When will I hear if my child has a place at Preschool?
If your child is due to start in September you will hear if you have a place by the end of February.
If your child is due to start in January, you will hear sometime in October.
How can I make my child's life easier at preschool?
Encouraging your child to be independent is part of their learning, the more independent they are the easier their life will be and they won’t need to wait for adult help they can get right into playing.
It also increases their self confidence and self esteem.
The best way to encourage independence is to give plenty encouragement and praise, lots of opportunities to try and enough time to get the hang of something.
Being toilet trained is easier for them at preschool too as getting changed takes them away from their play. We will support them to wipe their own bottoms rather than doing it for them, with time and opportunities to practice they will become experts.
Show your child how to put on their coat, shoes and clothes, encourage them to use cutlery and drink from an ordinary cup.
We will always help children who struggle, but we do ask them to try first themselves.
Another good way to help your child is encouraging them to walk into preschool rather than carrying them. This is reinforcing the fact they are growing up and becoming ready for the big wide world of school,
It really is amazing how these small steps help your child settle and become more able.
Does my child have to wear a uniform?
No, we encourage children to wear clothes they can comfortably play in. We do have a uniform available from Logosunlimited if you want your child to wear a uniform. This helps children understand where they are going for the day and prevents their good clothes getting dirty.
We ask parents not to send their children in school trousers, skirts or pinafores as it can hinder their play and independence. We prefer joggers, leggings or elasticated waist trousers.
Teflon coated trousers aren’t practical for preschool either as water runs off, this means if they have a little accident it runs straight off, usually into their wellies and we don’t notice as it doesn’t leave a wet patch.
If you decide not to wear a uniform please do not send your child in their best clothes as they WILL get dirty.
My child has lost their jumper / coat / shoes etc. how can I find it?
If your child loses something, please either email us or ask at drop off time. We usually return all lost property to your child’s tray or bag if it has their name in.
It is essential all of your child’s belongings is named if you want it returned to you. Putting their name in their items also helps the children be independent finding their own things.
What if my child doesn't settle well?
It is important we try to encourage your child to settle in the preschool as quickly as possible as this may be their first time away from you.
We have a plethora of strategies to try as one method will not suit all children. Some may seem a bit harsh, but sometimes it is best for the person dropping off to leave quickly. Please trust us, we have over 100 years experience between us and we will work out the right one to suit your child.
We will take photos of their first few days to show you what they are up to during their day, so you can see they have settled and are making friends.
Usually by the end of their second week they have settled and love preschool.
Sometimes through the year they may say they do not want to come to preschool, this is completely normal. How do you feel on a morning before going to work? Children are no different.
You can support your child by showing them where they will be going, walking past and looking at the virtual tour. Talk about preschool in a positive way, saying you are exited about them starting, they will make lots of new friends and there will be lots of things to play with. You can also read stories about starting school, Mrs Wood is reading one here that you could show them
How do you know who is OK to collect my child?
When you register for preschool you will complete a profile form for your child. In this form you can add upto 6 people who are able to collect your child. You can add photos and to make it even more secure add a password too (only tell the people who are collecting).
Just let us know when you drop off if it is someone who isn’t a regular at collection, but they must be on the form. We will not allow your child to go home with someone we do not already know or if the correct procedures have not been followed.
What is the best way to communicate with you?
If you are ever worried or concerned please do not hesitate to get in touch, please do not wait until it builds up.
If we can chat with you straight away we will, but we might have to make an appointment for a meeting if we do not have staff available at that time.
You can ring us on 01914888621 or email us on email@example.com
Please be aware we do not check emails during school holidays, after 6pm or on a weekend. So please do not get concerned if we do not pick something up straight away. We do not answer messages on Social Media such as Facebook.
We do not have parents evenings/meetings as we will chat with you regularly and if we have concerns we prefer to deal with issues straight away will call you in for a meeting. You will receive regular updates via EYLog on your child and at the end of their stay a report. You can comment on any observations or reports or even send in your own observations and photos via EYLog if you have had any ‘wow’ moments at home.
When can I get funding for my child?
You can get funding the term after your child’s third birthday i.e. if they are 3 in September they will get funding for the next term which starts in January.
Every child is entitled to Universal Funded Childcare the term after their third birthday. Some may be eligible to claim an extra 15 hours of Extended Childcare if you meet certain criteria. It is aimed at working families, check out your eligibility of the governments website.
When do you have intakes of children?
We only have 2 intakes a year, September and if we have spaces available January too, we don’t have an Easter intake.
Where can I find out about help for paying for childcare I.e. 30 hour funding and tax free childcare etc.
The government website https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/ will have all the information you need.
It is worth putting your details into their calculator even if you think you are not entitled as you might be pleasantly surprised.
When do I need to tell you my 30 Hour code?
As soon as you get it and remember you need to revalidate it so keep an eye open for government emails to remind you. We won’t be able to remind you as everyone gets their code at different times.
We have a deadline to put your code in to ensure we can claim your funding. If we miss this deadline you will not be able to receive the funding and will have to pay for your sessions.
If I am only entitled to the universal 15 hours can I pay for extra sessions?
Yes, you can pay for additional hours subject to availability.
These extra hours work out at £6 per hour. If you require a morning or afternoon session you will have to take a 3 hour or 6 hour session. You can add an hour or more after school or an hour and fifteen minutes for breakfast. These must be prearranged as we don’t always have availability.
Is everything free like the government advertises when they say ‘30 hours free childcare’?
No, the government advertises free childcare, but this does not cover food (lunches, snacks etc.), consumables (cleaning, P.P.E., art supplies, tissues etc.). It can be a little misleading for parents.
The EYFS Statutory Guidance states: ‘Government funding is intended to deliver 15 or 30 hours a week of free, high quality,
flexible childcare. It is not intended to cover the costs of meals, other consumables,
additional hours or additional services.’
We send out itemised invoices at the end of the month so you can clearly see the hours you have had funded (free), any extra sessions/hours you have had outside of your funding that must be paid for, lunches, consumables and if you have any specialist sessions such as French. These itemised invoices are to show we are not charging a ‘top up’ fee. We try to be as clear and transparent as we can be.
Although you have to pay for lunches, the alternatives would be for you to bring in a packed lunch or take your child home for lunch time.
The consumables charge is for; EYLog (online learning journal), snack, P.P.E., cleaning materials, tissues, art supplies etc. basically anything that is not childcare. This cost is voluntary and very small to go towards the costs of these items, however if you do not wish to pay it you can bring in snack each week and we will ask for art supplies etc. and other resources as we need it. Unfortunately we won’t be able to supply the EYLog.
For more detailed information on this look on the Early Years Foundation Stage Statutory Guidance
Do you accept childcare vouchers.
Yes as long as you are already registered with them (they have now closed for new registrations).
You might be eligible to join the Tax Free Childcare scheme, it really is worth joining if you can.
If you get Tax-Free Childcare, you’ll set up an online childcare account for your child. For every £8 you pay into this account, the government will pay in £2 to use to pay your provider.
You can get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as 30 hours free childcare if you’re eligible for both.
We are registered with this scheme and you can use it to pay for lunches, consumables, extra hours etc. You can use this in both Preschool and Out of School Club.
Do you accept 2 year olds?
Our closest preschool who takes 2 year old children is Whickham Community Centre Preschool.
Are you term time only and do you run a holiday club?
Does my child need to be toilet trained?
No, but we will support you to begin toilet training straight away. We do not allow children to come to to preschool in nappies or pullups*, just send them in with plenty of spare underwear and trousers in their spare clothes bag.
Research has shown that children these days spend longer in nappies than in the past, thoughts are that this delay is caused by working parents not being able to dedicate enough time to potty training and also the advances in nappies meaning children do not connect the uncomfortable we feeling to having a wee etc.
We will work with you and your child to be become toilet trained and will offer you advice and support throughout. Children usually come on leaps and bounds when they see other children using the toilets.
We will support your child to wipe their own bottom and will check (if they allow) that they are clean, but they will have to do this for themselves. Give them time and encouragement.
Sometimes children can go a little back over when starting and can have accidents. This is usually because they become too engrossed in their play that they forget, or they are too far away from the toilet and left it a little too late. This is completely normal so please do not worry. It is all learning, we encourage children to be independent and help through every element of it, mistakes happen in learning, it’s fine.
*If your child has special educational needs please speak to us directly so we can put an action plan in place. We will work with you and your child to meet their needs.
What do I need to send into Preschool for my child?
Your child will need a pair of wellies to be left at preschool for playing outdoors.
Each day your child will need to bring a drawstring bag containing spare underwear, socks, trousers and a t shirt and jumper. If your child is toilet training please put lots of spare bottoms in please. Make sure it is all named. Its not always for toilet accidents, if they’ve had fun in the water or mud kitchen they may need to get changed too.
Everyday your child will need a coat for the different types of weather, regardless of the weather when you leave the house. We play in areas where there is very little sun and it can get quite cold.
In winter they will need a hat and gloves/mittens (waterproof mittens are best on snow days).
In summer your child will need a sun hat with a peak or brim. They will also need factor 50 sun cream which is to be left in their tray and must have their name on. On sunny days we expect children to arrive with their sun cream already applied, we will top it up during the day.
Your child does not need a drink, only with a packed lunch. We have a drink in the morning and afternoon, children can access drinking water throughout the day and on hot days we encourage the children to drink more.
Comforters are discouraged at the moment, but if you think your child cannot cope without one we will allow them to stay in their bag. We will wean your child off this throughout their time with us before they start school.
Does the preschool have car parking facilities?
No, however the Coachman pub allows us to use their car park. Please do not park in the cul-de-sac, on paths or on the no parking road marks.
We prefer families to walk to school or use public transport as the traffic around school can be very dangerous when people try to get as close to the school gates as possible.
If you must drive, please drive safely and respect our neighbours and their property.
Does my child need to bring their own drink?
No, we provide water and milk at snack times and the children can have a drink throughout the day.
We do not allow children to bring in their own drinking bottle (unless with their packed lunch) as other children may access it at any time. We try to avoid cross contamination as best as possible.
Can I pick my child up during the preschool day?
Ideally no as it disrupts the preschool routines and can upset other children, but we do understand from time to time you may need to go to a doctor or hospital appointment.
Do you have policies and procedures, risk assessments etc.
Yes, these are all kept within our office space. We have over seventy policies, if you would like to see any please just ask one of the senior staff. We have hard copies in the office or we can email them out to you.
There are too many policies to mention individually, they include safeguarding, SEND, Admissions, Illness, Health and Safety, Packed lunches, non payment of fees etc.
Are your staff first aid trained?
Yes. Every paid member of staff is paediatric first aid trained which is renewed every three years.
Does the preschool follow a curriculum?
We have developed our own curriculum to enhance children’s learning and development to happen naturally through active playful experiences.
We have explored may different types of early years practices and theories and we utilise the elements we like from them all to create our own unique curriculum.
Montessori – our children have real life experiences, use real (but child sized) equipment and resources. We use the Montessori method to help children who struggle to put on a coat.
High Scope – All our resources can be accessed by the children and they are in labelled boxes so they know where to find them and more importantly where to return them to.
Reggio Emilia – The child is at the center of any learning and we use children’s interests to drive their learning, development and understanding forward. We use the environment as the third teacher.
Maslow – Finding out about the child, finding their interests and strengths to allow for their child initiated play.
Forest School – Children play amongst nature outdoors where they can take risks, build resilience, see real life flora and fauna and watch the ever changing seasons.
Steiner Waldorf – We provide an unhurried and creative environment where children can enjoy learning. We follow a predictable routine for our day, so children know what is coming and we have both child led and adult led activities.
Piaget – We endorse how Piaget believed in discovery learning where children can try and seek out solutions to their own problems, actively learn about the world around them and child initiated activities.
Vygotsky – We also believe in communication between children and adults, where adults can influence their learning and understanding. We use socialising, instructions, role modelling, scaffolding and open ended questions in our everyday conversations to support children’s language development.
We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance and Birth to 5 framework.
Everything we do is through the medium of play. There’s no sitting down to do do work unless a child chooses this for themselves.
Do children really learn through just play?
In a word, Yes!
We plan our routines and environment in a playful way so children do not even realise they are learning.
At snack time we encourage children to count how many children are sitting at their table and think about how many cups they will need. Then when they have collected some cups, how many more will they need. We ask children if they can find the matching number on route to collecting the cups. This is practical maths and active learning. They also pour their own drinks helping to develop their independence and builds up their hand and finger muscles for future writing skills.
We use their interests and strengths to plan the environment so it is always evolving too.
If a child is interested in dinosaurs we will ensure there are dinosaurs in the preschool. If the child doesn’t like painting we might use dinosaurs to make dinosaur feet prints in paint so they can experience the paint in a different way. We have made a dinosaur island in the past with a child who loved to draw, he drew a plan and then helped some other children to make an island using papermache then painting it. Lots of new skills learnt through his interest.
If an area is not used much we will ask the children what they would like it to be and we turn it into that. At Christmas for example we have had Santa’s workshops and a Sleigh and after we had a farm visit the outside area became a farm.
‘Play is the work of children’ they choose to be indoors or outdoors, playing with their friends or alone, making up role play games, running, climbing, doing crafts, board games, whatever takes their fancy. Everything has an element of learning within it.
We do have a structured day with some adult led time such as a short circle time to welcome the children, adult led activities they can join in with, stories, songs, parachute, elements of Forest School etc. But the children have a big chunk of their day dedicated to their own choice of play. We have a continuous curriculum which evolves using children’s interests, likes and strengths.
Your child is assessed during their day to make sure their learning and development is on track. If the staff have any concerns they will notify you as soon as possible so we can use some strategies to help them overcome this or meet their needs.
Do you have a high turn over of staff?
No. Most of the original staff team from Washingwell Preschool are still here, some of our staff team have been together for over 20 years.
We do have some new members of staff who have came when our numbers of children increased.
What should I do if my child is ill?
Please ring the preschool office on 01914888621 or email as soon as possible on the day your child is to be absent. If you are unsure if your child should come into preschool please ring us for advice. Generally if they require paracetamol because they are feeling unwell they will recover quicker at home, preschool is not a great place to be when you are poorly. Your child should stay away from preschool for forty eight hours after any episode of diarrhea or sickness to prevent the spread of infection, even if they are feeling better.
During a pandemic/epidemic that policy supersedes our infectious children policy. This usually means if your child has symptoms of Covid, even though they might be the same symptoms as say a sickness bug, they might need to stay away from preschool for longer than 48 hours.
We follow advice from NHS
And the World Health Organisation
Do you accept children with Special Educational Needs and or disabilities?
Yes, the preschool is fully inclusive and we never discriminate against any children regardless of their ability or need. We have a Special Educational Needs Coordinator and experienced staff.
However, please be aware we are a very busy preschool with up to 60 children in at anyone time. This can make for a lot of noise with not many places to escape to for quiet. We do provide ear defenders if the children require them. We are unable to provide 1 to 1 care for children, they are part of a 1;8 or 1;13 ratio throughout the day.
Will my child get into the Primary School when they are now with you?
You will have to apply for your child’s primary school place separately. It is not automatic that nursery children will get into any primary school even in a maintained nursery school.
How do I find out about Primary School catchment areas?
Every Primary School has a catchment area, here is the map of where Gateshead catchment boundaries are situated. See where you live is on the map to see which school is your catchment school.
Please give us a ring if you are unsure or you would like to discuss it further.
All Whickham schools are very popular and are usually oversubscribed, especially Whickham Parochial Primary School. We would strongly recommend you put your catchment school as your first choice or at the very least your second choice to avoid disappointment when allocations are given. Every year there are some disappointed parents who sometimes don’t even get their third choice of school.
Being in our preschool does not guarantee your child a place at the primary school, you must apply separately.