Children start South Hill Park Pre-school with a minimum of two sessions per week. It might be possible for you to add extra sessions during the year but this is not guaranteed. We will always do our best to accommodate your needs and wishes.
(8.30 am or 9.00 am start and 11.30 am finish)
Morning sessions are often a good option if your child is just starting Pre-school (and the only option for children aged two). Morning sessions may work better for you as a family – you may have work or siblings to consider or your child may still like to have an afternoon nap. We will provide a rich and varied environment and activities for your child which will be appropriate for their age and stage of development. We have a choice of start times for the morning session. During each session the children will have some time with their Key Person and during the morning will also be called into our 'quiet room' for their focused group activity (developing language, listening and other skills). Half way through the morning they will break for a snack and at the end of the session they are split into different groups for their story and song time. During the summer term the older children will be given time and support during the sessions to prepare for primary school. Along with our older children in the afternoon sessions, this group will be invited to attend our annual visit to the Christmas Pantomime in December.
Three year olds should not be disadvantaged by being with the new two year olds. What each child learns is guided by his or her individual readiness, ability and interest, and not by his or her age. Their Key Person is familiar with their developmental needs and learning styles and can ensure that appropriate learning activities of the right challenge are offered to support their intellectual development. There have been lots of studies to analyse the effect of mixed age groups and lots of benefits have been identified. For example, mixed age groups closely resemble our own families and give plenty of opportunity for the older child to act as a role model. This can increase the self-esteem of the older child and their confidence with learning new skills.
(12.30 pm start and 3.30 pm finish)
If your child will be 3 or over by the beginning of the Autumn Term then you may want to consider requesting afternoon sessions. A lot of parents choose for their child to do a year in our morning sessions followed by a year in our afternoon sessions. We also often have space for some new three year olds in the afternoon as well. Some parents feel that this is progressive change for them but still within the familiarity of the same setting. This may give children the sense that they have ‘moved on’ and they will not be with the new 2 year olds who will be starting. For some of the time the children are split into groups, each with their own team leader. The learning experiences they receive will be in line with their age and stage of development and there will be an emphasis on encouraging their independence. For example, when you come to pick your child up they will be ready for you in their coats with their bags alongside them. In the afternoon we are able to make trips out of the setting, for example, within the local community and to the pantomime at Christmas. Many children in the afternoon attend 5 sessions per week (Monday to Friday) but this is not compulsory.
(11.35 am to 12.30 pm)
We run a lunch club each day as well. Lunch club is open to children from the September following their 3rd birthday and is run by permanent members of experienced Pre-school staff who the children are already familiar with. We take a maximum of 16 children, over the age of three, per session and the spaces are allocated in strict accordance with the policy formulated by the Pre-school Committee. Lunch club sessions can be funded by your child's “Early Education Funding”, depending on how you wish to use your funded hours.
Lunch Club is an enjoyable experience for the children as well as being a great learning opportunity and good preparation for school. The children are encouraged to have good manners while eating, to remain seated and to talk to their friends and the adults quietly. It is a lovely, social time and the children seem to really enjoy it. The children are encouraged to eat their savoury food first and to ensure that they are drinking. The session is run in a very friendly way and there is really nothing for them or you to feel concerned about. The children are given all the help they need with their lunch.
Your Child at work
Through a carefully planned curriculum we provide a variety of activities to enhance and encourage your child’s emotional, physical, and social development. These activities include sensory play, for example, sand, water and cooking; creative activities such as painting, gluing and junk modelling; activities to promote awareness of the diversity of the world about us; books and music which encourage speaking and listening skills and puzzles and construction toys, to name a few! We have a permanent ‘movement area’ which the children can access at any time to explore moving in different various ways. Do not be concerned if your child does not have anything to ‘bring home with them’ at the end of the session, they could have been doing something that could not be taken home, like making patterns in the sand, pouring and measuring water, sequencing with sizes, colours or shapes, moulding dough or simply making a new friend.
Our routine is very flexible and takes the individual needs of the children into account at all times. All year round the children have access to both indoor and outdoor play.