I hope that you have all had a super summer holiday and that you are all looking forward to an exciting new academic year. The end of the summer term was as emotional as ever! As I mentioned in my thank you email in July, the staff were overwhelmed by the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity shown to us by our parents at the end of term. You are an amazing group!

We wish all our July leavers a very happy time at their new schools and we look forward to seeing them all soon!
We are ready for the new term. I hope our new families (and existing cohort!) are keen to start and will have a very happy time at St. Andrew’s. I know that our current parents, Committee and staff will make sure that our new Pre-school families feel welcome.

It is always lovely to welcome back the children who were with us last year and to hear about their holidays and adventures. It is also super to welcome and to get to know our new children and families. Our Home Visits will take place on Thursday 8th September and the team are looking forward to getting to know you all.

In the Moment – At St. Andrew’s Pre-school we take each day as it comes. We are unsure of where the day will go, or exactly what learning will happen resulting in a sense of excitement and anticipation. At St. Andrew’s Pre-school we very much teach ‘In the moment’ and our planning is often spontaneous.

Planning in the moment is all about capturing the moment for children to progress based on what the children are already deeply involved in. From this we are able to see the ‘teachable moment’ from the child’s perspective and know when to intervene and when to stand back and observe. It is all about capturing the moment of engagement and running with it to make sure the children progress.

From the teachable moment the child feels valued, interesting, important, capable and able to learn as well as gaining knowledge, skills and understanding therefore making progress in one or even several areas of the Early Years Curriculum. We are able to gain a good understanding of the child’s knowledge, skills, attitude, understanding and progress. We still have adult led activities daily and plan for things like cooking, seasonal interests, festivals and celebrations. We talk with the children consolidating their knowledge, using prompts like ‘do you remember what happened when….’, or ‘I wonder what, how or if?’ We feel that this ties in perfectly with the 2014 Early Years Framework which states:
“1.6. Practitioners must consider the individual needs, interests, and stage of development of each child in their care and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all of the areas of learning and development.”

We have 4 Key People who are responsible for individual support, care and assessment of progress.
Our Key People are – Amanda Chenery, Katarzyna Ouadahi, Caro Brunner and Jo-Anne Stobbart.

Focus Children
Instead of having focus activities, each week we have three or four focus children. The week before a child is one of our focus children, they take home a letter to their parents explaining this and asking you to contribute your knowledge of your child too along with a few photographs. Each child is a focus child once per term, three times a year, thus resulting in parents having the opportunity to contribute and consult with us in a structured way each term. During each child’s focus week they will noticeably have more observations in their journals on which quality interactions and learning experiences are recorded.

Tapestry – If you are one of our new families, you will receive information regarding setting up your account for Tapestry during the first week back. If you are interested in finding out a bit more about ‘Tapestry’, there are several useful online tutorials.

Information – Please do check our website from time to time to keep you up to date with changes to important documents such as the Pre-school Policies, the Welcome Book and details and dates of future events. We also send out notification of events and news by email, as well as giving out essential information at the beginning and end of each session. If you miss these notices at the start of the session, we also have a daily notices board that we display in the front hall. Our parent Facebook page will also repeat any important notices. Please note that if your child attended Pre-school in the last academic year, they will have Amanda as their Key Person in September. They will also have as having a new number for the cloakroom and register!

Finally, please remember that staff and Committee have your children’s best interests at heart, so if you ever have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to talk to any of us at any time. I always like to remind families that communication with us is extremely important!

Hilary Coome