Thomas Whitehead C of E VA Primary School

Thomas Whitehead CE Academy

A member of the Diocese of St Albans Multi Academy Trust

Believing & Achieving together

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Stars Pre-School

Key Information for parents and carers

We would like to welcome you and your family to Stars Pre-School which is part of Thomas Whitehead CE Academy in Houghton Regis.

Our aim is to offer a warm and caring environment in which your child can easily make the change from home to school life. We aim to provide a varied and balanced curriculum, following Guidelines for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

We know that these first stages in your child's school life can be more effective if we build a partnership with each other- all working together for the best interests of the children.

We want you to share in the experiences of watching and helping your child to develop and become independent learners.

The information provided below aims to answer some of your questions and to convey our commitment to the learning, development and well-being of the children in our care. A full prospectus will be available shortly.

Our Vision

As a Church of England school we offer every pupil an education rooted in Christian values and strive to ensure that every child is supported to achieve their fullest potential.
  • We believe that every child should be given the opportunity to be the very best they can possibly be.
  • We will work together to deliver a high quality, values driven curriculum where children are happy, safe and engaged within a Christian Community.

Values Education

We are a values school and as part of Thomas Whitehead Primary School, Stars Pre-School will mirror these values too. Our core values are love, forgiveness and thankfulness. Values Education aims to:
  • Raise Standards by promoting a school ethos which is underpinned by core values that support the development of the whole child as a reflective learner.
  • Demonstrate the values of Christian life and promote the Christian ethos of the school.
Throughout the year we also focus on other Christian values such as cooperation, honesty and respect. At Pre-School we teach these values through child and adult led activities, as well as modelling how to live these values in everyday relationships and actions throughout the Pre-School.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is how the Government and early years' professionals describe the time in your child's life between birth and age 5.
This is a very important stage as it helps children get ready for school as well as preparing them for their future learning and successes. From when your child is born up until the age of 5, their early years' experience should be happy, active, exciting, fun and secure; and support their development, care and learning needs.
The EYFS Framework explains how and what children will be learning to support their healthy development. They will be learning skills, acquiring new knowledge and demonstrating their understand through 7 areas of learning and development.
Children should mostly develop 3 prime areas first. These are:
  • Communication and Language
  • Physical devlopment
  • Personal, social and emotional development
These prime areas are those most essential for your children's healthy development and future learning. As children grown, the prime areas will help them to develop skills in 4 specific areas:
  • Literacy
  • Mathematics
  • Understanding the world
  • Expressive arts and design
These 7 areas are used to plan your child's learning and activities. We will make sure that the activites are suited to your child's unique needs. This is a little bit like a curriculum in primary and secondary schools, but it's suitable for very young children, and it's designed to be really flexible so that we can follow each child's unique needs and interests.
Here at Stars Pre-School our children learn by playing and exploring, being active, and through creative and critical thinking which takes place both indoors and outside.

Working together for you children

At Stars Pre-School we maintain the ratio of adults to children in the setting that is set through the Welfare Requirements of the EYFS. This helps us to:
  • Give time and attention to each child
  • Talk with the children about their interests and activities
  • Help children to experience and benefit from the activities we provide
  • Allow the children to explore and be adventurous in safety
The staff who work at our setting are:
  • Mrs L Mackay-  Senior Practitioner
  • Miss Haque- Pre-School Assistant
  • Mrs A Lemmon- Pre-School Assistant
  • Mrs R Allen - Pre-School Assistant
  • Mrs J Childs- Pre-School Assistant
We use a key person approach. This means that each member of staff has a group of children for whom s/he is particularly responsible. Your child's key person will be the person who works with you to make sure that what we provide is right for your child's particular needs and interests. When your child first starts at the setting, s/he will help your child to settle and throughout your child's time at the setting, s/he will help your child to benefit from the setting's activities.

Special Educational Needs and Disability

As part of the Pre-School's policy to make sure that its provision meets the needs of each individual child, we take account of any special educational needs or disabilities a child may have. The Schools Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) is: Mrs Helen Long. We aim to work in partnership with parents and carers in order to meet a child's individual needs.

Settling in at Stars Pre-School

We know that starting Pre-School is a huge step for your child and a sign of growing up. Although it is an exciting time, for some parents and childen it can also be an anxious and emotional time. We want your child to feel safe and happy and to recognise other adults as a source of help, friendship and authority.
Our settling-in procedures aim to help you both feel comfortable in the Pre-School and to ensure that your child can benefit fully from what the setting has to offer. The staff have many years of experience between them, and will work with you to decide on how to help your child to settle into Ducklings Pre-School. Any individual problems will be dealt with sympathetically and you will be kept informed of your child's progress.

The Session

We organise our sessions so that the children can choose from, and work at, a range of activities and, in doing so, build up their ability to select and work through a task to it's completion. The children are also helped and encouraged to take part in adult-led small and large group activities which introduce them to new experiences and help them to gain new skills, as well as helping them to learn to work with others.
Outdoor activities contribute to children's health, their physical development and their knowledge of the world around them. The children have the opportunity, and are encourgaed, to take part in outdoor child-chosen and adult-led activities, as well as those provided indoors.
For children that stay with us all day, the sessions are organised so that children can take part in a variety of child-chosen and adult-led activities. These take account of children's changing energy levels throughout the day. The setting caters for children's individual needs for rest and quiet activities during the day.

Session times

Monday-Friday (Term Time only)
Morning Session 8.45am - 11.45am
Lunch Club 11.45am - 12.15pm
Afternoon Session 12.15pm - 3.15pm
It is very important that children arrive at Pre-School on time so they are able to settle into the routines and activities planned for the day. At the end of each session children must be collected promtly as late collection can lead to undue stress and worry for young children. Regular late collection of children will incur a charge as there are implications on staff supervision. If you are unable to collect your child, please let us know. If something unexpected happens, telephone Pre-School giving the alternative adult's name, authorising them to collect your child. We will NOT send children home with people we do not know.

Fees

We accept funding for eligible 2,3 and 4 year olds through Central Bedfordshire, as well as child care vouchers. Fees for any non-funded sessions are charged at £12 per 3 hour session (morning or afternoon) which is payable on a half termly basis. Lunch club is charged at £2 per session. We will issue an invoice for this non-funded care. Fees are still payable during short absences from Pre-School, including sickness.

Accident or Illness

The Pre-School ensures that at least one memeber of staff who is fully trained in First Aid will be on duty each session. Accidents, however small, are entered into the Accident Book and parents will be informed.
Please keep you child at home if he/she has an infection and inform the Pre-School as to the nature of the infection so that we can alert other parents/carers if necessary.
Parents/carers are asked not to bring a child to Pre-School who has been vomiting or had  diarrhoea until 48 hours has elapsed since the last attack.

Snack and meals

Snacks and meals are a social time when children eat toegther. We provide morning and afternoon snacks. There is a choice of milk or water to drink and a choice of fruit to eat. At certain times other food will be avaliable according to our themes and celebrations.
Children that stay for lunch club will need to bring a packed lunch with them from home. We encourage children to eat a healthy balanced diet and ask that lunch boxes do not contain chocolates, sweets and fizzy drinks. Lunch boxes must be labelled with your child's name.

Clothing

Children need to wear clothes that they can undo and do up themselves, as this encourages their independence. Therefore pull on clothes, simple jumpers and Velcro shoes are ideal. High heeled, open toed or strappy shoes are dangerous, especially for the many outdoor activities that we do. We will be encouraging the children to take part in lots of messy activities so please ensure they are not wearing their best clothes.The children will have access to the outside area daily, in all weathers, so please make sure your child has suitable clothing for the winter and summer months. It is strongly recommended that your children has a rain mac, warm coat, gloves, hat and Wellington boots at Pre-School in the winter. During the summer months children should have their shoulders covered and bring a sun hat to stay safe in the sun. Please clearly name all clothing and footwear.

Nappies and Toilet Training

Children are accepted into the Pre-School in nappies. We ask that you provide a few nappies, wipes and a change of clothes in a labelled bag which can be kept at Pre-School. We work with parents towards toilet training, unless there are medical or other developmental reasons why this may not be appropiate at the time. As a child moves from nappies to being fully toilet trained, the parent or carer and key person will meet and agree how best they can work together to support and assist the child during these early stages.

Safeguarding children

Our setting has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual 'significant harm'. We work to procedures which are set down in the 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' document.
Our Child Protection Officer is Mrs S Jones (Deputy Headteacher) and in her absence, Mrs Britnall.
We hope that you and your child enjoy being members of Stars Pre-School. Our setting recognises parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of the staff aim to work in partnership with parents and carers to provide care and education for their child. The Pre-School team are always ready and willing to talk with you about your ideas, views or questions. We look forward to working with you to enusre your child has the best possible start to their learning journey.

Contact us

Stars Pre-School,
Thomas Whitehead C of E VA Primary School
Angels Lane, Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, LU5 5HH
Tel: 01582  865466
Fax: 01582 861958
Email: ducklings@thomaswhitehead.org