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Before Your Child Starts

Children can start at Puffins from the age of 2. Once your child is registered with us we will ring you the half term before they are 2 to see if they would like to start then, or wait until they are 3. Before they start we offer you a home visit where one of our senior members of staff will come and visit you, your child and your family in your home if you choose. This can be really good as it gives children a face to recognise before they start. We bring with us the policy and procedure file for you to look at and some stories to read to your child. We also invite you to visit pre-school whenever you like in the half term before your child starts.

Curriculum at Puffinsplayground
We have a child-led approach to children's development and learning and are guided by the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum.

This focuses on 3 prime areas of development:
•  Personal, social and emotional development
•  Physical development
•  Communication and Language
In other words: to be happy, to move and to talk.

We also look at four more specific educational areas
•  Literacy
•  Mathematics
•  Understanding the world
•  Expressive Arts and Design

Our approach to learning and development and assessment.

Learning through play

Play helps young children to learn and develop through doing and talking, which research has shown to be the means by which young children learn to think. At Puffins we use the Early Years Foundation Stage 'Development Matters' guidance to plan and provide a range of play activities which help children to make progress in each of the areas of learning and development. We use observations of the children and information from parents to help us plan weekly activities. We also make sure a wide range of different activities, toys, recourse and arts and craft are on hand all the time so that children can make their own choices. We offer a wide range of child led and adult guided activities which ensure we are meeting the learning needs of all children.

Children's progress is recorded in a scrap book and compared to the Development Matters guidance so that staff know that children are working across the curriculum and getting a wide range of different experiences. We encourage parents to bring in information and pictures from home to add to the children's books. these book are kept in trays in the play room. Children are encouraged to get them out, look at them and put pictures in them. Parents are also allowed to look at them freely.

More information on the curriculum can be found in the Operational Plan, and all policy and procedural information can be found in the policy file, both of which are kept on the desk in the office.

Key person
Each child has a key person who works with the family to make sure we provide the correct care and education to suit yur child's individual needs. She will be the main link between you and the setting and will play a large part in helping your child to settle. She will keep clear and concise records and assessments of your child and keep you informed of their progress.

Progress check at age 2
When a child reaches 2 and a half (depending on how long they have been at Puffins) we supply parents with a written summary of their development focusing on the 3 prime areas:

•  Personal, social and emotional development
•  Communication and language
•  Physical development

Along with the support of the Play Leader and the Deputy, the Key Worker writes this summary using information from observations and assessment. This is then discussed with the parents and passed onto the health visitor.

How parents take part in the setting
We see parents as the first and most important educators of their children. All of the staff see themselves as partners with parents in providing care and education for their child. There are many ways in which parents are involved at Puffins:

•  exchanging knowledge about their children's needs, activities, interests and progress with the staff
•  contributing to the progress check at age two
•  sharing their own special interests with the children
•  helping to provide, make and look after the equipment and materials used in the children's play activities
•  being part of the management committee of the setting
•  taking part in events and informal discussions about the activities and curriculum provided by the setting
•  joining in community activities in which the setting takes part
•  building friendships with other parents in the setting

Staff are always available for parents to chat to and we have an open house policy so feel free to pop in at any time.

Copies of the setting's policies and procedures kept on the desk in the office but are available for you to read at all times.

The setting's policies help us to make sure that the service provided by the setting is a high quality one and that being a member of the setting is an enjoyable and beneficial experience for each child and her/his parents.

The staff and parents of the setting work together to adopt the policies and they all have the opportunity to take part in the annual review of the policies. This review helps us to make sure that the policies are enabling the setting to provide a quality service for its members and the local community.

Safeguarding Children
Our setting has a duty under the law to help safeguard children against suspected or actual 'significant harm'.

Our employment practices ensure children against the likelihood of abuse in our settings and we have a procedure for managing complaints or allegations against a member of staff.

Our way of working with children and their parents ensures we are aware of any problems that may emerge and can offer support, including referral to appropriate agencies when necessary, to help families in difficulty. Our child protection officers are Annie Thurgood and Natalie Puddicombe and the Deputy is Beth Comber.

Special Needs
As part of the setting's policy to make sure that its provision meets the need of each individual child, we take account of any special needs a child may have. The setting works to the requirements of the 1993 Education Act and The Special Needs Educational Needs Code of Practice (2001).

Our Special Needs Co-ordinator is Natalie Puddicombe.



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