on the page and the pictures can help to fill in detail, atmosphere, humour etc. These are very important in reading the whole story.
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