New Parents’ FAQ
Why a Pre-School?
Both Pre-Schools and nurseries provide childcare. The main difference is that a Pre-School is more specifically focussed on providing the best possible start for your child from the age of 2 years up to “big school”. At Horringer Pre-School we are particularly lucky to have close links with next door Ickworth Park Primary School, which makes the transition to “big school” even easier for your child, should they decide to go there.
How can my child join?
Come to visit! We offer a free trial session of up to three hours, during which you stay with your child. You can arrange this at any time – do send us a message here. We also have an annual Open Day in March – become our friend on Facebook and you will be kept up to date with all our events, including our Open Day. If you have any questions, do get in touch with our Manager, Stephie on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens before my child joins?
You will get a chance to meet all the staff and representatives of the Committee at the New Parents’ evening before the start of each new term. You will be given information on how to buy a uniform (our lovely blue T-shirts and/or sweatshirts) if you wish, as well as details of recommended items from home, including named wellies, a change of clothes, and (if your child is with us for Lunch Club) a named lunchbox with ice packs. You will be asked to let us know who else might be collecting your child, and arrange a password for those situations. On your child’s first day, you will find out who your Key Person is, who will then be your main port of call for any questions.
What will happen on my child’s first day?
Your child’s Key Person will be on hand to help them settle in. You are able to stay for as long or as short as you’d like, depending on your child’s needs. Your child’s Key Person will ensure they are given plenty of opportunity to play and interact with the wide range of the toys and games available, so that their preferences can be discovered. At the end of the session, you will be able to have a chat with your child’s Key Person to find out how they have been, and together make sure that the settling in process continues effectively at the next session. We find settling in is easiest if a child attends a minimum of two sessions a week.
How are the weekly and termly topics organised?:
Stephie and the staff organise the weekly and termly topics around the interests of the children that are attending the Pre-School currently. Popular topics revolve around seasonal events, such as Christmas or other festivals; but we also cover animals and nature; the weather; job roles such as construction and the emergency services; or health and our bodies, depending on the needs and interests of the children.
How do I follow my child’s progress?
The main way to follow your child’s progress is through our online Learning Journal Tapestry. Your child’s Key Person will keep this updated with photos and observations of your child’s activities, linked to specific elements of the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. As well as these, you will also have a chance to have informal chats with your child’s Key Person at drop-off and pick-up; plus more formal termly chats based on a structured report on your child’s progress.
What communication is there apart from Tapestry?
Your child’s Key Person is usually available at drop-off if you wish to speak to someone, or you can arrange to have a chat with them at any time. There are also regular newsletters with news, events, and updates on the Curriculum; as well as more formal termly reports on each child from their Key Person.
What if I am worried about them?
You can talk to your child’s Key Person at any time. Either have an informal chat at drop-off or pick-up, or email Stephie to arrange a specific time to meet up. Your child’s Key Person will always proactively let you know if they have any concerns so that these can be dealt with as quickly and easily as possible.
What about Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities?
We have a specific SEN Co-ordinator, Michelle, plus other staff are also SEN-trained. We put in place specific action plans to make sure that your child is stimulated and encouraged at an appropriate pace, individually tailored to their needs. If you have any concerns, you are welcome to talk to us at any point.
What if they (or other children) are ill?
We know that children do get ill. If your child has been sick, please ensure they do not return to Pre-School within 48 hours from their last bout of sickness, to make sure that the bug doesn’t spread. If your child gets a highly contagious illness such as chicken pox or scarlet fever, please let us know and only bring your child back to Pre-School once the doctor advises they are no longer contagious. Children also do get headlice: please check your child regularly, and if you find lice or nits, please treat them before bringing them back to the Pre-School.
What happens if my child hurts themselves?
If it is a minor bump or scrape, your child will be given cuddles and if necessary a plaster; anything more than that, and we will phone you to let you know what’s happened. All accidents will be recorded and you will be told when you collect your child at the end of the session. All our staff are trained in first aid and obviously we will call in medical professionals instantly if needed.
Can different people collect my child?
Yes that’s fine, as long as we know in advance, and they know the password you have agreed with us.
What about meals and snacks?
There is one snack-time per session, which offers the children healthy choices. The children often help to prepare and serve snacks, which they love. If you sign up for Lunch Club, we ask that you provide your child with a healthy lunch in a lunchbox with ice packs. As we are a nut-free school, no nuts or nut-based products (eg peanut butter) are allowed.
Are there any outings or special events?
We have regular special events, with our Christmas party in Horringer Community Centre, and our special summer leaving picnic in Ickworth Park. We also have an annual day out to a local child-friendly venue, such as Lackford Lakes or Hollow Trees Farm, plus smaller trips to local landmarks like St. Leonard’s Church, or Tesco’s for a behind-the-scenes visit and some carol singing.
Can I join the Committee?
Yes, please do! Please contact the Secretary on their email, or come along to any meeting. We would love to have your help, whether it’s on the Management Committee or on the Fundraising Committee. You can also volunteer to be among our pool of “willing helpers” that man stalls and bake cakes as the need arises.