We are based in the Eastwick Road Church hall. The hall is spacious, bright and airy and provides plenty of room for the children to take part in a wide range of activities such as painting, playdough, reading in the quiet area, creating at the craft table, dressing up in the role-play corner and playing with the numerous toys, games and other imaginative activities which have been laid out. The toys and activities on offer change each week to reflect each week’s theme which is planned weekly, based on the children’s current interests and experiences. People from the local community and the community of playschool parents sometimes visit to share their expertise with the children about a particular theme – we’ve had vets, pilots, librarians, police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, music teachers and bakers which the children thoroughly enjoyed – although after the firefighters brought along the fire engine, some of the children were disappointed when the pilots didn’t bring their aeroplane!
The staff work extremely hard to ensure the continuous provision provides a stimulating and fun environment for the children. In addition to the varied opportunities for free play, staff provide an element of more structured, adult-led learning each day through carefully tailored small-group time which often focuses on developing the children’s listening, turn-taking and communication skills. Around 9.30-9.40 we play our “hello song” and the children all come to the carpet ready to sing hello to each other and self-register their caterpillar names. Children can choose when they attend snack bar as we feel it’s important for them to begin to recognise when they feel hungry and want to eat rather than us telling them to eat. This is a really important piece of learning to help promote healthy eating and anti-obesity. At 11.30 we play our “stamp and clap” song, where all the children come to the carpet again and join in the actions and get ready for group time, where we deliver focussed activities highlighted as specific areas of learning the children need to cover, or areas that need extending or supporting. After this we play our tidy up song and the children and adults work together to tidy up ready for our “happy face” song which we sing together ready to go into our story and singing time, or high attention activities for some of the younger children. We’ve found the children accept the transitions more readily with the musical support as it helps link everything together.
Over the years there have been some major refurbishments to the Church buildings and as a result, we have a lovely cloakroom with infant-sized toilets and basins which have made a positive difference to the children as they develop their independence with toileting. Any children who are using a potty at home are encouraged to bring their potty with them until they’re ready to use the toilets. We also have access to a large and well-equipped new kitchen and both drop-off and pick-up have been made much easier and more comfortable by the very spacious new foyer.
Children can enjoy outdoor play during every session whatever the weather as we have access to a lovely, large, secure garden with a new area of artificial grass, raised beds and a nature corner (completed in December 2012 and funded by our enthusiastic parent committee) and our well loved mud kitchen and digging area. The children enjoy going on visits around the local community, including visits to local schools, allotments, the local elderly care home and church.
The large, free car park ensures that drop-off and pick-up are easy and stress-free.