What feedback do parents get about their child’s day and learning progress in general?
The teachers and practitioners provide feedback at the end of each nursery day to the parents. Informal information about activities, learning and also feedback about progress and development.
- The team shares regular information each week using online Learning Journals, photos and videos online, of all the fun the children have each day.
- We have an Instagram account that provides extra pictures of the nursery activities in both Little Owls and Big Owls.
- Planning in the Moment: teachers track children’s learning each week. We have focused child weeks where the teachers look specifically at a child’s progress to date and possible areas for development. We share this learning progress with parents and ask for their comments and suggest areas to help to reinforce learning with home learning.
- We have two parent-teacher meetings during the year. This is an opportunity for parents to come to the nursery to learn more about their child’s progress and discuss their learning journey ahead.
What wrap around care is available? What times? Do I book in advance or can we just use it as we need each day? Is there a holiday club for when the school is on holiday?
- We have a breakfast club in the morning – 7.45am to 8.30am.
- We have Nursery+, after school care, in the afternoon – 3.00pm – 5.00pm.
- There is a small charge asked for each service. We would provide the children with a light breakfast in the morning, and a light snack at Nursery+.
- Both are staffed by members of the nursery team.
How do you get the children ready for primary 1? What activities do they do? Do they learn sounds and writing in preschool? How do you teach literacy and numeracy?
- The children learn through play-based activities, indoors and outdoors, with plenty of planned topics, including pre-literacy and numeracy learning and experiences. These include reading times, mark-making, focused teaching, social and communication skills, as well as, learning about teamwork and cooperation. They learn self-care learning and independence skills.
- We run transition activities during the summer term, including information events for parents, an assessment morning – snapshots of development, and discuss the pathway into Junior School.
- We work together with the Junior School Leadership Team and Primary 1 staff – they know the children before they come into Primary 1.
- We introduce activities and shared times with Junior School so the children get to know the Junior School teachers, also the learning areas. For example, Music lessons, PE lessons and library times. We also use a classroom called the Discovery Room to help the children feel comfortable and familiar. There are lots of stories and conversations around moving on, going on a journey, an exciting adventure to school.
Do you have free playtime for the children or is there a structure? Are there activities in the afternoon? How often do you play outside?
- We do have a structure for the children each day, just one focus in the morning and another in the afternoon, which allows the children to have plenty of time to play freely. We find having a structure helps the children learn the routines of the day and the pattern of the week.
- We have specialist teachers on some mornings for music, ballet, PE and the library. We have an outdoor day for each nursery room where we plan ahead to visit the Fantastical Forest. The practitioners lead the learning in the afternoon with fun clubs and activities such as drama, gardening, art and cookery.
- We play outside every day – no matter rain or shine. We wear warmer, waterproof clothes on wet weather days. If we can, we have our snack outside as well. Lots of good play and learning takes place outside – the children have a certain energy and enthusiasm for being outside. We do fun things like play on our tree platform and light campfires, introducing risk management and safety into our play.
- Opportunities this year for staff development recently have included a Virtual Nature School, in-service day training, and Forest School training.
- We are currently running a playground development project: time of refresh and renewal for our playground area.
What is the pathway for boys to progress into Junior School?
- We are excited about this change to our nursery and early stage of Junior School delivery. It has been a decision that has been a long time in the planning with our Senior Leadership Team and we hope that as we emerge from this year of global disruption that we are showing our learners a united approach that promotes togetherness. Enhance learning opportunities for all.
- There will be a gradual integration of boys into our school community, coming through the preschool next year.
- We understand the need within our school community to have siblings together at the early stages and this will have benefit for all.
- Our nursery practitioners and teachers are well used to teaching boys alongside girls already in our youngest nursery stages.
- We have a varied and interesting curriculum in both nursery and Junior School, backed up by high-quality teaching. This covers all aspects of learning and development for children regardless of whether they are girls or boys.
- Likewise with our clear expectations for behaviour and the use of positive strategies to promote this – our teachers are skilled in this area and know how to meet the needs of all learners socially, emotionally and academically.
Once we have paid our termly bill, are there any extra charges?
- The termly bill is paid at the beginning of the school term.
- Extra charges cover lunch payments and extra sessions in the morning and afternoon that a child may do.
- Ballet lessons are also not covered by the cost of the termly bill and these work out at around £35 for a block of 10 lessons during the term.
What did we do to support children’s learning during lockdown? Was there a distance learning programme for the children?
- We have supported the children’s return to nursery with a high adult to child ratio, allowing us to settle the children back, focusing on their health and wellbeing. We used small groups which we called bubbles to help with this.
- We are still mindful of the shared spaces that we use, we have enhanced cleaning measures and we are reinforcing good hand hygiene.
- We have selected only the toys and resources for use in nursery that we are able to easily clean and sterilise at the end of each day.
- We have found that as long as we plan ahead and minimise risk, we are able to provide almost all of the same experiences for the children as we did before.
- We did provide a distance learning programme for children during lockdown. There was a variety of activities produced by the practitioners and specialist teachers covering all curriculum areas. We used learning journals as the way of sharing these videos with the children. We also had live video group calls throughout the week for morning welcome and also small group times. We provided themed topic plans for parents who were looking for additional inspiration. We also provided pastoral support and calls for parents to understand how each family was getting on.
- We felt we saw the benefit of this support when the children and their families returned as all the children were pleased to be back with us and settled very quickly even after such a long time apart.
How many are in the staff teams? How many children are in each group? How many groups of children do you have when you work to smaller groups?
- There are around 8 members of staff in the nursery. We have the staff capacity to safely grow our nursery groups and still provide individual care and attention for all of the children. We have the ability to return to small group numbers with the staff we have in nursery.
Does my child have lunch at school? What food should I provide? My child is a reluctant eater – will there be someone to help her?
- During the pandemic, the children are bringing packed lunches with them to school and we have them here in the nursery, or outside if the weather is warm and dry. We ask that parents provide a healthy lunch – a sandwich or similar. No chocolate and no nuts.
- Reluctant eater – staff are on hand to help and encourage. No pressure – at the child’s pace. Get to know the child. We are firm, consistent and clear in our expectations. We take into account other things the child has eaten that day. Work with parents – find out what works for a child at home. Lots of praise and encouragement for effort.
I’m worried my child might need some help to be settled at first. What do you do to help with this? Will things be different because of covid? Will I have to wait outside the nursery?
- Every child is different when settling and getting used to new surroundings. We take things at the child’s pace and see what is going to be right for them. We find that having a shorter first morning in the nursery, starting at a later time, helps the child feel comfortable and more at ease with their surroundings and all of the new faces.
- We are trying to reduce the level of footfall in the nursery, but we understand that there will be times when this is not the best practice. When a child is settling and getting used to the new routines we would be happy for parents to come into the nursery and see the rooms, meet the teachers and help their child to feel comfortable.
My child is still learning to use the bathroom, is this ok? Do they need to be ready before they start nursery?
- Once your child is settled in nursery we can work with you to discuss the best approach for learning to use the toilet. It is good if a child already knows how to use the bathroom but we know this is not always possible. Having regular routines, and regular times for using the bathroom works best for children when they first learn. We use picture cues to help. Lots of encouragement and praise for their efforts.