Our front door opens at 8.50 for children to come in to the cloakroom, find their peg and get ready for a fun filled day. We all love messy child led sensory play, so don't wear your best clothes!
We alternate music and dancing with yoga relaxation as part of our morning routine. This strongly encourages physical development and gross motor skills but also releases endorphins and boosts energy levels as well as so many other developmental benefits.
The rest of the day is child-led, they are able to choose what toys they would like out and all of our structured learning and craft is done when the children are ready and open to it.
We encourage as much outdoor play as the children choose to participate in.
On Monday's, we have an outside company come in to do sports with the children.
On Friday's, we have a dance teacher from BabySTEPS dance come in for an hours dance session.
Our sessions run from:
9am - 12pm
9am - 1pm
9am - 2pm
full day from 9am-3pm.
Within the hours of 9am and 3pm, we offer flexible hours to working parents and carers.
We understand that it is incredibly hard these days to find flexible childcare and endevour to help as much as we can.
At Potters House, we are offering the children a very unique preschool experience with our incredible Forest School facilities ,giving the children the opportunity to discover and manage their own risks, building their self confidence and self esteem; while teaching them about their natural surroundings and endorsing a love of nature from an early age.
Our Forest School week, is split into three groups based on ages and is usually based around a book that relates to the season. We read the book at the beginning and the end of each session and base our activities around the characters. We do lots of woodwork with tools, free play and exploration in the woods and we build fires to cook on and heat up hot chocolate and lots of tasty treats.
We have two Level 3 trained Forest School leaders on site as well as a Forest School assistant. This is to ensure the children are kept safe and the risks managed at all times.
We are so proud of our forest school and how much all of our children love our sessions.
PREPARING FOR SCHOOL
Preschool is almost like a trial. It is exactly what it says it is. It is where children go to prepare them for school. School takes up the majority of a child's time, energy and emotions and with the wrong start that can be a very negative thing.
It is our duty and our pleasure to ensure that the transition from preschool to primary school is as smooth as possible and we pride ourselves in taking these steps as we lead up to their school start.
We use specific early learning goals as set by the EYFS* to help make sure the children are ready with the foundations for school life.
We use a balance between structure and free play that is tailored to every child's individual needs and allows them to grow in a safe environment.
We use online learning journals to record their achievements in pre-school and pass these to their new teachers so they can see their developmental assessments so far.
Nearing the time when the children are due to start primary school and to help the children know and feel comfortable in their new surroundings in plenty of time, we aim to make our preschool sessions as similar to primary school as we can, by:
Recreating the same reward systems as school.
Playing games and reading books about school life and trying on uniforms.
Meeting with potential new teachers.
Trips to local sports days to have a first hand view.
Story time sessions at the local Primary schools.
It is an absolute pleasure to see the children move forward onto their new chapters at big school, albeit tinged with sadness as we miss them all dearly, but we always make a big effort to celebrate all of their achievements and it is always a highlight to throw a special graduation ceremony with their families to send them on their way.
*Early Years Foundation Stage
Over the years, I have so often heard the words 'I have no idea what he/she has done in preschool today.'
Children rarely give you a minute by minute run down of their day and it's incredibly important to parents to know what they are doing, what they are learning, who they are playing with and most importantly if they are happy. We have children, we get it.
My daughter came home every day from her preschool telling me that all she ever did was sit on the mat, and her ballet lessons were apparently just jumping over a piece of ribbon (I hope not, it cost a bomb!!). As much as we try, we cant really rely on them to give us any information. So, we want you to be as involved as you wish. We know you're busy so there is never an obligation, however, should parents want to be involved, they are welcome to offer their story telling or cake baking services whenever they can.
We have a Potter's House Pinterest board that parents are invited to pin to if they have any thoughts or ideas relating to our topics that they would like their child to try or think might be interesting. It is a great way of contributing to your child's learning.
We also do all of our observations and assessments of children online. Observations are ongoing as and when we observe the children during their play. These observations link to the Early Years Foundation Stage learning journals which we have on a website called Tapestry. Parents are given a password specific to their child so they can go online at anytime and see the progress they are making in all areas of development whether it be that they have learnt to skip or built a friendship with a new child. You can even add to it if you see them doing anything at home that you think is new and exciting and we will add that into their termly assessments. Honestly, its the best invention, its almost as good as being a fly on the wall.
So, you can be involved as much or as little as suits your life and keep an eye on your child's progression. Win Win.