Welcome to Castle Keep Pre-school Ltd
Castle Keep Pre-school was formed as a trading arm of Allesley Park Community Association Ltd in September 1994 and became a Limited Company in April 2010. From small beginnings, we have now grown and in November 2014 we opened our new extension which increased our number of children to 50 per session.
Our aim is to provide your child with an enjoyable, stimulating and educational time and to teach them a variety of skills and social graces to help them follow on to their next big adventure – school!
Our setting consists of different activities each day and we have a wide and varied programme over the week. Whenever possible activities are linked to our current topic, details of which will be displayed on our notice board and through newsletters. The topics are changed each term. Whether your child attends five sessions or two sessions per week, each day will be different. We work to achieving the current Early Learning Goals as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance as well as within the Every Child Matters framework. We are subject to regular Ofsted inspections and visits from Coventry City Council Early Years and Childcare Service. We received our most recent Ofsted inspection in December 2014 at which we received a grading of Outstanding, a copy of our most recent report is available in the entrance hall or by entering our postcode at www.ofsted.gov.uk.
Please remember we operate an open house policy and staff are available for consultation at the beginning and end of every session.
This handbook is designed to give you both an overview of our policies and some information you may find useful during your child’s time with us. Full copies of our policies are available in the entrance hall at all times, or you may request a hard copy from the Pre-school office. Your opinions and feedback are appreciated and if you feel that there is any additional information which you would be useful if included or you have any questions please do not hesitate to let us know.
Our aims for your child
Our aims are:
* To provide each child with a warm and loving environment where they feel a sense of belonging and can learn to be strong and independent.
* To provide a sound beginning to school life from the age of two years. Your child will be encouraged to start looking at numbers, colours, shapes and the world about us in a variety of ways.
* To provide a stimulating environment within which your child will learn how to use a pencil, how to look at a book and using lots of different textures and materials, will begin to experience craft, art cookery and music.
* To provide each child with a warm and loving environment where they feel a sense of belonging and can learn to be strong and independent.
* To ensure that no child will be disadvantaged or excluded.
We will offer you child:
* Especially tailored curriculum leading to approved Early Learning Goals.
* Individual care and attention made possible by a high ratio of adults to children.
* Fun and friendships with children and adults.
* Opportunities for you and your family to be involved in activities of the group and in your child’s own progress.
Parents as partners
Castle Keep Pre-school recognises parents/carers as the first and most important educators of their young children. There are lots of ways in which you can help your child to get the most out of their time at Pre-school.
* Always praise your child’s efforts and work they bring home, even though it may be immature at first.
* Remember that Pre-school can be tiring at first so do ensure that your child has plenty of rest.
* Encourage your child’s independence, by letting them try to hang up their coat, recognise their name etc.
Although they may need support or assistance to begin with you will be surprised how quickly your child will develop these skills.
* Support your child in bringing in items for the interest table, nature table or to support our topics.
* Have a chat at the end of the session about what they have done, and what did they enjoy, but be prepared most children’s usual response is ‘nothing’, this is usually followed by them wanting to discuss every detail usually at the most inconvenient moment!.
* Remember that every child is an individual and each child will settle into Preschool differently. You may need to stay with your child for a short time or your child may settle quickly if you are not there. Our children know that we love them, and if you are upset about leaving them this may cause them to feel anxious. But remember they are very quickly become distracted and realise that you will be back when they have had a play with their new friends.
For a partnership between a parent and our setting to be successful, there needs to be a meaningful exchange of knowledge and information. Working with children and families, will sometimes bring us into contact with sensitive and confidential information. Every adult within Pre-school, including students, is made aware of this policy and is required to respect it.
Our aims are to:
* To inform parents of areas in which they can become involved in their child’s education and achievements via newsletters, curriculum planning, photos, displays, notices and verbally, where appropriate. Allow parents access to their own child’s records and/or photos, videotapes etc, through a member of staff.
* Liaise with parents via a key person system.
* Provide time and privacy, wherever possible, to talk and listen to parents. This will be achieved at the beginning and end of the sessions and by arrangement.
* Only discuss confidential matters on individual children with the parent concerned, or for purposes of individual educational planning.
* Discuss with parents any early indicators for additional provision or modification in the child’s educational needs.
* Retain information specified by the LEA for up to 21 years 3 months and will only share this on a ‘need to know’ basis.
* Follow the complaints procedure as outlined later in this document.
While it is harder to keep our website up to date, we do have a facebook page on which we post events (with reminders), copies of newsletters and photos where children are not identifiable. Please like the page to receive our updates.
What do we want to achieve?
- Parents to be more involved in, and having a say in, the day to day of the Pre-school.
- Parents social events to enable parents to get to know each other as it is felt that there is only a short window of time to chat when dropping off or collecting children and in many cases the children will be going to school together for many more years.
- Parents to be more involved in suggesting and deciding on fundraising events.
- Parents to suggest facilities or resources they feel would enhance their child’s time at pre-school, which we can then fundraise for.
WE WANT YOUR INPUT AND SUPPORT!!
What will my child need?
* Sensible shoes/sandals for outdoor play, please do not send your child to Pre-school wearing heels or open toed sandals as this causes a hazard when playing on the climbing equipment
* Appropriate clothing, your child may get messy and although we provide aprons for messy activities such as painting, children do have the tendency to find the only bit of clothing not covered. We do like to encourage the wearing of Pre-school sweatshirts and/or polo shirts which are available from the office. As well as developing your child’s sense of belonging these are easily washable and leave your child free to explore and experiment.
* A change of clothes, children quite often have accidents in a new environment as they become engrossed in activities and forget to go to the toilet. Also a spare t shirt may come in handy if your child becomes wet when playing in the water.
* Clothing which is easy for your child to manage when toileting i.e.: no belts or braces.
* They should not wear unnecessary jewellery. Jewellery is not our responsibility and can be dangerous to your child or other children (bulky or sharp or liable to be caught or pulled off and scatter beads that could be swallowed.
* The children are taken outside to play on a daily basis, weather permitting, so please ensure that during the summer your child brings a sun hat and is wearing sun cream and during the colder weather your child has a coat and if needed a hat/gloves.
* If your child needs to bring a particular toy as a comforter, these can be kept during the session in their drawer. Please do not allow them to bring in money or any item which is fragile or valuable.
ALL REMOVABLE ITEMS OF CLOTHING SUCH AS SWEATSHIRTS, JACKETS, HATS, AND GLOVES ETC. MUST BE NAMED.
Opening and Collection Times
Our Pre-school meets from Monday to Friday during term time only and we hold a breakfast club plus two sessions per day, as well as full day care. The breakfast club runs from 8.30am to 9am, the morning session runs from 9am until 12 noon and the afternoon session runs from 12.30pm until 3pm, full days run from 8.30am till 3pm including a lunch session. We are also closed on Bank Holidays and on limited occasions to coincide with local teacher training days.
Once your child has settled into Pre-school a member of staff will take your child from you at the front door at the start of the session where you will be asked to sign them in, the entrance door will then be locked during the session. At the end of the session the front door is unlocked and all parents are asked to queue in the hall until your child is released to you and you will be required to sign them out.
In the event that your child is late in being collected where we have not been notified, a charge of £5 will be made to cover the cost of the two members of staff required to supervise your child. Should your child not be collected within 30 minutes of the end of the session we are required to contact social services in line with the procedure below.
PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED IN THE EVENT OF A PARENT FAILING TO COLLECT A CHILD:
- Attempt to contact parent.
- Check with other members of staff to ensure they have no knowledge of any late collection.
- If unsuccessful, try emergency numbers.
- If still unsuccessful, wait 10 minutes and try all contact numbers again.
- Continue trying for 30 minutes.
- If still unable to contact anyone, ring the Social Care Office local to the child’s home address.
- At least two members of staff to stay on site with the child until they are collected.
- Complete incident report including times of contact.
- Notify Ofsted so that they are aware of the situation
Please remember if you are not collecting your child we MUST be notified before the end of the session. If you have nominated another family member to collect who is not known to us YOUR CHILD WILL NOT BE RELEASED unless we have spoken to you and you have given them our daily password.
Under our Safeguarding policy we will not release your child to any person under the age of 16 years.
Term Dates 2019 – 2020
Autumn Term 2019
Tuesday 3rd September – Friday 18th October
Monday 28th October – Friday 20th December
Spring Term 2020
Monday 6th January – Friday 21st February
Monday 2nd March – Tuesday 9th April April
Two inset days Wednesday 10th & Thursday 11th April to enable
all staff to complete 12 hours Paediatric First Aid Training.
Summer Term 2020
Monday 27th April – Friday 22nd May
Monday 1st June – Friday 17th July
Bank Holiday: Monday 8th May
Any changes to these dates will be notified in advance
Summer Holiday Play Scheme
Each year we run a play scheme for four weeks of the summer holidays, this will help your child maintain their routines and can avoid your child having to resettle again in September – six weeks is a long time for a child (and you!). Each child can attend as many or as few of these sessions as you may need although numbers of children are limited for these weeks. No nursery education funding is available during this time so fees are payable unless your child has accessed the 30 hours Extended Entitlement and has banked hours.
Dates for 2020 will be Monday 20th July to Friday 14th August 2020
Staff and Staff Training
The regular staff in the Pre-school are:
Pam Halligan – Manager NVQ 3 Childcare, Learning & Development, NVQ 3 Leadership and Management
Nicola Bennett – Deputy NVQ 3 Childcare, Learning & Development
Tracie Burdett – Team Leader NVQ 3 Childcare, Learning & Development, NVQ2 Team Leading
Helen Clark – Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator NVQ 3 Childcare, Learning & Development
Erin Boyce – Assistant NVQ2 Childcare, Learning & Development (working towards NVQ level 3)
Debbbie Brownlie – Assistant NVQ2 Childcare, Learning & Development
Kirsty Gibney – Assistant NVQ3 Childcare, Learning & Development, NVQ2 Team Leading
Renai Forbes – Assistant NVQ2 Children and Young Peoples Workforce (working towards NVQ level 3)
Kayley Gregory – Assistant – NVQ3 Early Years Care & Education
Charlotte Macdonald – Assistant NVQ3 Childcare, Learning & Development
Shanise Poyner – Assistant NVQ 3 Early Years Educator
Our staff also hold current First Aid certificates, Level 2 Food Safety in Catering, fire safety and have completed current Child Protection Training. Copies of staff training certificates are available in the folder in the entrance hall. We are proud of the high levels of training carried out by our staff to keep us constantly in touch with new thinking and development in the field of childcare and child education. All staff complete at least 12 ½ hours training per year consisting of a combination of professionals visiting our setting to carry out training with the whole team, online training and also training delivered by the Coventry Early Years Development and Childcare service off site.
Disclosure and Barring Service Checks
All members of staff, volunteers and students are subject to a successful DBS check. In the case of adults who are awaiting the return of their certificate we ensure that they are supervised at all times with the children.
As a community based Pre-school, we welcome children and families from all sections of the community, linking with other services provided on the Allesley Park Community Centre site and local schools.
We aim to admit all children of Pre-school age with regard to the following:
- Accept children from 2 years old, subject to places being available.
- If more requests for places are received than there are places available, places will be allocated in the following order:
i) children with special educational needs,
ii) children who at the time of admission are in the care of the local authority,
iii) age at time of admission
iv) date placed on the waiting list.
- Send offer letters to parents from which they must return the reply slip to accept the place.
- Invite parents on a pre-start visit in the weeks prior to planned admission.
- Supply parents with essential information through the parent handbook.
- Send to parents before the start date compulsory registration forms including medical forms, contracts, consents, consent for observations and starters background information which must be completed andbreturned prior to admission. Offer assistance if required.
- Support parents in encouraging independence with their child, all children will be allocated a key person on admission and ensure ratios are maintained in accordance with Ofsted guidelines.
- Parents are invited to be involved with the settling in process.
- Ensure a register is maintained and kept in accordance with Ofsted, with appropriate information on emergency contact numbers and fees paid.
- Administer payment of fees and Government funding arrangements. We agree to have our financial details audited annually in compliance with Companies House guidance, and our Nursery Funding monitored by Coventry City Council.
Fees and Funding
Our current fees are as follows:
Breakfast Club (0.5 hours) £2.00 (plus £1.50 payment for breakfast if required)
Morning sessions (3 hours): £12.00
Afternoon sessions (2.5 hours): £10.00
Full days (6 hours): £24.00
Hours taken for children receiving nursery education funding in addition to 15 hours entitlement: £4.00 per hour
These fees are subject to review in September 2020 subject to increases in the National Living Wage set by the government.
Fees are payable on a weekly or monthly basis. All parents of fee paying children will receive a letter during the first week of each month informing them of how many sessions their child is due to attend and what fees are due for the full month, no fees should be carried over to the following month. Any missed sessions during term time, due to sickness, holidays etc must be paid for. Each child’s attendance is conditional upon payment of necessary fees and/or Nursery Grant eligibility (please see further information about this below) Should you wish to terminate your child’s place it is necessary to give Castle Keep Pre-school one month’s notice and all outstanding fees must be paid in full.
Working Family Tax Credit
If you work more than 16 hours each week and use childcare registered with Ofsted, such as ourselves you may be eligible to claim the childcare element of Working Family Tax Credit which can cover up to 80% of weekly childcare costs. To find out if you are entitled to claim go to www.hrmc.gov.uk/taxcredits or call the tax credits help line on 0845 300 3900.
Nursery Education Grant for 3 and 4 year olds
All children are be entitled to LEA funding for 15 hours per week from the start of the term following their 3rd birthday, the LEA provides funding for up to 38 weeks per year. The school year is in most cases 39 weeks in duration so it may necessary for us to charge top up fees for the remaining sessions. In this event you will be notified at the beginning of the term of the fees payable, these can be paid in instalments if necessary over this period but must be paid completely during that term.
During the first few weeks of each term, the Pre-school will receive a grant application from Coventry City Council and will make the application for all eligible children within the Pre-school. It is a statutory requirement that you complete a parent pro-forma which must be returned to Pre-school with proof of your child’s date of birth. It is important that you inform us if your child‘s funding is being claimed at another setting..
Child birth day
Eligible for funding from
1st April to 31st August inc
1st September to 31st December inc
January to 31st March
2 Year Old Entitlement (Tuning into Two’s)
2 year old entitlement is not a universal entitlement but is a targeted entitlement for eligible two year olds to access free 15 hours of early education. This is part of the Government’s aim to improve life chances for children and families. Not all two year old children are entitled to the Free Early Education Entitlement; eligible places are determined by the Local Authority following a completed and approved two year old funding application form, that meets the required criteria listed;
- Guarantee Element of Pension Credit (GPC)
- Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (IAA) Support
- Universal credit – this includes:
- Working Tax Credit earning less than £16,190 a year
- Working Tax Credit relating to a disability
- Income Support (IS)
- Job Seekers’ Allowance (Income-Based)
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA-IR)
- Child Tax Credit (CTC) with a household income of less than £16,190
- Or do you have or care for a child who falls into one of these categories?
Is in the care of the local authority
Has left care through special guardianship, adoption or residence order
Has a current statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care plan
Attracts disability living allowance
Has a Child Protection plan
Is being supported through the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) process.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you could receive the funding starting the term following your child’s second birthday:
We are now able to check eligibility for 2 year funding within the Pre-school via the Local Authority portal. To do this we require the parents National Insurance number and date of birth.
30 Hours Funding Entitlement for 3 and 4 year olds
From September 2017 the government has introduced an additional entitlement for 3&4 year olds of 30 hours funding. As with all 3& 4 year funding this will start from the start of the term following their 3rd birthday, the LEA provides funding for up to 38 weeks per year.
Whilst it is not compulsory for Pre-schools and Nurseries to provide any of the new 30 hours entitlement for 3&4 year olds, after consultation with parents, staff and the local authority we have decided to offer a 15 x 30 hour places, these will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Two year old places and 15 hour funded 3&4 year old places will remain unchanged. Our reasoning behind this is to still provide a variety of sessions to suit different parents needs while protecting the long term viability of our Pre-school.
The 30 hours funding will be delivered by ourselves under certain conditions, these are that it will be provided under what the Local Authority refer to as the ‘stretch model’ this mean that the funding will cover the 39 weeks term time and also the four weeks summer scheme. The total funded hours entitlement for the year ‘stretched’ over the year is equal to 26.5 hours per week. This will be shown on your monthly invoice.
Not all children will be eligible for the full entitlement; it is also the parent’s responsibility to check every 3 months if they are still eligible. Please also be aware that this may affect your family tax credits if you currently claim the childcare element.
How do I know if I am eligible?
HMRC are creating a joint application for 30 hours and tax free childcare where parents will enter their information online and find out if they are eligible. This will be available via http:/GOV.uk
Eligible parents will receive a code that they will need to provide to Castle Keep to receive a free place, if this code is not provided parents will be liable for all fee accrued.
* Both parents are working (or the sole parent is working in a lone parent family), and each parent earns, on average: a weekly minimum equivalent to 16 hours at national minimum wage (NMW) or national living wage (NLW), and
– less than £100,000 per year.
– At present, the living wage is £7.85 an hour. Therefore, the minimum income requirement for a parent (over the age of 25) is £125.60 a week. The minimum wage for 21 to 24 year olds is £7.38 an hour – therefore, the minimum income requirement for this group is £118.08 a week
* A parent expects (on average) to earn this amount over the coming three months. The eligibility criteria have been designed to accommodate parents with fluctuating incomes and those who are about to start working or increase their hours.
* For example, a parent who is on a zero-hours contract will get work some weeks, but not others, and may not know in advance if they will have work in any given week. If, on average they work two weeks out of every three, and when they are working they get 25 hours of work at the minimum wage, their child will qualify for 30 hours of free childcare
* Families where one parent does not work (or neither parent works) will not usually be eligible for the extended entitlement EXCEPT where:
– Both parents are employed but one or both parents is temporarily away from the workplace on parental, maternity or paternity, adoption leave, or on statutory sick pay
– One parent is employed and one parent either has substantial caring responsibilities based on specific benefits received for caring, or is disabled or incapacitated based on receipt of specific benefits
* A child and parent must be resident (living) in the Local Authority, as evidenced by the parent’s proof of residency
* The person applying for the childcare (usually the parent but could be their partner) is ‘resident in the UK’.
* Parent means a person who has parental responsibility for the child or care of the child. In cases where a parent has remarried or is living with a partner, the step-parent or partner must also meet the earnings threshold.
* Foster carers are eligible for the extended entitlement for their own children if they meet the criteria, however they are not eligible for the extended entitlement for the children that they foster.
Healthy Early Years
In September 2011 we were one of the first Pre-schools in Coventry to be awarded a CHEYSA (Coventry Healthy Early Years Setting Award).
We do operate a policy of healthy eating, all children have access to fresh drinking water at all times and are encouraged to use the water dispenser at any time.
Snack time is a social time of the day for us, a staff member will sit at the table with a small group of children to have snack this encourages sharing, talk, social skills, good eating habits and also enables the adult to act as a positive role model and encourage conversation. This also helps us to understand which foods are popular with the children and ensure that all the children have had a drink and snack. Your child will be given a choice of drinks including, water, milk, or freshly made smoothies at snack time these are served along with a selection of fruit and a small snack such as crackers or bread sticks.
Please encourage your child to bring a piece of fruit along with them to each session, which can be placed in the fruit bowl by the front door.
Celebrations and Special Occasions
It is important that children are given the opportunity to celebrate special occasions and cultural events, and food and drink is often used to mark these occasions. If your child would like to bring in a small gift to celebrate their birthday we would encourage parents to bring in non-food items such as stickers or cake which can be shared at snack time instead of sweets.
Special Dietary Needs
If your child suffers from a food allergies or intolerances it is important that you inform pre-school when your child starts with us. Some children with additional needs may also not be able to tolerate particular textures or food preferences may be due to religious grounds. Children’s dietary requirements are displayed in the main pre-school room and kitchen so all staff and students are aware and are able to ensure that all dietary requirements as observed.
Many young children can be fussy about what they eat, or how they eat. Fussy eaters can be helped over their fears and habits in a number of ways.
- Sitting fussy eaters with good eaters at mealtimes, it has been shown that children will adopt the food preferences of their peers if they eat together regularly.
- Staff sit with the child while they eat and talk enthusiastically about the taste and texture of the food.
- Giving your child regular and repeated chances to taste new foods as this increases their liking for and eating of new foods.
- Give your child small tastes and making sure the child maintains control of the situation.
- Praise your child for trying new foods.
- Favourite foods should not be used as a reward to encourage your child to eat foods they do not like.
- Give small servings at first with the opportunity to have second helpings if they finish the first serving as they may find larger portions off-putting.
Learning about and through food
Learning about food is integrated into many areas of our curriculum these include;
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development – Snack times offer children experiences to taste different foods, overcome dislikes and learn how to share.
- Physical Development – Fine and gross motor skills can be developed through activities such as gardening, using cutlery, and cooking activities.
- Literacy – Many stories involve food. Language can be developed and senses explored through discussing and describing the taste, texture, size look and smell of food.
- Mathematics – Activities such as counting out pieces of fruit, sorting and matching foods into different types.
- Communication and language – Food tasting activities teach children about ingredients, the seasons and where food comes from including food from different cultures. Growing vegetables and fruit teaches children about where food comes from, about life cycles, about gardening and how to look after plants.
- Creative Development – Art activities can engage children with food and alert them to colours and shapes.
Services for Parents
We are a breastfeeding friendly pre-school, if you would like a private area to feed your child or a younger child while visiting please let us know. As part of our award members of staff attended UNICEF breastfeeding training and may be able to assist you if you are still breastfeeding or are experiencing any problems.
If any parents of family are think about or trying to give up smoking we hold information about stop smoking services available with Coventry and the UK. Please ask.
Parents can chose to either provide their child with a packed breakfast or Castle Keep will provide a breakfast for a nominal charge of £1.50. Breakfast choices include wholemeal toast, fruit, cereals along with milk and water.
Children are able to stay for lunch sessions whether they are attending for full days or just for a morning or afternoon. They are required to bring a packed lunch which is stored in the fridge until lunch time. The children sit together at lunch time and are assisted and encouraged by the staff.
As we are a Healthy Early Years Setting would encourage parents to ensure that their child’s lunchbox is as healthy as possible.
Please find below guidance issued by the Eat Well, Start Well intuitive for healthy lunchboxes.
Foods to provide
Examples of food that could be provided
A portion of starchy food
(provide a variety of different starchy foods each week, including a wholegrain variety for lunch and tea once a week)
White or wholegrain bread, roll, pitta bread or wraps.
Plain naan bread
Cooked pasta, rice, noodles, couscous or potato.
At least one portion of fruit and/or vegetables
Carrot, cucumber, pepper or celery sticks.
Lentils included in daal.
Grated carrot in sandwiches or wraps.
Fresh fruit such as sliced apples, banana, grapes, mixed chopped fruit or strawberries.
Dried fruit such as raisins or apricots.
Fruit juice (diluted half juice, half water).
A portion of meat, fish, eggs beans or other non-dairy sources of protein.
Sliced meat, poultry or fish in sandwiches, rolls or wraps, or by itself.
Sliced egg in sandwiches, rolls or wraps.
Meat alternatives such as tofu in salads.
Pulses such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils as part of bean salads.
Nut butter in sandwiches
A portion of milk or dairy food
A pot of yogurt or fromage frais.
Cheese in sandwiches or wraps.
Whole milk (for children aged one or two) or semi-skimmed (for children two and over) to drink.
Desserts, cakes, biscuits and crisps
Desserts, cakes and biscuits made with cereals, milk or fruit.
Avoid salty snacks such as crisps.
Limit confectionery such as chocolate chips or hundreds and thousands, and use only as part of cakes or desserts.
Fruit juice (diluted half juice, half water).
Health and Safety
To ensure adequate supervision of the children at all times our minimum levels of staffing are for 2yr olds – 1 member of staff to 4 children and for 3yr and 4yr olds – 1 member of staff to 8 children.
It is our policy at Castle Keep that to ensure quality of care and supervision our staff number always exceed Ofsted’s minimum requirements.
Fire drill are displayed and practiced regularly with all the children. The fire exits are clearly marked and are kept accessible at all times.
Within our setting food is only provided through snack time, cookery, exploration activities and parties. We aim to provide and educate an awareness of health and nutrition while having regard to the dietary and religious wishes of each child and family and encourage good hygiene standards. All staff are made aware of any allergies, religious or parental preferences you may have with regard to your child’s food or drink.
A supply of fresh drinking water is available on demand via the water dispenser and the children are encouraged to obtain water independently. We provide suitable, hygienic work areas and equipment for snacks and cookery. All milk and perishable items are kept refrigerated and the temperature is checked daily. All staff are required to complete the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Level 2 award in Food Safety in Catering.
All the children are taken by a member of staff to wash their hands before any snacks or cookery activities take place.
We hold adequate insurance including public liability. A copy of our current certificate if displayed within the Pre-school room.
Obviously we take every precaution to ensure that our environment is secure but in the event of a child being lost we would follow the following procedure.
- Alert staff and check premises.
- Maintaining emergency ratios leave the children supervised and enlist the assistance of the Community Centre staff – do not create panic
- Notify police.
- Check everywhere – surrounding area including the route home.
- Notify parent sensitively and calmly informing them of the incident and what action has been taken; ask that they join you at Pre-school. Support parent and comply with the instructions given by police.
- As soon as possible notify Ofsted, carry out a full investigation and inform the parent (including in writing) of the findings and actions to be taken.
- Send a follow up letter to Ofsted.
We carry out risk assessments on a daily basis both of our surroundings, equipment and activities. It is not our aim to necessarily remove all risks, but to minimise them. Children grow and learn through taking managed risk, for example a child climbing up the steps to a slide may fall but by ensuring that all climbing equipment is kept on the soft fall surface and the children are supervised we can ensure that they will not become hurt.
The safety of your child is upmost at all times. To ensure this we take a number of steps:
- All external door are kept locked during session times, (fire exits are unlocked but secured with a hook and not accessible by the children or from the outside).
- The children are signed in and out of the building by their parent or carer.
- All visitors must sign in at the door and are not left unsupervised at any time. Where possible and appropriate, ID and clearance is checked in advance.
Toilet facilities and hand washing
Each child is provided with clean water, liquid soap and a disposable towel to help prevent the spread of infection. We have designated children’s toilets with cubicles to give the children privacy and they are encouraged to be independent in this area, we also have a changing area within the children’s bathroom where children who are not yet dry are able to be changed in comfort.
1st Aid and Sickness:
Our Pre-school has a duty to promote a positive approach to health care and, as far as possible, provide a safe environment for children and adults by preventing the spread of infection.
Our aims are to:
- Ensure that each session has a qualified 1st aider holding an up-to-date certificate.
- Notify parents if there is an emergency. In the event that a parent can’t be contacted, consent is need for to us to proceed in with appropriate medical treatment and to accompany the child to hospital. Inform Ofsted/RIDDOR.
- Notify you if your child becomes ill during the session, unless considered mild and ask that they are collected as soon as possible.
- Use the supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at appropriate times.
- Maintain the settings accident and incident forms, inform parents in a calm and reassuring manner of any occurrences and support any children affected by an injury or illness; ensure parents sign the accident book.
- Use records on ‘near misses’, along with other reoccurring accidents from accident forms, to formulate a report for risk assessment and appropriate control measures- monitored annually.
- Advise parents of confirmed infectious diseases and respond appropriately by seeking relevant medical information and, when a notifiable disease including meningitis or food poisoning, inform Ofsted, HPA (Health Protection Agency) and/or RIDDOR.
- Before administering medicine to your child ensure you to complete a parental agreement form.
All reasonable precautions will be taken to guard against infection; you can help us by observing the following exclusion periods to prevent the spread of any illness your child may be suffering.
At least 5 days after spot develops or until the spots have crusted
until the eye no longer appears affected
Diarrhoea & vomiting
until symptom free for 48 hours
until the child feels well
Hand, foot and mouth
until the child feels well
until responding to treatment and the spots have dried up
until 4 days after the onset of the rash and the child feels well.
at least 9 days after the onset of swelling and the child feels well
until the rash has cleared
until 4 days after the onset of the rash and the child feels well
until the child feels well
until treatment started
5 days after treatment with antibiotics has started
Outings and trips off site provide the children with enriching learning experiences. Ensuring that the children have the opportunities to visit a community venue provides them with first hand experienced that will support project work undertaken in the Pre-school.
We aim to ensure that a parental consent form is signed for each child when they start at the setting for short outings, such as to the local shops, park or church. We will endeavour that parents accompany their own children where possible on all day trips to help staff meet the necessary ratios and check a minimum of two staff from the setting accompany children on outings. When going off site we will ensure children are taken out on a ratio of 1:2 for 2 year olds and not more than 1:4 for 3 & 4 year olds depending on the trip and staff awareness of the children. We will carry out a risk assessment prior to the visit, identifying any potential hazards and on day trips obtain a copy of the venues own risk assessment. All staff will be aware of emergency procedures and carry at least one fully charged mobile phone, a small first aid kit, any prescription medication, spare clothes and plastic bags and where a member of staff is not left behind at Pre-school carry a copy of emergency contact details for the children.
A library service is provided free of charge at Pre-school to encourage a love of reading from an early age. Reading with your child encourages their development in a large number of ways including speech and language, social skills and extended concentration to name but a few. Your child is able to borrow up to two books or resources at a time for up to two weeks. Books for this service have been purchased via donations made by local business, parents, commission raised from School Link orders and Nestle Box Tops. During 2010 we also received a donation for our Local Extended Services Cluster to enable us to extend these resources to include story sacks and games. Please ensure that all books and resources are returned promptly and in good condition to enable us to build and maintain this service for all.
Supermarket and Maunfacturer Promotions
Whilst we would never ask that anyone change their shopping habits, vouchers schemes run by supermarkets and manufacturers are an easy way for us to add to and update our resources for your children. Over the last few years resources have been obtained via Tesco equipment for Schools, Sainsburys Active Kids, and Morrisons Lets Grow. If you do use these supermarkets or manufacturers we would be grateful for any donations of vouchers you can make.
We are also able to recycle used print and copier cartridges and old mobile phones and a collection box is available in the entrance hall for these.
“We all share responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. All members of the community can help to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people if they are mindful of their children’s needs, and willing and able to act if they have concerns about a child’s welfare”. Working Together, 2006
Child abuse is the deliberate or unintentional due to lack of understanding, mistreatment of children. This is applicable to EVERYONE who comes into contact with our children.
We aim to protect the child. To take action, working with parents where appropriate. To protect confidentiality.
All staff undergo training by the Safeguarding Children Board to ensure they are knowledgeable about the sign and symptoms of all types of child abuse, and the actions and steps that should be taken in any suspected case. We have a designated person (Pam Halligan) who is responsible for working with parents and any outside agencies during these cases.
Recognising and providing a commitment to the importance of an Equal Opportunities and Anti-bias approach will be the basis of Castle-Keep Pre-school’s ethos. Treating everyone the same is not treating them equally, we all have differing needs and differing approaches and responses.
Our aims are to provide an environment that celebrates the diversity in our society through taking positive action to ensure that all adults and children are entitled to equal respect and acceptance regardless of age, gender, disability, race, sexual orientation or differing opinion. This is expected of all users of our setting. We work to ensure Equal Opportunities and access is an integral part of the Pre-school’s ethos, environment, curriculum and procedures through our anti-bias strategy.
We expect all parents, children, staff, students and associated professions to adopt a respectful attitude and tolerance towards each other.
Data Protection & Privacy
Sharing information with others
As a preschool it is necessary for us to collect personal information about you and your child. Sometimes we have to confirm or share information with other organisations. If we need to do this, we will make it clear to you on the forms you complete giving us the information. We will inform you before sharing any of yours or your child’s information.
In some cases, a third-party organisation, such as a funding body, may require you to sign an agreement to allow your information to be shared e.g. on a funding form. Please read all paperwork thoroughly before signing, so that you know exactly how your information will be used.
We will make sure that the information about you is accurate and up to date when we collect or use it. You can help us with this by keeping us informed of any changes to the information we hold about you.
We will keep information about you and your child secure. We will protect your information against unauthorised change, damage, loss or theft. All information collected on paper forms is kept locked away. Our computer, and tablets are password protected.
We will hold information about you and your child only for as long as the law says. After this, we will dispose of it securely.
We will tell you what kinds of information we hold and what we do with it.
Access and correctness
Whenever possible, we will let you see the information we hold about you and correct it if it is wrong.
We will comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and any subsequent legislation on information handling and privacy. We will do this through Red Barn Preschool’s Data Protection Policy. We will help you with any questions or problems that you may have with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If we cannot help you, we will give you advice on where to write to get the information you may need.
We will only collect information that is necessary for what we do. We will be fair in the way we collect information about you. We will tell you what we intend to do with the information about you. Where practicable, we will collect information directly from you. If we collect information about you from someone else, we will make sure you know that we have done this whenever possible.
Types of information we collect
Yours and your child’s full names; Your child’s date of birth; Your address; Your contact numbers and those of your emergency contacts; Your email address; Your child’s medical conditions; In some cases, your National insurance number.
While your child is with us we store information regarding:
Their ongoing progress and development; photographs of them; Accident records; medication records.
Promoting British Values
We ensure that British values are embedded into our everyday life at Castle Keep in a number of ways.
Promoting the understanding that we have to follow rules and that they are there for a reason, by having routines and boundaries in place. Having our Pre-school rules that are written by the children, also a behaviour management policy, and agreed responses which are used by all staff.
Giving children choices and showing them that their views and opinions are valued and taken into account. The children are given choices of activities and resources as well as being free to play inside or outside. Resources follow the children’s interests and the children are encouraged to suggest further resources. The children are encouraged to express their feelings and use visual resources to communicate these.
Creating self-esteem and self-worth in our children is achieved by positive reinforcement of behaviour and children are given lots of praise. Yours child’s voice is heard through their learning journals and they are encouraged to contribute to these. Each child’s work is displayed on the notice boards around the Pre-school giving the children a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Mutual respect and tolerance is promoted as each child’s opinion is valued, they are given opportunities to express themselves both verbally and through visuals and Makaton for those who do not use speech to communicate.
The Pre-school is inclusive of all cultures, religions, ages, genders and abilities and these are reflected in our resources such as books, roleplay and the occasions we celebrate. Children’s perceptions are also challenged eg; pink is for girls, blue is for boy.
Setting arrangements to support children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)
Name of Setting SENCo’s:
- Tracie Burdett
- Helen Clark
How does the setting collect information about my child’s development before starting at the Pre-school?
At Castle Keep we collect information in various ways about children’s development. Before starting pre-school we will invite you attend with your child for settling sessions. You will be asked to complete a form about your child’s previous experience; this gives parents an opportunity to ask practitioners any questions and to share relevant information about their child. At Castle Keep we reinforce the partnership with parents and try to share relevant information as possible. Parents are asked if their child has Special Education Needs, Medical Needs, Allergies or any other concerns a parent may have. We will also, with parental permission, contact any previous settings and any other agencies involved, to support the transition. You will be introduced to your child’s key person who will support them in the setting.
How does the Pre-school collect information about my child’s development once started at the Pre-school?
All children are valued as individuals at Castle Keep. We will observe children as they play and gather information about what they like or dislike. These observations also help us to look at the children’s development and where they are in terms of Early Years Outcomes of the Early Years Foundations Stage. We complete a progress check between the age of two and three and review progress with parents. We make sure that parents are fully involved and informed. As a setting we also use a tool called Wellcomm which tells us a lot about the children’s speech and language skills and will help us decide if a referral to Speech and Language Therapy is advised. Where a child has identified Special Educational Needs we work closely with specialist agencies to gather information and review progress.
What should I do if I think my child has Special Educational Needs?
Talk to your child’s Key Worker to share your concerns. The setting will be able to share these concerns with the SenCo and arrange a meeting with you to discuss what support may be available. Talk with your health Visitor or GP who could make further referrals to other health professionals if needed.
What will the Pre-school do if they feel my child may have Special Educational Needs?
At Castle Keep where progress checks suggest that your child may be experiencing some difficulties or delays in their development information is shared with parents/carers and next steps discussed. For some children the next steps may involve the Key Person and SENCo targeting a specific area of development through planning that is regularly reviewed. If the review suggests further interventions are needed we can contact our Area SENCo for advice and support. This may include writing a targeted support plan that is informed by discussions with you. At this point we may want to refer to other agencies for example Speech and Language Therapy for more specialist advice. Parents are involved in every part of the process and referrals are always made with parental permission. We achieve this by using a cycle of assess, plan, do and review.
How will the Pre-school put plans into practice to meet my Childs Special Educational Needs?
At Castle Keep we ensure that we know our children well including their strengths and interests. This informs our targeted plans and enables us to put them into place through individual, small group or whole room everyday activities. We ensure that the children’s developmental needs are reflected in both long and short term plans. All staff will be aware of these plans so that suggested strategies are applied consistently and are part of everyday practice.
How will plans be reviewed to ensure that my child’s needs continue to be met?
Staff will collect observations about what your child can do focussed on the intended outcomes in the plans. The review will consider how the activities and strategies in the targeted plan have supported your child’s learning. We invite parents to review the plan with us to celebrate and plan next steps; this may include a referral to specialist services as needed. The setting will continue the process to assess, plan, do and review. If appropriate an Educational Health Care Needs Assessment can be requested from the Local Authority.
How are staff trained to support children with Special Educational Needs?
We access training through the Area SENCo Team and other Early Years Training Providers. We work alongside other professionals, learning from the strategies they have modelled and explained to us. The setting SENCo attends regular training and will share this information with the staff team.
How accessible is the Pre-school environment to children with SEND
We make all reasonable adjustments to be able to meet the needs of everyone. The building is and doorways are wheelchair accessible. We recently underwent some refurbishment and have chosen contrasting colours to support children with visual impairments. Height appropriate furniture and assessable toilets are available. We use augmentative communication systems including visual structure and makaton signing.
How will the Pre-school prepare and support my child for transfer to a new setting or into school?
At Castle Keep we plan transitions carefully both within our own setting and to other settings to include schools. Arrange a flexible transition to meet each child’s needs. This will take the form of both visits to the new setting and visits from practitioners at the new setting to Castle Keep, we may also make the child a transition book including photos of their new setting. With parental permission we will share information from our Pre-school to the new setting. If a child has a targeted plan we will invite staff from the new setting to a joint review with parents to plan next steps.
How are parents involved in the Pre-school? How can I be involved?
Castle Keep send out news letters to let parents know what is happening at the Pre-school. Parents/Carers are welcome to visit using our open door policy. We have regular parent’s evenings with your child’s Key Person to share information. A meeting can be arranged at a time that is convenient to discuss any queries. We welcome any involvement of parents to share their talents with our children e.g. cooking, painting, dance.
What other services can the setting contact for support?
- Area SENCo team
- Pre-school Education Service
- Speech and Language Therapy Service
- Early Years Support Team
- Occupational Therapy
- Early Support
- Coventry Autism Support (CASS)
- Minority Group Support Services
Behaviour Management Policy
Adults are responsible for the overall conduct of the group and will ensure that the behaviour of some children doesn’t spoil the pleasure and learning of others. Unacceptable behaviour is outlined further in this policy. However, we want our children to grow up with understanding and judgement and with the confidence to say “no” in some instances.
At no time is physical punishment used; restraint by ‘holding’ is only ever used for the protection of the child, other children or adults and for short periods. All such incidents are to be recorded and parents informed. Staff and parents need to have a consistent approach.
We aim to produce an environment that creates mutual courtesy, respect, kindness and provide a good role model and encourage behaviour they want the children to learn. We will ensure that our children know what is expected of them by keep guidelines/rules constant and informing the children of behaviours which are unacceptable.
The child needs to know that:-
- The behaviour is not acceptable and why.
- That the child is still valued and that such feelings are normal but are better expressed in other ways.
- If things go wrong an adult will intervene.
Very young children are still developing and learning the social boundaries that adults see so clearly. We have to be careful not to be judgemental with children at such an early stage and allow for change.
WE NEED PARENTAL SUPPORT!
If you feel that your child has experienced any repeated unwanted behaviour, please tell us and keep it confidential. We can’t see everything that happens but if we are alerted to a possible situation we will observe the children involved and act on any issues. We will also report back to you. DO NOT voice opinion that might be inaccurate, create prejudice and do nothing to resolve the situation. Please be polite, respectful and courteous towards other adults and children.
Unacceptable behaviour is defined as:
- Consistent harmful behaviour
- Consistent verbal abuse or undesirable language
- Consistent unsafe use of equipment and space
Our rules were written by the children of Castle Keep and they are encouraged to observe them:-
- Be kind and care for each other.
- Always try your best
- Share and take care of our toys
- No shouting
- Do not take things from other children’s drawers.
- HAVE FUN
Good behaviour will be rewarded with praise, stickers and certificates. Where appropriate reward systems are used in conjunction with the parents to maintain a consistent approach with Pre-school and home at all times.
We work in partnership with parents and believe that everyone is entitled to expect courtesy and special attention to their needs.
We have a responsibility to keep a log of all complaints whether written or verbal, which is available to all parents, external agencies and Ofsted
If you have any concerns about any aspect of the group, talk it over first with any member of staff who will endeavor to resolve the matter informally.
Still not happy?
Try the Pre-school Manager. All complaints will be logged, investigated and you should receive a reply detailing how the complaint has been dealt with any actions taken within 28 days. If for any reason it is not possible for a full investigation to be completed within the 28 days you will be notified in writing as to the reason. Any complaints will be taken seriously and dealt with fairly in a way that respects confidentiality on both sides.
Still not satisfied?
- Request a formal meeting with the Pre-school and Community Centre manager, putting the complaint in writing and having a friend present, if required; this can be written by an independent person if required. Hopefully now matters can be settled.
We hope you would be able to talk to us and resolve any problems but you do have the right to go directly to Ofsted at any point during the procedure.
Ofsted’s contact details: 0300 1234666
Ofsted Early Years
National Business Unit
A log of any complaints is available to all parents and childcare professionals in the Pre-school office.
Complaint forms are also available from the complaints folder or in the sleeve behind this policy in the entrance hall.
The curriculum is child orientated and focuses on learning through play. It is planned to allow for new opportunities and experiences as well as supportive guidance and extension of existing learning. It generally takes the form of selected themes, some of which the children have lent themselves through observation of their play.
The teaching of the curriculum involves the coordination and participation of all members of staff as a supportive team. The children play and learn in a variety of ways and groupings; individually, as pairs or small groups, in larger groups and as a whole group. The teaching strategies and sessions reflect this and are organised to allow for child directed free play and choice in activities, structured play, set tasks and adult directed activities; encompassing visual, auditory and kinetic strategies. Attention is given to supporting the diverse and differing specific needs of all children through both a key working system and as a common ‘inclusive’ and valued approach.
The curriculum is planned to meet the needs of all children. It is based around themes that incorporate the progression of ‘Long Term’ development within the child’s education, leading to the Early Years Foundation Stage at the end of the Reception year.
Long Term learning objectives are planned within the ‘Medium Term’ planning. Through this, monitoring and informal observations, staff ensure that individual progress and key skills are assessed and then built upon. The purpose of activities will be clearly identified and discussed with all staff involved and written up as a working document.
Medium Term planning is usually planned, in advance, every term or half term. After monitoring the children’s progress, additional support in any area of the curriculum is strengthened through a ‘key person’ system, Short Term planning or by a ‘revisit’ in the next Medium Term planning session.
‘Short Term’ planning is achieved each week at team meetings where evaluation is carried out, and focuses on areas of the week that need repeating, new areas that need promoting, or progressing, and they may also include ‘child initiated activities’ that have been requested or were enthusiastically received. Short term planning shows staff allocation, aims and Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), group sizes (any specific children involved), whether the child or the adult directs the play, resources required and what the adults’ role is (plus any vocabulary and differentiation for abilities/SEN/stage of development).
The curriculum is evaluated for achievement of the aims and to smooth out unforeseen problems for future reuse next time around.
A copy of our long term planning is displayed on the notice board in the entrance hall for your information
From September 2012 we have been working with the New Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), this sets the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five.
The EYFS has four themes and each theme has an overarching principle, these principles underpin everything we offer your child.
The four themes and principles are;
A Unique Child
Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self assured.
Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.
Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.
Learning and Development
Children develop and learn in different ways. The framework covers the education and care of all children in early years provision, including children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Practioners teach children by ensuring challenging, playful opportunities across the prime and specific areas of learning and development.
Each area of Learning and Development is divided into three Prime areas and four Specific areas, these areas influence our planning and curriculum. What the curriculum means for your child:
Personal, Social and Emotional Development
Involves helping children to develop a positive sense of themselves and others; to form positive relationships and develop respect for others; to develop social skills and learn how to manage their feelings; to understand appropriate behaviour in groups; and to have confidence in their own abilities.
Communication, Language and Literacy
Communication and language development involves giving children opportunities to speak and listen in a range of situations and to develop their confidence and skills in expressing themselves.
Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their coordination, control, and movement. Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.
Literacy development involves encouraging children to read and write, both through listening to others reading, and being encouraged to begin to read and write themselves. Children must be given access to a wider range of reading materials – books, poems, and other written materials, to ignite their interest.
Development involves providing children with opportunities to practise and improve their skills in counting numbers, calculating simple addition and subtraction problems, and to describe shapes, spaces, and measures.
Understanding the World
Understanding the world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.
Expressive Arts and Design
Involves supporting children to explore and play with a wide range of media and materials, as well as providing opportunities and encouragement for sharing their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of activities in art, music, movement, dance, role play, and design and technology.
A poster outlining the principles, themes and commitments of the EYFS is displayed in the cloakroom and you are welcome to look at our guidance pack at any time, please ask in the office.
OBSERVATIONS, ASSESSMENT AND YOUR CHILD’S KEY PERSON
When your child starts pre-school they will be allocated a Key person who will work with your child to ensure that they feel secure and settle quickly.
The Key person will make an assessment when your child first starts to form a basis to grow on. Ongoing assessments and observation are then done on a regular basis to identify amongst other things how your child interacts with other children and adults, any problems and difficulties, and also to enable us to plan and extend your child’s development to his/her full potential at their own pace.
A book is kept in your child drawer with photographs and observations of your child’s time at pre-school. We would encourage you to contribute to this book and add photos of holidays, days out, family celebrations and comments on your child’s achievements. We would also like you to share this book with any other people who care for your child including child-minders, other childcare settings and family. On the days your child attends Pre-school please bring back the book, this is important if we are to keep your child’s records up to date.
We use many methods of observation, some regularly and some only as needed, these are mainly, tick lists, tracking records, event samples, time samples and narrative. All assessments link to government guidelines including the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). To explain our methods further:
These list each area of development and working on a one to one basis with your child the key person will identify their progress, strengths and weaknesses.
A tracking record is a room plan where the key person will log your child’s movements for a short period (approx 20 mins), this shows if your child has preferences for certain activities and also if they are happy to move away from familiar adults.
It is useful in some circumstances to record a pattern of events as they happen to identify any triggers for both positive and negative behavior. This may be something as simple as if a friend attends Pre-school on the particular day your child is more confident.
Time samples are used mainly when your child starts with us and are a good way to record a snapshot of what your child does during a session. It provides us with information on how he/she is settling in, how they are interacting with others and how they react to various situations e.g. Tidying up, story time.
As we get to know your child the key person will make notes about how your child has settled and any activities and events they enjoy.
It is important to remember as with all assessments and observations that there are many factors which may have an effect on how your child behaves on a particular day, they may feel tired or ill or may just be distracted. It is for this reason that we do observations on a regular basis to get a true picture of your child’s ability and progress.
All observations are used in our planning of activities on a weekly basis to help move your child’s learning forward.