Thank you for choosing Cottontails (Alpington & Yelverton) Pre-School. We hope that this information pack will explain a little bit more about what we do and how we do it.
We are staffed by a group of dedicated and enthusiastic people who all work together as a team. All our staff have extensive experience of working with young children; we proudly publish their qualifications and achievements on our website and information board.
The aim of staff and committee is to provide a safe and fun environment, ensuring varied activities and giving a balanced mixture to stimulate and educate all the children in our care.
Our curriculum is guided by the Early Years Foundation Stage and is structured to cover specific areas of learning; all details of these areas can be found on our website or you can download the full document from http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/early-years-foundation-stage-2012/
A copy of the EYFS Framework can also be found at pre-school in the parent folder on the information table in the entrance hall.
Through observation, each keyperson creates a child’s Learning Journey – gradually building a beautiful book of pictures, anecdotes and development milestones which is accessible for viewing at any time and there for you, as parents, to contribute to and add to. When you take it out of the setting we ask that you sign it out so that we know where it is at all times. The sign in and out book can be found on top of the Learning Journey box. We carry out observations on each child every half term and we invite parents to add comments and we give ideas for you to do at home. We encourage parental and child involvement and contribution. A continuous dialogue is maintained between staff and parents, with additional Parent Chats taking place on a regular basis. 2 year progress checks are carried out with your input and you are always welcome to have a chat with your child’s keyperson at the beginning or end of the session. If there is anything that you think we need to know please do not hesitate to ask for a chat! To ensure each child feels safe and secure we have buddy keypersons, in case your child’s keyperson is off for a length of time there is somebody there to ensure your child is happy and there is a special person for them, and you, to go to if needed.
We have a photograph board in the hall. We invite each child to bring in a photo, it could be a photo of a family member, a pet, a favourite toy or a photo of something special to them. The child can go to it, take it off and look at it when they need to. It helps with the transition from home to the setting and is a comfort to our little Cottontails. We want your child to feel happy, safe and secure whilst they are with us.
The pre-school houses a wide selection of educational and fun toys which stimulate learning and encourage children to play together. We believe that children learn through play, so by allowing the children the freedom to choose which activity they want to participate in, indoor, or outdoor, it allows them to develop their confidence and self esteem. The children have constant freeflow access to outdoor learning.
Each week we have a ‘Sound of the Week’. We encourage children to bring in an object, a photo, a story that begins with the sound of the week which we share at circle time. A rota can be found on the red parent board.
During each session, we provide a glass of milk/water and various refreshments of fresh fruit, vegetables and a breadstick or the like. At snack time children are encouraged to recognise their own name (printed on a card for them to find), pour their own drink and help themselves to a snack. Manners and social skills are focussed on at this time, as well as during the session as a whole. We are very grateful for donations of breadsticks/savoury crackers. If and when your child stays for lunch we do have a NO NUT policy in place. We, as a preschool, promote healthy eating as part of the EYFS so we do encourage healthy lunchbox contents.
Our staff are keen to empower all children as much as possible but are always there to provide help. Hands are cleaned before eating; this is carried out independently with antibacterial soap within the hall. Water is available throughout all sessions, if you wish to bring in your child’s own water bottle then please do so, filled with water only.
Ofsted inspections take place and our most recent inspection, in March 2015 result was ‘Outstanding’, (a full report can be found on our website and in the Parent folder) and in the Parent folder on the Parent table.
Policies are adhered to and checked/revised on a regular basis by staff and committee in order to maintain optimum safety and good practice procedures. Each policy is available for hard copy viewing on site and published on our website. A folder of policies to be reviewed is on the parent table for parents to add to.
Any medical condition or prescription medication being taken must be notified to the Manager. Staff are able to administer medication only when written consent has been given by the parent/guardian and, if necessary, relevant training will be given by a recognised official. Please do not send children into the pre-school who are unwell or whose medical condition is likely to spread to other children/staff. If your child has suffered from diarrhoea or sickness we ask that you do not send them to pre-school for 48 hours after the condition has ceased.
We do ask that you inform a member of staff if your child has had an accident/got an injury out of session times so that we are aware and can monitor them throughout the session. You will be asked to write down the details of the incident and sign and date against it.
It also really helps us if you could call or text 07880 592862 if your child is going to be absent and the reason for the absence as we have to keep a record. It also helps us to keep parents informed with illnesses such as chicken pox etc.
We make every effort to ensure that our fees remain competitive. Full Government funding is available for all Cottontails aged 3+ years – the term after your child’s 3rd birthday. We are also a 2yr old funded provider, please see the eligibility checker to see if you are eligible. Invoices are put in plant pots and invoice amounts are emailed to you at the beginning of each half term. Payment should be made in the first week upon receipt of your invoice, preferably by bank transfer but cash & cheque is also accepted.
Term times and dates follow those of Norfolk County Council, please see the Cottontails website for current information.
Cottontails Pre-School is a registered charity (No. 1072330) and, as such, is required to have a committee of at least seven members. Main aims and objectives are to run a successful pre-school (supporting the pre-school Manager and staff). Cottontails committee organise and host fundraising events to ensure adequate and plentiful learning/play facilities for the children. Membership is reviewed annually; if you would like to join the committee, help to run and support the pre-school charity and have some fun at the same time, please ask for more details! Our current Committee Co-Chairs are (2015/16) Lizzie Willmot and Amy Beardmore.
Seasonal celebrations take place within the pre-school setting, sometimes we are invited to Alpington & Bergh Apton Primary School or attend St Mary’s Church, Yelverton to join them and enjoy their activities. Each visit is organised and notified in advance, parents are invited to join and we always have a lovely time. We are very fortunate to have a beautiful village where we can take the children out for walks and nature trails.
Should you wish to play you are always welcome, giving an hour or so of time to show the children a special skill or interest you may have, read stories, help out with snacktime or just to join in the fun! The children and staff appreciate any input from parents, grandparents and carers. We do ask that a parent/grandparent/carer helps for 2 sessions each half term. We understand time is precious but because we are a charity we do need help from parents etc. If you can’t help for the whole session it would be great if you could prepare the fruit before the session starts or come back at 11.45 to play outside whilst a staff member can begin to tidy. There is a parent rota where you can sign up against a time that is convenient for you. You will find it on the table in the Parent room. Thank you.
During your time with Cottontails, you will find communication via your child’s plant pot which they will bring out with them at the end of each session. We like to keep you informed as much as possible via email. Please visit our website www.cottontailspreschool.co.uk regularly for up to date news and information, particularly with regard to fundraising events – you can follow us on Facebook too. We regularly request updated contact details but please let us know as soon as you can if our records might need amending.
The Cottontails library is open every morning in the Parent room from 8.45 until 9.15 (9 am on Wednesdays) You are invited to come in and read a story with your child and choose a book or two to take home for your child to share with other family members. We just ask that you sign the books out and bring them back ready to take out more! We have had very positive comments from parents. Each child has their own book bag to put their books into. There are Story Sacks to take home to explore with your child.
We also hold a Story Café every term to engage as many families as possible in their children's learning. We use it to help us work in partnership with families to support early language by promoting and encouraging a love of stories and books through play. Parents/Carers/Grandparents are invited to come along. It’s a lovely relaxed time to listen to a story, do an art activity related to the story and have a drink and something to eat. Please see the Story Café Book on the parent table, there are lots of photographs and parent comments in there. Sometimes we hold them during a session time, we have also held one on a Saturday so dads and other family members can come along so please watch out for the next one!
When you are buying online you can raise funds for Cottontails by clicking on www.easyfundraising.org.uk with an email address and choose 'Cottontails Preschool - Norwich' as your fundraising cause. Then by going through the site (or handy App) to make internet purchases, registered retailers (a huge variety of shops such as Amazon, supermarkets, eBay and many smaller ones) will donate to Cottontails. If you use this referral link to sign up then Cottontails will also receive an extra pound when you start to use easyfundraising:
The foyer of the village hall is open at 8.45am and the pre-school opens at 9.15am, (9.00am on Wednesdays) or 15 minutes before start of session – we ask parents/guardians to ensure that their children remain in the foyer until this time or use the library! Please ensure that you are able to pick up your child(ren) promptly at end of session. Pick up times are 12.15 Mon, Tues and Thurs, 12 on a Wednesday. Afternoon pick up times are 3pm on a Wednesday and 2.45 on a Thursday. See next FAQ for pick up procedure.
Who can pick up my child from the pre-school?
The safety of all the children is of the utmost importance to us. At the end of each session, children will be directed to the parent/guardian who dropped them off. If you require someone we are unfamiliar with to collect your child, please notify the Manager and we would ask that our ‘child collection form’ is completed for that day – giving the name of the person collecting your child. Unless this procedure is adhered to we are unable to allow your child to leave the pre-school. The collection book can be found on the Parent table.
If your child is not collected for any reason, we will try to contact you or your alternative emergency contacts. Two staff will remain with your child at the hall. After an hour we then have to ring social services, they will collect the child and continue to try and get in touch with parents. The hall is in use after us so please make sure you make arrangements to collect your child as soon as possible.
What does my child need to bring to pre-school?
Please dress your child in practical clothing that you do not mind getting dirty and appropriate to the weather and ensure that all clothing is named. We do try our best to use aprons but we do often have sensory resources for the children to explore e.g mud kitchen, soil and compost, gloop, shaving foam etc! We do have uniform on sale, polo shirts and sweatshirt, all stock is kept in the cupboard so please see Vicky if you would like to buy some. Prices can be found on the red board and the website. It is not compulsory but lots of parents like it because you don’t have to worry about what to dress your child in each session!
In the hot weather please provide: sun hat/bottle of water for use throughout the session. We would also ask that you apply any sun lotion prior to the session (we cannot apply sun lotion).
Each day, bring in a named change of clothing in case of need and also, if your child is not toilet-trained, extra nappies and wipes. (Following nappy change, we are unable to dispose of the used nappy on the premises and so staff will discreetly wrap and place into your child’s take-home bag – please check daily!).
If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask Vicky or any member of staff who will be more than happy to answer them.
We hope you enjoy your time with us and we look forward to working with you and your child during their early years!